"After receiving the photos I have to say I didn't put enough emphasis on your skill level. Because I've worked with photography I see the quality and hours you've put into your craft."

Kyle is an icon designer and long time friend of mine. It has been inspiring to see him refine his craft and message over the last couple of years. I have long admired his work and was excited to help him tell his story through photos.

Working with small companies and startups is a passion of mine. In this capacity I become a co-creator with the company as we work together to help them share their message; in this case through photos. 



When Kyle approached me with wanting to do a refresh of photos for him, my first question was “How do you describe the ascetic and feeling of your brand?”. The reason being I want to ensure the photos will be cohesive with the brand and not feel like an after thought. 

This is foundational. It's like an interior designer, walking into a beautiful old building being remodeled to get a sense of the current physical structure and personality. It helps to know what needs to stay and what needs to be updated. It also helps identify elements to carry over so as to not loose the charm and personality but rather have it extend into the new design. That is exactly the same concept for my photography. I need those elements to be felt and be alive in the photos, otherwise the photos will fight the content instead of complement it. For Kyle, he described his brand as light, airy, and a much more open feel. He also explained he liked an urban feel with highlights of nature. 



Along with this information I started asking Kyle where he felt most comfortable both as he is creating and when he is enjoying personal time. Essentially, where do you find yourself gravitating to the most? What physical locations? I do this for two main reasons. 

First, most people feel a little uncomfortable when they are getting their picture taken. This is normal. That's why I get people in their comfort zone so they can connect with what is familiar and their mind can let go of any stress around taking the photos. That is my job. They can relax; let their true self come out. At that point my creativity is at it's peak; when I drift into the background and capture life. 

Second, it gave me insight into Kyle’s physical ascetic and taste. With this I look for details he was not saying. It can be challenging to convey or articulate your style but I have learned how to read and draw from physical surroundings to better prepare and guide my clients during the photo shoot.


I wanted him to feel he had a versatile collection of photos. I knew 3 locations could cover that. We needed shots of him in his workspace/studio and I knew the pearl had that good urban environment that fits his style. For the third location I was looking for a place that he goes when he needs to work outside of the studio. He identified a local coffee, which was perfect. It’s open bright and a very modern industrious feel that is cohesive with the other 2 location. This is important. You want each location to feel connected so the story can flow. You want multiple locations to get variation while still feeling the photos are in the same collection. This was achieved by applying earlier conversations of ascetics and design to environments. 



A couple more question I asked where “What are the challenges you have with your current photos?”, "What is missing?", “Who is your target audience and what are the main reasons people are following you?”. He explained first, the challenge is his work is more playful and upbeat so he needs photos that are not so stark or over professional. He wanted to feel his personality come through, which I would describe as professional but fun and light hearted. Kyle is very organized but he knows how to have fun and doesn’t take himself too seriously. He strikes a good balance.

He also explained people are interested in learning from him about icons and are very curious about his lifestyle. They wonder how Kyle balances work that is entertaining and being professional. And although they may not be pursing iconography full time or may be on the fence about it, they are interested in how he can do it as a full time job. Knowing this I started thinking about creating photos that he could use in different scenarios to connect with his audience.



Here is a breakdown of the 3 locations, their piece of the story and a sample of shots. 



Shows the behind the scenes



Place to get away and be inspired



Environment outside of work.



It's been enjoyable to see how Kyle uses the photos to connect with his audience and see their response. If you follow him on twitter, instagram, dribbble or sign up for his newsletter you can see the photos in action. Also check out his site and about page as well.