The Leave Behinds are Here!

Wooo Hoooo!

I'm super pumped that our first round of leave-behinds have arrived!! We are currently stuffing the envelopes, printing out our address labels - this production is in full swing!

For those of you who do not know, a leave behind is a little sample of our work that is sent out to potential clients, usually in postcard form. It's best to keep these as simple possible, so when they arrive in the mail, my potential-client can clearly understand who I am, what my style is like and (hopefully) keep the card around for future hire!

A couple of tips to keep in mind, when designing a Leave Behind:

1) Keep it Simple - don't waste anyone's time by being too gimmick-y

2) Think about your mailing presentation - We will be sending all of our cards out in clear mailers, so people simply have to look at them. And I'm not going to lie, they look killer in their envelope.

3) Brand yourself accordingly - It's super important for my future clients to get to know ME, just as much as my work. Therefore, all of our cards will have my face on them, as well as the work!

We're about to begin pounding the pavement over here and I feel like SO much of our work this last year has been gearing up for this moment! I'm so excited to get my work in front of new people and get feedback...the good and the bad! This is one exciting journey!

New Portfolios // Done and Done!

Woo hoo!!! Our FINAL portfolios came, hand delivered, by Aurora of Red Organic!! This is the final step in the branding process of ELIESA. It's been an amazing process, but the portfolios are better than I ever imagined! I am SO proud of them and even more excited to start pounding the pavement and putting them in front of potential clients!

Our next step will be making the actual prints for the books, compiling our list of Art Directors, Editors and Agents that we would like to work with and beginning to share our work with them! Then, the real work begins...the hard phone calls, meetings, leave behind campaigns, test shooting...

It's all a part of living the dream!!

A BIG thank you to Red Organic for bringing this brand to life - and hand making these gorgeous books!

Moto Test Shoot // Pre Shoot!

Tomorrow marks yet another test shoot for my commercial portfolio! I've had much critique about the new site over the last few months and the #1 word of advice was to test shoot just a little more before starting to send out my books to the big boys! I absolutely love to test, simply because it brings me back to playing. When I test, it's only for me. When I test, I get to collaborate with the people I love to work with the most! When I test, I have the opportunity to shoot...and be able to show the world...exactly what I would love to photograph for future work! There are no limits, no boundaries and no one to answer to! The possibilities are endless with test shoots!

I wanted to take a minute to show you all how much effort we put into these! For the first time ever, I am working with a producer, Chelsey Paul! This has been THE most fabulous experience. I am trying to pull this together during the busiest time of the year, so her help is beyond necessary! Photographers: working with a producer will change your life! Maybe you don't have the time or money to find/hire someone? Shit, find a friend to fill that role! Chelsey has been coordinating the models, location, clothes, food, and literally all communication with the crew! I've learned from working with her that my job is really to focus on being the photographer. I love being a part of the creative process, but to have another person who understands the concept and just helps me carry out all of the final details has been an amazing experience!

Below you will also see an example of our creative brief! When you are working with so many people...stylists, models, agents,'s important that you keep them all in the loop! Part of our re-brand for ELIESA was to create a solid set of these sheets, so all of our shoots from here on out can be super well as look cool! Creative briefs can be as simple or elaborate as you would like, just as long as all of the imperative information is in there!

Here are some stellar iphone images showing how we compile looks together! We documented each look and wrote a final document, noting each and every little piece that is used in each look! Why? This will help us move swiftly between changes and also keep us super organized! We are always super lucky to work with amazing boutiques around town and we want to make sure and keep their attire in tip-top shape!!

After all of this planning, the last thing I needed to focus on was lighting! Now, again, this is a test shoot, so I have the opportunity to play with new equipment, concepts, etc! As most of you know, I am one of the most non-technical photographers in the world! My brain knows what I want and how to create it, but do I know what the exact piece of equipment is called? Not so much....luckily, we have the AMAZING Raul of Flashlight Photo Rental close by! I discovered flashlight last year and I am thrilled to have such a wonderful service in our community! I stopped by Flashlight today and Raul already had brainstormed on what equipment I needed to pull off my concept, helped explain it to me annnnnd, we even did a little test to make sure it will give the effect I'm looking for! I can not tell you enough how utterly important it is to surround yourself with the best people in your industry! The refreshing thing about the Flashlight team is that they are truly here for photographers and they want nothing more than to see our industry thrive!

The Perfect // Portfolio

Things are really gearing up here in the studio and I am SO excited about it!

It's been SO much fun to see all of these ideas and dreams that I've been planning and creating these last few years finally come to life! Much of it is thanks to the brilliant mind of Aurora and the two of us together are just a powerhouse of design fun! She has been SO amazing to work with and when it came time to start thinking about my portfolios, we started brainstorming.

