Dos and Don’ts of Refreshing or Reinventing a Brand?

When you’ve been in business for more than 10 or 20 or 30 years, you need to reassess your marketing and/or your brand. Our company went through this process this past year and did a total redesign – logo, copy, website etc. KM LogoOur business had totally changed but our branding didn’t reflect those changes.

While we had always been two photographers shooting both independently and as a team, our branding was never clear that there were two of us. Many thought Kelly Mooney was one person. We hired a graphic designer to come up with a logo that not only reflected the partnership but also reflected that fact that our business was more than just still photography. We were no longer two photographers shooting still imagery, but a small production company offering integrated still and motion solutions for buyers with multi media needs.

Do start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Has your business changed? How?
  • Does your logo/branding reflect those changes?
  • Does your logo and branding (taglines) say something about what your business does?
  • Do you want a total revision – new logo, color scheme and copy – or a simple refresh? Why?
  • What is your company known for? Does your branding reflect that?

Some Don’ts

  • Don’t make the mistake of redesigning your logo and colors and overall packaging to look current if your company is still providing the same services the same way. It may freshen up your image on the outside, but if it doesn’t reflect what your company does or offers – it will be a fail.
  • Don’t forget to establish guidelines and be consistent. Logo, colors, fonts, taglines, imagery and your “voice”. When you have a clear sense of your brand, it will be easier to make choices about images or copy to use that are in alignment with your brand.
  • Don’t use vague or generic copy. Copy loaded with catchwords or phrases that are overused and meaningless.
  • Don’t overcomplicate it. The whole point of branding is to make your company’s logo or tagline memorable and define what your company does.
  • Don’t change your branding if the benefits don’t outweigh the risks. Remember that changes to your brand could potentially reduce the connections you already have. So have a good reason for re-branding.

Cuba – The Forbidden Fruit

Journeys of a Hybrid

How can I possibly sum up a 5 day trip to Cuba, a country that up until recently was theMural, Havana, Cuba “forbidden fruit” for US citizens. That in and of itself is what made me want to go there. My childhood impressions of Cuba came from seeing Ricky Ricardo on the “I Love Lucy” show and watching the Cuban Missile Crisis play out in my living room on our

TV set. What I saw as a child, was enticing with its music and its passionHavana, Cuba, and threatening, all at the same time.

I had an opportunity to join a group of travel writers who were traveling to Cuba, on a “people to people” program. The purpose of the trip was to make cultural connections with the people of the country through various planned interactions. As a “people shooter” and a photographer who is drawn to capturing the spirit of…

View original post 316 more words

What’s Your End Goal?

Journeys of a Hybrid

Do you ever feel stuck – like you just can’t quite make it to the finish line?  This can happen for a number of reasons – your plan wasn’t well thought through – your perfectionism has stopped you – you don’t see the big picture or you can’t break down the details – or maybe you never had a goal to begin with.

The one thing I try to do whenever I think about embarking on a project is to define my end goal – “What are my expectations?”  White Sands, New MexicoWhen I make myself think about my end goal, it forces me to clearly define it.  This allows me to assess my underlying motivations, cut out the chaff and move forward to stay on target and reach the finish line.

Sounds simple, but the problems arise when I let other people sidetrack me from my original goal.  For example: when I…

View original post 301 more words

How Motion is Changing the Future of Photography

Journeys of a Hybrid

Mid-19th century "Brady stand" photo... Mid-19th century “Brady stand” photo model’s armrest table (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few years ago I heard visionary Ray Kurzweil speak at NAB (National Association of Broadcasting).  He was talking about the exponential rise of technology and how that would profoundly change people’s lives – and was.  His focus and predictions were mostly related to the advances we’ll see in medicine, but he relayed an analogy that has stuck with me.  He said:  (and I’ll paraphrase) that if you were in the horse and buggy industry at the turn of the century and thought of yourself as someone who sold buggies and whips, you most likely would  have gone out of business.  But if you were in the horse and buggy business and thought of yourself in the transportation business you most likely would have adapted, recognized that the future of transportation was in motor transport – and thrived.


View original post 733 more words

10 Tips For Getting GOOD Audio When Using a DSLR

Journeys of a Hybrid

If you’re like most of the professional still photographers I know, you have either expanded your business and offer videomicrophones (in addition to your still photography) to your clients, or have plans to.  If you do have future plans to offer video to your clients, then you are either learning the particulars of that skill set, or you are collaborating with others who are in the know, or both.

Perhaps, one of the most daunting components of video, for still photographers is audio. Capturing audio is totally foreign to a still photographer, yet it is the most important component of all, in video production.

