personal branding photography jesi cason woman in wheelchair

Personal Brand Photography: Beyond the Clichés

personal branding photography jesi cason woman in wheelchair

Client Education: Personal BRAND Photography

Personal BRAND Photography: Beyond the clichés

What is Personal Brand Photography?

I promise, I’ll explain.  But before I describe what personal brand photography is, I want you to go with me on a journey.  

We aren’t going far, just open a second tab on your browser and hop over to Pinterest.  Then, type in “personal branding photoshoot ideas”  or “personal branding photos” and scroll through the most popular pins.  You might start noticing a theme.  Young, conventionally attractive women wearing business casual clothing, sitting on couches, posed at desks, writing in notebooks, laughing alone with a cup of coffee.  Most of these photos are absolutely gorgeous!  But is that all personal branding photography really is?  Do you have to fit a certain archetype to need a personal brand photography session?

"Personal branding is about managing your name — even if you don’t own a business — in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records."

Tim Ferriss | Podcaster, Author of "The 4 Hour Workweek", and Angel Investor

Personal Brand Photography is...

√ an essential part of any marketing plan

√ the perfect way for small businesses, special projects, and creators to connect their personality with their online audience​

√ tailored to fit your sense of style, humor, professionalism, and brand mission​
sidney berne davis art center fort myers personal branding lawyer
personal branding lawyer fort myers sidney berne davis art center

Personal Brand Photography is NOT...

- limited to entrepreneurs ​

- limited to women​

- limited to perfect people with clean offices, great handwriting, and white pants. Seriously, who wears white pants?​

The Secret to a Perfect Personal Brand Photo Session

Not every photographer will admit this, but the secret behind having a truly successful personal branding photography session is finding the right photographer for your brand.  Photographers are not “one-size-fits-all” and you should thoroughly vet your photographer before committing.  Without doing your research, you may end up with a photographer who doesn’t understand your brand, doesn’t deliver photos in the format you need with the appropriate licensing rights, and doesn’t direct you into the poses and expressions that make sense for what you do.  

 

My clients tend to be diverse but all have one very important thing in common:  they have a brand that doesn’t fit into the cookie-cutter norm.  So whether I’m hired by a disability rights advocate, a cigar-smoking defense attorney, a bingo-hosting drag queen, or an up-and-coming musician, there are no shortcuts when it comes to creating images that perfectly capture their personalities.  Because of this fact, I have an immersive intake process that includes brand-specific questions and (whenever possible) an in-person meeting to discuss the goals and ideas for the session.  I’m not the right photographer for everyone, but I’m the right one for the people who love my style and want to stand out in their field.

Fort Myers Drag queen Alyssa Lemay shushing with finder over lips

When is the
time to invest in personal brand photography?

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What are you waiting for??

You’re not doing yourself any favors by relying on cellphone photos or boring headshots to get your brand’s message across.  Whether you just started your journey or you’ve been plugging along for a few years now, the time to start taking this seriously is now.  

Did you know the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text?  So you can write about what you’re doing and what it’s like to do business with you until the cows come home, but you’ll get that message out to your audience 60,000 times faster with proper photos!

Anatomy of a Personal Brand Photography Session

So how does all this work?  

Some clients come to me with a strong point of view and clear vision for how they want their brand to be represented in photos.  I interpret their vision into a reality through a mutual collaboration.  But others are not sure where to begin and need a bit more guidance.  Before I schedule a session, I meet one-on-one with my clients (or through a video call) to learn everything I can about their brand and what they hope to accomplish.  During this meeting, we’ll go over exactly how you want your images to be used, wardrobe, styling, props, locations, and more to ensure we capture the vibe you’re after.  

No two branding sessions are alike!   Some clients are more comfortable in front of the camera than others, and that is ok.  My job is to direct you step-by-step through the process from planning, to the day of the shoot, to how to best save your image files for optimum quality.  I’m here for you!

Get your FREE Personal Branding Guide

This PDF download will give you 3 tips for effectively defining your person brand including 10 personal brand photoshoot ideas!

