Book Launch Party | NJ Brand Photographer

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Books + Bubbly is happening this Friday, September 15th in Millburn, NJ (304 Millburn Ave). You are invited to join us and I am super excited to be sharing my new book, The Brand Photography Playbook: The Insider's Guide to Planning Your Photo Shoot and Building a Stand-Out Brand. A comprehensive guide for entrepreneurs, answering all their questions about brand photography and walking you through how to plan a successful photo shoot. It also includes storytelling photography that will inspire you and illustrate the power of visual storytelling. 

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Planning a book signing party is no joke. It takes a village, especially if you want to do something fun, unique and interactive. Lucky for me, I have a dream team of collaborators. When I shared on social media and by email asking for help to throw a #mikibash, these boss ladies did not hesitate and jumped right in to help at this book launch event. I am so grateful to these women and their support. They are all NJ local business owners who share a passion for entrepreneurship and community. I am so proud to call them my friends and to introduce them to you:

Lori Csik of Dressed by Lori

The perfect venue for the book launch party. Books, bubbly and boutique. Lori Csik opened Dressed by Lori after a 30 plus year career in fashion and the retail industry. Over the years, Lori has developed a strong sense of what women are looking to achieve with fashion and how she can help them bring out the best version of themselves. Dressed by Lori is a fresh chic venue to shop for contemporary and whimsical, yet classic and feminine day to play dresses, designed for the dynamic lives of modern women. Lori has an eye for styles and fits that promise to compliment varying body types and a craving for designers creating American made products. She believes a dress can take a women from “day to play” giving her clients the flexibility they need to lead a busy life, but look and feel amazing while doing it!

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Kelly Desario of ReelStyle Beauty

Ladies of the Lip Lounge! At the book event, Kelly and her team will be offering a fun lipstick application so you can pucker up and be lip ready. ReelStyle Beauty was was created as a Brand that could "Reely" evolve & expand over time. We say #getREELSTYLED , servicing hundreds of Brides a year, countless photoshoots, Campaigns Ads, Bridal Blogs, Women Entrepreneur Branding, NY & Miami Fashion Week & more. The ReelStyle Essentials Collection & Our Pocket Stylist Consulting has blossomed & is going to be fully launched in 2018. 

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Erika Guzman of Adorn Market 

What's a party without a selfie booth? Erika is a creative superstar and creating a selfie booth for the event. She is a designer & hand-lettering artist; a creative soul, inspired by abstract art, texture, poetry, nature, photography and vintage home decor. With a degree in Merchandising and Design, her biz - Adorn Market launched in January earlier this year. Erika creates inspirational wood signs with rustic style for clients to adorn their home. Each piece of wood she chooses is carefully hand-picked, cut, stained and painted with love in her art studio. Her hand lettered art is amazing and inspiring. And she is just the kindest, sweetest person I know! Follow her on Instagram at www.instagram.com/adorn_market for ideas for the home, special events and gifts.

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Jen McHenry of Cabi and Direct Cellars 

What's a party without cocktails? My biz bestie Jen is both a fashionista and wine lover. Before becoming a stylist she had corporate job in NYC which required long hours and with twins on the way she knew she needed something where she could put her family first myself. The supportive network of smart and driven woman at cabi (a fashion company reinventing the way women shop) made her decision easy…not to mention the great clothes and the companies focus on supporting woman on a global basis. It really was too good to be true : a company created by woman for woman! cabi allows Jen to be in business for herself, but not by herself…The perfect fit!

She loves the social side of this business while offering private styling appointments and group Fashion Experiences and what better way to be social then pouring a fabulous bottle of wine while ladies are playing dress up! Enter Direct Cellars wine club which offered the perfect blend of connecting over beautiful clothes AND great wine….I hate trying on fabulous clothes and drinking premium wine said no woman ever!

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Anne Davis of The Danish Baking Girl 

Made with love. Anne is originally from Denmark and has fond memories of her mom’s baking, the house filling with the most amazing and comforting smells. Baking has always been a part of her life. She carries those traditions as the inspiration for her business. Everything she bakes has a personal story behind it, from cookies to breads to pastries.

Lucky for us, Anne is sharing her Danish baking at the Books + Bubbly event. She will be bringing Stenalderbrød, a bread that has become very popular in Denmark with the introduction of the Paleo Diet. The Danish name, Stenalderbrød or Stone Age Bread, comes from the concept of eating like people did thousands of years ago when nothing was processed. It contains no flour, leavening, dairy or eggs.