Here are a few tips for getting good audio:

  • You’ll never get good audio using the camera’s built in microphone, – at least not for interviews. Don’t turn the camera’s audio off however.  You can use it later for reference audio when syncing sound later…

View original post 694 more words

Finding Momentum

This past week has been kind of a “lost” week.  I’ve been trying to get my body and mind back into gear after being away for a month – in China.

Gail Mooney on Chinese TV show

I had been in China for the past 4 weeks, teaching Chinese photojournalists, video journalism.

Before I left for China, I had been consumed with getting things ready for my trip, but that hadn’t been the only thing I needed to attend to before my departure. I was preparing for two talks that I had to present at the NAB Show (National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas, setup up a private screening in northern California for Opening Our Eyes as well as fulfilling the needs and travel logistics for three film festivals the film had been invited to. I had my hands full.

Before I even got on the plane to China, I needed a vacation.  I had one night at home after being in Las Vegas for a week, before I left home for a month in China.  Somehow, my body, mind and spirit got through the rigors of China.  My students’ eagerness to learn and my good friend, Todd Joyce, who was one of the teachers, buoyed my spirits. Having someone there to bounce things off of while sharing peanut butter and crackers (a comfort from home) helped get me through some tough times.

This past week, my body just gave out on me after being depleted for so long.  I happily gave into it, taking long naps, walking and just doing nothing.  I’m slowly, getting back to “normal” but at the same time, I recognize a bit of a shift taking place in my life as I wait for the needed momentum before I turn the page to my next chapter.

Once again, I realize that in taking myself out of my “norm” at various points in my life, I am able to step back and reassess where I’m headed and look at my future path with fresh eyes.  This month away – as hard as it was at times – has given me a new perspective on things that I thought were important.  It has helped me to bring closure with some things in my life that had been played out.

My body, mind and spirit will let me know when it’s time to head into the next chapter of life.  I’m not rushing it.  I’m enjoying the simple pleasures of life – a cup of coffee, a walk in the woods or cuddling with my husband on the couch, watching mindless TV. Perhaps we’ll go to the beach this weekend and take a bike ride on the boardwalk in the early morning hours.  Maybe take in a movie or have a hamburger off the grill.  I’m taking it hour by hour and not planning a thing.  I think that is probably one of my greatest joys right now is simply knowing that I can do whatever I want to do and whenever I want to do it.  My liberties are back and that’s enough for me right now – until my momentum returns for life’s next chapter.

Journeys of a Hybrid

I came across a wonderful blog entitled “What Does Love Mean to a Four-Year Old?”

I thought I’d share some of the words and wisdom that came from children.

  • “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.” Billy – age 4
  • “Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.” Danny – age 7
  • “Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” Bobby – age 7 (Wow!)
  • “If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,” Nikka – age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka’s on this planet)
  • “Love is like a little old woman and a little…

View original post 140 more words

Women and Photography

I have to get something “off my chest”, so forgive this mild rant.

Yesterday, I attended a conference in NYC.  It was a trade show geared to video production with an educational track.  I was sitting in on one session and there were only a handful of people in the room – I’d say less than 10.  I was the only woman in the room. The instructor went to each person in the classroom and asked them what they wanted to learn from his workshop.  He went to everyone in the room – but me!

I was sitting next to my partner, who is also my husband.  I suppose the instructor decided that he didn’t need to ask ME that question. I didn’t count.  Maybe because we were together and he felt that he only needed to ask one of us.  But if so, why not ask me? I felt invisible. It was an all too familiar feeling that I have had in my 35-year career as a photographer and now a filmmaker. But I couldn’t believe that I was still feeling invisible after all that I’ve accomplished in those 35 years.

When I started my career in photography, it was definitely a man’s world.  I was one of six women at Brooks Institute and the only woman in my graduating class.  I fell in love with a “Brookie” and we headed back East to make our fame and fortune in photography.
We’ve done a lot of jobs together over our 35-year partnership and we’ve done a lot on our own.  I needed to do my solo gigs because I felt I had to prove to myself that I could deliver the “story” or the task on my own.  When I worked with my partner, it was always assumed by the client or our peers that I was the rep for my partner – never the photographer.  People have always asked us why we refer to each other as partners rather than husband and wife – that’s why.

Perhaps that’s why I try so hard – but then again maybe that’s just my nature.  And maybe because I always give it my all, I can’t help but be surprised when I’m treated like I’m invisible.  At this point in my life, I can either let it bother me or I can think about who I am and what I’ve done and contributed to my profession.  I focus on that and I take every opportunity to share and talk to young people – women and men.

The irony is, in photo schools these days the women far outnumber the men, yet there are still instructors out there like the one that I encountered yesterday.  I have to ask myself why? I do know that in giving seminars over the last two years for ASMP, I would consistently get comments from women telling me how refreshing it was to have a woman teaching tech.  But they also told me that I wasn’t intimidating like some male teachers they’ve had.