Just REmember

I’m here to help you show the world how cool you and your brand really are.  Let’s connect today and take your brand to the next level.  

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The Baha Men: Better than Ever

Musician Spotlight|The Baha Men

The Baha Men: Better than Ever

20 Years After Their Hit “Who Let the Dogs Out”

The Baha Men are back!  They’re still signed with Sony Records and they’re bigger than ever.

When the Baha Men’s manager over at Talent Ventures reached out to me about creative portraits of the band, my first thought was “how do you pose 9 men without making them look silly?”  I’ve worked with large groups before, but never anything quite like the Grammy-award winning Bahaman Baha Men (and it took me 20 years to figure out that little play on words.)

Here’s a look behind-the-scenes look showing how this project came together at Ampersand Studios in Miami.  

Baha Men
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Branding a Band like the Baha Men

When I say “the Baha Men” you probably think about the video from their 2000 hit “Who Let the Dogs Out.”  A fisheye lens, shirtless young men on the beach, and lots of dogs.  That just wasn’t going to work for this group of mature men in 2020.

Together with the band’s branding consultants at Dead Horse Branding,  I threw out my suggestions for how we could update the band’s image.  My goal was to give the guys clothing that said “We’re veterans of the music industry and we still know how to have a good time.”  Once my style ideas were approved, I had 5 days to find a professional stylist, secure an appropriate location, and pull off the session.  

About a week before the session, my main studio light broke.  I have 3 other lights so I knew I could still handle lighting the group, but I didn’t want to risk having uncontrollable lighting and weather conditions to contend with outdoors.  So I settled on finding an indoor studio with plenty of natural light.  Thankfully, I had been location scouting in Miami recently and learned about Ampersand Studios.  This massive studio space was perfect for our needs, and the staff were accommodating, friendly, and gracious hosts.  

The biggest challenge was finding a stylist who could pull off my vision for the clothing on such a short timeframe.  While I usually style my bands and personal branding clients myself, I knew this was too big of a job for me and I needed an expert to make sure these guys looked as cool as possible.  

Enter my savior:  Anna Ruiz.  Anna was incredibly professional, and treated the members of the Baha Men with the utmost respect and courtesy.  On only 3 days notice, she found the outfits and styled the band members the day of the shoot.  I couldn’t be happier with her work!

 

The Importance of the Right Team

I drove across Florida from my home in Fort Myers to the studio in Miami with my best friend, Spencer, of Dandy House Media and my favorite makeup artist, Jenna Gellar.  

 

I knew I would need all hands on deck for this project!  Spencer came along as an assistant and to catch some amazing behind-the-scenes video footage.  Jenna helped the band members with the hair and a light touch of makeup (it helps everyone!)  

With the whole team in place doing their part to make the session go smoothly, I was able to create these portraits!  

the baha men Junkanoo bahama band ampersand studio miami
the baha men jesi cason photography portrait ampersand studios

Posing 9 Men

With a bit of research and planning, my initial fear about posting 9 unrelated men turned out to be no problem at all!

I applied simple posing principles such as creating V shapes, capturing movement, and giving directions to each individual to avoid looking stiff or award.  Doing some homework beforehand made the whole process very simple.  And looking at other portraits of large groups of men helped me think of ways to position their bodies and evoke expressions that would send just the right message.  

See the Shoot in Action

Thanks to Dandy House, I’ve got this great behind-the-scenes video so you can see a bit of how I executed this session.  Be on the lookout for more exciting music from the Baha Men!  

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Nature Photography: A Cure for Pandemic Anxiety

Self-Care | Nature Photography

Nature Photography: A Cure for Pandemic Anxiety

Nature Photography Gets You Moving

I started this month on a high note, having just finished an exciting job for Sony Records.  My inbox was steadily chiming with inquiries and leads.  And then, COVID-19 came to America.  

