My friends and I all agree:

business ownership is not for the feint of heart.

I think anyone who goes into business for themselves can't really imagine doing anything else. No matter when one makes the decision

-straight out of college, after a really bad job, during a dramatic life change- there is usually one consistent driver behind the choice:

a deep and nagging compulsion that we "have so much more to offer."

Working with small business owners is a particularly rewarding arm of my own small business, and I truly love the deep dives that I get to take with the gutsy go-getters who find themselves throwing caution to the wind. It's exhilarating to give yourself full permission to be in charge of your own life, and to show the world that you are capable, unique, and trustworthy. I can't think of a better way to celebrate such a proclamation than guessed it...PORTRAITS.

We're all a little quirky when it comes to being photographed. We know it's important to have a portrait that leaves a good impression,

and we've all heard that "a picture is worth a thousand words." But, have you ever really thought about what words you might want your own photographs to say? Is there something inside of you that you'd like people to see? Or something you'd like to hide? It could be both.

Portrait photography takes a great deal of vulnerability and courage, but it doesn't have to be scary.

the courage to be seen and heard

Kristen and I were friendly in high school (at a time when Kristen was a VERY popular name) and I was so surprised when she contacted me about her Personal Branding. Sometimes creatives have a hard time knowing who our art is resonating with, and I was delighted to hear that she felt that

I was the right photographer for her. It had been well over 30 years since we'd been in touch, but our connection was strong and after catching

up on a lot of life lived, we forged ahead.

When a client has a message to share, together we spend some very focused time getting zeroed-in on exactly what is to be shared.

Personal Branding pictures are meant to have some longevity and reach, so it's important to cover all the points of connection that make

a business specifically suited and connected to its audience. Kristen has a niche in the technology sector and some special attributes that are attractive to a variety of potential clients. She's a heart-lead leader with a deep background in network technology, but she is also an outdoor enthusiast, a single mother of two, an animal lover and one hell of a paddle boarder. Kristen is equal parts left and right brain, with a penchant

for mysticism and personal growth (ask her about her card collection). She also happens to have a fantastic sense of humor.

At the beginning of a photographic journey, sometimes it's hard to allow yourself to be seen and heard. You might feel silly, or unworthy,

or embarrassed, or worried about how your images are going to be received. I know that Kristen felt some of these things, but she set aside

her resistance and took the ride. She allowed me to see the things that build her personality, and now she has an arsenal of editorial images

that she feels proud of and that represent her in present time.

The time is now

Thinking about Personal Branding? There is no time like the present. You don't need to lose weight first, or have the perfect clothes. You don't need to wait for the right time, or have to have an established business. You don't need to do anything but show up and be yourself. What have you got to lose?

A big thank you to Kristen and the city of Canton, Ohio for the hospitality! Shot at Gervasi Vineyard

and Pro Football Hall of Fame Starbucks.