When you're creating your brand & or logo, I feel every creative often gets stuck. If you didn't, you're lucky cause let me tell you I still am in a constant state of indecisiveness. I find that the way one brands himself, herself, or their studio/collective often is a reflection of the style/type of work they do. For me, I think CameraLady fits the bill.
Originally, when I started dabbling in photography I thought "Taylor Regulski Photography" would have a nice ring to it. YEAH NO! So, that then changed to "TLR Photography" when my cousin pointed out that my initials, TLR, spell out "Taylor" but minus the vowels. HOW COOL IS THAT?! Or well...teenage me thought it was cool but, people didn't really get the Taylor thing.
It stayed that way...for a while.
As my photography focused more on concerts/festivals, events, sports, and lifestyle I knew TLR Photography could no longer be. I played around with my logo, worked on typography, and nothing seemed to suite my style. It seemed pointless and as if I wasn't destined to be a photographer.
THIS WAS THE WORST THING EVER!
I hit that wall as a creative where I knew I had the talent, the drive, the passion, but, was lacking the logo, brand, & confidence in my business. Many would've stopped trying to pursue their dream. Well, not me. It would take an army to stop me.
TLR Photography stayed as the name but, wasn't advertised very much. I was at the point in my career where I was sneaking my camera into concerts (Kids, don't do this !), taking photos of high school theater, capturing high school/college sports games, and working full time as a photography TA. Photography was my life but my style, my name, and my work I was hesitant to put out. Why you ask? Well...try saying TLR Photography 5 times fast and at a ridiculously loud event. Yeah, it's hard!
During this time, I still was going to concerts and pushing to be front row in the hopes of meeting the photographers doing my dream job. Well, along the way it worked. I met many photography idols who's work I look up to and they captured photos of me so in my element. This helped to keep my drive going and made me determined that I would be on the other side of that rail, on the stage, or in the crowd taking these photos. But...under what name?
If you didn't believe me, here's one photo of my numerous times riding the rail at shows trying to meet photographers (see red circle).
September 2014 - Tampa
It was my first concert I was attending at the Ritz since moving to Florida. Their in-house photographer whom, I met that night, went by the name of Rude Girl Photos. We chatted for a bit and she explained that the name for her brand kind of came to her. People would label her as "rude" for being in the crowd shooting or for sneaking in to grab a photo of people. It just kind of stuck from there. Plus it was crafty, clever, and so memorable.
Hearing that really stuck with me. The fact that you could take a negative & turn it into a positive then run with it. For me the question still remained what though?
August 2016 - Facebook Messenger
I had been working at ESPN shooting sporting events for about 2 months at this point. The rut I was in WAS REAL! No, it wasn't coming from ESPN because there I just went by Taylor. It all came back to my freelance work & brand. I finally crossed the bridge of self doubt because ESPN & Disney saw my talent in the field but, I wanted more for personal work. I still wanted to dive more into concert work but presenting yourself as TLR Photography or TLR Pix was boring to me.
WHAT DO I DO!?!?
Well, I did what many of us have done before in our lives. I wrote a note or rather a Facebook DM to one of my photography idol, Chris Yoder. My message was far from short but essentially asked for any advice or tips & tricks for breaking into the music industry as a photographer. I may or may not have asked if he needed an assistant for a big upcoming event too. It was a long shot but, hey you gotta shoot your shot.
I knew of Yoder from his work in Chicago. He was doing the job I wanted to do. He was being innovative & creating recaps that resonated with audiences. He had created this unique style that set him apart from the rest. He was working with big names & I figured me messaging him would get lost in the shuffle. Well...I was wrong.
To my surprise, Yoder responded & gave me some advice that I never will forget:
"But, start locally. Dive into your local venues and clubs as well as meet and get to know who runs the Orlando scene. Get to know the artists try to do some shoot with them. I started in Chicago running around with promoters, local artists and venues which allowed me to create my own work and style. Network as much as you can. Get to know who does what in the industry and most of all brand your self. Find a creative name that's gonna stick with your brand. Side note not a lot of people know, Yoder is in no part my first or last name but a nickname that stuck and I knew people would remember it.
Hope some of the advice helps. Best of luck :) "
That last piece of advice has stuck with me until this day & often advice I give to people who ask me.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!
So back to the question...Why CameraLady?
It's creative, it's fun, it's memorable, it's different, it describes my style, it's my brand, and most of all it is me! I can't say that I came up with this all on my own. It definitely was a collective effort from many people, whom probably don't even know they helped.
Well...I have to attribute this to the many thousands of people who call out CameraLady any time I am shooting an event. Specifically, the Aruba 8U Baseball team who played at ESPN in 2016. I had been called CameraLady time & time before but, when I was photographing their game after getting the advice from Yoder, it REALLY stuck.
As you can see, I was so excited about this that co-workers made me a fake Disney name-tag with my photography persona.
I can remember coming home from ESPN & telling my boyfriend Kyle about the idea. Finally, I had the brand name but what about the logo, the design, the colors. Originally the logo was the women's bathroom figure holding a camera that was pink. It worked for a while but seemed to childish. Eventually, it was Kyle who came up with an idea for the logo. He remembered "Girl Skateboards" whose logo was simple. It was the word "Girl" but instead of the "i" it was the women's bathroom figure. OMG...could I use that same concept but make it my own?
Answer - YES!
There it was...the full idea & the direction I wanted my brand to head. CameraLady, wasn't going to go too far but be true to my style. The logo became the word Camera with a pink girl symbol placed in the R. It was simple but, me.
It finally came full circle & I felt ready to take on the music industry as a photographer. This was 4 years ago...I was far from my goal & in 2020 I'm still working toward where I want to be. I've made progress but, I constantly keep working to expand my brand.
So...what's the point in me writing this. Well, to really tell you "Why CameraLady?" It's not just to explain why but, to also give advice to those struggling with defining their brand. Your brand will not come to life over night. It's a process & make sure you are along for the ride. Enjoy the positives & learn from the negatives but, most importantly don't be afraid to take a leap of faith. I tried multiple names before I found the one true to me that would be my brand.
Be Willing to Learn.
Be Scared (it's okay).
Ask for Advice.
Shoot your shot!
But most importantly...Be You! It's up to you to develop your own unique style & brand.