 

There’s a lot of uncertainly flying around right now.  A lot of people are scared and unsure of what the immediate future may hold with possibly thousands of people being ill, industries are suffering from a lack of workers and customers, and the stock market in an unpredictable state.  It’s safe to say photography is not on most people’s list of top priorities right now.  

 

As such, I’ve spent two days in bed.  At first, I thought I was relaxing.  I had a session that went great a few days ago and I thought “hey, I deserve to take a break!”  But when I tried to make plans with a friend and then promptly flaked a few hours later so I could continue laying in bed mindlessly scrolling through social media I realized…this isn’t relaxation.  This is depression and anxiety.

 

I’ve been depressed before, often for very good reason.  And the not-so-existential dread about what this pandemic means for my business, my community, and the world counts as a pretty good reason!  My depression manifests as losing interest in things that typically fill me with joy.  My anxiety keeps me from interacting with other people, even though often that helps alleviate my depression.  I have to recognize it when it is happening and take active steps to fight it, otherwise it can spiral beyond my ability to course-correct.

 

Today’s attempt at fighting my pandemic-induced-depression:  nature photography.

florida nature photography leaves with blue paint jesi cason florida nature photography palm leaves jesi cason florida nature photography palm leaves jesi cason

Don’t Be Afraid to Suck at Something New

Depression tells us that we are no good.  I love proving my depression wrong.   

So the hard truth is:  I am not a nature photographer!  I do not like going outside.  I am not a fan of getting dirty.  I prefer instant results and having control and nature photography involves a lot of waiting around.  

 

If a photo doesn’t have a person or a product in it, I generally don’t “get it” on a technical level.  I have never studied nature photography or spent any time learning about it.  When I see a pretty location that a nature photographer would see as a perfect photo, I see it as a great backdrop for a model.  But, I do love texture and color.  So I decided to get off my butt and walk around my neighborhood with just my macro lens and the beautiful golden hour light.

 

I definitely don’t think I suck a nature photography, but I am certainly not proficient and don’t have a “style” in this genre.  One thing I discovered about myself on this walk, however, is that even in nature I am drawn to things that stick out of the ordinary.  My first stop on my walk was directly across the street from my house where I noticed some utility workers had accidentally sprayed blue paint on some leaves while marking their work area.  That juxtaposition of the shocking blue paint against the green natural tones is giving me LIFE.

 

Your Comfort Zone will Kill You

We all love our comfort zone.  It’s safe, it makes us feel good, and it’s, well, comfy!  But it’s also where creativity goes to curl up and die a lonely death.

Part of what scares me about nature photography is a misconception that I taught to myself.  When I first picked up a camera and wasn’t ready to take photos of other people yet, I took nature photos.  I snapped out of focus pictures on a kit lens of leaves, grass, dog turds, bugs, cement, whatever.  I didn’t shoot with intention and somehow I convinced myself that nature photography innately lacks direction.  That is not true and it is not fair to the incredible artists that take breathtaking nature photos.  

You want to learn composition and exposure?  Start taking photos of nature and try to capture something that isn’t obvious.  Try getting underneath a flower and capturing it from a bug’s eye view.  Create negative space in the frame that brings your viewer’s eyes to your subject:  a tiny leaf.  Create with intention.  And push yourself way outside your comfort zone to do it.  

nature photography squirrel on a tree in florida
nature photography leaves macro lens jesi cason

Appreciate the Complexity of Simplicity

Flowers…not my thing.  When I think of flowers in photography I instantly think “nature photo easy mode.” 

This is where a macro lens really shines for me.  I don’t see flowers and plants and instantly want to capture them but when I use my macro lens, I get to see the intricacies of these amazing blossoms.   I can’t get my human eye to see this much detail naturally!  The magic of a macro lens lets me see how complicated these plants really are, and it makes me almost like them!  

 

Making me almost like something that I normally do not care about at all is a great way to fight my depression.  As Cheryl Strayed once said, “Put yourself in the way of beauty.”

Let Nature Take its Toll

Nature photography isn’t all about capturing pretty things.

