Here I go, getting a little personal and off-topic again. I mean really, for a lifestyle photographer whose life motto is basically “embrace the mess”, did you really expect any less?
You may or may not know, depending on how much time we’ve spent together since August, that I am currently enrolled as a student in a very, very special business course geared towards photographers. That Thing You Do is taught by the amazing Alicia Caine of Profit First Photography fame. She has such a heart and a talent for helping and empowering creatives. So many artist and creative-types (like me) are walking around with a jumbled cloud of amazing ideas floating around in their head, but no knack or talent for real-world execution – that’s Alicia’s specialty! I haven’t even hit the halfway mark in this course yet and the things I’ve learned about myself and about my clients -invaluable. You literally could not put a price tag on it. Alicia tried, and I think she way, WAY undercut herself.
One of our assignments was to sit down and figure out our top 10 core values. This took me HOURS. Okay, I’m lying. It took me DAYS. I’m not even kidding. It’s like when you walk into an interview and they smile at you oh so cheerfully and say, “So! Tell me a little about yourself!” Nobody ever knows what to say to that. Before this exercise, my response probably would have been, “Uhhhhh, well. For starters, I’m awesome.” or something equally amazing. I had my husband involved. I made lists, and when those got too illegible from all of the scribbling and strike-throughs, I made more lists. I finally ended up with a top 10 that I can look at and my eyes kind of bug out a little because it’s me, spot on. I won’t bore you with the whole list, but my top three are candor, creativity, and family. In terms of my business, how amazing is that? I’ve always desired that my work be honest and real, that it be out-of-the-box and that, above all, it showcases the love and connections that exist between people.
And then, Alicia made me go out and talk to people. The horror. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it, but I’m an extroverted-introvert. (It’s a thing, I promise. Click the link.) I love people and I love going out and having fun and catching up and all that – but I just wish I could do it from my couch while I netflix-binge, without having to put a bra on and adult. I hate adulting. But you know, there is a reason behind Alicia’s madness. I learned so freaking much. Stuff I probably never would have figured out on my own, even if I had tried to create an ideal client scenario. I learned about what my clients are looking for, and I learned what my clients are not looking for. And more pieces to the puzzle slid into place. It’s like being able to physically watch my brand take shape, y’all. And it’s beautiful.
Somehow, in the midst of busy season and launching a workshop and taking this mind-numbingly amazing course, on top of my wife/mama/sister/daughter/granddaughter duties, a thought occurred to me. I’m a little frilly. I like vintage. I like lace and ruffles and floral. I freaking love some hand-lettered hipster typography. And I’ve been trying to infuse all of that into my brand, because I thought it would make me more authentic. But it didn’t. It made me confusing. Because the service that I offer, the style of photography I offer is no-frills.
I’ve been trying to create a frilly brand, in the hopes of catering to no-frills clients who are in search of no-frills photography.
So obviously, to say the very least, it was time for a new look. This brand is speeding in a new direction so quickly that all I can do is hold on and enjoy the ride. I hope you’ll take it with me.
By the way – just because it’s no-frills doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful. It is. In fact, I think its the most beautiful. Is there anything more beautiful and amazing than your family, as they really, honestly are? No frills, no ruffles and lace, no Sunday best. Just them. Just you. Just the way you are. Embrace the mess. Love your life the way it is.
Questions? Comments? Accolades? Give me a holler!
Photographers – do yourself a favor and enroll in That Thing You Do already. It is worth every single penny, twice over at least.
Jo Truncali is the premiere Beaumont lifestyle photographer. Serving all of Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana, including but not limited to Beaumont, Houston, Lake Charles and surrounding areas. Available for travel worldwide.