Hello, and long time no see! Can I say it’s an understatement that some big changes in my business have been a long time coming? This winter, from December through the end of February, I had one singular focus: Launch this rebrand and build a new website! I do definitely have other goals for the year, but this launch was Big Goal #1 for me, and I can’t tell you how excited I am that I accomplished it!
It was a huge undertaking, and I was nervous that over the course of three months I would lose steam or get bogged down in the details (anyone else have problems with perfectionism??). To stay on track, I made myself a list of all the things that would need to be accomplished in order to launch before the spring. Then I broke those down into a set of deadlines (roughly 1 per week or two weeks) and kept them visible in my workspace. When I met each deadline, I let myself celebrate! I’m not usually so structured with my work, but this was so helpful that I know I’ll be using this technique again in the future!
As the weeks went by, I found that some things took a little longer than I expected, and some other steps were less important, and could be nixed altogether. All in all it evened out, and I was still able to launch when I originally hoped to! If you’ve been a client of mine or have visited the Blog in 2015 or 2016, you’ve seen my old website. I’m kind of kicking myself now that I didn’t take some screenshots to show the before/after! But in a word, it was sparse. It had more white space than the new site, less imagery to show, and it was a little harder to find information. I didn’t share much specifics about what exactly I offer, or why I do the work I do as a photographer. I am SO glad to say that all that is different now! At the same time, while the largest part of this process is complete, websites are never completely done. There will definitely be tweaks and additions to it periodically in the future!
The other part of this story is that the rebranding process has actually been on the backburner for A YEAR, not quite by choice. You may remember that I had connected with a designer and we were working together on each step of this process. Things didn’t exactly go as planned (though it could have DEFINITELY been worse), so it ended up delaying this entire process for many months! In the end, I actually finished this big process and built the entire website myself. I’ll share that story and my advice to you coming out of it in a future post!
In an odd way, even though it was a frustrating situation, I’m glad things worked out the way they did. What it led to is me being able to shoot a ton of weddings in 2016, work with other photographers, and take on more creative entrepreneur clients, without having to also think deep about my brand identity. It’s so much easier to focus on one at a time, which is why I’m glad I finally finished the process this winter before wedding season ramps up again!
Overall, the delay in this process just gave me more time to get clear on what’s important to me in my work, what is the most authentic way to represent myself, and what my favorite kinds of weddings and portraits are. I think it’s all come together in the perfect timing!
SO, the big question: What changed?
- I have a purpose and mission statement now! You’ll find a version of it front and center on my Welcome page. Here it is:
I'm a wedding and portrait photographer for the openhearted, helping you to embrace the truth of who you are, live from your values, and remember what, and who, is most important in your life.
I had been thinking for a looong time about what ideas to encapsulate in this statement, and how to word it. It was tough, and it went through several clunky rough drafts before this version came to be. I’ll share in a future post why I wrote it this way!
- New logo: The logo you see front and center on every website page is actually a little different than what my designer created. After sitting for so long, I came to it with fresh eyes and found that it could use some updating to make sure it truly represented me. Disclaimer: Do NOT do this if you have hired a designer, paid them your hard-earned money, and signed a contract with them! My situation was a little unconventional! Even though the logo that went live is a little different, this blog post still applies as far as why the basic design looks the way it does!
- New galleries: I worked so hard for several weeks to go through every wedding and portrait session I’ve done from 2014-2016, and even several earlier ones too! I gathered all the best images and updated my galleries to show only my best and/or most recent work. Before, I had no wedding or engagement images online, so the biggest focus was getting those set up.
- New info about what working with me is like: I tried to view my old website through the eyes of someone shopping for a photographer. Someone who has no idea who I am, who has also maybe never hired a photographer before, or at least within the last few years. It’s a lot to think about, and of course you want to make sure you know, like, and trust this person if they’re going to be pointing their camera at you. So I did my best to describe what sessions and weddings with me are like, and I plan to share more details in future blog posts.
- New testimonials: Have I mentioned I have THE BEST clients? I have received some amazing, glowing testimonials from recent sessions and weddings, and couldn’t wait to share them. You’ll find that testimonials are easy to find now, since they exist on almost every page of the website, and have their own stylized image borders! The dedicated Testimonials page still exists as well.
- New information about me: Another thing I noticed as I navigated my old website “through a client’s eyes,” is that I wasn’t very forthcoming about myself. I tend to write more freely on my blog, but in general, you might not have known anything about me from my website other than I’m married and live in the Boston area. I didn’t really love my photos of myself either! They felt a bit stagnant, and I felt a little vulnerable just showing big photos of my face. So, I created a collage of images from my life that show more of my personality, and wrote more about why I’m a photographer. And of course, added five random facts, because who doesn’t love those?? If you’re reading about someone you’ve never met, little touches like that add some personality and remind you that you’re reading about a real, live person!
- New Navigation: You might notice it’s easier to find the information you’re looking for now as you click from page to page! I also created several new pages with helpful information, like the FAQ (wondering about how or when to book, how much photoshopping I do, or if you should get your hair and makeup done before your session or wedding? It’s all there!), Are We A Good Fit? (How do you choose a photographer when there are hundreds of them?! This is the page where I answered that question!), and Products (What options do you have when it comes to actually doing something with your photos—other than letting them sit on a hard drive? This is the page where I talk about why I believe in print, and show what some of my print products look like!). Additionally, I consolidated my Life and Photography blogs into one, which is easy to find at the top navigation. The Life blog was kind of an experiment, since I had never done much personal blogging before. I ended up not utilizing it as much as I thought I might, so I figured it would be best to simplify things into one central blog.
- New Style: Of course, this is one of my favorite parts, as a visual person! When my designer created my moodboard, it helped to make the look and feel of the new brand cohesive. I wanted a refined and modern feel, and brought that in to the website with the use of marble and copper textures, a neutral color palette, and the use of stylized title headers on each page, in the same typeface as my logo. I am still SO in love with this typeface and was actually giddy while adding it to each page. I think that makes me a nerd, but I’m more than okay with that!
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Thank you SO MUCH to all of my clients who have helped me grow my business, find my voice, and continue to serve more and more people. It’s been a privilege to get to know each of you and capture your stories.
Have you clicked through the website and found something that’s confusing, or don’t see something you think is important? Please let me know so I can make sure it’s easy and helpful to use!
What do you think about this big update? I’d love to know your favorite feature so I can play that up! Thanks for reading!