Guys… Starting a business is so awesome. It’s super exciting, exhilarating, and freeing to know you can make your own hours, be your own boss, and let the creative in you finally do it’s thing. But then there’s this other side to being a creative entrepreneur that I really had no idea about… developing your brand.
Let’s back pedal a little to what led me to today. At the beginning of this year, I was evaluating business goals and what I wanted to do with photography. Was it going to continue to be just a hobby? Did I want to turn this into a business? Is this what I should do with my life? Is this what I’m called to do?
My curiosity started with photography in 2010 when I took a photography class at my high school. It was nothing crazy, but I totally told my parents that I needed (like, that it was actually required) to have a DSLR camera for my class… it definitely wasn’t required (sorry mom and dad)!
But off we went to Best Buy, where my parents bought me my very first DSLR, the Nikon D3000… and a star was born.
HAHA! Totally kidding.
My first few photos were pretty much what’s expected of a newbie with a DSLR that thinks they’re all that and a bag of chips: super contrast-y with a bit of over-saturation, feeling like you own the photography world. In fact, let’s take a little stroll down memory lane so you guys can see for yourself.
(Free embarrassing secret: no one knows this, but the entire first 3 years that I was photographing clients, I was editing their photos on PICNIK! WHAT was I thinking?!)
Left: 2012 // Right: 2017
After my first few photoshoots (mostly for free), I made a fan page on Facebook and photography just sort of developed into this thing that I did. It was nothing more and I never expected it to be. I mean seriously, my first “tagline” was, “I love to portray personalities through photography.”
….wow, what a wordsmith!
So, after high school, I went on to college, and my love of photography went on the back burner as I went full force into my schoolwork. (Fun fact: I changed my major 5 times… indecisive much?). I first wanted to become a doctor or a physician’s assistant, because I was trying to be smart since that’s “where the money was,” but then started to realize that life is so much more than that. I didn’t want to spend my life in a career that didn’t spark joy in my heart every single day.
So, I decided to take a year off from school and spend some time soul searching.
Last year was easily the best year of my life. I traveled across Europe with my best friend, visited some of my favorite places (Charleston, NYC, Florida), got a tattoo in a SCOTLAND (that’s a whole different blog post in itself), cried, laughed, loved, and most of all, found out what made my soul sing: experiencing each moment as if it’s my last and stepping into who I was truly made to be.
For the longest time in the industry, I thought that being a photographer was just being a body behind the lens of a fancy camera to take photos of someone else’s life. Guys, it’s not! It’s SO not! If you’re a photographer, or any entrepreneur for that matter, that believes that YOUR business is just another business lost in the sea of your industry, I’m here to tell you that your business and your brand are a direct reflection of who YOU are!
I bought into this idea that people only chose photographers by price-shopping and stalking their portfolios. While investment, style and portfolio are definitely huge factors in choosing a wedding photographer, it’s not solely why we’re hired. You’re hired as a photographer because you are uniquely you. YOU can give client experience that is unlike anyone else. YOU have a personality and a style that is unlike anyone else. YOU are uniquely YOU, and that is why people hire you.
And that, my friends, is what developing a brand really means. Your brand is a direct reflection of you, your purpose, your why. It encompasses who you are and what you stand for. I seriously thought that developing a brand was just picking your favorite color palette and fonts and rolling on your way (I WAS SO WRONG).
That changed everything for me. I don’t have to be everything for everyone. I can just be Demi, and that is enough.
So here I am today, a creative entrepreneur, launching a brand that I’m extremely proud of and that I know is a direct reflection of who I am and the clients I want to work with. My mission in life is to love others well by serving them and letting people know that they are worthy and cared for and photography is one of the vehicles I’ve been given fulfill that mission and purpose.
I can’t wait to share my heart with you often for the years to come, friends! This is the beginning of something incredible 🙂