I’m going to assume that by reading this, you have most likely known me and followed my brand for a while. I can’t thank you enough for sticking around for the past three years.
How do you like the new aesthetic?!?!
If you’re new to THL and you’re investing your time into getting a little recap and preview of my brand, welcome! I’m so, so happy you’re here and I hope you’ll stick around.
*Takes proud stance on soapbox.*
The Humble Lion was a blog I started at the beginning of 2016 after I returned to the US from a media internship in England. I had graduated from university the spring prior and immediately landed the gig of my dreams. Oh, and I fell in love while I was there with a guy that I grew up 40 miles away from. You can read that little romance novel here.
While that sounds like quite the year (and it really was!!), I was also dealing with multiple traumatic accidents within my family. I wanted to be sure I wasn’t painting this #FacebookHappy life for people to see. There was a lot going on and I wanted to share the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I developed a firm belief then that you can truly live a life of badassery and humility. It has become my mission to make others believe it, too.
After one year of blogging, these two posts really seemed to resonate with some folks. They went *a little bit* viral and were even picked up and published by Thought Catalog:
After I moved to Australia at the beginning of the year, I started working on a project to celebrate the women in my community near and far. I began by asking them two simple questions: What makes you a lion (a badass), and what makes you humble.
It was one of my favorite projects to date. It eventually led me to offer my Empowerment Portrait Sessions — affordable photo sessions for people to celebrate exactly where they are in life. This is my most rewarding work, and I’ll offer it until I can no longer hold a camera.
While living in Australia, I knew I wanted to start seriously working on my photo skills. Honestly, what better place in the world to give this a shot? I’ve loved photography since I was a 7-year-old fangirling over the work displayed in National Geographic magazines. I was really into it in high school, took one intro to photography class in college, and two paid internships revolved around it. I suppose I have more experience with it than I’ve ever given myself credit for (said every woman in history).
So I took up side gigs on the weekends when I wasn’t working, took my camera almost everywhere we adventured to in the land down under and started doing a weekly self-portrait project to hone in on my skills. I also used that as a reflective exercise that I shared on social media to let my family know how I was doing from half a world away.
During that year I stopped writing as much on my actual blog and shared much more frequently on Instagram. It’s still my main jam. Check it out! Or don’t. It’s your
I basically gave up on Facebook that year. It was when he-whose-name-we-do-not-mention took office and the endless hell loop that was FB fueled my anxiety. That space started to feel a little too
republican geriatric stuffy for my taste and patience, so I nixed that. I also got really tired of elder family members who have never actually had a hand in my life feel entitled to give me their two cents too frequently. #nope #bye #imgrown
When we moved back to the US, I decided it was time to dive into the wild world of freelance photography. I took every paid and free gig I could get. I was hungry for more experience and I wanted to grow my professional portfolio. I’m proud to say I was able to make an income I could scrape by on, despite having to move to a new place where I didn’t know anyone.
Throughout the year, I also realized my strengths in brand messaging and strategy, starting blogs for profit, and brand photography when I started helping other entrepreneurs for free. I gave out mucho free information that took me years to learn during college and throughout all of my professional working experience. It took me a while to figure out that people usually charge for that kind of information (I’ve certainly paid for it in my own ventures), and consulting was definitely something I could also offer on the side.
After a few months, I was almost ready to cut ties with The Humble Lion blog and brand. I figured it would just be smarter to stick to photography and consult people when they wanted it. I could use my real name as my business name because that’s what all the “real” photographers do, right?
Fortunately, I had some friends *gently* remind me that my brand and writing are strong. It would be a shame to toss what I’ve put so much time and effort into building in the trash.
Turns out people really dig The Humble Lion. Sweet! Thanks, guys!
At the end of the year, I decided it was time to really invest if I was going to take this thing to the next level.
I purchased several online business, marketing, and SEO courses (on top of already having a degree in Public Relations). I signed up for my first photography workshop in Oregon with a friend. And last, but certainly not least, I invested in a mentor I believe in and love, and attended my first business retreat where I learned from four other incredible women on their own entrepreneurial journies.
I started the mega project of completely redoing my website. It has been a rather large investment of my time, energy, and resources, and it was so, so worth it.
I loved my old website and branding, but the new shows everything I have grown into and truly represents who I am as a person and what I offer as a professional today.
Also, how am I going to preach the importance of strong visual branding to others AND create powerful photos for them if that’s not what I’m displaying on my own corner of the web?
This has been a crazy year of growth, and I’m excited to tell you where it is leading me…
I am so happy to deliver this post to you on my brand new website and updated branding. It just feels…right.
Here’s a little list to give you an idea of what’s to come…
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS NEW LOGO?!?! It’s everything I wanted and more. It’s asymmetrical, gritty, and it perfectly balances the masculine and feminine which I believe is a true representation of me to my core. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. If you dig it and are looking for something with a similar feel, Sam Palencia of Ink and Laurel is your gal!!
P.S. It has many different variations and colors included, but black and white are a forever favorite of mine (just like in photos), so be on the look for the others elsewhere.
My bread and butter and my number one goal, for now, is to lean in more than ever to brand photography and consulting. Serving small business owners by creating strong visuals and helping them refine their brand messaging and marketing strategy truly feels like a calling. When people love what they do and take pride in their work, it’s incredible to see them light up when I help them tell their story through photos. I also nerd THE HECK out when I’m able to help them refine their messaging and nudge them in the right direction.
Okay, so I may have turned my nose up to this a little bit early. I didn’t think I’d enjoy shooting weddings as much as I did last year, but as someone as stupidly in love with their partner as I am, I love delivering people art that showcases their own unique love, too. However, because I’m focusing so heavily on brand photography, I’ll only take a handful of weddings per year.
Okay, I’ve obviously put some effort in up to this point, and it is my goal to blog at least once a week from here on out. I’ll keep feeding you heaping spoonfuls of KaS, but I’ve changed the categories I’ll blog more about. I want to be a better resource for my fellow photography lovers, adventure and travel junkies, and small business owners in need of brand advice. So, that’s what you’ll be seeing more of.
I should also note that I’ll be adding advertisements to my blog. If you don’t like it, 1) you’re selfish and 2) just scroll over them like you do on literally every other website you frequent.
If you dig my style, you’ll be happy to know I’m currently working on the logistics of my shop to make my prints available to you, and if you sign up for my eNews letter here, you’ll know when I launch them before anyone else. I AM SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS. It’s actually been one of my biggest requests recently.
I love writing, taking photos, and sharing my content. Over the years, I’ve received countless personal messages thanking me for putting my work out there and I am beyond thrilled to do it, but it’s work. And I wholeheartedly believe in getting paid for my work, nahimeen?
So, I’ll be taking on sponsored work and apply to some affiliate programs. I will ONLY do this with companies I believe in, and ideally those companies will be serving a greater good. Stay tuned.
When I dream big, I think about things like having my own studio space, investing more heavily into my physical community, working with brands that’ll stop you in your tracks, submitting more work to be published, creating courses or workshops. You know. The yooge.
Well, kids, there ya have it. I hope you’re as excited as I am because this is me throwing my leg up to the next level. If you’re interested in tagging along, you can subscribe to my *absolutely not spammy* email newsletter to get my latest posts sent right to your inbox, hear about my travel dates and when you may book with me (Kentuckians, I’m looking at you!), and when I release new prints.
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Kalu Ndukwe Kalu
The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.