How to Successfully Rebrand and Relocate Your Photography Business in 18 Months

October 24, 2016 | carrie

rebrand-relocate-how-to-photobug-24 Photo by Hinterland Stills

Whether you dream of moving your photography business to the other side of the world or just a few hours from your current home, relocating your business is a big feat. For the team at Hinterland Stills (formerly Fotoenvy), that feat also included a complete rebrand. Making the move to Seattle from Illinois opened the door to a new community and a new pool of potential clients, but it was also a huge business decision that took strategy and capital to accomplish. Learn how to successfully rebrand and relocate your photography business in today’s interview with Kyle Wilson and Stephen Ramsden, owners of Hinterland Stills!

Can you give us a little background on who you are and the history of your photography business?

We are Kyle Wilson & Stephen Ramsden. Our business started as a little larger collective called Fotoenvy Studios in Rockford, Illinois. We’ve been shooting 40+ weddings since 2011, working as a two-person team since early 2015.

rebrand-relocate-how-to-photobug-6 Photo by Fotoenvy

What kind of research should other businesses do before deciding what region to move to/to move at all?

We weighed a lot of variables, primarily focusing on quality of life, client demographic, and financials. Deciding the kinds of clients you want for the future of your business and locating where you can find them while simultaneously growing your business financially is the key. For us, Seattle absolutely provides a growth in business and income even with the higher cost of living. All of which factor into the living conditions and quality of life we’ve chosen.

How long did you it take before you booked your first wedding as a Seattle photographer?

We started marketing ourselves in Seattle in the spring of 2015, had our first booking that April, and ended the year with seven bookings.

rebrand-relocate-how-to-photobug-8 Photo by Hinterland Stills

What inspired the new brand?

As our business grew, we found ourselves moving away from connecting with grand materialistic, elaborate days and more towards smaller, more intimate couples, days, and moments. More and more PNW photographers began to fill our inspiration boards, and we decided if we want those types of clients and days, we had to chase them.

How would you describe your old brand versus your new brand?

We were heavily inspired by Sam Hurd. We geeked out for vibrant colors, technical shots, and awesome lighting. Our new brand focuses on the intersect we find between genuine moments and heavy love.

carly-martin_creative-0061-1 Photo by Fotoenvy

rebrand-relocate-how-to-photobug-17 Photo by Hinterland Stills

How did you make the transition as far as photography style?

It was pretty abrupt. We had been messing around with the VSCO preset packs for some time, and one week we just flipped and said “everything we do is VSCO now, let’s make that our new starting point.”

Did you receive any negative (or positive) feedback from current clients as you made the shift?

We discussed the idea of chatting with clients about the new change, or work on editing/shooting a mix of both styles. Ultimately, we felt we had done well in booking clients who really trusted us. We totally got lucky and everyone was just as ecstatic about their images because they had faith in whatever direction we went.

What marketing tips/advice do you have for those looking to rebrand?

It’s really easy to fall into a rhythm and carbon copy image styles of others in whatever market you’re looking at. Look at everyone’s work in that area with the clients you’re looking to get (even if the photographic style is way different) and cherry-pick the things you love most. Reach out to those people and discover their business and client motivations. Find what sticks to your heart and work on building off of that.

rebrand-relocate-how-to-photobug-10 Photo by Hinterland Stills

Why did you decide to make the move from Chicago to Seattle?

We started falling in love with coastal beach elopements, scenic mountain views, and trendy (dare I say hipster) wedding vibes. We were 2,000 miles away and it was hitting us hard. We went out for a week to scope the city out and fell in love fast.

Why leave a market where you’re successful to go somewhere new?

At the time, we were 24 and 34 years old. If we wanted to up and go somewhere new, somewhere that was so heavily attracting us…and somewhere without polar vortexes, now was the time. We like the people where we live, but the truth is we don’t love everything about where we live. We wanted to go somewhere where we could experience the full effects of both.

rebrand-relocate-how-to-photobug-4 Photo by Hinterland Stills

What was it like getting involved with the local community while still in Chicago?

This is the best part and I cannot rave enough about how welcoming the Seattle community has been. From the moment we started reaching out to anyone, they were so genuinely excited and willing to meet, hang out, and even offer their homes to us.

What are ways photographers can get involved in new communities?

Be bold and reach out to everyone you can. Almost every major area has a Facebook group. Social media has made it silly easy to connect with people in this industry.

rebrand-relocate-how-to-photobug-2 Photo by Hinterland Stills

What worked best for you in terms of booking new clients in Seattle before the move?