Arguably, there’s nothing beautiful about decay and rust.  Life isn’t always flowers and palm trees either.  Sometimes you’re on top of the world and sometimes you’re panic-shopping for soap and quarantine supplies.  There’s value in both ends of the spectrum.  
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Keep on Fighting

On my nature walk, I met two of my neighbors I’ve never spoken to before.

We chatted about the neighborhood, our dogs, photography, the virus.  It was nice to talk to someone in person after two days of self-isolating.  This is what fighting depression does:  it opens us up to new experiences, new people, and new hopes.  The world is a pretty scary place right now, but it’s also beautiful, and full of texture, color, and purpose.  

 

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10 women working on a vintage truck

5 Questions to Ask Your Next Photographer

Client Knowledge

5 Questions to Ask Your Next Photographer

Questions to Ask Your Photographer to Get the Most out of Your Session

Photographers are all different.   Know what questions to ask your photographer is challenging if you aren’t an experienced shopper!  Since the introduction of digital cameras, you can swing a dead cat and hit 20 photographers (sorry, I’m from Texas and that’s just how we talk.)  You may fall in love with someone’s style but without asking the right questions, your experience could turn into a huge headache.

So how do you decide who to work with?   Here are a few key points to touch on when when searching for a photographer

product photography massage therapist oils
massage therapist gift card

1)  What is your speciality?

One of the biggest misconceptions about photographers is that we can all photograph any genre you throw at us.  Many people think that if you have a camera, you can probably use it in any situation!  But the truth is, most professional photographers specialize in a specific type of photography.

If you are looking for a wedding photographer, a newborn photographer, or a real estate photographer, for example, you’ll be looking for different qualities.  Photographers have different equipment, editing techniques, policies, and skills depending on what they specialize in.  

Now, that doesn’t mean that a real estate photographer could never properly photograph a wedding!  Some people have multiple specialities and some are generalists, meaning they are comfortable shooting a little bit of everything.   You should feel empowered to ask your photographer to see more specific examples of work similar to what you need.  

My speciality is pretty niche (music photography) but I am also a portrait photographer and a commercial photographer!   

questions to ask your photographer

2) What’s your backup plan?

Life happens!  Photographer’s get sick, equipment breaks, rain pours, and tragedy strikes.  What will your photographer do to complete the job if something unexpected happens?  

Though there is no way to anticipate every scenario that could ruin your photoshoot, professional photographers almost always have backup plan.  This includes having a system in place to ensure the digital files created during your session are safe (dual memory card slots) and are backed up to multiple places (external hard drives and cloud storage) and delivered securely (password protected online galleries or direct image transfer.)  

In the event that something comes up that would prevent the photographer from being at the session on the scheduled date, find out in advance about their rescheduling policy.  If the session cannot be rescheduled, ask if they have a replacement photographer lined up.  If the session is outdoors and the weather is bad, do they have a studio that can be used instead?

When the worst happens, many professional photographers also have insurance.  If an accident occurs during the shoot, their insurance company can help make everything a little less stressful.  Ask your photographer if they will have insurance that will cover them in case of injury or damage to equipment or rented locations.

ask your photographer for this pose
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3)  Who will own the photos?

This is possibly one of the most misunderstood parts of a photography session.  Many people think that if they pay a photographer to create photos for them, those photos become their property.  While laws vary across the world, in  the United States, whoever presses the shutter button owns the photo.  The copyright can be transferred to another person through a written agreement, often with an additional fee.   In  most circumstances, clients do not need to own the copyright to the photos.  Wedding photos, headshots, and even band photos like I specialize in do not necessarily need to be owned by the client to be used by the client.   Often photos are sold with a License for Personal Use which may allow for printing (restricted sizing is common)  or a Limited Commercial Usage License which allows the photos to be used to promote a business or money-making endeavor.   You may need to purchase copyright to certain commercial photos if you wish to use them without ever having to credit or acknowledge the photographer or have the right to use or alter the photos in any way.

Ask your photographer what restrictions will be placed on the images and how you can/can’t use them.