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Elizabeth Girouard of Zing Meals 

Delicious eats. My friend Elizabeth Girouard, a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Workplace Wellness Master Ambassador, Educator and fellow entrepreneur. She is the Founder of Pure Simple Wellness, a holistic health coaching and training service and Co-Founder of Zing Meals, a local, gourmet healthy meal delivery service providing healthy, fully prepared meals that taste great and fuel the body. 

Elizabeth will be providing a sampling of their yummy creations including Chef Vaughn’s famous mayo-free chicken salad (gluten-free and dairy-free options will also be available). Make sure to check out what’s on the delivery menu from Zing Meals for next Tuesday on their website: www.zingmeals.com/menu and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/zingmeals.

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Jeri Freeman and Lauren Ohs of Stacks and Snacks

Bite sized yum. Dynamic duo, Jeri and Lauren will be sharing their tasty, handcrafted bite-sized desserts. These treats come in more than a dozen unique flavors. They start with a base made from scratch (brownies, blondies, sugar cookies, oatmeal and more), then layer creamy chocolate and a crushed topping to create a petite mouthwatering treat. 

Stacks are available as catered trays or 2-pack favors for special events. They can customize colors, flavors or packaging and work with you or your organization to provide a sweet ending to any occasion. I am thrilled to be partnering with them at my book party event. Get ready for some YUM.

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And then to add more fun to the party, we have some exciting door prizes from some of my favorite boss babes : 

Beauty Counter by Maggie Zakhary 

Swapna Patel of Stella & Dot 

Birch House Candles

Julia Lovallo Creative Marketing 

Special thanks to Parker Petals for floral arrangements and Maria from In the Moment Photography for coming to capture the event. So many amazing women collaborating together! I am counting the days until the #mikibash on Friday, Sept 15th at Dressed by Lori in Millburn, NJ (304 Millburn Ave). Hope you will join us.

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If you are not local and are curious to learn more about The Brand Photography Playbook, find out more HERE. I would love for you to check out the book - it comes in both print and digital. 

 

Visibility for Business | NJ Brand Photographer

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DOES THIS SCENARIO SOUND ALL TO FAMILIAR? 

You’re an online business owner who wants to make an impact, but your visibility strategy is falling flat. 

You’re putting yourself out there because you have skills and a message to share with the world, but all you’re hearing are crickets. 

You want to be an influencer and have people KNOW YOUR NAME, but you’re stuck trying to figure out what’s the best way to go so that you can scale up, position yourself as an industry expert, leader, and authority figure. 

You dream about the day when YOU are considered a “celebrity” in the online space and that the impact you’re having on the lives of others is truly making a difference.

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We all have felt this frustration! And I am hear to tell you that if you’re NOT visible, you don’t exist. In today's noisy world, you have to put yourself out there to get noticed. As a photographer, I am passionate about helping women in business finally become the face of their brand. I truly believe that in order to connect with your audience and create relationships with clients, you first have to share your story and be visible in your marketing. People want to SEE you and learn about the heart of your business, much more then the details of your fancy program or products and services. 

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WANT TO BE INFLUENTIAL BUT AREN’T SURE HOW? HERE'S MY TIP:

The Power of Brand Photography. There is power to visuals. There is power to storytelling. When we combine the two in our marketing, our brands can become energized and stand out from the rest. Visual storytelling can be the tipping point for your business, convincing your audience to choose you over the the rest. Especially in our world today, where attention spans are decreasing, brand photography can make an impactful first impression and inspire your audience into action. Creating a visual strategy and becoming the face of your brand has never been more important then now in the online world.

This is one strategy that can help you become more visible and boost your brand. But there are SO MANY other tips and tricks. I am excited to be part of the Influential Visibility series that kicks off September 18th. It’s a FREE event designed to help you become the INFLUENTIAL LEADER you desire to be. 

Join me + 11 other experts as we share our tried and true methods to getting insanely visible so that we can be impactful as part of the Influential Visibility series. This training series is FREE and kicks off September 18th. To reserve your spot NOW click this link: https://michaelahoffman.com/visibility-series

Hope to see you there! It's time so stop feeling invisible and finally move to making an impact with your story and your message.

