Branding

Take a Peek Behind the Scenes of a Dream Photoshoot

"It was like I was stepping into a storybook, and at the same time I was getting in touch with my true self for the first time in a long time."

-Wendy, 54 - Mother of 7, Grandmother of 8

I cannot even tell you how excited I am to reveal some of the beauty and magic that happens during a dream photoshoot - not just in the images that we created, but in the incredible transformation that took place in Wendy. She walked taller out of the studio door, with a twinkle in her eye and a gorgeous grin.

The Beautiful Products and How They're Delivered

When your photoshoot is over, we will have created some of the most beautiful images you have ever seen of yourself. You'll be able to choose your favorites, and decide how you'd like to display them. You can decorate your home with a beautiful framed portrait, or even an entire wall gallery. Or, for a special (and possibly private) option, the handmade Folio Box is a beautiful keepsake designed to protect and showcase the images inside. 

In addition to the products we create, any image you buy will be saved on a USB drive as a high-resolution file, which will be print quality up to the size you purchased. 

Samples of all these beautiful products will be in my studio on the day of your photoshoot, so you can see them in person. If you would like to see them before booking a shoot, a free consultation in the studio will be the perfect way to answer any questions you may have. 

The beautiful products from a modern glamour photoshoot with Emily London Portraits in Salt Lake City.

For my photographer friends, the rest of this post is the final part of a series on branding. Beginning with logo and brand design, then showcasing the welcome packet I send to each client, and now ending with the products and packaging I deliver to my clients. 

The USB Drives

In the image above you'll see the customized USB drives and the lux packaging for them. In each drive I create for my clients, I include a folder containing the High-Res files, named something like, "Print Quality Photos (7x10)". A second folder named "Web Size Photos (1000px)" has watermarked files saved to 1000px on the long edge. I make these PNG format, which looks better in Facebook than JPG, and name them "Emily London Portraits Utah Photoshoot 2013 - 1". I also include a Print Release file which gives the client permission to print their photos, their Before & After, a shortcut linking to my website and one linking to my facebook page, a copy of my price list, and a referral card in JPG format for sharing.

The Folio Box

The Folio Box is handmade by Finao and customized with my logo. They offer two depths, the deeper on holds 26 matted prints, and the shallow can fit 18. I buy both, and provide the shallow one when my client orders 6 or 10 images, and the deep one for my 20 image set. Either way my cost is the same.

I also use Finao's Slide-In Mats. While they offer several size options, I prefer the 7x10" matted to 11x14. Why 7x10 and not 8x10? A) It looks better in the 11x14 mat, B) It's the crop ratio that my camera uses, and C) It makes people look slimmer/longer. I do have a sample image cropped both ways, so I can show the difference to my client if they ask. Usually they don't.

The prints inside the folio box are made at ProDPI. I use them because they're quick, they're reasonably priced, and they include a free candy with every order. My paper preference is the Fugi Deep Matte, although I show several paper options to each client and let her decide. 

The Framed Gallery and Other Framed Prints

I designed the 9-up frame to hold nine 5x7.5" photos, and to be the exact same dimensions as a 16x24 framed print. Simply Color Lab makes them for me, as well as my individually framed prints. I chose Simply Color Lab because they allowed me to design my own 9up, and it was important to me to find a printer/framer who would be able to create all the framed products I wanted to offer. This way, if my client orders a 9-up and a 16x24, the frame styles will match. They also offer large print sizes with the 2:3 ratio that is sometimes tricky to source, but is definitely my preference.

Once I decided to start ordering through Simply Color Lab, I bought their frame corner set so my clients can see all the frame style options in person.

The Packaging and Final Presentation

When I deliver an order to my client, I want the presentation of their portraits to be perfect. I wrap the folio box in tissue paper, and top it off with a custom wax seal with my logo (using black hot-glue-gun wax). I make my wax seals ahead of time and adhere them to my packaging with super strength glue dots from Hobby Lobby.

I then bag the folio box, and USB case in a customized album bag. I purchased several sizes, so whichever size print my client orders, I'll have the right size bag. For a beautiful finishing touch, I use tulle (from Hobby Lobby) instead of tissue paper. 

The beautiful packaging from Emily London Portraits in Salt Lake City.

Preparing for Your Dream Photoshoot | The Welcome Packet

When you book a modern glamour photoshoot with Emily London Portraits, you'll receive a beautiful welcome packet. If you take advantage of the in-person consultation, I'll send it home with you. If your consultation happens over the phone, you'll get treated to finding a lovely package in the mail. Either way, I'll discuss all the included information during your consultation so we can make your dream photoshoot a reality.

A beautiful welcome packet is sent to every client after she books a modern glamour photoshoot with Emily London Portraits in Utah.  

For anybody who's interested in offering beautiful Photoshoot Preparation Guides for your own clients, stay tuned! I'm in the process of designing several Glamour Photoshoot Guides, and I expect the first one will be ready by the end of this week! 

Photography Branding Design | Step-by-Step

Designing a new logo and branding can be a really exciting and fun process. The main down side is that it's a hell of a lot of work. Whether you plan to hire a professional designer, or to bust out your own mad-design-skills, you'll need to decide the overall mood and values of your brand before your project can take flight. 

