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I’m Dakota, a Wilmington, NC-based photographer helping engaged couples feel comfortable in front of the camera and creative businesses grow with purposeful brand imagery.

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Intentional Messaging Through Your Brand Photos | Sydni Media

August 3, 2023

Fun Fact: The very first professional photos of Julia holding a camera, I took! We did them together in 2020 as a part of her senior photos when she graduated from college. 

Now we are here three years later, and Julia has her own photography and video business, Syndi Media, and offers photography and videography services to weddings and seniors in Wilmington, NC and surrounding areas.

Julia has had such immense growth from 2020 when she was “playing photographer” (her words, not mine!) to now, where she is the real deal. She wanted brand photos and a brand that reflected this growth and showed that she is established as a professional.

Brand Photos for Wilmington Photographer and Videographer

Summer Brand Photos in Downtown Wilmington

The brand shoot is a catalyst to start conceptualizing the brand. 

Julia and I spent time really honing in on her messaging, making sure that we were crystal clear on the goals and direction of her photos before diving right in. This process is incredibly underrated because it’s easy to feel like you know what your brand is…that is, until you have to communicate it to someone else. 

Fully understanding your brand messaging is necessary in general, but even more so when working with someone creating assets for you (like brand design, photos, or websites). 

This looks like asking things like “what 5 adjectives describe your brand?” Before I dive into my research for brand shoot planning I sent over a questionnaire to get the brand owner’s initial thoughts for us to talk through. 

Originally Julia described her brand as “fun” – and while that’s a feeling she wants to leave with her clients, I really pushed her to dig into “what does fun mean to you?” Does it mean joyful, not serious, confetti, playful…or something else?

For Julia, “fun” meant “welcoming and relational.” It was important to lean on this understanding of “fun” to make sure Sydni Media is communicating exactly what Julia wants. 

It’s all about the connotation of the word. It goes beyond the definition.

Finding the specific meanings of the words we learn toward to describe ourselves and our business is a huge part of the branding process. It’s hard to take everything that we see in our brand and package it into one word, so in order to get there, we talk more, and use “I am (blank), not (blank)” statements like “I am fun, not juvenile.” 

This process is something I can work on with you when preparing for your brand shoot and/or copywriting. 

Brand Photos in the office of a wilmington photographer

Brand Photos with chocolate chip cookies in the home of a Wilmington photographer

Fun, classy brand photos in Wilmington NC

Intentional messaging is a cure for Imposter Syndrome. 

The reason intentional messaging is so important is because you can then be intentional about how you want to be viewed. It comes from truly understanding who you are and what your brand is so you can lean in with clarity. This intention makes its way into your brand photos, copy, and the way that you interact with clients. If you look professional, you are professional.

Julia hired Kelly Hillegass, a personal stylist and wardrobe editor based in Wilmington, NC, to curate her outfits. These elevated her photos because she chose to invest in the clothes that also spoke directly to the messaging she had worked through on our pre-shoot planning call. Julia choosing to go all in and elevating her look elevated not only her, but her brand as well. 

I also loved having Kelly there as a stylist, making sure every next outfit was ready to go and helping make accessory decisions so I could focus on setting up the scene for the next shot.

Because she chose to go all in, the brand shoot that we did together has longevity, and she won’t need to do another brand shoot for a while. 

Wilmington Stylist working with a Wilmington Wedding and Senior Photographer

Personal Stylist working with Wilmington Photographer for Brand Photos

Storyline1: “Safe and Sound” 

CONCEPT: Julia as your photographer is a safe and sound place – a place where you can be yourself and know that things will be taken care of. It’s a feeling of home, where you can laugh and also express your nerves. 

We really leaned into the personality of Julia here. She is an animal LOVER! She has a gecko, a bird, a cat, AND a dog. We made sure to include all the babies in a photo with her, along with showing Eddie, her bird, sitting on her computer because this is how Julia actually works!

I love these unique, personal touches because they show who someone actually is!!!

We also had Julia baking cookies, drinking wine, watching TV, and other personal life things to tie in her “brand boosters” that she often talks about in her messaging – a part of her personal brand.

Brand photos of a Wilmington Wedding Photographer and her dog

Wilmington Wedding Photographer with her pets for Brand Photos

Brand Photos of a Wilmington Photographer and her parrot

Brand Photos of Wedding Photographer in her home

Wilmington Wedding Photographer making cookies in her home

Wedding photographer photographed in her home for brand photos

Storyline 2: “Creating an Experience” 

CONCEPT: Your photographic experience is my top priority. I want you to feel guided and seen from the very beginning of finding me. I’m here to educate, lead you through the process, and know you’re in the hands of a professional. 

Storyline 1 was all about personal life; this is all about professional life. This is where we captured every aspect of her process. Her office had incredible light, so we took advantage of this, actually photographing her in her actual workspace.

We captured images highlighting the ways she interacts with clients on the phone or video calls, packaging prints and albums, and pinning their save the dates to her office corkboard.

Wilmington Wedding photographer working in her office for brand photos

Wedding Photographer on the Streets of Downtown Wilmington

I am starting to learn…if you have house projects that aren’t getting done, book a brand shoot LOL. 

What better way to motivate you to hang those photos or finally organize your office than to take photos in front of it. Julia hung all the photos in her office in preparation for the shoot, and they look awesome!

We also brought in Neal, who is a part of her video team, because he is a part of her brand too. While she is the main face of her brand, Neal shoots with her consistently so we also want her audience to feel familiar with his face too.

Wedding Photographer and Videographer brand photos

Wilmington Wedding Photographer and Videographer Brand Photos in the office

Wedding Photographer and videographer in downtown Wilmington

Brand Photo of Wilmington Wedding Photo and Video Team

For these photos, we ventured outside of the office to popular areas in Downtown Wilmington, NC to mimic what Julia looks like “in the wild” – whether preparing to greet a bride and groom on their wedding day or walking the streets with a senior.

Storyline 2 is all about her process from work in the office, to photos, to albums, and everything else. 

I am in LOVE with all the photos we took for Julia, and we are also working on something exciting together…Julia is More Than Creative’s first copywriting client, so it will be exciting to see how she utilizes her photos as she continues to elevate her brand.

It was super helpful to design the wireframe and write the copy for her new website knowing the brand photos that we had to work with. While I typically recommend doing the website design first so you have a better idea of what photos are needed, this worked out nicely because she has such a full gallery to work with (it’s almost like I planned it that way, hehe).

Wedding Photographer Brand photos

Brand photos of Wilmington Wedding Photographer in Downtown Wilmington

Prints from a Wilmington Wedding Photographer. Taken for brand photos

Summer Brand Photos of a Wilmington Wedding Photographer

Promotional Brand Photos for a Wilmington Wedding Photographer

Celebration Brand Photos for a Wedding and Senior Photographer

Brand Photos of a Wilmington NC Wedding and Senior Photographer in her office

Promotional Brand Photos for a Wedding Photographer

Wedding Photographer Brand Photos outside in Wilmington NC

Follow along with Julia and Sydni Media: Website (update coming soon!) | Instagram


I’m Dakota, a Wilmington, NC-based photographer Helping engaged couples feel comfortable in front of the camera and creative businesses grow with purposeful brand imagery.

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