Re-Branding: The “Why” | Louisville Portrait Photographer

OK.  So I said that I would go into the details about re-branding, right?  Well, let’s do it.  Just know that I’m the most indecisive person this side of the Mason-Dixon Line and this story will likely confirm that.  Don’t judge me.

When I actually started my photography business and began building out my first website two years ago, I was torn: Do I stick with the name I’d given my blog since I had a small following?  Or start over and use my own name?  After a couple of days of thinking it over and scratching out a list of pros and cons, I decided to stay with shutterboo.  It was fun.  It was me.  And I didn’t have to go through the hassle of a new website or any of that interweb junk.

What it really boiled down to?  It was easier.  And when you’re scared of something new, easier sounds like the friendliest option.  But I committed to it, and loved every minute of what I was doing – from photographing families to designing marketing pieces to reconciling bank statements – it was exactly what I wanted.  (And yes, I really do like reconciling bank statements.  But that’s about the extent of the accounting that I do.)

This time last year, I was in Chicago for a workshop with Christy Tyler.  After all the other ladies had left, Christy let me hang around a bit since my flight was still hours away.  She’s incredibly easy to talk to, and candid, so I asked her what she thought about my business name.  I told her how I originally thought about changing it but didn’t, that I was scared to and the feedback I got from friends and family reassured my decision.  Christy put on a smile and was as honest as 6-year-old George Washington: shutterboo was cute and fun, but did make her think of a photographer that specialized with children.  I love photographing families and kids, but I also love photographing couples.  With only adults, I feel like there’s more creative freedom; there’s no bargaining or breaks to recompose or staying away from abandoned lots filled with broken glass.  Hearing her opinion kind of made me step back and think – I didn’t want to just be a children’s photographer, I want to photograph everyone.

But Christy went on to tell me about her own experience, about her first brand with her photography business and why she decided to change it.  And then the kicker came: If you are going to change your business name, do it sooner rather than later.

I kept hearing Christy say those words for weeks in my head.  “Sooner rather than later.”  But I got scared, decided it was too much work to redo everything I had built in the last 12 months, and shut the idea out of my head for the second time.

This past January, I had a lot of time to think about things.  Mike and I were traveling a lot (or more than we usually do) and with time away from work and family… and making goals for the New Year… and the thought of my 31st birthday arriving very soon… well, the idea stirred up again.  Only this time I wasn’t thinking about how much work it would be to leave shutterboo behind.  Rather, I was weighing the impact it would make.  Not just on the business side of things, but on me.  How I could identify better with my photography, with my blogging, with selling myself to people who don’t know me.  Just by putting my name on the marquee.  My favorite thing about photographing others are the connections we make – the conversations, learning who we both know, what we have  in common – and having my name on my business allows me to make a connection a little sooner.

So I made another list of pros and cons and I realized that the cons weren’t really cons – it was actually the “to do list” for re-branding.  Of course, this wasn’t good enough for me, the gal who can’t make a decision to save her life, and I reached out to a few friends who were also business owners for their opinions.  They all said the same thing; that I should do it, it made sense and here are the reasons why, and blah blah blah blah.  I knew all of this already and their validation helped, but it was my dear friend Susan that made me think about it differently.  She not only pointed out that re-branding helps small businesses evolve, but her words that made me pause were:

From the outside, it seems like putting your name on your business is really taking the next step into “I’m legitimate; this is me, this is my work” arena.  It also frees you up to keep evolving, since no matter what direction you might take in the future, you’ll always be Brooke Murphy.  Five or ten years from now, will you still be “Shutterboo”?

(This is why I keep Susan, folks.)

Susan’s comment sealed the deal – it was time to evolve, to make the change.  A big scary change that I had not wanted to do was going to be done.  Making the to do list for the “official” things like contacting the IRS, the state and our accountant made me sweat more than I’d like to publicly admit.  Calculating the total cost of inventory that I would lose made me step away from the computer to pace the hall.  I kept reminding myself that people did this sort of thing all the time and that  even in this situation, Nike is right: Just Do It.  So I just did it.  I reached out to a designer that came highly recommended and she made the transition even smoother – anywhere I was unconfident before, she created something that excited me.  And eventually, all the fear of becoming Brooke Murphy Photography began to disappear.  And that leads us into the next discussion of re-branding: the “process.”

