Her Brand Story: Mariko // Personal Branding Photography

For those of you who don't know, I have a masters degree in graphic design and have run a design firm for over 12 years. So when I had the opportunity to meet and work with a letterpress artist, I was drooling! I was in full-on design nerd mode, star struck by an original Heidelberg. Paper, ink, foil…oh my! Mariko, the founder and creative director of Miks Letterpress +, was phenomenal to work with, from our initial branding consultation to doing the shoot.

In our consultation, she said that her brand was casual, funny, humorous, and relaxed. She likes things clean and simple. She has a signature look to the greeting cards she sells and oh are they funny! She's also not one to fuss around with makeup and hair, but when you have so much natural beauty you don't need to! Most women would feel like they had to go to a stylist and makeup artist to do a branding shoot, but Mariko showed me it's not true. I wish we had more women like Mariko who stay true to themselves instead of trying to be like everyone else. That's how you get the authentic photos that I love to capture and how you build a brand that people trust. 

Over the course of our 3-hours together, we did some process shots, product shots, and portraits at her studio in Mt. Rainier. I also captured video during the process shots and created a short background video clip for her to use on her website to add motion. Then we headed to Union Market for some lifestyle portraits. We were rolling and did I mention it was over 90° outside and no A/C in the studio? We literally chased the sun down (thank God!), and we had a blast doing it. It was like Mariko and I had been friends for a while instead just meeting a week prior! 

Background process video

I was nervous about the photo shoot since I don’t really like getting my photo taken. But while working with Shala, I was at ease and confident that she was capturing me the way I wanted to be portrayed.
— Mariko Iwata
When seeing my photos for the first time, I thought, ‘Wow, I look like that! I look happy, energetic and beautiful!’
— Mariko Iwata
Shala, I loved how you didn’t waste time, you were to the point, got it done and knew when you got the shot. You suggested places to sit and directed me well. I was distracted by whether I would look good in the photo and you made me feel great. I love the photos and would work with you again when I need more! I would also strongly recommend you to anyone who asked me for a recommendation.
— Mariko Iwata

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