Building a Brand | Power of Passion Workshop

I really didn’t want to let another day pass without a new blog post — I have been so neglectful!  Since my last entry, I have been shooting like a madman and feel absolutely excited about what’s ahead this year. I recently won a free website and hosting from Livebooks, so I want to work on that at some point.  I had two big bridal showcase editorial shoots (one down in San Francisco, another coming up in Yountville). We wrapped a successful bridal show at the Palace Hotel and I’m still working on my bridal leads from the event – so yes, you can say I’ve been a busy bee.

There’s always so much to do in building the business, never enough time to do it. And the to-do lists never seem to get shorter. One task that always eluded me is ‘building my brand.’ I’ve had about four logo changes since my business inception and many nights of looking over my work trying to figure it out. That task has been shelved more than once, to address more important things like delivering a wedding or figuring out dinner.


A few weeks ago, I attended the Power of Passion workshop talk, by Jerry Ghionis and Sandy Puc. The workshop series is one I have been attending for the past four years and Sandy is always a powerful speaker. Every year, I laugh and I cry. This year the talk focused on weddings and it seemed appropriate as I am jumping back into the wedding game, after a stint of working with another studio. I needed an infusion of inspiration. Now, I  had seen Jerry’s platform presentation in Las Vegas and he is just incredible. His award-winning images are not only aesthetically beautiful, but the emotion he portrays in them are geniune. I feel like he’s the one of few photographic artists in the world who has been able to truthfully capture art as life. And the workshop was just extremely witty and engaging. I will never look at a mirrored disco ball the same way again, without remembering Jerry’s one favorite posing tip. You’ll have to attend the workshop yourself to find out. Look for the workshop, coming to a  city near you.

Apart from that, one thing stuck out for me. And it’s a saying which applies not only to my art, but to life.

Go slow to get there quicker. ~ Jerry Ghionis’ mom

Such great advice. I have been shooting professionally since 2002. I started my business, did pretty well shooting maternity and newborn photos in my home Manila. Then, I got pregnant, stopped shooting for awhile, moved to the U.S., relaunched the business in 2005. I  diverted my attention to my son who was diagnosed with being on the autistic spectrum, decided to shoot weddings under another studio, then got pregnant again in 2008. Fast forward to 2011, I’m back in the game – fully dedicated to my portrait and wedding business, but with impatience and excitement of  getting my art out into the world and into people’s homes.

Go slow to get there quicker.

When I look back at my professional life, which has so many stops and starts, I often get frustrated. Sometimes I wish that I took film and photography back in college and got a head start. Or I berate myself for taking so long to get where I want to go. But I realized that everything that has happened to me is all part of a bigger plan. My education, my work with kids as TV producer, my 5 year stint as a radio broadcaster and my experience as a mom has all made me who I am. I value family and relationships. I’m a visual storyteller, who can deal with all sorts of personalities and float above tantrums, all while talking my head off to distract you from the uncomfortable idea that I’m taking your photograph!

This is who I am. And everything about what I value in life, what see in my subject, what’s beautiful to me will reflect in my photography. I don’t have to build a brand – I am myself and that’s my brand. As the days pass, I add to my experience and change how I see the world – my brand fine tunes and evolves. Brand goes beyond logos, a snazzy website and marketing material. It’s…(email me and I’ll tell you). Ahhh …. light bulb moment!

So thank you, Jerry for that simple reminder. Now to get working ON my business, while working IN my business. Back to work!

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