Los Angeles Portrait Photographer

10 Ways to Build a Cohesive Brand + Make Your Life Easier

I bet it’s easy to think of the obvious ways to use your brand photos—social media came to mind right? And then your website? And then… hmm, then what?


I see my clients using their brand photos is such creative ways. But most importantly, I see how brand photos make your life easier. How? Here are the top 10:

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1. Social media

2. Websites

3. Lead magnets

4. Media features

5. Speaking engagements

6. Newsletters + email list building

7. Profile pictures

8. Advertising + event promotions

9. Online courses

10. Sales pages

With this in mind, let's stop for a minute to ask, "What if..."

  • What if you didn’t have to struggle with what to post on social media?

  • What if you didn’t get that stress headache when a media outlet asks for a headshot to go with the article you’re featured in?

  • What if your clients knew EXACTLY why they should hire you in those precious 3 seconds after they land on your home page?


Beautifully branded photos help you achieve brand COHESIVENESS across all platforms.

Where you’ve struggled in the past to achieve this—suddenly, the stress headache turns into relief. Of course you know what photo to send when the media comes calling! Promoting your business and reaching your clients just got a whole lot easier.

And cohesive branding? Well, when your audience sees you show up consistently, in the same style, on the same platforms, they start to trust you. And when they’re ready to trade views for dollars, you’re top of mind.

That’s the mark of a killer brand that dominates an industry.

Want to know more ways to use your brand photos? Get in touch; Email hello@courtneypaigeray.com to find out more.

3 Simple Steps to Compelling Storytelling

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The point of being on social media is to be social—to connect with people and find common interests. We connect through sharing our stories. This is one of the most powerful tools that you have in creating a business that stands out. But where do you start?
 

1. Risk It
The entire point of telling your story online, every day, is to connect with your audience; bring them into your process so they continue to follow the next chapter; and turn them into dedicated viewers who become clients.

The keyword here is CONNECT—and there is no connection without vulnerability. This means you're going to have to take a few risks in the story you tell. Make it personal in a way that your audience thinks, "Hey, I've been through that. This is my story too." Share the scars and the lessons you've learned. It's scary, but it's vital in telling a compelling story. Otherwise... you've got a bored audience that remains unconnected and ready to click away.

2. Cut it Down, Keep it Clear
In my days as a magazine editor, my writers would often call with a dilemma: "I know my story is due today! I've written it, but it's SOOO LOOONG. Can I have more time to cut it down?" Nope. I never cared that a story that was too long—I could always distill it down to the most important elements while still retaining the writer's distinct voice.

That's what I want you to do: Don't worry about choosing the absolute perfect words, or writing too many of them. Write all that you can, and maybe even a little bit more. Step away for a bit, let your copy marinate on the page.

Then come back to it with a fresh mind and a red pen. And start killing your masterpiece. Cut cut cut words until you've got only the most important, compelling parts left. That's what your audience is interested in: an engagingstory that doesn't take too long to read (you ARE still on social media, where attention spans don't last long).

3. Rinse + Repeat
The thing about sharing your story online is that you have to do it more than once. Actually, you have to do it over and over and over again. You'll never be done telling it. There will always be followers who missed it the first (second and third) time, and then there will be new followers ready to learn more about you.

Keep telling your story every day. Share the bigger picture every once in awhile (a perfect time is #fridayintroductions) and then share details of how your story is evolving on a daily basis.

For example, I share my overall story (the one I edited down in step two) about once per week, and then every day, give my followers a peek into my process: How I composed and edited a photo, my thought process behind an image, why I chose certain colors, etc.

I want to read your stories! Be sure to tag @courtneypaigeray when you share so I can keep up with you.

4 Ways to Find Your Inner Artist

Photo Credit: Belle & Epic

Photo Credit: Belle & Epic

Ah, yes, imposter syndrome.

It runs rampant among creative entrepreneurs.

"How can I call myself an artist or a creative when I'm an accountant?"

Well, are you creating something everyday? Whether it's a spreadsheet, a business model, a painting or a paragraph of writing—Congrats! You're a creative.

