Elisabeth Shafer: A Timeless Personal Branding Session in Charleston, WV

Let me introduce you to Elisabeth!

Today’s blog is EXTRA special because I get to tell you all about my amazingly talented and incredibly gorgeous cousin, Dr. Elisabeth Shafer. I don’t know if there is any other person who loves what she does more than her. Elisabeth is my older cousin, and for as long as I can remember she has had a love for all things music, especially the trombone. She decided to take her childhood talent and turn it into a lifelong career, which is something that I have always admired about her, and can definitely relate to. That is why I was completely overjoyed when she approached me for some updated head shots! Did you know she traveled all the way from Pennsylvania just to stop by my little studio. I was humbled and honored to get to photograph my lovely cousin!

No matter who I photograph, it’s always important that I convey their story, and capture what they want their images to say about them. It doesn’t matter if you work in an office, are starting your own side hustle, or have traveled the world playing an instrument your story matters to me. So let me tell you about Elisabeth’s. I have never met anyone who is more determined or dedicated to their craft than her. She has been playing the trombone for over 15 years, has earned her Masters from Yale, her Doctorate from Boston University, and has gone on to perform with the Seraph Brass to inspire her students to achieve their own dreams of performing. Elisabeth is a Professor of Trombone at Akron University where she strives to instill confidence, a solid work ethic, and problem solving skills into her students trombone playing. She always reminds her students that challenges will come to every single musician, but it is important to view each difficulty as a stepping stone to becoming a stronger trombonist and more importantly, a stronger person. To her, trombone is more than an instrument or skill to master, but it is a way to create and express beauty through sound. It is an art form that has taught her to relentlessly pursue her goals, and it is a reminder to never give up hope when obstacles arise. Her passion, hope, and hard work have carried her to success, and I am excited to see where it leads her.

You can learn more details about her work, accomplishments, and musical career by clicking the button below to visit her website.

Now that you know a little bit more about my wonderful cousin, I wanted to take you through my thought process of her session. She came to me asking for headshot’s but I decided to upgrade her to personal branding. There were three reasons why:

  1. She has a website that needed more personalized content

  2. She is looking to expand her online presence through Facebook, Instagram, and a Blog

  3. She needed different looks for the various uses of her images such as: printed posters/ads for performances, blogging & social media posts, and a standard headshot for her auditions.

I wanted to create a “tool belt” of cohesive images that she could rely on to convey her expertise, capture her hopeful outlook, and invite people to learn more about her. I wanted to keep it timeless and feminine but bold all at the same time. That’s why I kept with the black and white theme and added pops of colors. Most people deserve way more than a simple headshot, and creating collections of photographs that meet their range of needs is what my job is all about.

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Teachers have had such a huge impact on my life, and I want to carry that over to my student’s. Trombone is my vehicle to create a difference in people’s lives today.

-Dr. Elisabeth Shafer

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When I saw all the choices of clothing she brought in, and saw this red dress, I knew we had a WINNER! This color looks amazing on her! Great choice Elisabeth!

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We even did a location change for her Personal Branding. I wanted some images where the atmosphere was outdoors and we could incorporate things like modern lines, stairs, and different textures. I took her to the Charleston, Civic Center and it was my first photo shoot there. We were BURNING UP by the end of the session, but I think it was totally worth it.

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I am so happy I got to introduce the world to my amazing cousin! It was an absolute honor getting to photograph her, and I am telling you all to keep an eye out for everything that this girl will accomplish in her musical career. It was a pleasure getting to be a part of that, thank you Elisabeth!

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