4)  What differentiates you from other photographers?

Chances are, you’ve already seen their work and you like what you see.  

But what goes on behind the scenes that makes this photographer stand out from the rest?  Answers can vary anywhere from the way they create the photos to the way they deliver the images.  Some photographers build elaborate sets for their clients, some have exclusive access to unique locations, and others offer services beyond just photography such as videography to create an unforgettable experience.  Other specialize in certain body types, relationships, stages of life, or specific lighting styles.  

One example of a service that fewer and fewer photographers offer that may be important to you is printing.  Digital images may be all you need, but consider a photographer who can walk you through the process of making those digital images into fine art prints.  You’ll love seeing the images displayed properly in your home or office.  If your photographer is selling prints for dirt cheap, however, it’s possible they are skirting their tax obligations.  You can check on that by asking if they have the appropriate tax ID requirements to sell physical products!

And if your photographer doesn’t have a good answer to this question, perhaps they haven’t taken the time to create their brand story and they may not be the right fit for you.

blonde woman flipping hair on red rose backdrop
portrait photography claire with guitar on red background

5)  What should I do to best prepare for the session?

As photographers, our job is to ensure you are fully prepared from start to finish for the session.  That means plenty of communication and explanation up front in regards to how to prepare yourself or your product for the session, what styling will be best, what locations will and won’t work, etc.  If you’ve found a photographer who isn’t giving you enough information up front to ensure you feel fully prepared, it may be time to start looking elsewhere!

I try to meet with all of my first-time clients in person so we can discuss the details of the session and make sure I know exactly what they are looking for – leaving a little room as possible for error or misinterpretation!  When appropriate, I create custom mood boards for each client so they know I understand the vibe and energy of what they’re hoping to achieve in the session.

questions to ask your photographer
macro photography of soap bubble planet

How Macro Photography Can Create New Worlds

Self-Education | Macro Photography

Creating New Worlds with Macro Photography

Macro Photography

Photography is all about shifting perspectives and creating visual representations of things from your own unique point of view. 

Macro photography makes the impossible, possible. Tiny details are suddenly not only visible but highly defined!  I came across a tutorial recently that talked about how to use a macro lens to photograph bubbles and had to try it out for myself.  

My first attempt was terrible!  I followed the instructions but wasn’t getting the results I wanted.  So here is a quick rundown of how I created my soap bubble planets.  I’d love to see how yours turn out!  

bubble on coffee mug
softbox with camera
softbox with camera
soap bottle

Setting Up for Soap Bubble Planets

Essential Supplies:

  • Liquid soap (I found colored soap worked better than clear)
  • Water
  • Glycerine (I went to 3 different stores before I found this so just order it online)
  • An external flash 
  • A softbox or beauty dish
  • Black cloth or paper 
  • Straw
  • Tripod
  • Macro lens

To make the bubble solution, I mixed 2 cups of water with 1 cup of liquid soap and 2 tablespoons of glycerine.  I later added more random amounts of liquid soap to the mixture to see if it made the bubbles last longer…I think it did!  

Try to do this in a cool, dry room.  Heat and humidity will pop those bubbles so fast.  

Set you camera on the tripod (you don’t want to handhold this, it’s too tricky to get focus locked and keep blowing the bubbles) and put your supplies on a table with your black backdrop behind the subject.  Macro photography means using a lens that is created specially to see tiny details, but those lenses are notoriously tricky to focus.  Turn off auto-focus and save yourself a big headache!

I put my Godox Ad200 in a 26″ softbox.  I started out using a much bigger softbox but I didn’t like the results.  Mount it as close to the bubbles as you can!

macro photography of soap bubble planet

Camera and Flash Settings

You’ll need to remove all ambient light from affecting your image, so shoot with a narrow depth of field.

My settings varied as I figured out how to shoot the bubbles best, but most of the images were shot at f/16, 1/500, and ISO 320.  I used a Canon 100mm 2.8 lens on a Canon 5d Mark III camera.   

So how about that flash?

