Welcome one and all to the very first post in the “How It’s Done” series! It’s only fitting that the first client featured in this series is Azra Jessa of Photography by Azra.
I photographed Azra for my first official personal brand photography session, and (truth bomb) I was SO nervous!
I was just starting out, and Azra is an insanely talented wedding photographer. I absolutely adore Azra’s work, so of course I was nervous about providing her with photos that matched her brand and standards.
This series is presented interview-style for to make all the information super easy to follow and find.
Let’s get to it!
What do you think of as personal brand photography?
To me personal brand photography is creating a visual look for your brand through photos that represents you, shows what you offer and what kind of clients you want to attract.
When did you start showing more of yourself in your brand visuals (IG feed, photos on your website, etc.)?
I definitely was hesitant at first, but about 2 years ago* I started sharing more photos of myself on my website and Instagram.
(*Note: “2 years ago” refers to early 2017)
What made you decide to be more personal in your branding?
I realized that there were so many people out there doing what I was that the only thing unique about my business was ME! I decided that in order to attract ideal clients to my business I needed to share about myself and my work so people could feel a connection to me and choose to work with me for both who I was and my work.
Where do you use personal brand photography?
I mostly use personal brand photos on my website and my Instagram.
What sort of engagement/feedback do you get from these images?
I always get WAY more likes and comments when I post photos of myself! I feel it makes me feel more personable and let’s people connect to me as a person instead of as a business.
How would you describe your brand values?
The goal of my brand and business is to provide an elevated experience to my clients.
How would you describe your brand aesthetic?
Bright, white, clean, modern, joyful
What do you do to ensure your brand values and aesthetic come through in your images?
I think it’s important for me to dress in colours similar to my brand (example if my brand is all about pinks and blues, to not always be wearing black in my photos!) As well, I want to portray joy in my photos because I want to attract joyful clients to my business!
How do you plan personal brand content? How often do you post these types of images (e.g. are your socials focused mainly on you/your personal brand, or do you also showcase your own work, clients, etc.)?
I use Planoly to plan out my Instagram posts from photos of my work as well as photos of me. I post every single day and try to ensure I have a photo of me in every 9 squares.
How often do you create new images/have new images taken?
What would you say are the most important things to do/take into account when creating personal brand imagery?
Try to make sure the colours and themes are consistent with your brand! If you don’t know your brand colours I would go on Pinterest. While you scroll through just pin whatever attracts your eye no matter what the content. After a while you’ll notice a theme in the colours and types of images you are pinning and that will help you figure out your brand colours and aesthetic!
Do you have any tips or advice for others who are considering using personal brand photography in their businesses?
JUST DO IT! It may seem intimidating at first to put yourself out there but it is so worth it! People want to see you and hear about your life even if you think it’s boring, other people are curious!
Are there any lessons you have learned since running your own business that you’d like to share about connecting with your audience?
People cannot always relate to what you do as a photographer or as a decorator or as an artist or whatever your specialty. But what people can relate to is who you are as a person, where you love to shop, what you love to eat, etc. If people love your work and connect to you as a person then they will want to work with you!
Are there any general business lessons you’d like to share? What would you tell someone who is just starting out?
You may feel like there are so many people out there doing what you do, but no one can do it the way that YOU can. You can offer something unique to the world and there are people out there who are looking for exactly what only you offer!
Regarding your photos, what do you love about them? How do you feel looking at them and sharing them? What do you hope they communicate about you and your brand?
I love looking at my personal brand photos. I feel like they make me look way cooler than I am, and they really represent me, who I am and what I love. And I get excited to share that with the world!
Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
Melissa is super awesome and talented and she has a great eye for personal brand photography. If you are thinking of getting photos done by her, DO it!!!
Azra refreshes her photos regularly (she also has friends/other photographers take photos based on availability) and makes sure the aesthetic of her photos matches her brand: bright, clean, modern, and joyful.
One thing that really stuck with me was that Azra focuses on the joyful element of her photos because this is exactly the type of client she wants to attract. If her photos are joyful, her audience and clients will be too.
I designed my signature framework for brand sessions with exactly this in mind. It’s all about that energy!
Also super important: planning your content! Azra uses Planoly, and I personally love Later for planning out posts. Azra makes sure she posts every day and aims to post a photo of herself at least every nine posts (which always get WAY more engagement than other photos).
Check out Azra’s work.