5 DIY Photos to Boost Your Brand | NJ Brand Photographer

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Let's be honest. Brand photography is an investment in your business. It usually comes with a hefty price because it requires time and expertise. But it's worth it because of the huge benefits in boosting your brand and helping you stand out as a leader. I see it with every client. But it's a decision that takes time for you to make and to save towards. 

So what is a girl boss to do when you need visuals NOW? You need images to post on your Facebook, your Instagram and even in your monthly newsletter. Well, if you can't invest or barter in professional photography services, then there is the DIY route. I don't recommend this for everything but there are some photo stories that you can totally capture on your own with your smart phone for your brand library. Yes, it's true. Sometimes the best camera you have is the one you always have with you and that is your iPhone. 

Here is my DIY tip for capturing one of my top photo stories for your brand library:  YOUR VALUES.  These are the words, quotes and sayings that align with your message. You can photograph them without YOU even having to be in the photo. All you need is your smart phone. Yes, I said smart phone because sometimes the best camera is often the one you have with you at all times. So grab your iPhone or your camera and let's start snapping. 

1. Word art. Look on your walls, take a trip to Home Goods or go through magazines and you are bound to find art or design showcasing words. Find words that align with your brand and photograph it. Keep it in context - on your wall, or on your shelf or on your bulletin board. It helps the "realness" of the environment and builds a stronger connection to your brand. 

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2. Favorite Quote. Find your favorite sayings and write them out in a notebook or journal. Your handwriting will be personal, human and connective. Lay the notebook on your desk or bed or even on a wood floor. Maybe add a pen or some desk accessories and then click!

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3. Books. The titles of your favorite books will say so much about you and your brand. Choose the ones that support your message and your story. Stack them up on your desk and simply shoot.

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4. Tools. We all use tools that are specific to our trade and our expertise. Now is the time to gather them up. If you are a photographer, maybe it's lenses. If you are an interior designer, maybe it's swatches and paint chips. If you are a coach, maybe it's worksheets. If you are a personal chef, maybe it's measuring cups and cooking utensils. Think about the tools you use in your process and photograph them. 

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5. Laptop. Grab your computer and pull up your website, your Instagram feed, your blog, your newsletter on to the screen. This is an indirect way of selling your brand, your products and services without feeling too promotion-y. It's an easy way to reinforce your branding. 

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So there you have it! I want to empower you to feel confident about creating your own photo content from time to time. Think of these five stories when you feel photo-challenged. They are easy to create by yourself and can help share the story of your brand. Have any questions about DIY? Are you ready to invest in a professional brand photo session? I am here to help!

Weekend Getaway in North Fork | NJ Travel Photographer

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Are we approaching summer's end? It's hard to believe and my family is trying to squeeze every moment out of the summer season. Last weekend we visited a friend's home in South Hold, Long Island which is in the North Fork. After a 3.5 hour drive from NJ (we decided to leave Friday evening at 7 PM to avoid the traffic), we arrived in the rural and sleepy town. We loved the charm and local-feel of the area, very different from the crowded Hampton hipster scene. Much more laid back, quiet and relaxing. Plus, North Fork seems to specialize in a few of my favorite things : wine, coffee and oysters. Here are a few of our favorite hot spots:

Greenport Village : Cutest little town on the water. There's a marina, quaint shops, breweries, restaurants, oyster bars, ice cream parlor and live music. A fun place to spend the afternoon. Be sure to visit Greenport Harbor Brewery and Little Creek Oyster Farm

Wineries: North Fork has about 50 wineries in the area from small, family run vineyards to more corporate estates. Take the time to visit and enjoy a tasting. We were only in North Fork for a couple of days so we went straight to the Macari Vineyard. It was lovely both inside and outside, plus family friendly.  A nice list of wineries to visit is HERE from the NY Times.

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Local Coffee Shop: If you are a coffee addict like me, then you must visit North Fork Roasting Co. There coffee is not only delicious but feels like it was brewed with love. No joke. They take pride in making coffee with careful and thoughtful effort. Plus, I loved the t-shirts for sale, the eclectic furniture, the live acoustic music and the foodie eats. 

Quiet Beaches : A bit too shelly for my taste but still beautiful, serene and picturesque. We enjoyed a nice stroll and it was walking distance from my friend's home. 

