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Behind the scenes of our brand

2.20.18



Since our Studio Manager, Ana, wasn’t with us when we launched our new brand in 2015, and since she loves the intersection of art and business and has a unique gift of asking really great questions, I recently let her pick my brain to give her some insight into how KT&CO came to be… and here is a synopsis of that convo.

Q (from Ana): Did you hire someone to come up with your brand or did you do it yourself?


A (from Kristen Taylor): I was tempted to hire someone to do it because it takes me FOREVER to create a brand, but in the past when I’ve tried hiring someone to do it, it’s never exactly what I’m looking for and I always end up doing it myself anyway. For me, a brand isn’t just about looking appealing to others, it’s all about accurately representing my style and personality, so it makes sense that I would feel that nobody else could nail that like I could.

Q: Why does it take you forever to do your brand?

A: Even though I immediately know things like what colors best represent my style (because they’re my favorite color palette for everything), what tone to use (because it’s my voice), and the visual style (because that’s what I do for a living every single day), I agonize over things such as whether to use a serif or sans serif font, what’s the right website layout to best display our work, which logo is most impactful, etc. These things matter a lot, at least to me, because I’m obsessed with visual communication. One of the first things I did was to create a brand board, which is like a style guide. It’s super helpful to see style elements put onto one page, and it’s useful for referring back to as you move forward in the process to make sure that you’re staying true to your style. Here’s the one I did. (You’ll see that at this stage I still hadn’t decided on font types yet.)

Q: How did you decide what defines your brand?

A: Well, that was easy! Differentiation is the key to branding, and since our company is different than most in that we have a collection of photographers rather than just a single photographer, I chose to build our brand around that. But I also knew that some larger companies are really impersonal and actually assign photographers to their clients rather than allowing them choose, and I knew that our clientele would never be ok with that (and neither are we!). So I wanted to drive home the fact that we’re still a boutique-style company that provides very personalied service, we just happen to offer a few different photographers from which YOU get to choose who is right for YOU. To accomplish this, I gave each photographer their own section of our website so that you can feel like you're virtually meeting each photographer, delving into their own portfolio, and getting a really great sense of their personality and talent.

Q: How did you decide to have a company with multiple photographers?

A: It really wasn’t something I ever set out to do, it actually happened very organically. I started out (a million years ago) like most other photographers, with just myself as the only photographer. I hired a staff of Second Photographers and Assistants and, through working with me, over time they gained a ton of experience and it became clear that some of them were ready to shoot weddings on their own. However, they didn’t want to do the business or production stuff that goes into running a company – they just really loved to shoot weddings – and at the same time I began receiving more inquiries for weddings than I was able to shoot myself, and so it was a natural progression. And I could not love it more! I MUCH prefer to be a “we” than an “I”. And we’re all so loyal to one another, like fiercely loyal, and we bounce around ideas, help one another out, gain inspiration from one another, etc. It’s become a group of good friends who work together… does it get any better than that?

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Meet our Studio Manager, Ana!

2.20.18



Full name: Anastasia

Favorite (non-wedding) photographer: Sarah Moon

Favorite Podcast: Girl Boss

I taught myself photography when I was twelve years old. I always knew I was creative but I definitely couldn’t draw- so I reached for the camera and haven’t turned back since. I would hang out with my friends, dress them up (little did I realize I was styling them) and would photograph them in natural light. It’s funny because I still do that to this day.

These are few of my favorite things: Meditation, Yoga, cooking with fresh veggies from the market, Art Deco Architecture, and traveling. One of my favorite buildings in Detroit is the Guardian Building, I could go in there and stare at the ceiling for hours. This past summer I went to Italy to visit my boyfriend’s family in Calabria, and we worked our way up to the Amalfi Coast. It’s so fun learning how to navigate a foreign country and about new cultures. I mean who doesn’t like pasta, cheese, and wine?

