THE HIDDEN WORK of AUTUMN THEODORE PHOTOGRAPHY
A decade ago, in my early 20s, a colleague of mine talked about her "personal brand." It wasn't as common of a consideration as it is now, so it seemed a little narcissistic, curt, and a seemingly futile concoction. It didn't feel authentic to me.
We've now arrived in the '20s with awareness, thoughtfulness, mindfulness, and discernment. Thanks to my friend and client, Brandi Lust, who is one of the most considerate, companionable, and amiable person I've ever met, I can appreciate what a "personal brand" means to the world. Her personal brand is intertwined with per professional brand. As a fantastic writer, speaker, and consultant, who she is is what she does. And like most professionals, she needed updated photos.
Rather than a typical, solid backdrop for new headshots and portraits, Brandi invited me to her seven-acre cabin an hour east of the city. And we were able to work together to provide the photos she needed.
I'm not sure if this post needs much of an explanation, especially if you live in Ohio, or are an Ohio State fan!
The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy spent lots of time planning a wonderful tailgate event during the university's 2022 Homecoming weekend. For three hours prior to the game, they provided a delicious lunch, drinks, visits from Brutus Buckeye and the Men's Glee Club, face painting, and a space for alumni, fans, and college staff to celebrate a big football weekend.
Lucky for me, I was asked to shoot this fun event at my alma mater. Go Bucks!
And last, but certainly not least, 🎶 How firm thy friendship...O-HI-O! 🎶
Many photographers have a specific creative style that make people want to hire them...to then apply that style to their brand vision. It can often be with unique lighting, colors, styling, posing, etc. My approach to photography has a much more authentic, natural, photojournalistic focus - basically my goal is to always take photos so that they look the same as the way your eye saw something in person.
Working with Tina De Broux of Under Aurora was such a treat. Her creative product styling paired with my desire to provide balanced, hyper-realistic images was a success. We each enjoyed space to focus on our talents while the other person stepped in to do their magic.
Skincare products are usually super fun to photograph - especially when branding has a minimalist style. (My personal preference! For example, would love to shoot for The Ordinary.)
And last but not least, a very fun gif :)
The Director of Marketing and Communications at The Ohio State University College of Optometry needed brand photography for the redesign of their 10-year old clinic brochure. They wanted to modernize the design, plus it was also important to show their beautiful new building!
Their goal was to have 6-10 fresh, amazing photos of student models in various parts of the clinic - registration, patient rooms, labs, and retail. It was also important to schedule this shoot after hours so that we didn't interfere with patient care.
Prepared client + 2 hour photoshoot = 200+ photos :)
Here are some highlights!
While solid color backdrops certainly have their purpose in portrait photography, I'm a big fan of shooting headshots/portraits in folks' places of work...especially when the spaces are this beautiful.
The Athletic Club of Columbus has me come in every few months to capture new staff member portraits. And every few years, we'll do fresh photos of the whole team.
Not only do I get to shoot in their beautiful facilities, but I'm directed to photograph each person in the location of their respective specialties - event coordinators in event spaces, dining staff in the restaurant or cafe, athletic trainers in the gym, front desk staff at the entrance, among many others. Specific direction from my contact paired with my expertise ensure successful creative collaborations.
Moral of the story: I can't speak for all photographers, but I love when my clients tell me exactly what they're hoping to achieve when working with me. I'm hired to provide solutions, not to impose styles of photographs that don't align with the company's brand imagery.
Women in Analytics' annual conference, DataConnect, brings together a global community of industry leaders, technical experts, entrepreneurs, and academia while providing a platform for women to lead the conversations around the latests advancements and methodologies in data, analytics, and AI.
While the conference is organized and led by women, it is attended by all. While women can find an incredible amount of inspiration in each other's work, it's just as important for men to see women leading the way.
Even as a person with no connection with the industry, this is my favorite conference to shoot each year. The speakers are phenomenal (traveling from around the globe) and the content is fascinating - even for someone outside of the industry.
My relationship with leadership cements my work even further. I'm grateful to be given space to share my professional feedback (specifically regarding lighting, wardrobe, layout, and logistics) in support of improving this event year after year.
Imagine Blue Apron or Hello Fresh arriving at your home with already cooked food, and all you had to do was heat it up. That's what Luxe & Lemons does here in Central Ohio! In an online account, you place your order each week, get your delivery, heat the meals, and enjoy!
I've worked with Luxe & Lemons owner, Kat Rumley, for several years now. Each shoot is in a different location, with models enjoying the food, and all of us sharing lots of laughs. :)
Our most recent shoot, however, was just for the products themselves - the gorgeous meals available to order on the website! (I was super grateful when she sent me home with a large bag full of food! Have I ever said how much I love my job?)
Julie Ohlemacher is passionate about body image and intuitive eating coaching because of her own history of struggling in her body. As Julie embarked on her own healing journey, it became apparent that her struggle was not unique, that so many other women had the exact same experience.
As a coach, blogger, podcaster, and business owner (wearing all the hats!), Julie has always been keenly aware of the importance of constantly creating new content for her website and social media platforms. So many different types of images are needed to help a brand tell a story - in Julie's case, those images include more than just working at a desk - they show her personal life, her support of intuitive eating, her friends, her body (that she loves!), and of course her Insta-famous dog, Maple.
Julie is a pro at getting the most out of every shoot. Because of her prep work, we're usually able to get double the normal amount of photos in a one-hour shoot. Here's how she does it.
Ulmer is a law firm representing companies of all sizes across a wide spectrum of industries. As they welcome new attorneys, paralegals, and administrative professionals to their Columbus team, they have a long onboarding checklist to follow. One of the items on the list: get new headshots!
We've done this for several years:
Let's recap. Checking off this onboarding task took 30 seconds. That's it. I did everything else so that my client could get back to way more important work.
I say it all the time...I consider myself to be more of a business owner than an artist. I love the additional value my streamlined processes bring to my work - because being a commercial photographer is about more than providing nice photos. It's about the entire experience.
Brandi Lust is the author of Myths of Being Human: Four Paths to Connect with What Matters. Through her work nationally as a speaker and consultant, she helps organizations lower stress, build resilience, and create more connection for employees through tools like mindfulness and social- emotional learning.
Brandi's book was published in the spring of 2018, and to celebrate, Brandi planned a launch event at LIT Life + Yoga. She invited family, friends, clients, and colleagues to come enjoy food, drink, and a talk with host Debbie Penzone (owner of the yoga studio). Brandi also provided some meaningful mindfulness work to guests, which included journaling, a custom essential oil created by Under Aurora, and topics inspiring connection with others.
A few of my favorite shots, available for purchase for both personal and commercial use. SEE GALLERY
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