Small Business Visuals: Thekla Richter, Author & Coach

Thekla Richter’s small business branding photography session was so much fun! The weather cooperated perfectly, which is rare for Seattle in November: a beautiful sunny day with air crisp enough to keep us from getting sweaty.

Thekla (pronounced Tech-luh — I was dying to know, too) writes middle-grade fantasy books (ask her about the space fairies!) with amazing girl protagonists who help children connect to feelings of empowerment, hope, joy, and freedom.

Sweet Amaranth small business branding session with Thekla Richter

She also runs a life coaching business, which centers around playful productivity coaching for creative people. You can find more on all her work at http://www.theklarichter.com.

Our goal with Thekla’s session was to not only capture some specific images for various parts of her website, but to get lots of great general-use images for social media, profile pictures and other uses that might pop up (oh, say, author images for book jackets).

For the first part of Thekla Richter’s small business session, we headed to Sod House Bakery in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood. Sod House has a lovely mural, fun orange chairs, rustic wooden tables, and delicious coffee and baked goods. Oh, and fantastic window light!

Sweet Amaranth small business branding session with Thekla Richter

Sweet Amaranth small business branding session with Thekla Richter

Thank you, Nina, for arranging to have us come in!

Sweet Amaranth small business branding session with Thekla Richter

Sod House Bakery, Seattle - Sweet Amaranth small business branding session with Thekla Richter

Thekla is multi-talented, so we captured a bit of that with her ukelele. As we were creating the photos, she shared a bit about her uke playing: When she began taking lessons, her instructor asked her what her goal was, and was surprised when her answer was…no goal. Just to enjoy playing.

Sweet Amaranth small business branding session with Thekla Richter

I think this is such a good point. We don’t need to be spectacular, or brilliant, or even particularly good at our hobbies. We don’t need to have a determined end game. It’s okay just to enjoy doing it and let it be fun.

Driving between locations in the middle of Thekla’s small business photo session, we had to pause on a random Seattle street for a moment while a truck backed into a driveway. I saw these steps crowded with greenery and just had to stop for a few minutes!

Sweet Amaranth small business branding session with Thekla Richter

Lately I’ve had a few clients who didn’t particularly like their smile in photos, or were uncomfortable smiling. You know that smiling in photos is totally a modern invention, right? Not only is the “big grin in photos” thing new, it can be stressful for folks in larger bodies who’ve been told endlessly that they have a nice smile (in lieu of compliments about their large bodies) or who were forced to smile for photos as children when they didn’t want to.

Sweet Amaranth small business branding session with Thekla Richter

(It’s also why people in pre-1950s photos and paintings tend to look so grim. Smiling just wasn’t expected behavior, and it wasn’t the expected default behavior for women. Resting faces were…just resting faces.)

(While I’m on my soapbox, can I just say how toxic the concept of resting bitchface is? That if you’re not smiling pleasantly at all times for the enjoyment of everyone around you, no matter how you’re feeling and no matter that that’s not how human faces actually work, you’re a bitch?)

—steps off soapbox—

At any rate, I tell clients they don’t have to smile in every photo. They don’t have to smile at all if they don’t want to! Other expressions are perfectly valid, and show that we have more than the emotional range of a teaspoon.

For small business sessions, we *do* often want to capture some smiling images so that you can convey approachability and friendliness in your marketing, but it’s not a rule.

(And if it were, we’d cheerfully break it.)

Sweet Amaranth small business branding session with Thekla Richter

I first scouted the Montlake Arboretum (formally known as the Washington Park Arboretum) for this small business session, and I suspect it’ll become one of my favorite client photography locations.

This Seattle arboretum is *huge* and offers tons of walking trails, a Japanese garden, scenic benches, shady spots, and at the visitor center, bathrooms, arbors and nice little outdoor tables.

Sweet Amaranth small business branding session with Thekla Richter

The day Thekla and I headed here for her small business session, it was crisp but sunny — a rare blessing in Seattle in November! We made sure to include some shots appropriate for her writing and coaching businesses, then headed a few hundred yards onto one of the trails for some more personal images.

Thekla’s contentment in her ukelele playing really shines through, doesn’t it? 🎸💜

Sweet Amaranth small business branding session with Thekla Richter

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