Last summer I attended a workshop in Newport beach hosted and directed by Dane Sanders, a nationally renowned photographer, writer, and well, in my opinion and many others would agree with me, philosopher.
At the workshop Dane encouraged each of us to get focused about what our contribution is to the photography world and really, more specifically, to our clients. What do we do, what do we love to do, etc etc.?? This sort of platform research on our vision was the major premise of the 3 days we all spent together. I left that third day with a totally new and more specific vision. That was the beginning of change for me as a photographer, and especially as a small business owner.
I began working on my most passionate area of photography- Seniors. I’ve known since college that I’m meant to work with high school and college age people. I just didn’t realize that that would trickle over into a business plan that incorporated another passion.. photography and design. Praise God that He works mysteriously, and still leads us where He wants us.
So, I started changing my brand. The blog, the order of things, workflow, pretty much every area of what I had been doing changed. I now had a vision. Gear, tech, tools, products and so on that didn’t fit in the vision were eliminated, and new ideas and products and an order of working emerged seamlessly. It was shockingly easy to see what needed to happen after committing to a vision. By December I began to realize that my brand identity needed to shift. I had originally started out thinking I wanted to be a wedding photographer, therefore branding was done with that in mind. What did it look like for me to get specific with my brand and make my look more catered to that client? What did it look like to go all in, to be fully invested in my business?
My next call was to Dane. I wanted to go all out; to do everything really really well. Although I’m a trained graphic designer, I felt that I was too close to the project to get the results I was looking for. I really needed some outside help. Someone to help me think through my ideas and help me get clear on what to keep and what to ditch.
Dane recommended Courtney of Smallwerks. Smallwerks is small business marketing firm that works alongside Elevation (his go-to marketing team) and specializes in a small business marketing and design solutions. Courtney was fun and cute, and smart, and well, I trust Dane, so I hired her. Together, we started to look into my vision, my current brand, and my dreams for my business. After careful consideration, much dialog and tons of emails, we knew a name change was in order. With Courtney’s push, three “descriptors” for my business needed to fit the new name: “empowering”, “stylish” and “personal”. From there came FLY, an acronym for Free The Lovely You.
Four months, over 200 emails, meetings, and several phone calls, Blackbird Portraits is now officially FLY Photography, complete with new logo, a brand new website, blog, print media, product packaging and everything else to match.
People have asked me int he past where Blackbird came from originally. My answer: the Beatles song. The lyrics state, “Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly.” The name came from a very personal place of brokenness. I wanted to take tragedy and loss and turn it into something beautiful which was why I started Blackbird. What is so completely powerful is that that brokenness has since been redeemed (Praise God), and my life is in a far more healed place. What’s next is to fly.. and so, with that, I move on from brokenness, and we FLY.