Earlier this month, I was thrilled to have my own photo shoot! Yes - photos taken of ME! It was so good to understand what my clients go through and what it's like to be on the other side of the camera.
It had been a couple of years since my last professional photo-shoot (yes I know, so long!). SO MUCH has changed for me and my life and business in the last 6 months, let alone in the last two years! It was most definitely time to refresh.
As the date of my shoot came closer I felt all sorts of things come up... Excitement and nervousness to become more visible, fears around how I would look in the photos, what to wear and a few worries about 'getting it right'.
All of the stuff that came up for me was relevant and needed to be heard so that I could move forward without resistance, but not all of it seemed helpful! I acknowleged the feelings that came up, recognised what was true and useful and what was just ego rubbish that I could let go of.
Photography in business communicates so much of who you are, what you're like, how you work, and creates an emotional response with your prospects when they see it in your marketing. I KNOW the power that it has in branding, so I wanted to prepare well and be confident about the locations/outfits/props I was going to use.
So leading up to the shoot, I worked through the process that I use with my clients to get clarity on my personal brand and what I wanted to communicate through my photographs. As I felt into my desires and goals for the next 6 months, I thought about where I specifically wanted to use photographs of myself (website pages, blog posts, mail-outs and social media), and it helped me to decide on the various locations, outfits, and props that I wanted to use with each look. I feel more confident than ever about the process I've created for my clients!
The shoot was fantastic, I worked with wonderful Molly Matcham who came down to London from Cumbria for our time together, and we had SO MUCH FUN! I have followed her beautiful work for a long time, and was thrilled to get infront of her lens and creative eye for this shoot. I can't wait to see the photographs when they are ready!
It is so valuable to walk your talk and set the example for your clients and those around you, and since my shoot I've been able to use my many learnings during shoots and consultations with my clients.
Writing this post feels a bit scary and vulnerable, but I want to be real with you, and you always grow in the process! So here are a few of the personal learnings I made from my own photo shoot experience.
Be kind to yourself
A week or so before the shoot, I found myself worring about looking bad in the photos... Whether it was looking a bit podgy or spotty or ugly or whatever. It was not helpful, not real, but it is something that came up, and a worry that comes up for my clients all the time. I'm not generally someone who let's themselves slip into this way of thinking too much, but knowing that I was going to be photographed made me feel like there was some kind of finality about that.
I reminded myself of the truth I tell my amazing clients; The purpose of your branding photography is to help you become highly visible. To connect with your people. To tell a story about who you are and what you do. To acknowlege yourself and step into your greatness, and have fun with that! To STRENGTHEN your personal brand, which is ultimately YOU.
Acknowlege these deep feelings and send them some love. They're trying to protect you, but they will keep you small if you let them.
Recognise what you DO have to be grateful for about your body, whether you can walk or talk or see or hear or think or feel or inspire others. Be thankful for all that you are... Release these worries about how you look.
This negative-self-talk/visibility topic is HUGE and there is so much to say, but what also helped me to get back in my power and forget about the ego-rubbish was to remind myself that I absolutely LOVE the work I do, that the way I work with my clients is unique and transformational, and that I am available for new and existing clients.
So, I need to be VISIBLE for my ideal clients to find me, and I need to have new photographs to help to connect. Step out of your own way. The work you're here to do is SO MUCH GREATER than any of the negative self talk.
Be seen for who you really are and you'll connect with your audience and ideal clients on a much deeper level.
Let go, let go, let go.
I can be a perfectionist, and I worried too much before the shoot about the things that WERE within my control... What are the PERFECT locations/outfits/accessories/makeup for the message I want to communicate? I didn't want to get it all wrong.
These pieces are very important to consider, but I was over-thinking and I caught myself. So when I realised what I was doing, I imagined what I say to clients who are in this position, and reminded myself... Aren't these photos about making a REAL connection with people online? Isn't the most important thing that you're being AUTHENTIC and relaxed? Yes.
So relax, and choose your looks and locations based on what you'd REALLY wear, and where you'd REALLY go. I told myself - this photo shoot is not going to define me for the rest of my life! I told myself to lighten up!! This is all about having fun, and being who I am.
It was also especially important as a photographer to let go and trust Molly to capture me. I honestly didn't feel too concerned about this, because I really do trust her and had asked her to photograph me because I love her work. Before the shoot I'd already shared with her what I was looking for, I knew she got where I'm at and I could relax about that. It was a wonderful experience to totally surrender and trust her to capture me! I can't wait to see the photos!
If you're feeling held back by fears around visibility in your business, know that this is something we can navigate together. If you're considering using photography in a bigger way to help tell your story and attract more of your ideal clients, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's speak!