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The audience-driven website and email copywriter for women-led brands like you ready to attract, delight and retain your dream customers.
Here’s my take on this topic. My personal business journey only took off once I invested in Brand Photography just over a year ago. Was it daunting? Yes. Did I put it off several times before actually booking my session? Yes. Was I full of excuses until then? Most certainly.
Especially as service businesses we have to stand out from the crowd and get ourselves out there to make an impact in a crowded market. Sharing your personal journey invites your customers into your life and warms them to the idea of working with you.
Sophie Timothy is a Melbourne photographer and runs Sister Scout Studio. Personally, I’d crown her the queen of warm, personable and character-filled Brand Photography. Check out here portfolio and it’ll give you all the fuzzies. You’ll find images of women at ease with who they are, ready to take on the world. She masters making people feel comfortable in front of the camera and every single image is beautifully crafted to perfection.
Sophie is letting us in on how to prepare for a brand photography session to make it a success, but also shares her unique go at running a business. Enjoy!
I’m Sophie, a branding and headshot photographer based in Melbourne. I work with mostly female-led small businesses to create content they love and won’t cringe about!
I first started charging for photography 6 years ago after friends kept telling me I should “do this” (take photos) professionally. I had zero confidence but decided to listen and eventually ran a Pozible campaign to fund the next step: upgrading my gear, launching a website and securing my first few bookings.
Looking back it was one part clever and one part crazy, but I have no regrets.I worked as a wedding photographer part-time for 3.5 years while I built up confidence, clients and experience. At the time that was the ideal approach: part-time in my side gig with a part-time job in Marketing and Communications.
There’s a bit of stigma out there about side hustle businesses, but sometimes that’s what you need to do and what you’re comfortable with. And that’s ok. No one knows your story like you do.
There came a time though after having my son when I was ready to go all-in. That’s when I rebranded, finished up shooting weddings and launched Sister Scout Studio.What I’ve learned is that to truly grow you have to put all your eggs in the one basket and really focus on doing one thing well.
I always like to think of photography as your first impression. If you make a good first impression with quality imagery and your brand message is on the mark, people will stick around.If your photography looks sub-par, it’s likely that people will move on… fast… unless you’re offering eternal youth in which case they might stay despite crappy photos. Ha!
Particularly for service businesses, the KNOW, LIKE & TRUST factor is HUGE. People want to connect with YOU. The quick and easy way? Get your mug out there!
If you put your face out there from the start you’re giving yourself the maximum amount of time to build rapport with your customers.
You’ll be surprised how kind people generally are! Be prepared for the nicest comments when you post a pic of yourself on your Social Media channels.
Hire a professional. I believe everyone can take a decent photo. Personally, I love Portrait mode on my phone, but if you want to really level up your business, hire a professional for all photography work. It will repay you in spades! People can tell quality a mile off and they are drawn to clean, crisp and emotive photography
Know your ideal customer and plan your photoshoot around this. Who your ideal customer is will influence the location of your shoot, what you choose to wear, the vibe, the props… everything! Every decision you make sends a signal to anyone who will see your photos.
Work hard on your shotlist. Got a branding session planned? Don’t leave your shotlist until the night before. Start with the goal in mind: content to appeal to your ideal customer. So, what are your key themes and content pillars for your social media? What shots do you need to be able to post about them? Also think about how you can capture the ‘doing’ and the ‘details’ of your business, not just the ‘who’.
Pick the right outfits. If you can’t afford a stylist to help you, think about a range of ‘looks’ from some casual to some ‘formal’ variations. A great goal is aiming to look like an elevated version of your ideal customer and make sure your outfits align with you brand. It can also work well to think about your brand colours and social media feeds and what will tone well.
Try not to stress about the experience. For most people having their photo taken is pretty painful – it’s vulnerable and can be really scary. I get it! But if you lean in and really work on drowning out the negative thoughts with positive self-talk with the aim of having fun then it’ll be a positive experience. I promise!
Sometimes people wonder why photography costs so much. To be honest, it doesn’t – you can jump online and find someone who will do a photoshoot for $100. Seriously, go crazy on Gumtree if that’s what works for you.
If you want someone with experience, who knows how to get the best from you, make it a really positive, affirming and empowering experience and delivers content you will love to use, then you will need to invest.
And that investment always (and pretty quickly) pays off 10-fold as people connect with you and your brand through your personable images.
I feel like most of the businesses I work with experience an increase in confidence after they receive their photos and start using them. It brings professionalism and an opportunity to connect with their customers in a new, profound way. But to be honest, I feel like the most profound impact of my work is the way it transforms people’s views of themselves.I regularly post on social media about confidence, self-acceptance and being vulnerable. People often engage with that more than business growth in their feedback to me. One beautiful example is this email I received recently from one of the businesses I worked with:
“Thank you so much again for everything, I know I was a complete mess on the day and you were wonderful. Also, I wanted to say thank you and how much I related to a post / story you shared a little while back.
When I was looking through them the first time round, I was mentally checking which ever photos I looked “less fat” in (double chins, belly rolls etc). But after your post I was able to check that and remember, of course I have a belly. That’s just my body after all. I don’t hide it when I’m playing with my boys or reading bedtime stories. Why should I try to hide it in professional photos? So I started looking at my eyes and my smile etc and it made the process a lot more enjoyable.
A change of perspective can work wonders, thank you again for making it such a positive experience. I honestly cannot thank you enough. You were so wonderful.
And really you have an incredible ability to make a daunting experience feel so normal and natural and are really an amazing woman. The whole process has been so easy and empowering. Thank you again.”
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The audience-driven copywriter, brand strategist & customer delight fanatic to help you replace dead ends with a strategic take on copy & business. One that believes in intentional brand touchpoints and empathy-driven copy to nurture genuine connections.
Over the past 7+ years I've supported hundreds of industry-disrupting online businesses globally via my signature LEAN copy method and the strategies to nurture genuine connections, drive sales and celebrate loyalty. Authentically.
I live and work on the breathtaking Darug land of the Darug people. I pay my respects to the Darug Elders, past and present, and the Aboriginal Elders of other communities who may be here today.
Always was, always will be Aboriginal Land.