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!!! :)

Doggin Love No. 1 | Louisville Lifestyle Photographer

I love my doggins. I talk about them often.  I share too many pictures of them on Instagram.  Thus “doggin love.” :)

It’s no secret that dogs love peanut butter. Heck, it’s no secret that I love peanut butter.  (I may keep a stash at work. In a drawer.  An arm’s-length away.  Possibly.)  Anyway, after a quick vacuum around the house last weekend, I found their Kongs.  I treated them to a little peanut butter.  Just so I could watch them go bananas licking it out.

That sounded mean.  But they are in fact quite cute.  Each dog takes their Kong into a different room, as to not be disturbed, holds it between their paws (or balanced perfectly with one paw tipping it upward) and then proceed to make out with it for 30 minutes.  The BDD takes it one step further.

The peanut butter that the BDD wears on her face, like on her chin where she can’t lick it off, she wipes her muzzle on her leg.  And then licks her leg.

To make sure that no peanut butter is left behind.

Because that would be a travesty.

(Good girl.)

katie - Nothing mean about it. Those dogs would seek out peanut butter if it was on the top shelf of a kitchen cabinet. Or at least my dogs would. And the skill with which these pups can hold/balance their kongs is quite impressive. Who needs thumbs?

The Bauers {family} | Louisville Family Photographer

I work with Andrew.  We’re on the same team.  And the definition of “team” is very loose for us as we don’t do the same work.  At all.  It’s kind of like Andrew’s the quarterback and I’m the kicker – we wear the same jerseys and play the same field, but we have two completely different tasks that rarely cross paths.  But needless of that description, he’s an excellent teammate to have.  I freak out, Andrew remains calm.  And he’s able to keep a straight face while he tells you the most absurd story ever.  It’s great.

Occasionally, Andrew shows up at the office with his son, Luke, before their drive to daycare.  These are the best mornings.  Only because the ladies congregate around Luke and comment on how sharp of a dresser he is (all Ashley, I’m sure) while Andrew checks his email and pretends not to hear any of it.  Anyway, the idea of getting to spend more time with Luke made me feel like the luckiest gal at the office.

I met Andrew and Ashley for their session on a chilly March morning.  The weather was actually supposed to be nice that afternoon, but the sun hadn’t shown yet, everything was damp and there was a fog that grew thicker as I approached our meeting spot.  Visibility was seriously no more than 20 feet.  Clear visibility with a camera?  Closer to 6-8 feet.  Our session was going to be “cozy.”  But they came prepared and light-hearted – Andrew even joked that on the drive over they were talking about doing battle scene poses using the fog as a prop.  Instead, we opted for more traditional family poses.

I know.  Lame.

But we were able to capture some fabulous photos of their family.  And Luke, like most one-year-olds, lost interest fast, but he was a champ.  Mom and dad were champs too, as they kept warm hugs and catchy songs and funny faces in their back pockets.  I had an ear-worm myself… and I might have sung Rob Base to them… yeah… but I’ve been telling myself that my little rendition of It Takes Two was awesome.  But enough about my mad singing skills – meet the Bauers.

One of my favorites.  All squeezed tight. :)

Andrew’s song about clapping your hands is all the rage.  It was *too cute* to see Luke playing with his dad.

Matching eyelashes.

Gah.  And would you believe Luke was not happy with me at this moment?  That’s why I keep on shooting, people.

The only thing I would have changed about that day was the weather – if it had been just a tad warmer and not as damp, I think Luke would have enjoyed himself a little more.  But even though he had to take some breaks, he did a great job, was such a big little guy.  Now who else wants to join the Luke Bauer Fan Club, with me?

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.