We took our Chicago work and went through every single wedding we ever shot, picking out an entirely new portfolio and revisiting everything for a fresh edit. We wanted to sell the PNW vibe and feel without having shot there yet. As soon as we were able, we reached out to couples on any social media we could to work on making photos in the places we wanted to book. The first big step was wedding shows. Totally not our favorite thing, but we were super reserved and only worked with clients who truly connected to our work and our ideas. That was the first step in the snowball.

rebrand-relocate-how-to-photobug-22 Photo by Hinterland Stills

What should someone expect about traveling in the lead up before making the actual move? Do you have any advice on making that process easier?

It’s a lot. Traveling is stressful and tiring. We’ve been back and forth to Seattle almost 25 times in around 15 months. Between offering our packages at a lower price to get clients in the area we wanted, eating out every meal, renting AirBnBs or hotels, renting cars, flying back and forth, riding trains and buses, etc., we spent around $30k on this move. Factor in that dates you are shooting in a new market you are not shooting in your current market charging full price, and you see why this could be a turn off to those who are not fully invested. If you’re committed to it, have a solid action plan for your next 6-18 months, and a good neck pillow, and it can be done. I think being aware of the financial burden a transition like this will have on your company is a must.

If we were to do this all over again, we would have probably purchased a cheap car in the Seattle area. We would have easily saved $5K in car rental fees over what we would have paid for a cheap Corolla or something. Because of vacations and wedding season being parallel, car rental prices can soar, especially if the new market you are targeting is a place people want to visit.

rebrand-relocate-how-to-photobug-27 Photo by Hinterland Stills

How do you stand out as a new business in an already saturated market?

I don’t think you want to go into any market with the broad idea of “standing out.” However, if you can faithfully go into it with the idea to “stand out to the client who deeply connects with your work and vision” then you’ll have nothing but success.

Would you recommend this transition to other businesses?

For the right reasons, yes. If you feel like the weddings you want to shoot are somewhere else where you can both improve your work and your quality of life, then chase it.

What’s next for Hinterland Stills?

It feels like SO many things. We totally want more international bookings. We’re trying really hard to spread our work around to more rad blogs and continue to network in this rad community. But the main underlying goal is always booking more clients who we find ourselves genuinely connecting with in a way that we might not have in the past.

rebrand-relocate-how-to-photobug-31 Photo by Hinterland Stills

Big shout out to the team at Hinterland Stills for sharing their story with us.

Ready to rebrand and relocate your photography business? If you could move your photography business anywhere, where would you move and why? Let us know in the comments!


Email [email protected] to advertise on Junebug Weddings

Top Pics of the Week – October 21st

October 21, 2016 | carrie

top-pics-of-the-week-10-21-2016-6 Photo by Wandering Woo

Misty moments, dreamy reflections, fall foliage, and more can be found in this week’s Top Pics. The beautiful imagery featured today is courtesy of Wandering WooThe Jar PhotographyMark Hadden PhotographyThe HendrysThe CrawleysDark Roux PhotographySamuel Goh PhotographyDara SikkilaKeepsake PhotoKaty Weaver Photography, and Maciej Suwalowski.

top-pics-of-the-week-10-21-2016-7 Photo by The Jar Photography

top-pics-of-the-week-10-21-2016-1 Photo by Mark Hadden Photography

top-pics-of-the-week-10-21-2016-9 Photo by The Hendrys

top-pics-of-the-week-10-21-2016-2 Photo by The Crawleys

top-pics-of-the-week-10-21-2016-10 Photo by Dark Roux Photography

top-pics-of-the-week-10-21-2016-3 Photo by Samuel Goh Photography

top-pics-of-the-week-10-21-2016-8 Photo by Dara Sikkila

top-pics-of-the-week-10-21-2016-4 Photo by Keepsake Photo

top-pics-of-the-week-10-21-2016-11 Photo by Katy Weaver Photography

top-pics-of-the-week-10-21-2016-5 Photo by Maciej Suwalowski

Big thanks to everyone who shared their work with us this past week! Stay tuned for next week’s Top Pics and be sure to #photobugcommunity on Instagram for a chance to see your work here next week.

Have you joined our Photobug Community Facebook group? Join today to stay in the loop on all things Photobug!


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Instagrammers to Follow – October Edition

October 20, 2016 | carrie

instagrammers-october-photobug-14 Photo by Maciej Suwalowski

If you’re not using Instagram as a marketing tool for your photography business, you’re doing it wrong! Learn how some of our favorite accounts have gained clients and built their own communities with Instagram in this month’s edition of Instagrammers to Follow.

