Thoughts on Rebranding

As you might have heard, I have been in the process of a major rebrand for Emily Alt Photography over the past couple of months, and we are down to the last few days.  My designers, based out of Oklahoma City, are tweaking the last of the website updates and making sure all the glitches are out before the big reveal, which I plan to do on July 8 (tomorrow!) in time for my post with A Practical Wedding.

Going through a rebrand has been beyond eye-opening (and also humbling in terms of reminding me how little I know about design and web) for me.  I knew when I started this rebrand that I wanted to really change my vision and work for Emily Alt Photography, but I wasn’t even sure of how much it would change until I started working closely with Erin, the designer side of Cooper House.  Erin has been a godsend—really.  

Really thinking carefully through all of this gave me a much better idea of what I do want for 2014 and going into the future with this business and her advice and insights have been invaluable.   She and I worked through a lot of different ideas and she asked a LOT of questions about me, my work, my hopes for 2014 and beyond, my ideal client—we covered a lot of ground. She helped me split the rebrand into a few major categories, and this is how I think about them:

 

Style: Having feedback from someone totally unconnected to me, to EAP and to the aesthetic side of the business is really helpful—it reminded me that my work is good, but more than that, that it’s unique.  I am definitely not a standard “formal” wedding photographer that you might see on the pages of Real Simple Weddings or featured on The Knot. 

In my work with Erin, I found a renewed sense of joy when it comes to the photojournalistic aspect of wedding photography.  Shooting as much as I have for the past 5 months (non-stop pretty much coming off the Rolling Elopements tour), I have found myself starting to question my creativity and my photography—it’s very easy to compare oneself to other photographers or planners in this industry and I’ve already talked a lot about the Pinterest Pressure I’m sure many of us feel.  

Through these conversations and writings with Erin, I was really able to hone in on what makes my photography unique—which we both agreed is the photojournalistic aspect, but also the elements of “non-scripting” that I put into my weddings. I would much rather hang by a wall and “collect” shots than pose folks or try to recreate shots.  This idea of the “collection” of images actually became a huge basis for the rebrand, which I’ll talk about a little in a minute.

 

Client:  One of Erin’s really intentional goals with me was to help me zero in on who my ideal client is—is it the couple who is having a big Chicago style wedding with lots of glam and glitz, or is it the couple who is planning on a budget a small wedding in Northern Michigan?  That one’s sort of obvious, right? But more specifically, she helped me narrow my couple down to education level, income level, career interests, and, most importantly, wedding type. 

We talked a lot about wanting to really change my business to have a really similar vibe of wedding—not saying that all weddings are the same or anything like that, but more about making sure the clients I take are clients who really get me and get what they’re signing up for when it comes to hiring me as their photographer.  I mean, after all, you’re not just getting a photographer with me, you’re getting a friend for life.  And if you don’t want to be friends with your photographer, then I am not the gal for you.  Erin made sure I knew that was ok and that’s it’s also ok to turn clients away.  If someone gets in touch and it’s not the right fit or I know they’ll be happier with a more traditional photographer, it’s completely fine to steer them in that direction.

 

Intentionality: A big aspect of this rebrand is working to make sure I really limit the number of weddings I take this year—and really pairing it down.  That means being really intentional about the weddings I accept and the weddings I don’t accept.  Intentionality is critical in ensuring that my portfolio develops into the portfolio I want to have—varied and diverse, but also pretty focused on specific types of weddings.  

Last year I did turn down a few weddings, though not many.  This year I think I will need to turn down more and while that is scary (if I don’t work, I don’t get paid!), I also think it’s important to making sure this business goes where I want it to go.  I am interested in being much more intentional about the aesthetic of the wedding I accept and the type of client I accept.  I truly want to find clients who get me and who are a perfect match and I’ve been very lucky to have found many of those in the past year.

Sometimes when a client gets in touch and describes his or her wedding and I am just chomping at the bit to get the contract—it fits with everything I want.  I actually had 2 such inquiries this past week—the first from a potential client whose budget is smaller than my price point and the second from someone who is having the exact type of Northern Michigan wedding I love to shoot.  Both of these potential clients really wooed me with their information form, and I am doing my very best to make both contracts work. Even though this rebrand will also come with a price increase, I am hoping that I have enough flexibility in my investment packages that I will be able to work with couples who might have smaller budgets if I think we are a really good fit. 

 

There you have it, then, in a nutshell, some of my thoughts going into this launch tomorrow and from the past few weeks.  I am very excited about everything that has come together and the shift I see occurring in Emily Alt Photography.  The new name I’ve chosen is of great importance to me and it really has a brand message that I believe in (more on that tomorrow with the reveal), so regardless of the response from clients and the wedding community, I can say that I feel really good and really proud of what has come together.  Stay tuned!