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As a prior English teacher, I love telling each of my couple's love story. Each story is unique and in a culmination of love and a little planning, the wedding day brings that love to life in front of family and friends. As a lover of heirlooms and legacies, it's a joy to be alongside each of my couples as they create memories that will last forever for their children and grandchildren!

I'm ali rae.

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Be Your Brand | Personal Branding Photography for Wedding Professionals

Branding

February 6, 2020

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Be Your Brand is branding photography for wedding professionals—yes, all wedding professionals—planners, florists, hair and makeup artists, bakers, caterers, rental companies, stationers, and other photographers! This idea was born out of a few needs I had in my own business.

1.     Last year I had my own branding session at the beginning of the year. It was great—I received images I could use of myself, my office, my husband, and daughter, even me in my kitchen sipping coffee. But here’s the thing—it was a one-time session and my daughter grew from three months to six to nine to a year-old so quickly that I barely had time to use the images before they were out of date. From the few images we were able to take outside (because it was so cold), the leaves were gone from the trees and you could tell it was the dead of winter. About halfway through the year, I realized I needed seasonal and current content.

2.     We are a military family…which means we move around every three years (sometimes even more frequently than that). Moving and re-establishing a business that often is no joke! But honestly…establishing a business at all is no joke! I have found that whenever I get to a new area, one of the best way to lay down quick roots, if you will, is to network with venues and other vendors in the area. The more people that you encounter, that know your name, and that you leave a lasting, positive impression on—the better!

3.     Photography in general is a saturated market. The wedding world in general is a saturated market. While trying to find ways to stand out using my work, my editing style, my posing…I felt like it was impossible and I was getting lost in a sea of photographers that had the exact same skillset as me. But you know what they don’t have that I do? My personality! So I realized that I must establish a personal brand and maintain consistency in that brand to attract my ideal client.

After all this introspection, I thought…what if I could create something that would alleviate all of those pain points in my business? Enter: Be Your Brand!

Be Your Brand is a seasonal or monthly branding experience. It is a day that each month you will be able to devote to marketing yourself and your business in order to attract your ideal client. The experience begins long before you even set foot on the venue property to take pictures!

Once you decide, yes, this is for me! I will send you a Branding Questionnaire with initial questions about your brand. Once those are answered, you will receive a follow-up questionnaire that will ask you to provide specific goals for your business, which will guide the creation of your shot list for your session. I will ensure that you are well-prepared with props, proper attire, and the confidence to rock your session. We will collaborate on the shot list together, then once it is complete, you can rest until it’s time to show up for your session!

You will then arrive to a local wedding venue (it will be a different one each month!), where you first receive a tour of the property. Then you head to the “getting ready” area—either the bridal suite or cottage designated for getting ready purposes, where you will be greeted with a welcome packet, delicious treats, and professional hair and makeup so that you can feel confident in front of the camera. Next, when it’s your turn to be in front of the camera, we will use that shot list to effectively create imagery that you will pair with content that will attract your ideal client. This might seem overwhelming—it is a lot. But I also think that it requires hard work and preparation for this session in order for it to really bring out its effectiveness as a marketing tool. We will be incorporating the props you have brought that represent you and your personal brand.

Once you are done with your session, you have the opportunity to grab some more snacks and chat with the other vendors that are in attendance.

All in all, it is meant to be a relaxing experience (if the preparation is done correctly), where you can network with other vendors, gain knowledge of a local venue, and leave with images with which you are able to market yourself and your business to your ideal client. And hell, you’ll have your hair and makeup done, why not go out on a date night with your man when you get home?! 🙂

To sum up this rather long blog post…

The “Be Your Brand” experience may be for you if:

  • You’re looking to develop a personal brand.

  • You struggle with having personal content to intermingle with your work/client content.
    Networking with other wedding professionals and exploring local venues sounds appealing to you.

  • If you’re interested in receiving more information about the Be Your Brand program, please let me know! I am happy to answer all your questions!

In the meantime, enjoy these images from the “pilot program” of Be Your Brand, which even better than I expected it would thanks to the vendors that were involved!


Venue | Morais Vineyards | Bealeton, Virginia

Kassie & Claire | K. Layne Styled | Styled Shoot Coordination

Kassie and Claire are a military spouse team that creates and executes styled shoots of all scales (yes, they hosted over 100+ photographers last winter and plan to do it again this summer!) to support photographers in development of their portfolio to not only break into the wedding market, but also attract their ideal client. Also, they are both obsessed with The Bachelor and are in a fantasy league, hence the roses. 🙂


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Katie | Tilly + Teal Weddings and Events | Wedding Design & Coordination

Katie’s talents have a full range! She loves serving her clients on their wedding day and often times long before! She loves full-scale wedding design and loves bringing a bride’s vision to life. She incorporated her mother’s vanity set into her session because her ideal client loves to honor his/her family on the wedding day to show appreciation for helping to mold them into the people they are today.


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Sally | Cakebee | Wedding Cake Baker

Sally is more than a baker. She is an artist. Part of her client experience is sitting down over tea (one of her signature cake flavors is Earl Grey!) and sketching the vision they have for their wedding cake! And you see all those flowers she has? She handmade those! Like I said…artist!


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Brenda | WholeWellWed | Day of Coordinator

Brenda is a day of coordinator. Her entire business and brand is centered around mental health and wellness. It’s her goal to take any and all stress off of her couples in order to create a carefree wedding day for them! She also takes all of her couples out for “Cocktails with the Coordinator,” which is pretty awesome.


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Kelsea | Radiant Reflection | Bridal Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist

Kelsea is a powerhouse of a business woman! She has built a team of beauty professionals to serve her clients on their wedding day. During her session, I got to know more about her and her fiancée—yes! She is a bride this year too, so she knows exactly what all her brides are going through during the planning process. She is getting married in France—how cool!


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And last, but certainly not least…our florals were breathtaking and such a lovely addition to our session!

Maribel | Eight Tree Street Floral | Florist

This woman is the most generous, genuine people I know! She will, without a doubt, bend over backwards to bring a bride’s vision to life. She loves working her creative side, pairing together unlikely pairs, and doing what some others think can’t be done! If you’re looking for a creative florist with the kindest heart, Maribel is that woman!


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As a prior English teacher, I love telling each of my couple's love story. Each story is unique and in a culmination of love and a little planning, the wedding day brings that love to life in front of family and friends. As a lover of heirlooms and legacies, it's a joy to be alongside each of my couples as they create memories that will last forever for their children and grandchildren!

I'm ali rae.

Hey there!