Business + Marketing

My Rebranding Story: Expanding a Single-Person Photo Business to a Family Collective

March 22, 2018

By Jake and Ash Murphy

All Photos © LOVE + WOLVES CO

When we got together, Jake was a photographer under JBM Photography and Ash was an editorial hair stylist and makeup artist living in New York City. We wanted to join forces and evolve our careers into a company together, and both being obsessed with love, we decided to get involved in weddings. After a while, we realized something was wrong: we were trying to see where we fit into the wedding industry, when we should have been trying to stand out.

Under JBM, we were attracting weddings we didn’t want and couples we didn’t really click with. Don’t get us wrong, we have always loved our couples, but we felt it was time to change and focus on a demographic that we identified with more: hip, quirky, creative and sexy couples.

JBM—Jake’s initials—was not a sexy, eye-catching studio name. We needed to change the brand to better represent who we had become after several seasons, as bicoastal photographers with six shooters and two hair and makeup teams.

We started by getting a new website through Squarespace that 1) showcased our work in a beautiful and simple way, 2) was super informative and easy to navigate so couples could pull the trigger when they were ready, 3) let our personalities shine through so couples felt like they knew us, and 4) had a very detailed inquiry form so we could gather all the info we needed and decide whether we wanted to work with the couple.

Then, we tasked our insanely talented friend, tattoo artist Minka Sicklinger, to do some logos and illustrations for us to help us create a vibe that we loved and that our potential clients would love too. (We get compliments on our logo constantly.)

And, of course, we changed our name—to LOVE + WOLVES CO. We found it way more enticing than JBM. Which would you click if you had to choose? The new name represented our love philosophy and conveyed that we are a collective of creatives, not just Jake. We’ve had an obsession with wolves since we got together—they take a partner for life and have a loyalty we always hope to emulate—and this really blossomed during our own wedding planning. In inviting a small amount of people, we realized who our chosen family was—our wolf pack. We felt there was no greater honor than to be a part of our couples’ packs on the most important day of their lives.

In wanting our passion for and outlook on life to translate into our business, we decided to blend both, making our life our business and our business our life.

We launched our new @loveandwolvesco Instagram account where we decided to post both personal and wedding images. Our presence became more about getting across our vision of love, our creative eyes and what inspires us than getting likes and comments. Now, any trip we go on or wedding we shoot, we create a story and keep it updated on Instagram. As we write this, we’re creating a story while we’re in Sayulita, Mexico—snippets from our travels, of our kids having a good time, cool portraits of each other. For weddings, we plan time on either side so we can arrive, get settled, work and then decompress before we go home.

We turned our blog into a place to house both weddings and our “Wolves Who Wander” family adventures to places like Lake Tahoe, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree and Yosemite. We let our clients into our lives. The most intimate look we’ve given would probably be the homebirth of our youngest child. “Mama Wolf rocked the s*** out of labor and brought the coolest little wolf pup into this world,” we wrote in the post.

When we’re interacting with our couples, we just act like they’re old friends. Photographing a wedding is really intimate, so we want our couples to feel close to us instantly, which translates into trust and a higher perceived value. When we rebranded, we increased our rates across the board by 30 percent. We only want to work with couples that are super excited about what we do and how we do it. If they are, they will be willing to pay.

Since then, our overall inquiries have increased 120 percent. Our inquiries from Instagram have increased 2300 percent—no joke. It’s really working for us to be true to ourselves and let our clients decide if that’s what they want.

Related: The Secret Retreat: A Workshop For the Aspiring Destination Wedding Photographer