When I began my own branding journey, I watched branding courses, studied books and blogs, and spent weeks worrying and revising. Now that it's all over, I'm proud of the branding I created for my own business, and I hope you'll be able to benefit from some of the tricks I picked up along the way.

One of the best parts of starting a new business is designing the branding. This is the cheat sheet I made to keep everything together, and a step-by-step guide to perfecting your own branding | By Emily London Portraits in Salt Lake City.

Step 1: Make an Inspiration Board / Develop a Pinterest Addiction

When I began developing the branding and logo for Emily London Portraits, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration. I created a new pin board called "Branding Inspiration" and started filling it with logos and brand boards that I loved. (You can find lots in Pinterest, by searching for "Logo" "Branding" "Brand Board" "Packaging" etc.) When pinning to your own branding pin board, make sure to caption each pin with a note about what specifically you like in the photo, for example: "Colors" or "Font" - it doesn't have to be complex. This will really come in handy if you are working with a designer or business partner and need to communicate your vision. 

Step 2: Decide Who Your Brand Is (or Will Be)

After amassing a huge Branding Pin Board, I looked at the overall direction of what I loved. Some designs really conflicted (I love the bright colors in this one, but the monochromatic color scheme of this other one), so I had to start culling my beautiful new collection. 

To really hone the direction I wanted to take with my brand, I needed to decide what message I wanted to convey about Emily London Portraits. I brainstormed all the qualities that my photography style had (or that I wanted it to have): glamorous, beautiful, feminine, sumptuous, sensual, dreamy, ethereal, confident, etc. (Keep in mind these were very personal to me - you might relate more to words like whimsical, retro, bold, strong, masculine - or something completely different.) If you find this step challenging, check out the pins in your brand board and think of how you would describe each image you chose.

Once I had my long list of attributes that describe my photography style, or what I knew I eventually wanted my photography style to be, I thought long and hard about my ideal client. Of the qualities my photography had, which ones would attract her the most? With her in mind, I chose the top three words to describe my brand.

Luxurious - Timeless - Elegant 

Step 3: Refine Your Pin Board

I then returned to Pinterest and eliminated all the pins that didn't belong. For example, I loved a lot of retro designs, which is a very trendy style right now. Since being Timeless is so key to my brand, I removed any designs that said "trendy" to me. I also removed anything that didn't portray the luxury and elegance I wanted for my brand. After culling out quite a few images, I searched for new inspiration to pin, this time focusing on adding pins that fit my new criteria.

Step 4:  Choose Your Color Palette

This might be my favorite part. Either search for "color palette" in Pinterest, or visit a color palette website like Design Seeds for some excellent inspiration. Keep in mind that you'll be using your colors on your website, marketing materials, and packaging, so you'll want lots of versatility. I suggest to include a dark color (for text), a light color, and several mid-tone options that are complimentary but not monochromatic. I started with Black, White and Gold for my foundation colors, and added a couple colors that I knew would show up in my work often, and that would be versatile on my website. 

Once you have your color palette worked out, return to Pinterest and remove the pins you added solely for their colors, but don't fit your final color scheme.   

Step 5: Design Your Logo

A great logo is essential, especially when you're a photographer. Your logo is probably going to be the watermark you use on every single image you put out into the world, and could enhance each image, or destroy it. A crappy logo kills your credibility, ("Wow, that logo is so bad, the photographer must have terrible taste.") or, at best, is forgettable - getting lost in the sea of pictures that is the internet. Since your logo stays with you for years, shouldn't it be a high priority to make it amaze-sauce?

Before I became a photographer, I worked as a designer for the vinyl decal company I own with my husband. If you aren't a designer, I strongly (intensely, passionately, vehemently) suggest you hire one to design your logo. 

There's a range of pro logo design options available. From customizing a stock logo on Etsy, to hosting a design competition on 99 Designs, to hiring a design master like Angela Scheffer at Saffron Avenue. Each option comes with it's own pros and cons, and the cost ranges significantly, from $10 to $1000 for a logo only, and up to $5000 for a branding package which includes your logo, branding, website and blog design.

Whichever option you choose, your new Pinterest board will be a flippin' amazing way to concisely illustrate the direction you'd like your brand to take. Share your three main brand qualities and color palette with your designer, and s/he'll be able to create a very personalized design for you.

If you do opt for the DIY route, please avoid the fonts Papyrus, Vivaldi, Scriptina, and Comic Sans. Trust me on this one. I can't explain why not without sounding like a super snob. So I won't. But just... trust me.  If you already have a logo using one of these fonts, stop reading now, begin working on Step 1, and do not pass go. You're welcome.

Step 6: Assemble the Whole Package

Finally, you'll need to compile your final design elements into one place. I created the brand board above, and have it saved as a .psd file. Whenever I need one of the components, I can open the file to drag and drop the desired element into my current project. I also have individual files saved for my logo, watermark and symbol, in .psd, .jpg and .png formats. They are also saved as brushes in my Photoshop Brush Library, and as Lightroom Watermark Presets.

After deciding on and compiling all the design elements for my brand, the website design process was fairly straightforward. The site was created with a template by Squarespace, which was easy to customize to fit my new branding.

I also have designed marketing materials, product offerings, and packaging which are all complementary to each other and to the brand board above. Since the information for those is pretty extensive, I'll be dividing the information into separate blog posts. In the mean-time, get started on your own Pinterest Brand Board.