I assumed when I started that I would need the flash to be at full power since my aperture was so narrow!  But I found that 1/4 to 1/8 was plenty.  I also got creative and added some MagMod Gels to some of the images to enhance the colors even further.  

macro photography of soap bubble planet

How to Create the Best Bubbles

Grab your straw and start blowing!

I first poured a little bit of bubble solution into the bottom of a black coffee mug turned upside down.  But there was ring of white on the bottom of the mug and that looked like crap so I found dark plastic lid from some tupperware thing and used that instead.  I poured the solution into the lid and put my straw in the liquid and started to blow.  Eventually I got the hang of making pretty big bubbles!  The glycerine helps hold them together for longer so often the bubbles lasted fo 10-30 seconds.  My first few shots were pretty blah.  The colors were there but they were just like horizontal lines of color.  Boring!  I finally realized that the swirls of color happen when the bubble is moving.  I tried gently shaking the table, blowing a little air from far away, and finally blowing very gently through the straw into the bottom of the bubble and taking pictures as the air flowed around the inside of the bubble.

This made my little planet come to life!  Macro photography is freakin’ magic.  

Editing to Perfection

These images require very little editing

I pulled them into Lightroom and adjusted sharpness, texture, and clarity on all of them.  On a few I played with the HSL slider and curves adjustments.  I took them into Photoshop and flipped some around to see them from different angles and applied a little bit of Infinite Color Panel to a couple just to see what would happen!  

 

macro photography of soap bubble planet
macro photography of soap bubble planet

Try it Yourself!

I’d love to see what you make using this tutorial!  Send me a photo on my Facebook page or tag me on Instagram.  Happy planet-building! 

macro photography of soap bubble planet
macro photography of soap bubble planet
woman with black balloons wearing black dress on black background music video

How to Make a Music Video

Self-Education | Music Videos

How to Make a Music Video (When You've Never Done it Before!)

What Makes a Music Video Great?

A great music video is a reflection of something that matters to the artist.

Think about the last music video you saw that left an impression on you.  Or think about the videos you used to see on MTV and VH1 as a kid that made you want to be an artist.  I’d argue that the good ones, the ones that really mattered, are the ones that make us feel like we’re getting a glimpse into the truth behind the artist.  It’s almost like they are showing us a secret part of themselves.  Some music videos aren’t like that at all.  Some are fun, or weird, or cool.  And maybe those stick with you, too, if the aesthetic just really speaks to you.  But my favorite music videos are the ones that tell a story;  a story that exists alongside the song itself but is not exactly  same as the song.  Like a melody and a rhythm.  Like when it’s sunny outside but raining at the same time.  The music video and the song are two things that exist together to tell us something about the songwriter.  If you want to learn how to make a music video, first start with thinking about what it is you love about music videos.

Get to Know the Artist

Kyle Anne writes music that feels like a true story.

Earlier this year, Kyle Anne asked me to create a music video for a song from her debut album “Eulogy.”  I panicked.  I’d never create a music video before, not really.  I had tinkered in the videography world and created a lip sync video for The Electric Mud as a surprise for the boys finishing their first national tour.  But I’d never created something with a story.  The good news was:  Kyle Anne had never made a music video before either!  So we were determined to learn together.

Luckily, I’ve know Kyle Anne for years.  She and I met back in 2015 when we collaborated on a promotional photoshoot for Love Your Rebellion.  We’ve worked together on live performance photos before and I even got to capture her opening up for the Eli Young Band, which was such an unexpected honor.  I asked her once why she decided to keep working with me after that first shoot and she said:

“Even though we had just met that day, I felt so comfortable with you, and I was impressed with your creative energy…After seeing how awesome those photos turned out, I knew I wanted to work with you on future projects.  I’ve hired you several times since then, and I’ve been 100% satisfied with all the beautiful photos you’re provided.”

We even collaborated on the creation of the images  used on the cover of her “Eulogy” album!  So when it came time to figure out how to make a music video for “Love Bug Season” I felt like we’d built enough trust to try something new together.  She sent me the track and as I listened to “Love Bug Season” for the first time then I started to brainstorm ideas of imagery that would compliment that song.  I asked her “How would you like this song to look?”