So what’s the point?

I only have one point and that is don’t hire me because you need to fill the slot with a “female” – hire me based on what I’ve accomplished.  Hire me for who I am.  Think past the gender and teach your children well.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

The Future of Photography

About 5 years ago while attending Photo Plus in NY, I noticed an interesting keynote talk on the docket entitled “The Future of Photography”.  When I arrived at the Expo’s theater, there was a sign at the entrance “The Future of Photography” with the word CANCELLED written across it, in red.  I laughed at the irony.

I think that was the first year that I spoke at Photo Plus and my topic was geared toward photographers who were thinking about moving into motion.  It was the only seminar listed that was about video or multimedia.  Yesterday, I received this year’s Photo Plus seminar line up.  Not only was there an entire track devoted to video, but many of the other seminars had video components to them.

What I didn’t see though was anything in regard to the “business of video”.  It got me thinking about the future of photography because for me the future will not define photography by the type of camera that is used.  A “photographer” will have a much broader meaning than it does right now.  Fast forward 5 years – a photographer will more than likely be defined, as someone who shoots both stills and video, or maybe even just shoots video and frames will be pulled from it later for stills.  That is not a science fiction fantasy anymore – it’s real and it’s now.

If you think about it, if we continue to narrow our definition of what a photographer is by the type of camera he or she uses, it may be a big mistake from a business point of view.  We separate ourselves from amateurs and hobbyists and call ourselves professionals not because we know how to use a camera – (these days pretty much everyone can and does – take reasonably good photographs)  – but because photography is our sole means of financial support.  That part is changing and professional photographers are supplementing their incomes by teaching or other things.

The word professional has always been a bit different in terms of photography as compared to other professions.  There’s no test you need to pass or license to obtain to be a photographer.  Just about anybody can take photos and sell them.  So what does it mean to be a professional photographer?  It certainly isn’t just about being able to take a beautiful photograph.  For me it’s about sustainability.  It’s about being able to make a living pursuing a craft that I love.

To sustain oneself these days as a professional photographer is to first acknowledge that  it means you are a visual communicator – regardless of what type of images you are creating. It also means that you must maintain sound business practices in order to be profitable.  I put a value on my time and more importantly on my vision.  I’m grateful that I live at a time that allows me the capability of producing, creating and monetizing my own dreams without the need for validation or a commission. In fact, these days with lopsided contracts that are not  written in the interests of the content creator, we are far better off producing and publishing our own projects and getting a better return as well.

I don’t have a crystal ball but I see a future that’s ripe with possibilities for all types of  imagery.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Will Your New Year be New?

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.”
– T.S. Eliot

Happy New Year

This is the day that many of us make New Year resolutions. I prefer to look back over the past year and ask myself if I’m on track or on purpose in my life. As I look back, I congratulate myself for my accomplishments and forgive myself for my screw ups. I think about what made me happy and what didn’t. I think about the people in my life – family, friends and work colleagues and how different my life would be without them. I look back at the creative work that I’ve been doing and question – what jobs were satisfying to me and why? Were my creative efforts an expression of who I am and how I see things?

As I look back over 2010, I feel pretty good as far as feeling like I was “on purpose”. The economy was lousy, but I was able to stay afloat and fortunate to be in a position to pursue a “passion project”, that kept me alive creatively and also helped me grow as a human being. But I think the most important part this personal project played in my life was that it pushed me in every way possible and in doing so opened my eyes as to how I want to live my life – the rest of my life, however much time that may be.

None of us know how long we’ll be on this planet Earth. There may not be a next year, when you’ll get around to doing those things that you’re always telling yourself and others that you want to do. All we have is the “now”. So, as I look forward to the New Year and all the promise that it holds, I remind myself that my future is dictated by all those little choices that I make in the “now”.

It’s the little things we do along the way that control the life we live. The choices we make – the way we treat and react to people and circumstances – what we allow in our life that will ultimately determine our year ahead. So, in looking back at the old year, I’m reminded of what did and didn’t work well in my life.

In looking ahead, I won’t be making a list of resolutions, but will try to remember that there will be times, when I need to make those little choices in the “now” along the way. There will be moments when I need ask myself if I should take a job or walk away from it, or times when I need to remind myself that I can’t control how people treat me, I can only control how I react to it. I can only control what I allow in my life. Every day, I’ll be faced with hundreds of little decisions, directions in which to turn that may or may not be good for me. I will try to make the choices that will keep me on purpose.

Like Kenny Rogers sang “You’ve got to know when to hold them – and know when to fold them”. A great metaphor for how to look at life.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

%d bloggers like this: