I can’t lie, celebrating 13 years in business has had me feeling all of the emotions this week. 2022 has felt like the ultimate phoenix rising for me because the last year has been such a rollercoaster with some epic highs and some G-force-inducing twists and turns that there’s so much to say, I could write a full memoir on the past 12 months alone (probably).
For starters, it was a shorter business year than usual for me, having missed all of December and most of January recovering from my surgical divorce from Joanna Lump-ley. I remember one of the hospital staff asking me how long I was taking off for recovery and exclaiming that 9 weeks was a long time to have off work for a ganglion cyst, but I’m so grateful I did because she was nine weeks in major recovery followed by seven months of minor recovery and physio – during which Joanna even decided to pop in in ghost form 5 times throughout the year too! Running a business is hard, but levelling up a business whilst prioritising your recovery during a pandemic and a cost of living crisis is even more challenging, and it’s taken some absolute superhumans to lift me up and keep me going this year. I’ll get to them in a bit…
There have been some INCREDIBLE shoots and projects I’ve been involved with this year, from glorious vintage makeover days with the wonderful Sali aka Ms Moo Makeup, Kate and Goshka, to photographing the International Women’s Podcasting Awards, an editorial for Glamour Bunny, and some other things I can’t talk about yet that will surface in the next couple of months (curse those NDA’s).
The biggest project of the year was of course the Herts, Camera Action! grant supported by Visit Herts, The University of Hertfordshire and the Herts Growth Hub. Spanning almost the entirety of the year, the goal was to introduce a new product or service to the market that boosted travel tourism to the Hertfordshire area – and with the support of an incredible team including Danielle Gawler, Seren Walsh, Inkfield Media, Felicity Furore, Demin Noire, Didi Derriere, Hous Of Fyling Stitches, the de Havilland Aircraft Museum and Pendley Manor… both Planes & Pinups and The Regency Ball were brought to life, followed very recently by The Mosquito Makeover, a follow-on project that will debut next September!
The most fulfilling project, however, has been supporting my ride-or-die Penny Joyner Platt with the launch of her incredible business development agency The Plattform. A very wise man once told me not to pay knowledge back, but to pay it forward, and nothing has made my heart feel fuller this year than paying forward my photography and web design skills to give Penny the knowledge she needed to step out on her own and bring 15 years of experience to the table. I’m so proud of her and everything she’s achieved this year. But also so grateful for everything she’s done to support me too.
Because honestly? Penny has been one of the biggest driving forces behind me this year. If unlimited minutes weren’t a thing these days, our phone bills would have enough zeros at the end to fund a trip to the international space station. She’s my networking wing woman, the words to my pictures and the no-bullshit motivational coach I needed to be here today showing off my rebrand and the beautiful logo that now sits pride of place at the top of this page.
Since I hit the ten year mark back in late 2019, I’ve been really conscious that my branding needed to shift a little in order for the business to continue to see growth. My clients have always said they love working with me not only for the final images but for how I make them FEEL before during and after. After a solid two years of doing the work and countless hours of business strategy and support from Penny (seriously, you should all really consider hiring her), I realised the disconnect. I am neither a boudoir photographer OR a branding photographer. I am TIGZ RICE – THE EMPOWERMENT PHOTOGRAPHER. No matter how much I struggled with it (hello imposter syndrome, did you call?) Penny challenged me to step into my fierceness, accept myself in this position as a key person of influence rather than hide behind a logo, and see that my name – and only my name – needed to be front and centre of the rebrand. And also to finally let go of my love for millennial pink for a more gender-neutral palette. And damn, was she right. Love you, Pen.
In the past, I’ve always put my degree to use and created my own logos and branding elements, but knowing how big a level up this would be this time and how much self-work I needed to do during this process to fully embody this shift, I knew it would be better to take a step back and utilise the skills of another trusted designer to help me bring this vision to life. And, with around 1/3 of the inspiration pins on my ultimate brand vision board having been created by luxury brand designer Sarah Shuttle, it was an absolute no-brainer that she would be the perfect person.
Designing a logo for another creative must be one of the most challenging jobs in the world, especially when said creative comes as part of a very opinionated powerhouse duo that bring you a VERY specific concept, and Sarah handled it all like an absolute pro, finding ways to bring her signature style of luxury brand design to my quite restrictive brief, even when I was hyper-focusing on kerning amounts or the curvature of specific letters in her BEAUTIFUL calligraphy work! My standards are high when it comes to design work and I know I’m hard to please, so when I opened the file that contained this final logo concept and it took my breath away, I knew it was absolutely the one. I honestly cannot stop staring at it – genuinely, I think it might be the most luxurious thing that’s ever featured my name. I’m so grateful, Sarah, for your help in bringing my vision to life.
The logo went live today, and over the next couple of months I’ll be working on a redesign of the website that pulls everything I do back together under one brand name at a design level that matches this new branding, and I’m so, SO excited for that shift of energy. Watch this space, gorgeous, this is only just the start of this huge level-up.
There’s a couple more thank you’s that need to be said, because firstly I couldn’t have done this without all of your support. I always say it takes village, and this year you’ve all rallied around me once again to make sure the business thrives.
in particular I want to shout out Sali aka Ms Moo, who kept the business alive with social content and answered all your DMs and emails whilst I was having surgery this time last year and making sure I had a business to come back to. I appreciate you more than you will ever know.
And also to James, my lobster, who may not be so visible within the business as others mentioned on this page, but throughout my 13 Years in Business: has constantly and unwaveringly supported and encouraged me to show up in life as the best version of myself. You make me a better person and I love you.
So… what’s next? Well, I’m off to Japan next week to photograph some geisha and see how far a year and a half of Japanese lessons will get me in a real-life conversation with a Japanese person, so keep an eye on my Instagram for lots of story content if you would like to live vicariously through my lens! I’ve also just announced all my 2023 makeover days and photography events in case you missed them. Is 2023 the year we finally work together? I hope so…