Branding is essential to be successful in this world. If you’re reading this blog, it means that you are still looking, and that your brand is in the early stages. So here are my thoughts.
Your brand is what your logo represents, but it’s more than just your logo. If you already got your logo done, then you must already be on your way. That’s great! Your brand is what sells you. And when I say “you”, I mean you or your business. Your brand makes you memorable. It’s not copyable and don’t be a copy cat and do what others are doing. That’s the easy way out and in the end, it will not be met with success. Branding has to be your unique thing. Here are a few tips:
1. There is a story to your business. Find it. Elaborate on it. Share it. And share it in every piece of advertising you put out.
2. Research who your clients are. Find out what they like, and see if you or your product would be of interest to them. Interview people who are doing what you’re planning on doing (you’ll surely have to give them a non-disclosure agreement, which you can find online; and then make sure you don’t copy them!). No kidding. I have a friend whose business got copied, and believe me, it was hard for her to deal with the competition and the unfairness of it! You wouldn’t want anyone doing that to you!
3. Find out where to direct your ads. Where would your clients go to find you? On social media, on Google, on Amazon, direct sales, retail, wholesale?
4. Who is your competition? What are the successful ones doing? What could you do that would be more successful than theirs? What are they missing? Be a Sherlock Holmes and discover stuff that most people don’t see.
5. Be audacious! There’s a saying, “Fortune smiles at the audacious.” Develop confidence in your brand and love it. Spread it. Talk about it with everyone you meet. It’s exciting!
I’m not going to walk you through how to use Photoshop to composite images, because there are many many tutorials for that (Lynda.com is a good one), but what I’d like to discuss here is what backgrounds to use for what subjects. Above is an example. I had taken the New York cityscape which I then used to composite my jumping dancer shot. Flying hair is almost impossible to composite so it’s best not to. Here in this image, I attempted to clean up each curl and it just happened to work, but I don’t recommend it. Best to make sure your model is wearing her hair in a bun or like a ballet dancer, with no hairs sticking out. That’s really the best. But a very important point is where you position your model onto the background. Does the background really enhance the image? Will the lines of the model get lost in the background? Dark backgrounds vs light backgrounds: what is best? For a dark model, a light background will work well. For a model wearing light colors, a dark background will work well. It’s an aesthetic thing. Every photographer sees things differently, so it’s not a slam-dunk. Have fun experimenting!
Here is another important photo tip: this image is an exagerated example of a shot of a dancer taken from a low angle. If you look at dance shots done by professional dance photographers, they are always taken from a low angle in order to ensure that their legs appear as they are. If you take an image from a higher angle, the legs will appear short. You don’t want that. I even bend down, in spite of the fact that I’m short. My dancers look like their legs fit them. Some photographers don’t know this, and that’s where you will be able to spot the shooters who don’t have experience photographing dancers.
Check out more of my Dance Photography to see what I mean.
This is a very important tip for doing beautiful dance photos. It’s the focus issue, when doing movement. It’s a big challenge to keep the focus when you’re doing movement. The way I deal with it is that I take the focus ahead of time (where the dancer is going to end up) and hold it until the instant I click the shutter, when the dancer is at their ultimate extension of the movement. And I keep the focus in the center of the body. I don’t follow the dancer. I keep the camera still.
Another very important thing is to position one self on the same level as the dancer, otherwise their legs will appear short. I sometimes even sit on a chair for that to happen, depending on the size of the model.
And then of course the most important part of this process is to be willing to do the movement over and over again until all the elements are in place. The photo I’m posting was the fourth jump. Have fun!
I have a list of my favorite photographers whose sites I go to when I need inspiration. I share it with you all and I highly recommend these pros to any photographer wanting to expand his or her horizons and get inspired to create and come up with new ideas. I have included their sites so you can go and check out their work.
Colin Anderson is a long time favorite of mine. He does conceptual composite photography. Fabulous work. His Facebook page is unbelievable: https://www.facebook.com/colin.anderson.productions?fref=ts and his site is: https://colinanderson1.exposure.co/
Erik Almas is another one I am inspired by. His images are highly composited. Brilliant. His site is: http://www.erikalmas.com
Jim Erickson is one I just adore. His lighting is superb (he Photoshops heavily; I know because I am in touch with a retoucher who has worked for him). He has a site called “Jim Erickson – A Man Inspired”, and his site is: http://www.jimerickson.com
Braden Summers is one who uses color intensively. He uses deep, saturated colors, which I love. His site is: http://www.bradensummers.com
Trinette Reed is a friend of mine and I really love her work. I emulated her years ago until I found my own way, and I love her look. She often uses desaturated colors and beauty is her thing. She specializes in high end spas. Check out her site at: http://www.trinettereed.com