Being Your Brand: I spend a lot of time with clients discussing how cohesive imagery impacts their brand. I also spend much of that time discussing how self-hate can play a big part in when you book a portrait session, what you will choose to wear for your photo shoot, and how you want to be portrayed. I am no exception to that rule.

In 2016, we have some really great opportunities that are coming up for us and I wanted to come into this new year strong. Part of that plan included a photo shoot with Wendy from Blush Asheville to promote a really exciting event we have coming up later this month with the Special Olympics.

During the shoot, of course we had fun and laughed a whole bunch. I even got super excited about my hair and makeup.

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I am officially the goofiest #LaraCroft photographer in history...



And then I found myself really getting down on myself about the weight I've put on over the past couple of years. Don't get me wrong, I recognized it, in a big way a few weeks back and am making the effort. Walk/running, putting the pizza on the back burner, more water, the whole shebang. That doesn't mean it isn't disheartening. But luckily, Wendy looked at me and said "Girl, you are a WOMAN, you have curves! Embrace it!" and she was absolutely right. It isn't about having the perfect body. It isn't about looking the way I did five, ten, even twenty years ago. It is about loving me for who I am today.

I am so incredibly lucky to be a portrait photographer. It is my job to help women feel good about who they are, right now. It is never about trying to be anything other than better than we were yesterday. I am grateful that my team understands that too. Thank you, Wendy.

So, how do you go about "being your brand" exactly? In my world, almost everything that I do involves my brand, somehow. It is all about choices. What to wear, how I spend my time, who I spend my time with, what luncheons to attend, trips we take, purchases throughout the year, and opportunities that present themselves do so based on HOW your market perceives you.

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Wendy's brand is all about Blush! Sophisticated, successful, sharp. She has cultivated Blush for twelve years from it just being her, to contracting nine amazing artists to provide makeup artistry to over 150 weddings each season. Not to mention her services in television, and on set with photographers.

Me personally, I love a ripped jean. Like 1992 ripped jeans. I am a child of the 90's so, the grunge era and I, we go way back. As much as I LOVE some Pearl Jam I simply cannot, as an entrepreneur dress at that level of comfort any longer in my life, at least not publicly ;-) . Haha! Does that mean that I can't incorporate some fun into my style? Of course not but, if I am going to be ready for every great opportunity that COULD be available to my business then I had better be prepared to run with the big dogs and so should you. What does your brand look like? Mine is urban, chic, powerful, and honest. With that kind of vocabulary, you won't catch me at a photo shoot, or even on the street in a lazy anything. Does it mean I will be in a suit? Nope. I gave my last two suits to Goodwill about a month ago. They lived in my closet for five years and I never. wore them. once. My warpaint now is glamour. Plain and simple. Am I a goofball? Sure! That doesn't mean White House Black Market isn't all up on my vision board and my leather pants...they are here to stay.

I am living my brand and so should you. Be prepared for success, it just might work out that way. - Cat Ford-Coates

We are holding our annual New Year, New You Signature Branding Sessions on January 8th. Call for your appointment today. There are only 7 appointments available and the price goes UP, yes UP on Tuesday November 29.