I love fashion! As much as I have an obsession with buying new clothes, lately I have been going to estate sales and thrift stores to find amazing, one of a kind pieces of clothing. It’s the best feeling when you go to the thrift store and find a cashmere sweater for $3... score! Usually when I’m shopping I am moreso thinking of how I could use a garment in an editorial, rather than how it would look on me. My favorite clothing stores are Everlane, Zara, and Lost and Found vintage (which is right down the street from our studio!) ~Ana

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Just a little inspiration...

2.20.18

I try to remind myself of this often when I'm tackling a new challenge, so I'm sharing it with you for whatever goal you might currently be working to achieve. xo, Kristen Taylor



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The playhouse I built for our daughter!

2.25.15

A little fun-fact about me... all of the tools in our garage are mine, not my husband's (he's cool with that as he wants nothing to do with them anyway). I've been known to embark on lofty, bordering-on-completely-insane, building projects (see my walk-in closet that I built a few years ago), and this past October I began my latest project.

Our entire basement is a big playroom (well, except for the bit of space we carved out for our gym), and I've been obsessed with filling the playroom with super fun toys, specifically ones that are different from what other kids have (our kid may be only two but already our house is "the party house", and I love it that way). Anyway, one day as I sat looking at an oddly recessed space in the playroom, I started daydreaming about making it some sort of indoor treehouse (well, minus the tree I guess). And then my daydreaming turned into thinking of how I would design it... and then of how I would build it... and then I drew sketches... and then at that point the plan bordered on a full-blown obsession, and once that happens there's no turning back for me!

Anyway, as an artist I could not help but prioritize form just as much as function, and the aesthetic of it was as thought out and slaved over as was the method of building it. I knew I'd have to look at it a lot, so I knew it couldn't be ugly. Originally it wasn't going to have the stairs jut out the way that they do, and it wasn't going to have a commercial-grade slide. But herein laid the problem: residential slides come only in green, yellow, blue, and red. Those who know me know that I'm not one to rock primary colors, or many colors at all for that matter. I spent hours searching for a residential-grade slide in a less obnoxious color, but after an exhaustive search I can confirm that they literally don't exist. And so a huge, 100+ pound, commercial-grade slide it would be! (Note: I can always determine if a person is an artist-at-heart by their design decisions. To those with artistry in their soul, bad design bothers them like an itch they can't scratch, and they'll go to great lengths and shell out stupid amounts of money to create/have something that pleases their soul.)

I've been getting the same questions from everyone who has seen it, so I'll go ahead and proactively answer those here. Yes, I built it myself (with a little bit of help from my dad). No it wasn't a kit, and no I didn't find the instructions for it online. And I don't know how I learned to build things, I just did - if you have enough drive and the vision to create something, learning how to use the tools is the easy part.

So it brings me great joy to reveal to you the final result! (And yes, that is a mail slot, a doorbell, carpeting, and pink twinkly lights... I told you it's a little insane.) Our daughter had better love this thing until she's at least 10, and every time she asks for something new I plan to simply point to her playhouse. ;)




















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Our little girl turns ONE!

1.31.14

ONE? No really, that can't be right. But yes it's true, although I can barely believe it. I can also barely believe that she hasn't appeared on the blog until now. I meant to post when she was born, and then a million times after that, but it was a whirlwind of a year as any new mom can understand. Anyway, my husband and I are blown away by how amazing, sweet, and adorable she is. She is an amazing sleeper, she's extremely snuggly, and when she needs something she just gives a subtle whine and rarely ever breaks into a full-blown cry... we have no idea how we got so lucky. She is an observer, yet very vocal and fiercely independent... I'm pretty sure she got all of that from me.

Anyway, here is her past year in photos. I must give credit to Kristin G.. and Amanda (both on my staff) for doing these amazing photos for us!

And so we begin with our sweet Alyssa's newborn photos...







At 3 months old...



6 months old...



9 months old...





And finally almost a year old...





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