Re-branding: The Process | Louisville Portrait Photographer

Click here to read the first post in the re-branding series – The Why

A couple of weeks ago I shared “why” I decided to re-brand to Brooke Murphy Photography.  The decision wasn’t an easy one to make although it made complete sense – it is me, it is my name, I can’t get more “Brooke” any other way.  But getting started on turning “Brooke” into something visual… well, that made me excited and nauseous at the same time.  I know that I was letting my worry already set in – before I had even started, before the world even knew! – but I tried my darndest to push those feelings away and focus on the “what could be.”  That’s no easy task for me.  Kristen made it easier.

I decided to move forward with my re-branding with the help of Kristen Elaine, a digital designer out of Birmingham.  I chose her for several reason: 1) she came highly recommended, 2) I was familiar with other photographers she’s worked with in the past and 3) she knew how to work with the programs and templates I had already invested in.  The fact that she ended up being totally sweet, extremely creative and threw positive responses in my face after I gave feedback that made my knees shake?  That was the whip cream, sprinkles and cherry on top of our metaphorical re-branding ice cream sundae.

Kristen made the process smooth and, not surprisingly, that helped me calm down.  I loved how we worked together, how ideas were passed back and forth, the words she used to communicate with me and the way she brought it all into existence.  That’s why I want to share this with you – because even though there was a lot of work to be done (for both of us), she made it fun and easy.  I’m Kristen’s biggest fan right now. :)

I imagine that most design work starts off like ours did – with a questionnaire and creating an inspiration board.  I turned to the interwebs for inspiration and used Pinterest to create my “Inspire Me, Please” board.  (Gotta love Pinterest, no?)  And from there, Kristen narrowed it down to this:

I loved it!  So much color, so much fun, not perfect… it felt right.  From here, Kristen created different logos and identified colors that would help define the brand, create a visualization that can be recognized without my face.  We quickly determined the logo, which funnily enough was an easy decision for me.  (Funny because that’s not normal.)  I took Kristen’s creations and laid them over my images as watermarks – immediately, I connected with one.  It seemed to evoke a feeling I didn’t have with the others – my off-centered approach had worked.

But after a few rounds of revisions, a little worry filled my mind with the color selection.  I love bright colors oh-so-much, but the idea of having so many vibrant colors made me step back and wonder if it was too much.  I don’t consider myself to have a Type-A personality – did these bold color scream “in your face”?  After reassurance from Kristen that the use of white space would be important to how we presented everything, how the colors would “pop” and enhance, not overpower, I felt better.  One small tweak, one last revision, and all was done: she had found “it.”

It’s a weird feeling.  Working with someone you have never met.  Someone you have never spoken to.  (Til today, I still have not had a phone conversation with Kristen.)  We’ve only emailed.  And she gets me.  Kristen “gets” me.  Even in a side conversation with Katie, who was also re-branding her photography business with Kristen, we talked about how we were surprised at how she does what she does.  But then Katie made a comment, a comment that  unsettled me, about how she saw so much of her new brand in her home, in the colors on her wall, her furniture – it had the same feeling.  I am not an interior designer and my house does not really contain a lot of bold colors.  But I remember another wise photographer mentioning how she loved her brand so much that she wore it, literally.  And then that unsettling feeling disappeared.  Actually, all feelings of concern, worry, unsettling, negatives were completely gone.

Because I saw this in my closet:

Brooke Murphy Photography Brand

I thought that was pretty awesome.  I hadn’t noticed it before.  But now I saw it comprehensively.  This was me.

I may have fallen deeply in love with Kristen after I had this epiphany.

While visual representation isn’t everything that encompasses a “brand,” it’s one of the pieces to the puzzle.  There was a lot of work that went into the process beyond this, much of it was homework I gave myself so that when Kristen was done, I would be ready push the new brand live.  And the homework hasn’t stopped; it’s just shifted from the visual aspect to personalization.  But honestly, the learning should never end – if we become complacent with ourselves, then we become unconcerned what we share with the community.  And I kind of want to be more awesome tomorrow than I am today. ;)

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

kristen - brooke, thank you. thank you for making my job so easy & fun! and thank you for your kind words. right back at ya. as i’ve said before, you were a dream client to work with. i am so excited about your re-brand and although we’ve never met, i just know it’s “you.” and i totally agree about not stopping here, learning more, and being better tomorrow than we are today. thank you for this. mwah!

katie - This post totally just made my morning. I’m obsessed with the inspiration board and it is utterly Brooke. And see? She got you! Just like she got me. And it’s crazy and brilliant and completely perfect! I tell ya, Kristen has a gift. I’m so lucky we both have been able to experience her talents and create some pretty fantastic brands in the process.

