Pandemics, New Branding, and Life Updates

It has been 19 months since my last published blog post. It would be an understatement to say that a lot has happened since February 2019! I could take this post in a lot of different directions, and I know I’ll struggle to keep to the point, but I’ll certainly try ๐Ÿ™‚

Let’s start with the (obvious) fun topic:

The brand new look of Steph Parker Photo.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. This time last year, I wasn’t sure what my future held. I knew that I loved photographing weddings, but I was feeling lost. I contemplated whether or not I wanted to continue on this journey – being a paid photographer.

Well, if it isn’t obvious, I’ve decided to continue on this wonderful, weird, time-consuming, life changing journey.

I knew that if I was to continue on this journey, a slew on changes needed to be made.

1. I need to actually charge what I’m worth. What a shock, right? Photographers, and those of us specializing in weddings in particular, are often shamed into charging WAY less than we should! This is usually because the average person does not understand value and the concept of need vs. want.

‘Do I need a wedding?’ — ‘Do I want a wedding?’

See the difference?

So overnight, I increased my pricing by almost $1,000. Have I lost bookings because of this change? Of course. But I’m much happier for it! I’m not a full time wedding photographer. As much as I’d like to be, I can’t afford to do it. And frankly, I LOVE my full time job at Midwest Photo! If I’m going to do both, it’s going to be worth it.

2. I needed a true, visual representation of what Steph Parker Photo really aims to be. I studied art and journalism in college, but does that make me the best person for the job? Not in this case. I needed help!

Enter Allie from The Wonder Jam.

She kicked ass on this project! Seriously. From the minute she showed me drafts of logos and icons, I was sold. It certainly helps when the first icons she showed were tacos and my dog! ๐Ÿ™‚

Life has a funny way of intervening when you least expect it. Allie and I finalized my logo and branding kit right before COVID-19 shook the world. Literally, days before. I think I may have been one of the last in-person meetings before shutdown, right Allie? To go from the excitement of completing this enormous task to life coming to a screeching halt was shocking.

A few months before COVID, I took on the role of assistant sales manager at Midwest Photo. It was a huge accomplishment – one that I’ve been working towards in the entire decade I’ve worked in sales. But stepping into a new role, a management level role, at the brink of a pandemic was extremely challenging.

During the early days of quarantine, I split up all of my time. During the day, I answered emails, calls, and live chats for Midwest Photo. In the evenings, I spent what time I could curating this new website. Then after two or so weeks, I got called back to the store to help pick web orders. I was the eyes and ears for my coworkers working from home.

It was hard work.

Not creating the website (don’t get me wrong, it was but come on). Working as an “essential employee” in the time of a pandemic was mentally and emotionally straining. Especially considering I don’t work in a field that is normally considered “essential to life.” But I’m so glad for the experience! I value my coworkers more than ever – working in 1,500 square foot warehouse with just one or two other people was … lonely.

Fast forward to today. August 11, 2020. A handful of months since the pandemic shook the world. And six months since I started this website renovation. Today, is a good day. Today, my website and rebrand is complete.

Now that the truly exciting portion of this blog post is over, I guess I should briefly cover what’s happened in the last 19 months beyond the pandemic and my rebranding.

  1. Started my new role at Midwest Photo as the assistant sales manager and Nikon specialist.
  2. I moved. Twice.
  3. I’ve shot over 40 rolls of film in the last 2 years! Truthfully, that really isn’t a whole lot but I think it’s pretty cool.
  4. I bought a medium format film camera – a Pentax 67 II – with the intention of using it at portrait sessions and weddings. It’s the most beautiful thing I own.
  5. I’ve dyed my hair blue. Three times!
  6. I’ve photographed 10 weddings! Again, not an exciting number but considering I work 40-50 hour work weeks and 6-9 of those 19 months were during a pandemic, I’m considering that to be a good number.
  7. I ate a bazillion tacos and spent most nights snuggling with my pup, Clark!
  8. For the remainder of 2020, I’m expecting to photograph four more weddings. If COVID-19 allows, of course ๐Ÿ™‚

To end on a positive note, I’m going to share some of my favorite film photos I’ve taken over the last year or so! I have some plans for future posts to talk more about film – my favorite stocks, cool cameras to check out, and more photos to share!