a mini branding session at Amber Shumake Creative | dfw branding photography

Around 2017, I began to offer branding photography mostly for people who were starting their businesses. What’s been beautiful over the past four years is to see how these images have helped them build a beautiful brand with their websites, social media, and newsletters. This past year, I found a beautiful studio space to call home. With its windows and skylights and white walls, it’s essentially a bright blank canvas. I work in this space every day, so I have design elements like desks, tables, chairs, plants, etc. So, I can create a scene that’s unique and authentic to your brand in a snap. Because I don’t have to schlep my equipment across town to sublease a space, I can offer these sessions at a lower rate than I once could. Whether you’re just starting your business or you’re pivoting your business model or would just simply like to hit refresh on your photos, I’d love to help. These sessions last 45-60 minutes allowing for 2-3 scenes and yielding about 15 images with the commercial license to use these images in ways that elevate your brand. If you’re interested in discussing or booking a session, you can do so HERE via my online schedule. Previous clients can enjoy 20% off. 


In music, are you more interested in the notes or the space between? Do you listen first to the vocals or the percussion? It’s fascinating how as individuals, we can hear the same thing, so differently. 

I might be entirely wrong about this because I don’t always know what I don’t know, and I certainly am frequently too close  to see myself objectively; however, when people hire me for branding photos, I believe they’re hiring me because they want something unique to their brand and different from the norm. I say this because everyone has a camera at their fingertips, and you probably know at least three photographers. 

I created these photographs with Rich Malloy , and on our initial call, he said, “I love what you did with Lauren.” I swallowed. At once, I felt full of pride and also fear. Pride because I absolutely love that set I created with her.  Fear because I never quite know if I can replicate my artistic process in a unique way that’s relevant to each person. Perhaps, that fear is just imposter syndrome. Or, maybe it’s that I feel invested in  the product and service that I’m offering to people. 

So, I do it scared. 

I knew I wanted to use layers of shadow and  light, texture, motion via long exposures and double exposures to bring to life the undertones that percussion brings to life in music. And, I overshot the session because the weather was gloomy which is par for the course in mid December, and I was in Rich’s incredible studio, but that means I don’t know the lighting in the way that I do my own studio. As usual, I awaited the film scans with about as much patience as a toddler waits for Christmas. When I received them, I was blown away. So was Rich. 

This feels like an exceptional session on which to end such a strange year. 

art is essential.

On the fall equinox last week, I created these photos with my longtime friend and spiritual mentor, Lauren Wessinger. Lauren is an incredible mom, wife, yoga teacher, mindfulness instructor, Buddhist practitioner, and spirit. She teaches virtually via an online membership for $30/month where she offers yoga, meditation, mindfulness for kids, a beginner series, and continuing education for yoga and meditation teachers. This month, she’s doing a series entitled Mindful October. I can’t wait to sit with her. Check it out HERE.

I’ve watched her teach throughout the pandemic with amazement. Sometimes I turn on a yoga class and I begin to do what she says, and then I roll around and do what I want, and around the 40 minute mark without fail, I get up to sweep the floor or wipe down a counter top. This says nothing about her teaching and everything about my attention span and obsessive behaviors. Yet, never do I regret having turned the class on and done a little bit. She tells me “Some is better than nothing.” As someone who’s long been an all or nothing kind of person, I need her perspective. 

She wanted some photographs that were more detail oriented for yoga postures. I wanted to capture the movement of the body and energy involved in yoga. I never found exactly what I was looking for online. I told her “The ideas are in my head,” and because of our history she just showed up and trusted me to create something. For my technical followers, these photos are either Cinestill 35 mm 800T film or medium format Portra 800. The double exposures were all done in camera on a tripod. My friend is 5’11”, so I stood on an apple box. I used one Profoto B10 in my studio with natural, overcast light. It was pretty dreary that morning. 

When I received the film back from Richard Photo Lab, I was pretty amazed. What came to me was: art is essential. This art will always remind me of this time: 2020, the change of seasons, how much I’d missed my friend, the chaos and the simplicity, the shadow and the light. And, for me, to create art, I must sit and feel, pause and breathe, lean in and let go. I am grateful to Lauren for holding the space for me and so many to do that. 

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