Her first thought was to use her daughter, Elliot, in a simple, minimalistic way.  We kicked around some ideas and eventually I turned to my friend Spencer at Dandy House for some guidance.

music video clip gif of mom and daughter's eyes in black and white

Consult with Collaborators

Know your limits and know when you need to get help from someone with more experience!

I knew I COULD make a music video myself, but I wasn’t sure if I SHOULD.  Kyle Anne is one of those dream clients:  easy to please, not fussy, and down for anything.  I knew whatever I made would make her happy, but I wanted to do more than that.  I wanted to do her song justice! Dandy House is a new media company in South Florida, but the brains behind the brand belong to my best friend, Spencer Elles.  He’s combining his love of music, his graphic design talents, and his theatrical background into one powerhouse videography and content creation company.  To put it plainly, he knows more about video making than I do!  So I sought his help and together we built on Kyle Anne’s initial idea of featuring the music video around her daughter.

Our first step was to storyboard the video.  We decided to go in a “day in the life of Elliot” direction and we thought of things Kyle Anne and Elliot might do together on a typical day.  Keeping visual interest in a music video is important so Spencer suggested we aim to fit as many shooting locations as we could into the 3:15 song.  We estimated how long each scene would take to shoot, how many seconds of each scene we would want in the entire video, and how many cuts we would need.  Spencer played the song over and over and wrote down how long each “section” of the song ran to decide how many clips of video we would need.  

 

What does Spencer say about the video:

“There are some really powerful shots in that video.  I remember a few times while Jesi and I were editing, where we were screaming and freaking out about how incredible some of those shots ended up. Especially that part where they break the 4th wall near the end of the song. We just kept re-playing it and jumping around screaming “Oh my god, This is perfect!””

music video woman looking mournful wearing funeral clothes sitting on brown couch with candles

The Final Product

It all came together in the editing room.

We spent maybe 4 or 5 hours with Kyle Anne and Elliot creating the footage for the video.  I knew as I was recording the footage that the visuals were powerful but I really didn’t know how it would all fit together.  Spencer is a wizard when it comes to editing and we worked together to cut out unnecessary clips and strategically place the emotionally dynamic clips in a way that best accented the music.  

One bit of advice Spencer gave me that was so important and impactful was to purposefully not sync up the lyrics with what is happening on the screen.  For instance, if the song mentions walking down a road, don’t show people walking down a road while that lyrics is played.  It’s too obvious, too heavy handed.  Dig deeper.  Learning how to make a music video means learning how to tell multiple stories at once.  

 

Words of Wisdom from Kyle Anne

“It might seem like the SWFL music community is small, and that you need to be competing with everyone else for work, but that’s not the case at all. Everyone has something different to offer, and at the end of the day no one else has had your unique perspective in life, so they’re not going to be writing the songs you write. Always strive to better yourself and your own skills, keep creating original content, and you’ll do just fine.”

Connect

You can find Kyle Anne playing at various local venues around the Fort Myers/Cape Coral area.  You can stream her album “Eulogy” on Spotify and Apple Music, visit her website to purchase a psychical copy and other cool merch, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook!

girl laying on pink background with bright colored feathers

Musician Portraits Pop with Bold Colors

Musician Portrait Spotlight | Emma Arnold

How Bold Colors Amplify Your Music Brand

What Color is Your Music?

It all started with a pink guitar. Emma Sydney Arnold is exactly as young as she looks in her musician portraits, but she’s been playing guitar and writing songs since she was 10 years old.  Since then , she’s developed a love for indie pop, a tendency to write songs while driving, and reputation for being precisely the kind of girl you want to meet at a local open-mic night.

Raised in Naples, Florida, Emma can be found playing acoustic solo sets in local bars and venues around SWFL.  Her style is influenced by soft pop and alt rock.  When she first contacted me for her musician portraits, we built on that pink guitar theme to create photos that fit her musical style and stage presence.