I now release you from imposter syndrome. Really, let it go. Without the weight of, "Do I belong here?" sitting on your shoulders, you're free to explore your creator self.

Let's dive in:

1. Sit in Silence; Listen to What Comes Up
When was the last time you even let your inner artist roam free? When you're constantly battling your own thoughts, you squash any opportunity for a creative though to bubble up. You have to sit down, shut up and let your mind wander in silence. Give it 5 minutes and see where your thoughts land. Also, you might have to do this a few times before you can actually get your mind to quiet down. Worth it!

2. Do Something Different
I know I say this a lot, but you MUST get out of your comfort zone in order to grow as an artist. What are you creating regularly? Photos, maybe? Events? Spreadsheets? Put it down. Pick something you've never done or a place you've never been, and GO. DO. TRY. FAIL. Y'all, I'm really bad at drawing. Like, really, really bad. Like, I'd share a photo of my terrible drawings if I still had them from my charcoal class, but, yeah, they're in a trash heap somewhere.

3. Word Games
Let's not underestimate the power of words and the meanings we associate with them. Start with a few of the words that come to mind once you've meditated and tried something new. Did any patterns pop up? Did anything inspire you? Pick the most powerful word, write it in the center of a piece of paper and draw a circle around it. Then let your mind spin off. Let any and all descriptions come to mind when you focus on your main word. Yes, you can use a thesaurus. What shows up for you?

4. Be Brave
You've meditated on it; you've done something new for it; you've dived deep into meeting it; now it's time to be brave and trust your inner artist. Once you've started down your artist's path, it gets iffy. You'll doubt what you're doing (there's the imposter syndrome popping up again). And you'll tell yourself that it's not that important. Um, hello, it's more important than ever! You've come this far, it's time to trust yourself and trust the artist inside you. And heck, just have some fun with it already. Life is short. You should be making something just because you want to.

As always, I'm here to chat. Let's grab coffee and deep dive into your artistry and how you can live fully in a creator state. Shoot me an email here at courtpaigeray@gmail.com.

Top 4 Tips to Being Your Own Model

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"I'm not a model!"
"I need to lose 10 pounds!"
"I'm so awkward!"
"I'm not photogenic!"

When you start out as a creative entrepreneur, there's one major thing no one tells you: You're going to have to step in front of the camera. Like, a lot. 

Branding photos aren't just about photographing your products with the right colors. They're so much more than that—they're an expression of your brand, your story, and the experience your clients have with your business. And there's no one who will represent that experience and feeling better than your brand's fearless leader. That's you.

Ok, I hear you: "I'm not a model!" "I'm so awkward in front of the camera!" "I have no idea what to do with my hands!" "I have to lose 10 pounds!" "I'm not photogenic!" 

Here's the thing: No one is born camera ready. So today, I'm sharing my top 4 tips to being a faaaaabulous model for your own brand.

1. "I'm not a model!"

First of all, reality check: Models and celebrities don't wake up like that. After living in Los Angeles for 10+ years, and seeing many celebs without makeup at the grocery story, the yoga class, Runyon Canyon, etc., I can promise you—they aren't born looking like models either. It's mostly smoke and mirrors, and a killer glam squad.

The good news is, you can have a glam squad too, one who will make you look like a red carpet-worthy model. (Hair, makeup and wardrobe styling make ALL. THE. DIFFERENCE.)

So yes, you can look like a model. And with me behind the camera, you can pose like one.

2. "I'm so awkward!"

Well, it's a little more complicated. I'd never actually put you in a pose. The reason you look awkward in photos is because you're trying to capture yourself in a moment, and trying to freeze that moment with a single pose. Nuh-uh. Not working.

Instead, you should be moving. Those beautiful moments you're striving for? They usually happen in the middle of an action: laughing at a joke, sweeping your hair off your face, walking to the boutique, etc. These moments can't be faked, they have to be genuine or else, yes, they'll be awkward. You need to get moving and get excited, and those moments will come naturally.

