I've come a long way since I first got the idea that
hey, maybe photography could actually be my job.
From the get-go (do people still use that phrase?), I tried to separate photography as my job from photography as my hobby. Maybe I even jumped the gun too soon. (Sorry early clients...). Regardless, I knew that if I was going to turn my love of photography into my job, I needed to treat it like a business.
I had no desire to be the "girl with a nice camera who could take a few shots for cheap." It was necessary to be that girl for a little while as I was learning my style and honing my skill because there was no denying that I had a long way to go before I'd be considered an "expert" by anyone. But I did have the passion and the drive and if I was going to turn on my master's degree in education and a sure job with salary and benefits, I wanted to set myself up for success--even if it took a little longer to get there.
Even though it would have generated more business, more referrals, and more practice early on-- I made the decision to train for endurance, not speed. Quality over quantity. Relationships, honor, and experience over fast cash. That was and is always my motto.
But it's been a journey to figure out exactly how to be that photographer. A journey with a lot of failure. A lot of trial and even more error. It's not the typical path. Yet I'm constantly reassured by wise words about success from those who have been there, done that:
Now I'm finally in a place where I feel like this business is growing into what I always wanted it to be, but just didn't know how to communicate. Over the past 3 years, I've lived in three different locations and as my personal style took shape through those changes and experiences, I continually sought to create a brand that reflected the ideals and style of my work. It took me a while to actually figure out what those ideals were and even more so, how to portray them through design.
Like I said, I had a lot to learn.
And I still have a lot more to learn, but I thought it would be fun to look back on the evolution of my business cards as just one very transparent example of my growth so far. It's a little embarrassing if I'm being honest, but at the same time, I'm also proud to be able to literally see the growth of my style, brand, and skills in a tangible way.
This was my very first business card from Kailua, HI, and it's pretty obvious how painfully entry-level I really was. I had a nice camera that I barely knew how to use, zero clients, and an amateur understanding of photoshop. Oh, and business cards...technically.
Yes, friends -- the back of that card is indeed completely blank. Wa waaaaah.
After about half a year of shooting and building somewhat of a portfolio, I decided to step it up and "rebrand." There wasn't really a brand in the first place, but I wanted to work towards it. This was my next attempt.
This time, I changed my business name yet again, but completely removed my personal name from the brand in favor of Firefly Photography. I also began to hone my colors a bit more and project a softer, cleaner look overall.
Starting to really get somewhere (finally) with a polished card. This was my first card for Charlottesville, VA.
At last we reach my current card, which I'm actually pleased with. I think it finally reflects a higher-end brand, polished logo, consistent image style, and key information all in one.
I'm hoping with this latest design, I've landed on something that will stick. It's hard to build brand recognition when you keep changing your brand, right? But Firefly Photography in its current design is here to stay for a while and I plan to grow and feed the look of that brand as much as possible because I've finally fallen in love with the look, colors, logo, and reflection of my personal style. In a business where personal and professional are so closely related, there's a lot that goes into creating a reflection of both. Your business card is often the first interaction someone has with you and your business so it's super important to make the right impression.
Clearly, that can take time.
But with concerted investment into developing skills and knowledge, the proof of growth is evident. I love this little reminder of the value of hard work and persistence I've put into developing this dream of mine and am excited for even more growth in the future.