Bold colors like pink, blue, and yellow signify strength, energy, creativity, and spontaneity.  Each type of music evokes emotions that can be represented in color.  Choosing the right colors for your band photos or musician portrait will help you get your music’s message across to your audience before they even hear you play!

girl with pink lollipop musician portrait

Choosing the Right Colors of Band Photos

If you hate music like Avenged Sevenfold, you might love Emma Arnold.

There is nothing pretentious, vague, angry, or obscure about Emma.  She’s an open book, typically found with her nose in a book.   Whether reading sci-fi novels or jotting down lyrics in her journal, Emma’s love for the written word is crystal clear.  

Sometimes, songs take years to come to fruition.  Emma is not one to rush a good thing and she’s learned to really take her time when putting together the lyrics and melodies that are born in the mind and live in her journals.  But once she has a solid idea, she runs with it and debuts it to an audience as soon as possible!

Similarly, her color palette is simple, cohesive, and confident.  Colors not only evoke emotions.  Like all visual media, the colors you choose to represent your music brand will cause people to make snap judgements about your music.  Color leaves an impression, whether positive or negative.

Pink is a color the represents sweetness, innocence, and child-like silliness.  Pairing it with bright blues, yellows, teals, and purples can add to the messaging that the artist is fun, uninhibited, and youthful.  

So how can you figure out what colors best fit your style of music when creating your band photos?  You can do research on color theory and think about what feelings, messages, and styles you want your music to evoke.  Or book a session with me and we’ll figure it out together!  

musician portrait of girl on pink background with lollipop

A Portrait of the Artist

When choosing a theme for Emma’s photos, we went with 3 words that describe her style:  sweet, soft, and sparkly.  

Emma arrived at my studio feeling awkward and self-concious, which is how most people feel right before having their portraits taken!  Some pink paper, a giant lollipop, and brightly-colored feathers were all it took to get Emma in the mood for being silly with me in the studio.  

None of the bands or musicians I work with are professional models.  Emma, while totally adorable, still needed just as much direction and posing assistance as any other client and that is what I love doing the most!   Helping my musician portrait clients get comfortable in front of the camera and gaining their trust is the most rewarding part of the job.  Emma nailed her studio session with me and we created some of my favorite musician photos to date!

What made Emma choose me for her portraits?

“I saw your work through one of our mutual friends Frankie Colt! Frankie was someone who gave me a very warm welcome into the music community and as soon as I followed her on Instagram and saw some of the pictures you took for her I wanted to work with you too! I think you have a really really special unique eye for capturing moments on camera that portray who someone is or what they’re like. Something about your photos feels more personal. Especially with musicians. We’re an odd bunch. There’s a lot of photographers in SWFL you could hire to take pictures, but I haven’t worked with any other photographer who really helps portray creativity and character like you do. You’re also a master of angle and color! It’s really what every musician wants for photo shoot.”

young girl on black background touching face musician portrait

Advice for Other Musicians

What advice or wisdom would you give to other musicians in the Southwest Florida music scene?

“I would say to just to keep putting yourself out there. It’s challenging to build a reputation as a gigging musician anyways but especially being so young. If you’re a young musician like me trying to play in local venues, then I think it’s important to have a little bit of something for everyone.

Play a lot of songs that fit the venue. and then soon your own original material will be noticed and appreciated just as much overtime once people start paying attention to your own personal style and sound. Also- if someone requests it, never play Brown Eyed Girl, Margaritaville, or Wagon Wheel without a $100 tip 😉 lol kidding, but not kidding.”  

girl laying on pink background with bright colored feathers

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Emma is venturing off on the next chapter of her life!  She’ll be moving to Georgia to attend the Savannah College of Art & Design.  I’m so excited to see where Emma’s love for music, painting, and graphic design takes her in life!

You can find out where Emma is playing next by visiting her website, following her on Instagram, and keeping up with her latest releases on YouTube (coming soon!).