It’s all Kevin Kubota‘s fault, really.
The week after I got back from my honeymoon in October, I went to PhotoPlus Expo for a few seminars and to swoon over all the camera equipment on the expo floor that I can’t afford. I was lucky enough to hear three people I greatly admire speak: Elizabeth Messina, Jasmine Star, and Kevin Kubota. They all mentioned how important it was to find your own voice and identity in your work… to be authentic. And if I’m going to be honest, that hasn’t always been easy for me. I think I’ve wanted so badly to be something I’m just not… I wanted my work to be ethereal and soft sometimes, or sort of trendy and heavily post processed at other times. It took me a really really long time to figure out that I am not those things, and that when I produced work that was edited to be ethereal or overly processed and trendy (think overtly yellow skies), then I just wasn’t being honest… with myself or with my clients. I am natural and colorful, that’s all there is to it. And that’s not a bad thing at all… but it’s something I tried to run away from, for whatever reason. (Just like I tried to run away from being a wedding photographer…)
So while all the speakers at PPE stressed the importance of finding your own unique voice, it was Kevin Kubota who really struck a chord in me. He talked about a photographer he met in one of his workshops who was barely eeking out a living… she was a talented photographer, but things just weren’t clicking with her clients. She was going to have to close her business if things didn’t change soon. He said he looked at her packaging and website, and in getting to know this photographer realized why things weren’t clicking. She wasn’t displaying her true self… she was loud and funny and colorful… but she was trying really hard to be classic and elegant and appeal to brides who were nothing like her at all. When she went home and over the course of a few months began changing her brand to reflect the person she really was… her business changed dramatically. She started selling herself – an amazing concept, really – and the clients she had wanted all along suddenly found her. Just like that.
Kevin Kubota gave us some exercises to complete to help us figure out if we were really being our authentic selves in our businesses or if we were putting on some kind of act, because we thought that would help us attract clients. I went home and did everything he said. I looked at my packaging… my branding… my website… my blog. I thought about my ideal client, and I thought about the person that I am. And while my situation was not as dramatic as the photographer Kevin Kubota talked about in his workshop, I did realize that I wasn’t exactly projecting an accurate picture of myself in my business.
And so I began the process of sorting through the muck and simplifying. I started scrutinizing my work… and when I found myself getting carried away in Photoshop – trying to be something I’m not again! – I stopped and walked away. I saved things that inspired me. I thought about why I started this business… what I want it to be… what inspires me. I created a jumble of abstract ideas, and then I brought in an amazing graphic designer – Nicole Guinta – and dumped the giant ball of randomness in her lap and asked her to help me sort through it. And she did. She looked at everything and listened to my ramblings and turned it all into gold. She got me and my business in about two seconds, and… well… three months later, here we are.
I have a redesigned blog and website, new packaging, new policies, a new pricing guide, and a new outlook on my business. What you see is what you get. And I think this is going to be Katie Jane Photography’s best year yet! I’m putting more of myself and my heart into the business than ever before. And I am so excited to see what 2011 will bring!
This has been an epic project… it’s the biggest transition my business has gone through since it began. This was such a long time coming, and I couldn’t be happier. I feel like cutting a ribbon and popping open a bottle of champagne! I’d really like a drumroll to start playing moments before I click the “publish” button on this blog post. (Is that really too much to ask?)
Thank you to everyone who helped make this project happen: Nik for my awesome new logo and for your enthusiasm; my awesome friend Alethea Cheng Fitzpatrick of NestingNYC who took my new headshots; everyone who has listened to me go on and on and on about this project for the last three months – sorry it consumed my life; and of course John… for everything.
Take a look around… get a feel for the new place. Then head on over to KatieJanePhoto.com and see the huge changes over there. There might still be one or two bugs to work out, so if you notice something isn’t working – please let me know!
It’s a new year and a new Katie Jane Photography, and I could not be more excited!