The best thing I did for my business (and myself) in 2018 was hiring Amanda Csasken with Brand Epiphany to be my branding coach! I was at a point in my business where I wanted to to reach a higher-end clientele that shared my sense of adventure. I felt a little lost. I created a website just to have a website. I posted on social media anything I was shooting with very little strategy. I felt like my work didn’t represent me or my future goals very well. I had tons of ideas on the direction my brand could go, but with so many options I was overwhelmed and very indecisive. I knew I needed someone to help me see the big picture and refine my brand. Insert Brand Epiphany! I had been wanting to hire her for awhile (she had designed several other wedding photographer sites that I admire)-but I knew I needed to be prepared to work on it with her so I waited until I was sure of my why and what kind of clients I wanted though she helped me dig a lot deeper into those.
Amanda is way more than a designer. She starts with homework and going deep into the why, the goals, and the clients I wanted. From this she created a beautiful little book on my brand strategy that gives me such clear direction. I was very impressed with the amount of time she took to talk to me- on the phone and in person, to make sure all the details were 100% me. From this, she created my typography, colors, textures, decals, and logo and got it ALL (besides a minor change on the logo) on the first try!!! We never even discussed the graphic part besides me creating a pinterest board.
Everything she created was just beautiful and fit me as well as the people I wanted to work with. I want to attract laid-back fun couples that love to be outdoors. The hardest part for me was getting over the fact that people are complicated. I love the outdoors but I love Netflix too. I love ballet and play the violin, but mainly listen to rap. I am usually quiet but am energetic and bubbly when I pose and love to dance. It was a lot of work and self-reflection. In the end, Amanda helped me to show the best version of myself and my work.
I want to show you the growth in my brand over the years 🙂 I started doing professional portraits in the Fall of 2014. I started as Kaci VanderHoek Photography but so many people had trouble saying it and spelling it I knew it had to go. I like my married name, it just didn’t fit my fun and simple style. A lot of people nicknamed me Kaci Lou and I liked how fun it sounded and rolled off the tongue so I changed to that. Business was off and on, I wasn’t full force until the beginning of 2017 when I shot my first wedding. You guys are in for a treat because I was able to find my old logos I drew in Photoshop…
If we want to go way, way back my very first website was hookedforphotography.com (or something similar, I only kept that domain for a year) on wordpress.com while I was in college and before I even took any paid portraits. Then I owned kacivanderhoekphotography.com and used a $27 wordpress.org theme I got off Etsy (thus why I made my logo to match as you can see). My site didn’t look as pretty as the etsy listing mainly because I was taking photos of family in a variety dark colored clothes and knew very little about building in wordpress yet. I just picked it because it was pretty!
Then my domain just went to my facebook page for a long time because I didn’t know what to do with my website. I built a new one in the GoDaddy website builder after I started working at GoDaddy just because it was so easy to use. I blogged in wordpress.org in the most simple theme I could find. After working with Brand Epiphany, I built a brand new beautiful site in Showit myself! I mainly switched so I could have a beautiful blog that matched my site as well as be able to use the custom branding pieces that Amanda made for me like the typography, colors, decals, textures and brushed edges on my photos.
My old home page versus my new home page.
My old blog and my new blog
I love seeing the growth in my business and my art 🙂 Let me know what you think in the comments!