In Frames Photography – @inframesphotography

instagrammers-october-photobug-1 Photo by In Frames Photography

I love Instagram! It’s definitely how I get a majority of my clients! I love that it allows for me to connect with a large audience that reaches beyond my local word of mouth referrals. My biggest tip to Instagram is to keep it real and genuine. Always post what you love, remember that you book what you post and try to be as consistent as possible. I always suggest keeping it mostly business with a hint of your personality! Instagram stories is a great way to give your followers a glimpse into your everyday life and behind the scenes of your shoots!

instagrammers-october-photobug-3 Photo by In Frames Photography

instagrammers-october-photobug-4 Photo by In Frames Photography

instagrammers-october-photobug-12 Photo by In Frames Photography

Cody & Allison – @codyandallisonphoto

instagrammers-october-photobug-5 Photo by Cody & Allison

Instagram has served as an invaluable tool for our business in not only providing a super easy way to display a quick portfolio on a widely utilized platform but it has also given us the freedom to market our business outside of our area. We have been fortunate enough to gain a lot of traction in inquiries strictly because of Instagram and also give insight as to who we are as people to potential clients. Those two things alone give plenty of reason to utilize the platform as often as you can!

instagrammers-october-photobug-7 Photo by Cody & Allison

instagrammers-october-photobug-8 Photo by Cody & Allison

I would definitely encourage anyone to stay active on Instagram and to really focus on sharing compelling content! Use interaction as a means of not only gaining relationships with other artists but also gracefully putting your convenient portfolio in front of others! Also, be grateful to your fans and followers. Whether you have 500 or 10,000 followers, take a second to thank them for the kind words.

People see tons of amazing images every day and for someone to take the time to provide you with kind words or praise is truly special. Also, be yourself. As much as we wish we were awesome at putting deep captions and quotes on photos, we just can’t. We are naturally goofy people and we let that all out. People appreciate that. They want that.

instagrammers-october-photobug-9 Photo by Cody & Allison

instagrammers-october-photobug-11 Photo by Cody & Allison

Maciej Suwalowski – @maciej.suwalowski

instagrammers-october-photobug-2 Photo by Maciej Suwalowski

I take my Instagram game very seriously. I’m a bit late to the party, as I started working on it only in the beginning of this year, but these days, I spend more time on Instagram than on any other social media. Building my audience requires me to think strategically, and to think about what I want to achieve at the end of the day. The two most important factors for me are to post regularly and consistently. I hope that potential brides looking at my Instagram gallery know what to expect from me. I also hope that my Instagram grid is creating a sort of “WOW” effect for viewers that open my profile for the first time. And now with Instagram stories giving me the opportunity to add a personal touch, with behind the scenes and backstage content, in addition to the gallery of beautiful, well-curated images – it makes Instagram the best channel to attract potential clients.

instagrammers-october-photobug-6 Photo by Maciej Suwalowski

instagrammers-october-photobug-13 Photo by Maciej Suwalowski

instagrammers-october-photobug-10 Photo by Maciej Suwalowski

instagrammers-october-photobug-14 Photo by Maciej Suwalowski

Melissa Marshall – @melissamarshallx

instagrammers-october-photobug-16 Photo by Melissa Marshall

I love using Instagram to showcase my work + style, as well as share insight to my personal life + things I’m interested in. I like to balance the two because I think it really shows who I am as an artist and who I am as a person going day to day. To be honest, I don’t give a ton of thought to my posts. I post when I feel like it and when I’m crazy about an image or really wanting to share something new + cool I just bought. I’ve gained so many new clients through IG, it’s such a wonderful marketing tool and a way to meet new friends in new places! I also love following fellow artists of all types and supporting them in their growth. It’s so fun watching people grow on IG!

instagrammers-october-photobug-17 Photo by Melissa Marshall

instagrammers-october-photobug-18 Photo by Melissa Marshall

My advice to other photographers new to IG or wanting to grow their following would be to really own who you are as an artist. Admire others work and gain inspiration from it, but then go and create something new + bold. Own it. Collaborate with others + seek community. & come follow me so we can be friends!

instagrammers-october-photobug-19 Photo by Melissa Marshall

instagrammers-october-photobug-20 Photo by Melissa Marshall

Have an account you think we should feature next month? Drop us a line below!

For more Instagram tips + advice, check out How to Grow Your Instagram Following + Increase Engagement.

Email [email protected] to advertise on Junebug Weddings