Business + Marketing

Reinventing Your Wedding Photography Business: A Rebrand Case Study

December 4, 2019

By Melanie Maganias Nashan

All Photos © Melanie Maganias Nashan

A few months ago, I moved to New York City from Montana and decided to start fresh with my life, work, website and social media.

I have always wanted to live and work in Manhattan and at this time of year, it is especially invigorating. Getting there was another story: It took almost a year to sort through my 2,500-square-foot home filled with objects collected over a lifetime and decide which things to donate, sell, put in storage or surround myself within my cozy 375-square-foot apartment. 

I sold my car, raft, a 1967 Land Cruiser (with a snow plow mounted on it) and many other things with the intention of simplifying my life to create space to focus on my career. My children are grown, I just came off of a divorce and the timing felt right. 

I wanted to learn more, share more and cultivate the relationships with some of the most successful people in the wedding and editorial photo industry. As I proceeded with a complete rebrand, which included a website redesign, new business cards, logo and a more NYC-centric Instagram page, I decided to base design decisions on what I call “interruptions” or “pauses.” Take, for example, my business cards—a laser cut piece that started as a hand drawing of a vintage camera, in my colors (red and white), with just my name, number and Instagram handle (image above). My friend Sandi Marlowe of Spark Laser Creations in Montana surprised me by recreating my letterpress cards with an intricate laser-cut design. When I hand them out, people just stop and pause…they create an interruption in the moment and make people take notice. And the cards are definitely easy to find when reaching into a big or deep bag.

The Best Apps and Tools to Bump Up Your Brand Awareness

After the cards came a laser-cut belly band that wraps around my promo pieces  and then opens to a translucent page with a white version of the same camera from my cards. Also included is a quote by Matthew Robbins, an NYC-based high-end wedding designer: “Working with Melanie is an effortless and creative process. This is evident in the beautiful work she produces.”

Getting quotes for the cards and mailers was not difficult because I had already formed relationships with Matthew and other key planners and creatives in the industry—like former BRIDES photo editor Kristi Drago-Price—during my two-plus decades in the industry. I have had the good fortune to call many of the people in my industry friends and they have been incredibly supportive of my new life. 

Six-Figure Wedding Photography: Solidifying Vendor Relationships and Scoring Referrals

But back to the nuts and bolts—the belly band design that my friend Priscilla Foster of Priscilla Foster Handmade helped me design is functional and fluid. It allows me to customize which images I include on a sheet based on who I am meeting with—if the client or planner wants someone who shoots mountain weddings or city weddings or destination weddings, I can easily and quickly replace the pages with images that reflect that I photograph that.

In addition, I knew that I wanted to get quotes, like Matthew’s, from key people I worked with, and have them included on the belly band as well as pop up straight from the center of my home page of my website. I envisioned that mechanical process from the start and I wanted every detail to be exactly how I wanted it to be, even if my web designer wasn’t fully on board. That just meant I had to do it myself or find someone else who would.

Website Essentials: Making It Easier for Potential Clients to Hire You

In addition to having the right visuals for my site and other branding, I also needed the right words to convey me, which my friend Maggie McGuane, an accomplished writer whose wedding I photographed, made sure were spot on: “I Love Seeing Feelings Through My Lens.” It gets to the core of all my branding pieces and really sums up what I bring to my clients on their wedding day.

I’ve basically created a self portrait of who I am as an artist and an individual; for me, the two are forever intertwined. I love love. It resonates in me and lives in my photos. I finally feel that all of my marketing identity reiterates who I truly am.  

Melanie Maganias Nashan is a destination wedding photographer originally from Montana. During her illustrious 28-year career, she’s been named One of America’s top 15 wedding photographers by Photo District News, and was featured in Rangefinder editor-in-chief Jacqueline Tobin’s book, Wedding Photographers Unveiled: Insight and Inspiration from 20 Top Photographers in 2009. Melanie is hopelessly in love with love and it shows in all she does.