American ex-pat Jessica Hanlon is a portrait and branding photographer based in Stockholm, Sweden. She started her photography career when she moved to Sweden and had to learn how to navigate building a business abroad. Through lots of trial and error, Jessica learned how to start a business from scratch and how to find clients when she didn’t know a single person in her new city.
Jessica is inspired by fashion and bold colors which you can see in her imagery. She’s photographed celebrities and top CEOs in Sweden along with small business owners so they can grow their visibility online.
Now you can find her speaking about personal branding, and teaching entrepreneurs how to build their brand online with her DIY Selfie photography course – Boss Up Your Selfie.
Branding is everything. It’s what makes your product or service stand out more. In branding photography, you help build a client’s business vision into a reality. Branding connects your business with your customers.
What makes a business sustainable?
A business becomes sustainable when it works well with your lifestyle. It’s making sure that your photography business blends with your personal schedule. Having that balance of work and life where you don’t need to give up anything like time, or rest, among many other things. Sure, it may seem hard at first because there will be adjustments. But if you work hard to make that balance, your business becomes sustainable in the long run.
The big thing about branding.
Branding photography is not just taking headshots. Beyond that, branding is showing more of what and who you are as a person. Each shot can have different elements to show more of who you are and what your business is all about.
Our uniqueness makes up our brands. It is how we look, speak, shoot pictures, or take videos. Most importantly, the experience and stories we tell our clients. Branding is also how we instantly connect with our clients through our values.
Branding photography is a way of building connections through imagery. For photographers like us, there are many ways to make your brand. Don’t be afraid to learn the process and embrace the change.
Learning the process of branding photography
Sometimes, your client already knows how they want to do things. Sometimes, they don’t. Other times, these two mixes. As a photographer, here are some tips in branding photography:
- You must also have your own branding and identity.
- Get to know your client well and understand their business.
- Give them a workbook with questions on their business so they can provide you with information.
- Create a mood board with your client. Try to incorporate their vision or ideas if they have them.
- Know your client’s style.
- Carefully choose details to represent the brand. It’s the location, the clothing, photography style, etc.
- You can also use typography or words to describe the image.
- Lastly, find ways to be creative and bring in clients.
Aside from those mentioned above, the most important thing is for you and your client to work together. The two of you must be the right people to work with each other.
Avoiding mistakes in branding photography
Like any other photography niche, mistakes can’t be avoided. Here are some mistakes that you should try to avoid in branding photography:
- When your brand does not resonate with who you are, chances are, you’ll get the wrong clients.
- Not knowing how to say “no” when you don’t vibe with your client.
- Avoiding social media to promote your brand.
- Underestimating the power of doing self-portraits in creating your brand.
- Being too overwhelmed with the process.
Tips for building your personal brand
Before you can help your clients, you, as a photographer, must also work hard to build your brand. Here are a few tips on how to do it:
- Know what you want in photography and what things you’re not comfortable doing.
- Take different photos of yourself to learn more about yourself, Jessica calls it photo-therapy.
- Be more confident about yourself and the brand that you’ve built.
- Make yourself seen and heard by using social media.
- Create photos and content that resonates with your brand
- Build your portfolio and let your brand connect with clients.
- Make sure your brand reflects you as someone who your clients can trust.
- Don’t be shy! You can go and send potential clients or collaborators a message like “Hey, would you like to do some branding photos?”
- Do networking. It’s a great way to just start building your brand locally.
- Create multiple streams of income.
On top of it all, never stop learning. Take online courses and mentorship programs to learn more about branding photography. Learn not just from co-photographers but from entrepreneurs as well. Work on your SEO. When you start to learn about personal branding, you’ll see how your business grows.
What Jessica wants you to know
If you feel like you’re not getting enough clients right now, use yourself, and tell stories, about what drives you in your business or what you love about photography. Building connections make branding photography a success. It is more successful when you see your client’s brand and business transform into something they’ve dreamed of. Learn more about personal branding and how to build it online with her DIY Selfie photography course – Boss Up Your Selfie.
You can start a business at any time of your life. You can have a business anywhere in the world. If you have a dream go for it. You can pave your own path with the right tools.
Connect with Jessica
hi, i'm ingvild
This podcast is all about education and inspiration for photographers. A sustainable business is profitable and lasting. Instead of short-term wins you want to make sure you’re doing things that matter. Both to yourself, and to create the business you want. The goal of this podcast is that it will help you build and structure your business around your life, instead of the other way around.