Jenn - At first I was just happily reading along, and enjoying how nicely the colours in your photo compilation when together and then I got to my photo, and I made that little Squeeee!!! sound of excitement. Love the new branding, and how awesome that it fits you so well! And of course, loving all the teal :)

Ashley’s Bridal Shower {celebrating} | Louisville Lifestyle Photographer

I can’t believe that Ashley and Brad’s wedding day is only weeks away.  It really only feels like it was last month that I met them downtown to take engagement photos with them.  But that was really last July… and I just realized I hadn’t even seen Ashley since then.  Wow.  That’s far too long in my book.  Because she’s a sweetheart. Since she’s relocated to Cincinnati (where she also happened to meet Brad), Ashley’s Louisville family and friends came together to celebrate with her and shower her with well wishes, hugs and gifts.  Luckily, there was also cake.  Because I love cake.  But I also love watching people with history – tell old stories, bring up nicknames, laugh with each other, embrace one another.  I love it more than cake.  In all honesty, I was really happy to be there for Ashley, her family and her expecting sister-in-law who hosted the thing (who was also referred to as Wonder Woman). A brunch themed shower… best idea ever.  Decked out with greens and oranges, Ashley’s favorite colors, with gorgeous flowers, burlap runners and… by golly, it was just so pretty.  It was a great gathering and I know without a doubt that Ashley and Brad’s wedding day will have many more smiles and hugs and support – they’re a pretty special couple.Sellersburg Bridal Shower | Louisville Event PhotographerSellersburg Bridal Shower | Louisville Event PhotographerSellersburg Bridal Shower | Louisville Event PhotographerSellersburg Bridal Shower | Louisville Event PhotographerSellersburg Bridal Shower | Louisville Event PhotographerSellersburg Bridal Shower | Louisville Event Photographer

A homemade, three-tiered cake. With three different cakes inside.  Brunch and cake.  It was glorious.

And no shower is complete without a few games.  These were focused on the bride and groom, to which Ashley didn’t even know some of the answers.  It was cute. ;)

Sellersburg Bridal Shower | Louisville Event PhotographerSellersburg Bridal Shower | Louisville Event PhotographerSellersburg Bridal Shower | Louisville Event Photographer

There were two little girls running around enjoying the shower just as much as the adults.  Dressed up for the party, they had to get in on the action, play hair-dresser, share stickers and eat snacks.  My kind of kiddos.

Sellersburg Bridal Shower | Louisville Event PhotographerSellersburg Bridal Shower | Louisville Event Photographer

Before everyone left, we did a few group photos.  But I love the one of Ashley and her mom best.  They’re both so beautiful.

Sellersburg Bridal Shower | Louisville Event PhotographerSellersburg Bridal Shower | Louisville Event PhotographerBest wishes to you, Ashley!  You’ll be a beautiful bride and an even more beautiful wife.  Celebrate each other daily and begin and end each day with a kiss – it always makes your day a little better and your dreams sweeter.

Mentionable Finds: Derby Edition

The Kentucky Derby is right around the corner.  Tomorrow the Kentucky Derby Festival kicks off with Thunder of Louisville and then it’s two weeks of celebrating what this great city has to offer the world.  (I can already smell the funnel cakes and ribbon fries.)  That also means that the ladies of Louisville that are attending either the Oaks or Derby only have two weeks to complete the perfect outfit, which is no small feat.