Must Eat Food Truck: North Fork Food Truck. Seriously some delicious tasting food! From artisan hot dogs to lobster roll to fresh home made lemonade - this truck was a culinary experience. Plus, I loved eating on picnic tables under the apple trees. 

Overall, North Fork is a darling place. A true escape! We loved it there and can't wait to go back again. This time we will definitely make more time for more visits to the wineries and tastings :) Have you been? Do you have any favorite spots? 

Brand Photography for Coaches | NJ Brand Photographer

Life coaches. Health coaches. Business coaches. Style coaches. Executive coaches. I have worked with them ALL! I have heard their stories and created visual strategies to help them communicate their personal brand to their audience. They are mentors, leaders and educators, all interested in empowerment, confidence and creating joy in your life. I love their passion and sense of purpose in helping others.

While coaches are not all the same, there are certain photo themes that can apply to all of them. There are certain photo stories that are necessary to help you stand out and build connection with your audience. And yes, the quality of those photos do matter! Selfies or unprofessional looking visuals on your website may deter your audience. Your first impression is huge so make sure your visual images match the leader and expert that YOU really are!

Five Brand Photos Every Coach Needs in their Brand Library:

1. Girl Boss. Look the part and portray yourself as a legitimate, professional coach. When your audience sees that you invested in yourself with professional photography, they will be more willing to invest in you. 

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2. Woman on a Mission. Share your values, your beliefs, your mantra, your mindset. Communicate the reason you do this work in the first place and you'll win the hearts and minds of your audience. 

3. #allthefeels. What does it FEEL like to work with you? Communicate your vibe and personality. Business isn't always transactional, it involves people and emotions so paint the picture for your audience.

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4. She gets me. Incorporate story into your photos to better connect and relate to your audience. Share your lifestyle, your interests, your passions, favorite things, etc. Give your audience a peek into the behind the scenes of your work. Show your life and see how that helps build relationships with your clients. 

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5. Be aspirational. Show the lifestyle that you are helping your clients work towards. What will it look like and feel like after working with you? Show these emotions. Tell these stories. 

These five photo stories are just a few of the essential visuals you need in your library. Remember, the visuals you create and share should not only get you noticed but also be encouraging your audience to want to get to know you better. You want your visual brand to turn viewers into prospects into clients. So take a good long look at your brand library, see what's missing or what you need to create.

Need more help? Check out my #captureyourbrandstory photo challenge which will describe in more detail the brand images you need as an entrepreneur. Every day for 7 days, you will receive a fun photo email with visual examples and inspiration. 

Props for Your Brand Photo Shoot | NJ Brand Photographer

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For the love of props! I am a huge proponent of props at your brand photo shoot. They add variety, story and can help support your overall brand message. It helps your images feel more authentic and gives the viewer a peek into your lifestyle. They also help share your unique and personal positioning, differentiating you from others in your market. Plus, props help my clients feel more "natural" in front of the camera when they have something in their hands. 

When selecting props, think about your process and the items that you use at work everyday. Consider your values, your vision and your lifestyle. Also think about your ideal client and select objects that appeal to them. For example, if you are a personal stylist, you may want to include fashion magazines or coffee table books or jewelry or makeup. Or if you are a realtor, a set of keys or sign reading "home sweet home" may be appropriate. Be sure that your props support your brand story and overall theme. Photos that feel "off" often include items that don't make sense for the person featured.

After photographing hundreds of women in business, my top picks for props for your photo shoot include the following:

1) Coffee anyone? I love including mugs with phrases or words that reflect your mindset.

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2) Readers are leaders. Incorporate a book with a title that shares what you do, who you are or what you believe in.

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3) Get to werk! Include your laptop and pull up your website for an extra branding push.

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4) Write it out. I love the personal touch of a handwritten note. It feels personal and authentic.

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5) Branding baby! Show off your Instagram feed or your business card or any promotional item that includes your brand name. This will help reinforce your message and make you more recognizable.

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These are just a few examples of the many props I like to include in my brand photo shoots. There are so many other great ideas that can build your brand story. Objects and things can really round out your story and help you appear more real and approachable. They can truly build connection. 

Want to look at other brand photos for inspiration? Snag my FREE Brand Photography Look Book HERE profiling four women in business and sharing their custom brand photo libraries. 

