Tag Archives: brand

Scavenger Hunt

2 Jul

As a general rule, I don’t put up much in the way of pictures of myself as a way to market my photography, but there was no way around it. My super genius ideas for the Hunt categories “What’s Your Sign” and “Lyric Quotograph” required my participation.

I enlisted the help of a good friend, and fellow photographer for the 5 minute shoot.  I told her the idea, we found a good place with the appropriate lighting and viola! Instant photo!

This particular image turned out exactly as I had envisioned it, and it gives a sense of what I wanted to convey about myself to the viewer.  Photog, yes.  But a photog who is willing to work for the photo. =)

What's Your Sign

What’s Your Sign

So why don’t I put up a whole lot of images of myself?  Well, to be honest, I have thought about it.  I’m definitely not a “look at me!!!!!” kind of person, but at this point in America, there is no doubt that marketing a woman’s…ummm…attributes will gain you fans.  But obviously, since I don’t have photos of me taking scenic landscape shots in a bikini, you can tell I’ve hesitated to go that route.

The reason?  First and foremost, it’s not who I am.  I’m not opposed to spending time in front of a camera (in fact, I think it’s an essential learning step for anyone who wants to shoot portraits.  You should have experience with the things you are asking a model to do!), and every girl likes to have a few purty photos of herself…but it’s not the side of the camera where I get the most out of the experience.

Second, I don’t want my photography to be all about me.  To some extent, every photo you take has a piece of you in it.  It’s the way you see the world, or the way you feel about a situation.  But I want to do more than just express my vision of the world.  I want to share those moments with you.  I want you to feel the same sense of awe I do at a gorgeous sunset, the same sense of peace I feel at the top of a mountain, the same smile I get when I look at an adorable puppy/horse/child…

And finally…well…to put it bluntly, privacy matters to me.  I know, I know…old fashioned thinking.  But too many people – especially younger generations – forget that once something is out in the interwebs, it’s permanent.  A hurtful comment, a thoughtless decision, a tasteless photo…they’re like a bad tattoo.  It may not mean much when we’re young, but it’ll haunt us later in life.

So I wonder, has anyone else put any thought into this matter?  Privacy vs Marketing your business?  How personal you make your brand?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! =)

Phoneography

24 Apr
Instagram - Powerlines

Instagram - Powerlines

I’m just going to say it.  The people at Apple, Inc. are marketing geniuses…es….ess. (How do you pluralize that?)  There was a time…before my time…yeah…that’s it…when the Mac had nothing on IBM. People looked at the Mac as inferior. All the cool kids had IBM (or IBM compatibles…Gateway, Dell, etc) and the rest…well, they had Macs.

That all changed with the white ear buds.  Even now, several years later, I still remember the first silhouette commercials with indie music playing on the iPod…and the white ear buds.  Those things became a status symbol.  If you had the white ear buds, you were part of the club. The ‘in crowd’. You were the next generation of cool kid.

Since then, Apple seems to have mastered the idea of brand loyalty and proprietary marketing.  After all, those go hand-in-hand.  The cool kids club comes with benefits.  A year ago, Hipstamatic was making non-iPhone owners drool.  And after that, Instagram.  iPhone users, and only iPhone users, could churn out vintage/retro images to a community of other vintage/retro image producers.  And did I mention it was cool?

Obviously, with the Android-Instagram app release, and subsequent purchase of Instagram as a whole by Facebook, the game has changed for that particular application.  But, the impact Instagram and Apple have had on the world of photography has not.  I’m going to break it down for you, mmmkay?

The first thing that I think is notable about community apps like Instagram is that it opens the creative door for people while at the same time providing affirmation.  Now, there are a number of photographers out there who decry Instagram as another way for the “me” generation to spew self-centered garbage out into the world.  (Disclaimer: the views of those individuals do not necessarily reflect the views of Seeing Spots Photography.  And whhhhyyyy? Well, let me tell you!).

I’m all for creativity.  I’m also, obviously, a huge proponent of photography. I also remember that my first camera was…ummm…limited. So were my photo editing skills.  And while my images might not have been quite as good as the work I produce now, it was still a creative outlet for me…  In the words of David Pasillas, an iphonetographer-friend, “I suppose we all started out with simple edits or bad filters and evolved into much more complex edits. I know I was guilty of putting awfully harsh vignettes on most of my images a few years ago. haha” (Check out his work with the iPhotos. He impressed me with how much he can do with just a cell phone and some apps!)

The second thing I respect about apps like Instagram is the likeability factor.  (I’m not even sure if that is a word…catch me if you can, Grammar Police!)  I think community apps like Instagram catch on because they make photography accessible.  Brian Jarvis, of the Brian Jarvis Band, uses Instagram as a marketing tool for his music.  He noticed that as a culture, we embrace technology that makes life (or in this case, creating art) easier and more accessible.  He gave examples he was familiar with such as Auto-Tune and Pro Tools.  People have readily adopted those programs because they make decent quality music recordings a whole heck of a lot easier. The polished studio sound still requires knowledge and hard-earned skill, but for the average consumer, a program like Cakewalk is a dream come true!

It would seem my friend Nick from Nick Exposed agrees.  He pointed out, “I think it all boils down to these companies bringing the ease of photo development into the hands of the average person. It gave the average Joe the ability to make their images stand out in a way that they haven’t had access to before without the help of a photographer or similar creative.”  That, in conjunction with the community aspect of the application – where you gain both affirmation and a sense of inclusion when you post images – makes Instagram a marketing win (times two)!

The obvious success that Apple has had in creating a culture of brand loyalty has, I believe, encouraged a whole generation to be creative.  In doing so, it has changed the face of 2012 photography by affecting demand.  For the “me” generation, the vintage feel of Hipstamatic and Instagram images is normal…and the “me” generation are our newest crop of clients! Is it any coincidence that there is a noticeable trend among portrait / event photographers (at least, in my area) to produce slightly desaturated images with adjusted color balance? As my photographer-friend Will from WhereToWillie.com said, “It’s a trendy thing now to have photos that have the retro feel. Vintage clothes are in, vintage looks are in.” Will finished that thought with a note about individuality, though. “I’m sure those of us ‘in the industry’ will be influenced by people’s notion of ‘what is cool’ in how we will process photos for them, but at the end of the day when I work on my personal photos, I’m doing it for me, and will continue to impart my personal style however that may evolve.”

That statement is, I think, a nice segue into the difference between iPhoneography and Instagrammers. While all of the creatives I talked to seem to agree that there are good things to be said about community apps like Instagram, it is also clear that there are limitations to individuality.  As David Pasillas said, “For me, there is a lack of fulfillment if I just apply a filter or an action to an image and call it good. Is that really art if you do the same thing to every image, or are you [just] showcasing a product (i.e. a filter or action?)”

He went on to say that iPhoneography is much more than applying a filter. It involves vision and education, just like in traditional photography. “At the end of the day, a camera is a camera. If you know how to use your camera, you can create awesome images regardless of the camera’s limitations…you can do impressive things with the iPhone if you take time to get to know the different apps available. And there are no shortage of awesome apps at very reasonable prices.”

Spoken like a man with some brand loyalty, right? =)

****
Important other stuff!

I want to give special thanks to all of the people mentioned in this blog.  They were kind enough to share their time, opinions, experiences and expertise…greatly appreciated!

I don’t even own an iPhone! But Droidography isn’t making quite as big a splash.  Hey Apple marketing team…wanna donate some time to me?!