I myself have never been to a “proper” Derby – a seat to sit in, dressed to the nines, “the hat” and placing bets at an indoor window.  I have been to Derby –  visited the infield when I was 17.  I was unimpressed and have since attended parties because it’s not about where you are, but instead who you’re with.  (We still bet, we still scream at horses through the TV, we just like each other enough to do it year in and year out.)  So without having been outside of the track, I have never really thought about what to wear, where to shop, how to bring it all together for the fastest two minutes in sports.  But I have some online shops that I check out often and they recently made me *think* of Derby.

That, and I wanted to pretend to know what I was talking about. :)

For the dress: Shabby Apple
I’ve been a fan of Shabby Apple for a few years and swoon over their dresses. I love that they offer several different styles, help you find the style that works for your body type, have so many great colors to choose from and fall on the  modest side.  Which, let’s be honest here, we need all the modesty we can get these days.

For the jewelry: Francesca’s
They have quite the selection of bib/drop necklaces – colors and shapes and beads and almost anything you can think of.  And the majority of them are under $30.  Say what?!

For other accessories: Simply Audrey and Nectar Clothing
Need an accessory to pull it all together, look at these two online shops.  Girly belts, cute scarves, pastel clutches and sunglasses – lots of sunglasses!
And it won’t break the bank.

For the shoes: DSW
I have followed my stylist’s advice (I call her AmyHasBangs) and shop at DSW for shoes now.  And I’ve become a big fan.  I can never find a pair of shoes I love on the sale rack (I blame my universal size of 7.5), but they have great quality shoes and the staff is very helpful.
Bonus: If you’re in the Louisville area, there’s always the Zappo’s Outlet too.

For the hat: ModCloth
The hat is what brings is all together for the Kentucky Derby.  Some ladies go all out, others keep it simple.  For those that favor the simpler things in life, this may be a sweet find for you (and me).  I venture onto ModCloth about every other week just to look and get inspiration from their clothing collection.  But I was surprised to see they also have fun, reasonably priced hats for women.  And even a few accessorized headbands.  No need to drop $100 on a hat that only matches one dress in your closet.

While I may not have plans to attend Derby, it doesn’t mean that I don’t get excited to see what people are wearing.  I’m the girl that flips through pictures slides online to see what celebrities wore to the track, how the local ladies jazzed up for the big day.  And just last week I couldn’t help myself as I walked through Macy’s – I had to try on a half-dozen hats they already have displayed.  It’s part of the Derby recipe that keeps the tradition alive.  And I love the tradition that draws thousands of strangers to my hometown to be together for only one day.  Best local holiday ever!

katie - Francesca’s is so my go to shop. i’m wearing a cardigan from there right now. Love love love that place. Any store that color coordinates their merchandise is okay by me.

My Five Fave: Nail Polish

I’ve long been a nail biter and I hate it.  But for whatever reason, I can’t seem stop.  I have found, however, if I paint my nails, I don’t chomp on my finger tips (as much).  And now I’ve become a nail color fanatic!

I totally bought into the at-home manicure years ago and have quite the collection of fun colors, but there have been a few mishaps along the way.  Like actually learning how to paint the nails on my right hand, taking better care of my cuticles and a few tricks of the trade, like  nail prep.  (Did you know that polish sets better an a nail that’s just been swiped by polish remover? Not super clean nails?  Until a friend told me, neither did I.)

But as much as I love an at-home manicure, I still only get the stuff at the drug store.  I’ve heard nothing but good things about Butter and Julep, but I tend to stick to the under $8 variety.  There are certain brands of nail polish that I avoid, like Sally Hansen Xtreme (I noticed it flaked off a little too easily) and OPI (it never dries on my nails – sheet nails every time), but that doesn’t mean they don’t work for others.  And there are some that I’ve come to like, the ones I keep finding myself browsing through – my five fave:

1. Rimmel Lasting Finish Pro (Midnight Blue)  2. Revlon Nail Enamel (Fearless)  3. Poshé (Top Coat)
4. L’Oréal Nail Color (Club Prive)  5. Essie Nail Laquer (Chinchilly)

The four colors can easily be found at drug stores and Target (which is why I favor them) and the top coat, Poshé, can be found in beauty stores but I snagged it from Amazon.  (It was a secret find from my friend, Susan, that I’ve told everyone about.)  But here are the reasons I like them so much:

• Inexpensive but still quality polish.

