Erin spoke to us about a few questions relating to story. Finding your why, where your dream leads, who the person behind the brand is, what’s your greater purpose.
The story of Inspawration started when I saw someone taking not-very good photos as a pet photographer, and thinking “I could take better photos than that” 😅 but this isn’t the story that gets shared to the public.
I consider story to be something that is STILL evolving and being refined. I think it’s easy to start our story as: “We don’t have enough time with our pets and I want to capture their memories forever.”
This was a BIG part of Inspawration’s story message at the beginning, when we were all in lockdown. I wanted YOU to capture their memory forever. This was the main “story” for the first year or so.
About 6 months ago, I shifted the story slightly. To regret about not capturing great photos of my Aussie shepherd, not knowing what I was doing wrong… also, to you (the customer) being frustrated about not being able to capture the photos you imagine in your head. This message resonated with a LOT of people.
And now I’m shifting the story slightly again, to a story about chasing dreams. That quiet dream of becoming a pet photographer, and giving you the tools, skills and knowledge to make that dream a reality – at least for the Learning Journey. For Fundamentals, the above message about capturing the photos you imagine remains. This shift in story is somewhat financially driven. After all, people who want to earn money, will spend money. But also I think it allows me to serve more people. Pet owners who want nicer photos can sign up for PPF. Aspiring professionals can sign up for the LJ. And those who want more… well, I have something in the works for that. 😉
And then there’s the story of ME. A LOT of my brand has been built on my personality, my chaotic energy, on being relaxed and personable, and my two boys help with this as well. I think as many people sign up because they like and trust me, as they do because I make nice photos. Do not underestimate the power of you.
Here are some notes I wrote at the very beginning of my Photography business journey… before Inspawration was a blip on the horizon:
Why: Why do you do what you do. Why is a purpose or a belief. It’s the reason the organisation exists. Not about making money.
Need to go deeper to stand apart from the crowd and get out client
Your why is a value or belief that you stand by. It’s a mission that moves you. It’s the reason you get out of bed in the morning.
I am passionate about people seeing moments and appreciating them, finding the beauty in them, capturing those times and sharing them, seeing the joy that sharing them can bring. Maybe it’s capturing the goofy, cheeky awkwardness of a puppy, immortalising that time that’s so brief… or maybe it’s those absolutely incredibly special moments between a senior dog and their owner, a time where they get to be special, and cherished, and loved, and when the person looks back at those photos in years, they can remember that bond and that relationship, remember the way that dog looked when he smiled, or how he bounded through the grass toward them. I want people to see how special their dogs are, to hold on to that moment, and find the joy in it. I also want to make something special with the owners and their dogs, inspired by my adventures with my own dog and how much that influenced me, and by one of my first clients, who took their pugs on something of an adventure to get the photos we took – I want them to look at those photos and see not only the personality of their dogs, but a memory of the time we spent making those photos.
One was the “adventure” with the client – all of us going through the location, maybe taking a walk, doing what we need to do to get the shots, trying new things, really making an experience of the whole thing… but also, puppy photos and senior dogs. I haven’t done any end of life shoots, but I can imagine that would be incredibly special too… and I think it comes back to wanting to find the beauty in and appreciate the moments we’re given – I did this huge trip around Europe these past 2 years with Loki, living in the van, seeing the most incredible scenery, and it really taught me how important it is to find beauty, and to be grateful for the fact that we’re here, with our dogs, that we can go out and get photos and capture those moments… and puppies grow up so quickly, blink and they’re an adult dog, but there’s something so special about building that relationship with them, seeing their personalities develop… and senior dogs… I had to leave my senior dog at home in Australia with my aunt… and I left him knowing I wouldn’t be there for the end of his life (though he’s still going strong at 16!!) but that breaks my heart, and I wish so badly that I’d gotten a million photos of him before I left, or got someone to take photos of the two of us (I cry writing this actually, is how deep it hits) and I so want to be able to give that gift to other people with their senior dogs…
5 words that describe my personality
Independent, creative, bubbly/friendly, down to earth, humorous
5 words to describe my work
Bright, natural, light, colourful, a touch of fantasy/whimsical
5 words to describe work that moves me:
Soft, beautiful colours, sharp/engaging, candid/personality, artistic, natural with light/scenery
Area of branding:
Light, colour, a touch of fantasy/whimsical, personality/humour
What else can I infuse into my brand?
Dog training, travelling and beautiful scenery, anything sweet! And coffee. A lot of coffee.
Teal & Brown?
Teal & white?
Can you see how much of that story and the ideas I was already putting down on paper have carried over to what I do now?
I’ll talk more about the branding process in the “Identity” part.
I think a lot of these thoughts were driven by Simon Sinek.