3. "I'm not photogenic!"

Babe, yes you are. Before you start to argue, let me say this: It's all about the angles. Every person really does have a "good side." How can you tell? Well, two ways: All of us have one eye that is a little higher than the other, and all of our noses tilt slightly to the left or the right. Depending on which is more prominent, that's how you determine your good side. You probably already know which one it is based on instinct and past photos ("I don't know why, I just know I like this side better,"). And now you know why.

4. "I have to lose 10 pounds!"

I understand this feeling. I've battled with my own weight for years, since middle school, and for the most part I've won that battle. But! I have spend many months in hiding because I've lost that battle too. There were months where I hid from my friends, avoided networking events and jumped out of impromptu photos like the devil was chasing me. I get it in a big way.

Here comes another but: But I fully believe that I'm meant to serve creative entrepreneurs by creating beautiful photos that drive their businesses forward. I can't serve you if I'm hiding behind my computer, refusing to pose for photos. In order to connect with you, my audience, then you need to see my face, hear my voice and connect with my story. Without putting myself unique self out there, I'm lost in a sea of social media. Without photos of myself, I serve no one. And what about you? Who are you serving? And who are you not serving because you're hiding instead? Not a single one of your audience cares if you lose 10 pounds first. They need you to show up, just as you are, expertise in hand, ready to serve. Let's take the first step by getting in front of the camera. I'll make your photos painless, I pinky promise.

Don't let your brand be THAT guy on Tinder...

When you think your date will be normal, but she ends up dancing like this... smh

When you think your date will be normal, but she ends up dancing like this... smh

You know the one: You swiped right on his profile pic, but when you showed up to meet in person, well... He's at least 10 years older than his picture, has a lot less hair and is missing some teeth (ok, that's an exaggeration, but you get it).

Is your brand making the same mistake?

This is a common mistake brands make with their visual message, but in reverse. Your services are FANTASTIC in person, but your profile pic (or any photo you put out there) is just, meh. Imagine if you did that on a dating app: You're gorgeous in person, but you used an "I-literally-woke-up-like-this" photo to attract attention.

Nuh-uh. Nope. Not happening. So why would you risk it with your business?

Yes, it's rad when your friend has a nice camera and can take an ok picture of you for social media. But audiences have a way of sniffing out when you haven't put your full effort and energy behind your offering—even when it's just a photo. And if you won't put your full energy behind the profile pic for your business on social media... what kind of energy would you put behind their business? Uh-oh.

If you're ready to step up your visual messaging and put your full effort into our brand photos—get in MY inbox! Click here or the button below to shoot me a quick message with your questions.

This isn't (just) a photo...

This isn't a photo...
This isn't a portrait...

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This is the story of a business. This is the story of a brand. This is how you connect to your audience. And I'm here to support you by bringing the art of storytelling to your business.

What does that mean?

It means sitting down with me, a hot cup of coffee and your favorite inspiration. We create a mood board that nails the aesthetic of your photo shoot. We pick the perfect location (or two) as a backdrop for your story; choose your props (hint: your brand is on point when you can mine your own home for photo props); and style a wardrobe with attitude. YOUR attitude. And lots of personality.

We do this work so that on your shoot day, you're excited, comfortable, and most importantly, in your element. This is where the magic happens. This is where your personality shines through. This is where your brand becomes the story that clients connect to and engage with.

So, I won't just take your photo. I'll tell your story. Your audience is waiting.

Shayna Marks, Citrine Marketing // Branding Photography, Los Angeles

When creatives get together for a shoot, magic is bound to happen. Shayna with Citrine Marketing has killer style, and her branding colors (love the yellow!) were the perfect backdrop. Clearly, we had a ton of fun on set. 

Rima Marz // Lifestyle Portraits in Downtown Los Angeles

Portraits can be more than branding work or profile pictures—they can be something special you do just to celebrate yourself. This lifestyle session borders on boudoir, and I love the intimacy and self-love that are pouring out Rima's eyes. They're hypnotizing and gorgeous!