• Good coverage (although Essie usually takes an extra coat).

• Dries quite quickly.  And Poshé dries supah-fast!  (Dry to touch in 30 seconds, fully dry in 5 minutes.)

• Wears well. (My at-home manicure last about six days. By then I’m ready for another color.)

• The colors they offer are wonderful! Traditional reds, pinks and neutrals, but the darker shades, vibrant hues and non-traditional colors are the ones I usually go for.

• Poshé’s top coat works with every nail polish I’ve used and stays very shiny throughout the week.

The only negative I have is with the top coat.  I love it and use it, but it generally shrinks – I’ve started avoiding getting the polish on my skin so that the shrinkage isn’t as noticeable   And it never fails, right around the six-to-seven day mark, it peels.  But with as hard as I am on my nails and with as short as I like to keep them, it’s become my reminder to set some time aside and pamper myself.

I pampered myself this week.  And uncharacteristically, my nails are a sheer neutral.  (Unlike the teal that matched my new tissue paper last week.)  I liked the name of the color – Sweet Nothings.  Yes, I judge a horse by its name.

Susan - Love those colors! You’re right about Poshe peeling – but like you said, I just take that as a hint it’s time for a new manicure. The fast-drying makes it worth it! :)

Brooke Murphy Photography - […] I opt in for drug store brands when I can because I like the ease of replacing when the time comes.  (And the price tag is easier […]

Last Minute Head Shots | Louisville Portrait Photographer

As most of you know, photography is not my full-time gig.  I’ve worked in marketing the last six or so years and love the creative atmosphere, although I’ve never been a part of the creative team.  I’m actually good with numbers and currently work as a marketing analyst at a digital ad agency in Louisville. (SEO what?!?)   But that’s just the set up, not the story.

A week ago, I was copied on an email (with a handful of people) that stated we would be having photos taken the next day for a quick turn around on a RFP (nothing new), so come prepared to work.  I woke up the next day and actually did my hair, put on my makeup and planned an outfit so I’d be purty.  I had a project planned after work, so I packed up my camera and then headed out the door.  When I finally got to work, I saw a second email that was delivered after I left the office.  An email asking if I’d be able to help out.

(Say what?! They know I’m the analyzer, right?)

I met with the creative chief to learn at what extent he’d like me to help (photograph my co-workers), what his vision was (straight-on mug shots with strobes – gah) and his expectations (“really anything, I trust you”).  (He said he trusted me – he trusts the girl who has done nothing but analytic work for them.  Am I dreaming this?)  We have a really cool office space, but not a great place to work inside as lighting is a challenge.  And I had no flash.  (That shouldn’t surprise anyone.)  So I snagged an intern and took a field trip around the outside of the building.  We found a spot with great light, I stole furniture and a step-stool, and started rallying the troops.

It felt weird.  To put aside my Excel spreadsheets and walk outside to nice weather with co-workers and tell them where to stand, how to angle their bodies, try to make them laugh and then look at them through my viewfinder.  What was even more weird was pulling their familiar faces up on my Mac and staring at their eyes.  Totally weird.  But so much fun!

I did my best for an unexpected morning, but that background just bugs me now.  And I did as I was asked and I took straight-on portraits.  But me being me, and knowing that no one looks gorgeous in a flat photo, I took matters into my own hands a took a few extra frames of each person.  Just in case.   I just want to change that background now.  Am I allowed to take a Mulligan?

I have to say that I work with some very intelligent people. They each provide talent, skill and character that is encouraging and excites me.  But I gotta say, they happen to be a good-looking bunch too. :)

Annie - Love this!! I was just asked to ‘put in a bid’ to do headshots for a local non-profit business by their marketing director! I was like *gulp* ok, a bid? ~Photo is also not my full-time gig, it’s super part-time~ Ummmm I had no idea what to ask as far as pricing for headshots, let alone do I have much experience doing them (which was only one other time-black & white images, pretty simple). So, I thought about it after having a few questions answered by her, and threw out a number. I’ll see if I get it. I hope if I get it, that mine look at least half as good as yours turned out! Thanks for this blog today!!! :)