I wanted my portfolios to be:







...and a little bit GLAM!

Aurora is not only a great designer, but she is crafty as hell, too, so we put together these custom portfolios! They are made with birch wood and are etched in with my signature and info on the back! We then hand painted and finished them with a glossy finish...and they are PERFECT! I absolutely love everything about them! The look, the feel and the integration with my business cards and branding is flawless!

Another major factor in designing the perfect portfolio was functionality. These are books that will be making the rounds with various Editors, Art Directors and Art Buyers around the country, so they have to be sturdy, have a 'cool' factor, but also be easy to change up the images inside the book! With this next step, I will constantly need to be in front of these people, so I need to be switching out images and showing them new work! We just received the 2nd prototype and IT. LOOKS. KILLER!!!

Call me a nerd, but just the look and feel of it is absolutely perfect and it makes me hungry to shoot more test shoots, so I can send these out as soon as possible! I can't WAIT to put these books in front of people and I know I will be proud to do so!

Below are some images of the first and second prototypes of the portfolios!

Welcome to // ELIESA!

AHHHH!!!!! I am SO freaking excited to launch the new commercial brand, ELIESA!

This brand has been in the works for almost 2 years and I am just thrilled to finally be launching it!

For those of you who don't know, I've been taking photographs for 11 years now and the time has come to take things to the next level! What does the next level mean, exactly? Well, I have some lofty goals and big plans and I don't intend to stop until I get there! I want to shoot fashion and I want to be more of a presence in the editorial world. I absolutely love the collaboration process between Art Directors, Editors, Stylists, and not to mention the production side of things! I love dreaming up an idea and seeing the finished product on glossy paper...or even better, on a cover!

My goal is to break down boundaries, go out of my comfort zone and push for bigger a better clients. I want to work with clients who are also willing to take risks with me. From my experience so far, the bigger the risk, the more fabulous the reward!

Having said all of this, I'm beginning from step one, all over again! It's time to go back to banging on doors, pounding the pavement and (GASP) get rejected...a lot! I'm totally ready for this phase and I'm really excited to see how much stronger this makes me as a photographer and also how much stronger this makes our studio and team! It's a big transition period for us. I want to play with the big boys, and I won't settle for anything less! I think it's also going to be a very fascinating journey for other photographers looking to 'break into' the commercial world, so I'll be blogging, every step of the way about the process. That means the highs and the lows! With this launch, I feel like I've taken the first step towards this dream and I couldn't have done it without the fabulous design mind of Aurora from Red Organic!

When Aurora and I sat down to start branding this, I wanted to create a brand that was simple, but still ME (and for all of you who know me, I'm not exactly a 'simple' girl.) I'm strong, sometimes outspoken, LOUD, I like to use lots of !!!!!!, I swear like a sailor, and I laugh often. I love to love, I love my crew and I absolutely love being a photographer. I'm passionate about what I do and not in a quiet way, so HOW do you make that look simple? The beautiful thing about Aurora and I is that we are one in the same. She gets me as a person, which translates into the design of everything she brought together for me. We challenge each other to come up with the BEST brand possible! (Word of advice for anyone thinking about hiring a designer for re-branding, website building, etc is this: Make sure you are in LOVE with your designer..and I mean LOVE! Don't just use someone, because you know someone who used them. Interview them, spend time with them and make sure that you are on the same page, because this will make a WORLD of difference in your design process!) I am SO in love with the ELIESA brand! It's GLAM, simplified. It's CLEAR and sassy at the same time. And she's got a little attitude! We based much of the brand off of my signature, which I feel is feminine and strong at the same time. It's artsy and strong and it. is. me.

The first 'phase', lets call it, for the ELIESA brand is the launch of the website and business cards! The fabulous people at Into the Darkroom helped us put together this blog + the official website! Personally, I love the design, I think it is a simple, yet bad ass way to view and online portfolio! I've also always been super impressed with ITDR's products for photographers - and their service is unbeatable when it comes to launching a new brand! I'm also in LOVE with my new business cards! This is one of the biggest investments I've made in this entire brand. I'm a big believer that your business card SAYS something about you. Many times, it is also a client's first impression.

Speaking of first impressions, I'm off to Las Vegas this weekend for the NAHA Awards! An editorial spread I photographed this past year is up for an international award in the Editorial Category. I'll be surrounded by the best-of-the-best in the hair industry and I can't WAIT! Make sure to tune in for blog updates!!

Without further adieu, I present to you, ELIESA!



Here's all of the new info for the ELIESA brand to stay in contact with us:

Website //

Blog //

Twitter // @eliesajohnson

E-mail //

Phone // 651.494.2257