If there is one thing I can say with absolute certainty is that photography is transformative. The very act of capturing a moment in time transforms it from a fleeting memory into an enduring reminder of the people or events in the image.
Photography is not only transformative in the way it documents and preserves but also in the way it reflects. Like a mirror, it is held up to show us who we are and how we felt at that moment, and to remind us that nothing is eternal.
This may seem like a really grandiose way to convince you that personal branding photography can transform you and your business but it's really not.
The power of photography
I've seen the power my photography has in the lives of my clients, not only in how they run their business but also in the way they see themselves.
So many of my clients, my friends, and even myself, battle endless bouts of negative self-talk, self-esteem, and self-worth issues and fear around being seen in their businesses. We struggle to wonder if we are really worth what we charge, we battle the need to be present as the face of our business and the urge to run from the spot-light for fear of being judged and found lacking.
And worst of all, we continue, year after year, to play small so that we can stay just inside the bounds of our comfort zone.
But photography can change all that!
A simple decision
Before a photoshoot with me my clients are often full of nerves and anxiety around what they will look like, fearing that all the things they like least about their appearance will be highlighted in their photos. And often, they go to great lengths to minimize those perceived flaws. From dieting to Botox and everything in between, we as women are borderline obsessed with improving the way we look.
And what's worse, we put off the things we want for ourselves until we "fix" those flaws. I mean, if I had a dollar for every time I heard "I'll hire you as soon as I lose 10 lbs" I could quit taking photos for money altogether.
But once the decision to have their photoshoot is made, something changes. For some, it's simply accepting that this is who they are right now, flaws and all, and allowing themselves to believe that the way they look isn't reason enough to delay their success.
For others it's realizing that not being present in their business is actually doing more harm than good and whether they are happy with the way they look or not, brand photography a necessary element of running a business today.
Just the simple decision is already transforming who they are.
Leading up to shoot, during the planning stage my clients begin to see how their personal style and brand style begin to come together, and excitement builds. This is fun, they think. Picking props, and planning outfits bring an element of joy to a process that otherwise would be frustrating and painful.
On the day of the shoot, as everything starts to come together, the transformation process continues.
As they get pampered by our style team they watch as the studio transforms into their own personal production set. Their wardrobe is laid out and selected, we go over the timeline of the day, and I start creating their customized desk scene out of the props and tech they brought and as they see it all come together, their vision of how they want to be seen comes to life.
Then, the magic happens.
Being in front of a camera is scary because there is a huge element of vulnerability that comes with being photographed. More so if you struggle with self-image issues. So the first half-hour or so is always a little nerve-wracking.
Some clients find it really challenging to trust the process, some can't help but look for reassurance after every click of the shutter. "Is that okay? Did I do that right?"
But then they will hit a pose that's perfectly, naturally, beautifully themselves and I will marvel at it. "YESS"
When that moment happens, and it ALWAYS happens, I will stay in it for a few more frames allowing the excitement to pour out of me and become contagious, capturing their elation in the frame.
Then the part that transforms every client from anxious to overjoyed. I show them the images.
Why I show the raw image
This might get some push back from other members of the photography community. It's widely accepted that showing clients the back of their cameras invites them to be overly critical and nitpick, hindering the creative process, but I disagree.
For my clients, this is the moment they see themselves in a new light. They see the hard work they’ve done to get here. They see the effort of their wardrobe planning, possibly of their dieting and exercise, and always the confirmation that this was the right decision.
More importantly, these moments create the exact feeling they wanted but wouldn't allow themselves to believe they could achieve. They feel fucking gorgeous.
With that, the anxiety falls away and they let in all the other feelings they were too self-critical to allow. They feel powerful, capable, accomplished, and overjoyed.
My big why
Inevitably the rest of the photoshoot flows and all the person they most want to show up as shines through in utter confidence. They are badass and they are here to announce it.
They trust, they allow, and they bring their confidence straight the lens to the final image that has so much emotion and connection that they attract their clients without a word.
This. This is the power of photography. The power to take fear, self-doubt, and self-criticism and transform it into confidence, connection, and certainty. They are no longer worried about what others will say about them when they show up, they just don't care anymore. Now they see themselves as they want to be seen and they can't wait to share that with the world.
I've watched this happen in front of my eyes and I'm always amazed and privileged to be a part of it. That joy for me extends well beyond as I see them share and post their images, sponsor and promote themselves, and create success around their passions without fear.
This is what it's all about for me. This is my why.
So if you're wondering if professional photography is right for you, or your worried about how you will look or what people will think, I encourage you to go through the process and discover a part of yourself you have been afraid to acknowledge. That you are enough.