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Book Celebration | NJ Brand Photographer

I am so lucky to have really good friends. Friends who feel like family. Business besties who are my cheerleaders. Clients who stay connected with me even after the job is done. I am proud of the network of women that I have found and become a part of here in NJ :) So when my dear friends Priya of Privee by Priya and Mona asked to host a private ladies night soiree to celebrate my book, of course this party girl said Y E S! 

It was a beautiful night! Completely surreal to be the honoree of the evening and speak about my journey in writing this book. And never easy to have all eyes on you, but I felt loved, appreciated and supported. 

The scariest part was sharing the ACTUAL book. Seeing and watching everyone open it up, look through the pages and read it. Will they like it? Will they get it? Will they find value in the content? Will they buy it? It's hard to write, create and publish a book but even harder to send it out in the world with hopes that it is accepted and loved. 

But that is all part of the creative journey! And I do believe this book can help so many entrepreneurs and businesses who are considering photography to help build their brands. It is loaded with information from strategy, creative direction, logistics, styling, tips, tools and pages of inspiring images! All real women with real businesses. And the design and look of the book still blows me away every time I open it up. Here is a sneak peek of a few chapters: 

My official book launch party is set for September 15 at 12-2:30 at Dressed by Lori in Millburn, NJ. It will be a fantastic event with drinks, light bites, photo booth, lipstick lounge and of course BOOKS! Keep an eye out for more information or email me at mallika@mikifoto.com to be added to the guest list. And if you're interested in collaborating by sponsoring or donating some products to our swag bag and door prizes, reach out to me.

And if you are curious to learn more about my book baby, The Brand Photography Playbook, visit my website HERE for more information. The book comes in both print and digital formats. If you have any questions about it, feel free to reach out to me!

Story of MikiFoto + Co | NJ Brand Photographer

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It's been a long time since I introduced myself here on my blog. And with the launch of my new book, The Brand Photography Playbook, and my freebie, The Brand Photography Look Book, I am excited to welcome new readers and viewers into my community. 

In case we haven't met, my name is Mallika Malhotra and I am a brand photographer and strategist here at MikiFoto + Co. I inspire women in business to find their story, own it like a boss and share their message with confidence through storytelling, photography and branding. My passion is to empower my clients to show up, stand out and become incomparable leaders in their industry.

But it wasn’t too long ago when I felt frustrated in my own business. I was not booking clients or attracting the people I wanted to work with. I didn’t have a strong passion for my work because it felt like everyone else’s. I was playing it safe with my messaging, copying what others were doing and even hiding behind my logo and website.

I felt invisible and boring. I felt like an imposter. I was afraid to put myself out there and never felt confident in my work. As a result, I didn’t feel like the leader that I was meant to be.

After a few years in business, I got tired of feeling lost. I was sick of feeling like a me-too brand, a commodity and like everyone else. I had this itch to finally be myself. I knew deep inside that I had so much more to offer. So I took the leap and started sharing my story -  why I started, what I believed in, who I helped, what my process was like. I invested in my own brand photography and updated my website and profile pics with images that felt like me. I stopped hiding and sprinkled my personality into all of my work.

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I stopped obsessing about what everyone else was doing and started focusing on my own work, my own path and my own goals.

I worked with a branding coach and got clear on my message, my skills and my mission. I started to infuse my story into my message. I put my face to my business in photos, in video, on social media and at networking events. I connected in person and online with my clients and my tribe. I set goals for my business and started dreaming bigger for myself. I was finally feeling more confident in my work and building more meaningful connections with others. It was a game-changer!

Today I have a passion to help women discover what makes them stand out so they can finally create powerful connections and inspire others too.

I want you to reach a place of brand confidence much sooner than I did. Through my own experience and evolution, I can help fellow women entrepreneurs tap into their point of difference and create visual stories that move you from invisible to impact, lost to leader and bland to brand. I know with encouragement and confidence, you can create an incomparable and unforgettable business that will serve and inspire others. Your story is too good not to share, so let’s start sharing!

How can we work together to start sharing your story? Here are a few ways that I can serve you at MikiFoto + Co:

Book your Brand Photography Session

Attend one of my live, in-person Creative Workshops

Grab your FREE Brand Photography Look Book

Join the FREE Capture Your Brand Story Photo Challenge

Purchase The Brand Photography Playbook: The Insider's Guide to Planning Your Photo Shoot and Building a Stand-Out Brand.

And I always welcome you to contact me by email (mallika@mikifoto.com) or on Instagram @mikifotoco.