Branding versus identity

shop doc's via besotted blog

In our effort to maintain transparency and show our process as a concrete example I thought I would tackle this little subject of branding vs. brand identity. I have mentioned before that in my ‘real’ life what I do is branding/brand direction. Since my babe has arrived I haven’t been taking on many projects because it is an intense process and I don’t have the time right now. It is something that is always on the forefront of my mind though and I am very happy that we have been able to utilize this skill set in even a small way in our Foto Rx business (there’s a cheeky medical theme that I hope has been obvious). I think it has really set a tone and framework to come up with brilliant ideas with the always brilliant Michelle, such as this ‘eye chart’ that she designed for our ‘shop doc’s’ (get it ‘doc’s’?) I have to say I thought it was pure genius on Michelle’s part. I did want to speak to the concept of branding versus identity today, because I think that as branding becomes more part of the every day vernacular it seems to be losing it’s meaning and is being used to describe brand identity (logo’s/packaging). This quote from brand guru/modern marketing Godfather Seth Godin really hits the nail on the head:

Spend 10,000 times as much time and money on your brand as you spend on your logo.

Your logo is a referent, a symbol, a reminder of your brand.

But your brand is a story, a set of emotions and expectations and a stand-in for how we think and feel about what you do.

I think defining brand as ‘your story’ is an accessible way to go about building your brand (whether it be a physical product, a blog, your services). There’s much intensity that goes into creating a brand, the visuals are only one aspect (and yes, I believe they play a very, very important role) but there’s also knowing your market. Do you know who your audience is? Hint it can’t be everyone in the world. Try smaller strokes when defining who you want to reach. Michelle and I repeat ‘focus’ often, we like the word for it’s double entendre but it has helped us really hone in on our brand and our potential clients. When starting a business it’s so hard to get in the frame of mind of ‘big picture’, especially with the immediacy of the internet, you could easily create a buzz, but the idea here (we hope) is to maintain that excitement and sustain that desire for your brand. So ‘focus’, a nice one word mantra.

I hope this has helped anyone that is either in the nascent stages of building their new business or even those that may be feeling like they are floundering with their existing one and wondering why they aren’t as successful as maybe someone with a similar business model. You can do this, we believe in you! Do you need to hire a big brand consultant to get you there? Probably not for a small part-time business, there are plenty of great free resources available at your fingertips on this subject on the interwebs. I highly suggest any of Seth Godin’s books, I can’t stress enough though how important it is to do a little research on this subject if you do want to build a successful brand (and I do believe it’s possible).

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, I am happy to help!

P.S. This ‘Shop doc’s’ set was originally given away for free when you signed up for our mailing list in March. Every month we launch a new free set. If you want some free premium Photoshop actions than we highly suggest you join the club here.

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

Foto Rx for efficient workflow in Photoshop


I love and can get lost in the creative alchemy of Photoshop, but I generally don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to editing my own photos. If my shots don’t look darn good out of camera, I ruthlessly abandon them in my Lightroom library, because honestly, I’d rather be shooting than editing. We’ve been sharing with you how easy our Foto Rx actions are to use, and how perfect they are for the beginner who wants to harness the capabilities of Photoshop without feeling overwhelmed, but I have found myself turning to Foto Rx for my own edits more and more, even though I know my way around Photoshop pretty darn well. What it comes down to is simply workflow efficiency.  If I can get my edits buttoned up with one click instead of 3, why wouldn’t I?

Take these peonies for example. I made this photo when the flowers started to wilt a bit. I was thrilled with the looseness of the petals, and the composition, but not the sickly yellow tinge of the formerly white petals. So, as you can guess – it was quarantined in Lightroom, never to be heard from again – until we started running tests with Foto Rx. I pulled the image into Photoshop, opened our Foto Rx : First Aid Kit actions set, applied Feeling Yellow adjusted the opacity to 90%, then flattened the image and applied 20/20 Vision, adjusting the opacity on that to 70%, and was done. In less than 1 minute, those petals became pearly white and sharp as a tack, transforming my forgotten floral into a print-worthy piece.

Shot with Canon 6D

50mm Lens

Edited with Foto Rx : First Aid Kit

P.S. Are there ever too many flower photos? Seriously – I need your opinion. I’m trying not to overstuff my Instagram account with flower images, but when spring hits and the flowers are going gangbusters, it’s hard not to want to photograph every single one!

