From the archives… reflections during my days running a photography business
I hate having my photo taken.
I’m one of those people that freezes up when the camera is pointed at me, cringes when she looks at photos of herself, doesn’t like to have selfies slapped all over Facebook or to be tagged in photos.
Ironic for a photographer? I think not; there’s a reason I’m on the other side of the lens! But while this shyness might be helpful in understanding how my client is feeling at the thought of a photo shoot, it’s not that great when promoting a brand that is inevitably about me as a person.
Choosing a photographer is as much about choosing their personality, values and way of working as it is about the appeal of their photographs. Creative, successful profile and personal branding photos are made through a fun and comfortable experience… and you need to trust the photographer to look after you if you are even going to take the plunge in the first place! Early on I realised that people wanted to work with me, Julissa, not with New Work Photography as a whole.
While not all professions might require branding on such a personal level, I think it’s true that in all industries, people need to show who they are and develop their own professional image online, because their customers want to do business with real people. This means ‘stepping out from behind the brand’ they represent.
For me, this was not an easy transition.
Not only was I shy, but I’d started my business with the mindset that I needed to create something separate from me that did not depend on me so I could one day sell it. While this is an important consideration, after a while I realised this business model was not the best fit for me (and that there are other ways to ensure you have created an investment and not just a job). My business became truly successful when I could bring my personality into the branding to demonstrate what it was like to work with me. Sharing personal insights, values, creative vision, methods and yes… carefully thought-out photos of me… allowed me to step out from behind the New Work Photography brand and share who I was as a real person.
Though it was scary to put myself out there, I knew that I could do this strategically so that I was being authentic AND professional at the same time. Business just flowed from there, bringing me my perfect clients who already knew and loved my work, were aligned to my values, and were drawn to me personally, so were a total joy to work with and serve.