To read more posts in the re-branding series, click on the links below:
Re-Branding: The Process
Re-Branding: The Packaging
Re-Branding: Evolution of Brand

katie - i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again…this is you. it’s everything you as a person embody just on a computer screen. kristen is beyond talented and brought out your playful spirit in the way of her design. i love everything about it. and making the change from shutterboo to bmp was totally worth it.

Christy Tyler - I cannot even express how happy this makes me that you finally took this big step and that it wasn’t nearly as bad as you thought it would be! ;-) I LOVE your new site and love that it is YOU. And best of all – I can’t wait to see where it takes you from here!!!

Susan - You rock, Brooke. Change is hard, and you did something amazing with this change. I can’t wait to see what you do next. I’m so proud of you.

A Huge Thank You

Wow-wee-wow!  You guys sure do know how to make a girl feel special!

Didn’t I say on my birthday post back in February I had major plans and big goals?  I wasn’t lying, people.  ;)

I was very excited (and slightly nervous) to share the new website yesterday.  Not that I thought I’d have mud-slingers in my midst, but because it is a big change.  Shutterboo has been my interweb home since 2009… that’s a decent amount of time in the world of blogging… but that’s why it’s staying where it is.  I may not be updating it, but I love the idea of revisiting old posts; especially the ones where I made a fool of myself.  For example, the post where I seriously considered wearing a helmet full-time.  And another one that’s wholly dedicated to a dead violet.  Then there’s the BDD, of course.

And there are so many families I’ve photographed the last few years and Ill admit to being the type that likes to browse through and relive the sessions.  I adored the session I had with three collegian women (even though I left feeling older than when I arrived).  The energy and love and colors that Heather and Robby brought to their session could make me smile for days.  I loved meeting Baby Hadley and playing with Liam – I made a new BFF that day.  And the Hamilton sisters with those fantastic kiddos – that afternoon playing in the leaves was a blast.

My friend Katie said it best: It’s a great way to see how far I’ve come.

I have high hopes for the new site and the new brand.  I’ve been cooking up ideas to keep me not only posting more frequently but sharing more of myself.  I felt like I was beginning to lose my voice, which I didn’t think was possible… but I with a little focus and a lot of enthusiasm, I can pull a few things off.  That’s right, this old dog has new tricks.  Or at least I think I do.  Only time will tell.

And thank you, thank you, thank you for all the love you shared with me yesterday on Facebook!  I’m so happy to have the new page well established on Day One and was overwhelmed with your likes, comments and following.  But I’m more happy to know that there many people out there that are as excited as me.

*interweb high-five*

So here’s to new beginnings – to letting your heart lead the way, your brain to driving the train and your self to feeling good inside and out.

By the way, the BDD says thank you too.  She may not look it, but she’s fired up about Brooke Murphy Photography!

Lazing BDD

katie - And I truly believe what I said…it is such a fantastic measure of your success and growth. And this website epitomizes everything about you.

Welcome to the New Site!

This project has been a long time coming and it’s finally here!

AHHH!!!!!

You have no idea how excited I am to share this with you – the new name, the look and the new site – all of it!

I know that it may be a shock to some, to make such drastic changes, but I feel that this is a smart move to take myself and my photography in the direction I want to go – forward.

I have plans to share my thoughts on “why” later and to tell you about the process I experienced with my wonderful designer, but for now, just enjoy the moment with me.  Poke around, check out the new duds and imagine me sitting next to you with a big fat grin on my face. :)

Don’t forget to update your RSS feed and check out my new Facebook page – I need fans like whoa because I’m starting from scratch!

Thank you for stopping by and celebrating with me today!  Be sure to check back for recent sessions, some BDD love and the absolute randomness that I live out everyday.  Let’s do this!

Susan - Yay, yay, yay! It looks amazing – congrats on the new digs!

Shelly B - Looks great! So excited for you :)

kristen - YAY, you’re LIVE!!! I’m so excited for you & can’t wait to hear all of the feedback.

Melissa - love it! conrats on the change and the moving forward!

Melissa - oh and how great is kristen?! :)

Christy Tyler - YAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!! I’m so proud of you!!! This looks AMAZING! And is so you! Bright – cheery – and fun!!! Love it!!!!! *Happy Dance*

Katie - Obsessed! The site looks amazing. So happy and excited for you and the new chapter in Brooke Murphy Photography.

Melanie - Looks amazing!! So very proud of you friend on every aspect of this journey!