Author / Miss Michelle P.

Miss Michelle P. is a photographer, and the co-creator of Foto Rx Premium Photoshop Actions. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her muse is light.


Inspiration Rx | Defining your visual vocabulary

elizabeth messina wallflower via besotted blog

Today’s Inspiration Rx is a little different, as I think inspiration should not be stagnate it should evolve and grow, I wanted to try to delve a little deeper, are you with me?  We usually pair an artist with 3 words that describe their work, Elizabeth Messina who I admire immensely has a very distinct body of work, some of the words I would use to describe it would be luminous, sensual, romantic. This post originally came up when she mentioned her sister’s love of words we were going to try to pair some of her sister’s fave words with Elizabeth’s images, but we were having a difficult time matching images with them because Elizabeth’s visual vocabulary is so very distinct and really does not stray.Read More

Inspiration Rx | Vivian Maier

vivian maier chicagoland via

We have written about Ms. Maier before when her archives were first discovered (such an amazing story). Her observant eye that was able to capture such perfect moment’s in time; observation’s that may have been overlooked by someone not as in tune with her surroundings. This is a great lesson if you feel you just have nothing to shoot, write, draw…if you go through her prolific portfolio’s you will see that she must have done a lot of just walking about, observing and shooting. As that iconic PNW athletic company would say, ”Just do it’!

I was contacted last night by a company called Artsy that asked that we include additional information that they had collected on Ms. Maier’s behalf. Since she is such an enigma I was happy to oblige. I was really immediately hooked by their mission:

We strive to make all of the world’s art accessible to anyone. Our Vivian Maier page, for example, includes her bio, 110+ images of her works, exclusive articles about Vivian Maier, as well as her exhibitions.

I knew this was going to be an excellent resource for anyone that needed a little shot of Inspiration|Rx! Words that come to mind for Ms. Maier’s work (and if you are new to her, we hope you are equally as charmed by the story + discovery) are:

Mysterious. Observant. Quotidian.

Perhaps, these images and words will be a nice start for shooting, writing, drawing, lettering, cooking…? Whatever medium you choose to be creative this week. If you do find you are moved we would love to peek, use the hashtag #inspirationrx on your fave social media site or link in the comments below so we can visit and ooh and aah over your creativity!

P.S. If you want to delve more into Vivian Maier’s world there is a documentary and book. Michelle and I saw an exhibit here in Seattle and Ms. Maier’s work is absolutely fascinating, like a fly on the wall coupled with time travel.

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

Many thanks!

Foto Rx Before and After Studio 1850

What an incredible week we have had, seriously I feel like I am floating on cloud nine!  Michelle and I are pretty pragmatic and not prone to any metaphysical type leanings (I know hard to believe me being a native Californian and all), but we did ‘put it out into the universe’ what we wanted at our weekly meeting, okay it was more like, ‘wouldn’t it be great if…’ and the next morning I kid you not, two of the things we had ‘put out there’ came into fruition, just like that. We are very excited about both prospects and can’t wait to share them with you (hopefully very soon!). We also have been having great, great fun with Foto Rx, we have been getting some amazing feedback from clients, feedback as a maker/designer you only wish you would receive one day, we are so very grateful. The photo above is an Iphone 4 shot by graphic designer Elaine D.| Studio 1850, she sent in (wow!) she also sent us this amazing note:

“Many thanks for saving me hours of my life! I honestly don’t know how you’ve created such incredible actions that work such wonder.”

I happen to be a little obsessed with the before & after medium (if you will),  I love them in general, but seeing others use our product and produce results like this on a mobile phone no less is just really thrilling. We put this product ‘out there’ with high hopes and fingers crossed people would love it and find it beneficial, but you never really know what people will think and that my friends is terrifying, so to get positive feedback like this is so fulfilling.

Special thank you’s to two of our fave blogs Fleurishing and Going Home to Roost! we were honored to be featured this week (you have to check out Bonnie’s before + after’s!)

P.S. Speaking of Going Home to Roost, for those of you like me that took Bonnie’s first class-Surface Pattern Design, she just launched Surface Pattern Design 2.0. I loved the first one, such a great teacher, so I can’t wait to get started on this one. For anyone wanting to learn Illustrator but you feel super intimidated by it this is your class, she really goes over the basics so well that you’ll feel very ‘at home’ in the program almost immediately! AND Bonnie is giving the first 50 readers the class for free via this link!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.