Design and images are so vital in expanding your audience.
Because when you like and feel good about your platform, you want to SHARE it!
It feels so incredible to send fans, customers and potential clients to your social media platforms, your website, blog, or crowdfund and know that what is there is a true reflection of your work.
You can feel a sense of relief that your album cover, book design, social media templates, head shot, or logo are right on target.
Most of all, having imagery that you feel GOOD looking at and sharing with your audience builds your confidence.
So, this all sounds great, but what if you are not a designer?
What if you don’t have photos of you or your work that you feel confident about?
Time for collaboration!
I like to define collaboration as a power WITH relationship, meaning both parties are committed and interested in creating agreement and a shared vision.
Now, I know collaboration can feel overwhelming. There can be a lot of pressure to find that perfect photographer, designer, or team player who can help you grow. So, today I want to break this all down into four easy check points when searching for your collaborators and give you a real life example.
- Contribution. An ideal collaborator will bring new and fresh ideas to the table. They will feel inspired by your vision and want to offer their perspective. This is vital, because we don’t know what we don’t know, and in the creative process, it’s the combination of ideas that usually creates the greatest magic. When I first pictured the cover of my book, I saw something very stark, but after speaking with my publisher and then my designer, I was presented with something so much more in line with what I wanted to convey, it really helped create a book cover I feel so excited to share! If left on my own, I would have never discovered this other option that feels so much better. My team are all contributors, and the final product will be stronger because it will be a reflection of all the input.
- Shared Values. Before hiring or going into collaboration with anyone, it’s important to first see if they are aligned with the values of your work. If there is a fundamental difference around belief systems, this will rear it’s head and possibly derail the project. For instance, let’s say you have a very spiritual platform, and your work really speaks to connecting to a higher power, to the universe, or source energy. If the photographer you interview or designer you speak with is agnostic, this could be an issue. You can help the process by FIRST listing out what the core values are of your platform or your work, and begin any conversation to see if the other person also holds these beliefs. You are seeking some mutuality so that whatever images are created convey your values and help attract in your perfect audience. Belief systems are highly personal, so connect to what is important to you first and then communicate to build the right support.
- Flexibility. The very essence of collaboration is based on agreement, and there are so many factors that are out of our control. You might have a photo shoot scheduled outside, and it rains, or you become sick. It’s vital to have respect from your collaborator to hold the space for changing circumstances. This is most important within the actual process. Flexibility opens you and your collaborator up to a feeling of play, an ability to be in the present moment and flow with what is actually happening. Perhaps you had one idea, and then something new occurs and your collaborator asks to try it. On my recent photo shoot for my book, my photographer and I were driving to the planned location, and passed a high school. It caused both of us to stop and stare. Even though it wasn’t part of the schedule, we both agreed to go there after the first location, and the photos we took there are epic! Creativity happens in an open space, free of constraints, so make sure you have a great playmate, someone who will be flexible and willing to go with the flow.
- Actions. This is vital for any life affirming relationship. An ideal collaborator is someone who will grow WITH you, over time, and be a trusted source of design and images for years to come. In order to have a collaboration that bears fruit, you need to pay attention to the other person’s actions over time. Do they show up when they say they will? Do they hold to your requested deadlines? Do you feel heard, seen, and understood? If you are constantly chasing after your collaborator, or finding them combative or unreliable, release them. They may be going through a rough time, or ultimately not a fit for you. Believe their actions over any words, excuses, or silence they communicate. Best of all, releasing someone who is not a fit, opens you energetically to call in someone who will want to partner with you and bring your fearless vision to life.
Back in 2014, as I was rebuilding my life after losing everything, I decided to start writing a blog. It felt amazing to come back to this passion from my childhood, and I had a dear friend who was a photographer. In the Fall of 2014, we went to the Cloisters in upper Manhattan and created magic. I was blown away by her images, and how she was able to communicate my values of the blog and the impact I truly wanted to have. Fast forward to this past weekend, 8 years later, and Caitlin of Caitlin Cannon Photography continues to bring my vision to life. Because we share these four checkpoints above, we have continued to grow and expand together and I know I can trust her with my life, my words, and my work.
It’s a collaboration of true loving alchemy,
This is what I hold for you.
Collaborations that affirm your life.
Because when your life energy is fed and nourished, everything expands.