A Personal Branding Shoot With Kathie – VA and Business owner
Market research is so important. As a photographer, I don’t really have the perception of a consumer when it comes to booking and participating in a photography session. I decided I wanted to get real feedback on these experiences, to help improve my service. So I put out a survey to small business owners in Melbourne to help with some market research. Specifically, I was asking about the expectations they have in regards to personal branding and corporate portraiture for their businesses.
I was lucky to have some amazing people participate and give me some incredibly insight into what I could do to make their experiences better. It was valuable to understand some past experiences that they have had, and what makes for a positive outcome in their minds too.
As a part of participating in the market research, participants had the opportunity to be in the draw to win their own personal branding or corporate headshot photoshoot at my studio, with inclusive images of course. Not one of those photoshoot competitions that gives the session only.
I drew the prize with a random number generator. Kathie was the lucky winner, and when I contacted her she got back to me with some amazing ideas, and told me all about her Business: VA Directory.
Kathie picked a personal branding photoshoot, which included five final retouched images.
She brainstormed some ideas with me, and completed the Branding Workbook that I sent through to her. This helped me understand her business and her goals for the shoot outcome. I also used her answers to create a personalised shot-list document. This included a moodboard and some posing ideas, and a shot-list, and a series of goals. This was printed for the session so we could refer back to it, and check that we were on track.
Kathie’s business really interested me. She runs a Virtual Assistant Directory, called VA Directory (see her Instagram, Facebook and website). The business helps other businesses find Virtual Assistants all over the world. But it goes beyond this, and helps to train VA’s – with her training program VA Trainer too.
Kathie of course works as a virtual assistant herself, while providing resources on her website for other VAs and business with helpful information about the VA industry. While VA Directory works globally now, but Kathie started the business herself from her home while raising her daughters. She had won awards for her work as a secretary, and begun her home based business in the early 90s – when the internet was starting. It was Kathie who founded the VA network in Australia.
What I felt was really special about Kathie’s story was how she created a business that expanded on her skills, but also fit around her lifestyle. This is really inspiring as a business owner myself, and I really admire how Kathie has not only grown her business, but actually created the VA industry.
What We Set Out To Achieve:
Kathie completed my Branding Workbook and told me about herself, her business, and her ideas for her personal branding photoshoot.
Our goals were to capture a headshot, images of her using her laptop, images suitable to add text to for marketing materials, and some outdoor headshots (which I will discuss below).
The shots for her business were all taken in the studio. It kept for a clean and consistent look and aligned with the professional nature of her business. In the studio I set up a ‘desk’ setting, and incorporated some objects. I followed an orange theme to tie in with her logo. Kathie brought along her phone and laptop to use as well.
I even brought along an orange chair. It all actually worked out really nicely. I took this quick behind the scenes photo of the setup before we begun.
Here is one of the shots with Kathie below. We brought in one of the palms – Kathie loves nature and the outdoors, and it helped bring a bit more interest into the negative space.
We also photographed an updated headshot for Kathie too. She wore these beautiful colours, and the end result was vibrant, open and friendly. We kept the background light and neutral – it’s clean and clear, allowing us to focus on Kathie herself, as well as being able to tie into her website nicely.
Some Other Images:
Alongside her VA business, Kathie is a photographer herself – specialising in nature and garden imagery. She actually lives in the Dandenong Ranges and captures some beautiful imagery which she sells as prints and products, predominantly at Kallista market in the Dandenongs. You can view her work on her photography website, Dandenong Ranges Photography, or follow her on Facebook and Instagram too.
We took a range of branding portraits outdoors of Kathie with her camera. The idea was for her to have an updated image of herself to use on her website and socials. Kathie brought along her camera, and we explored the bushland around my property. We had a lovely sunny morning for it, with beautiful colour too. Here is one of the portraits:
While I was shooting, I had Kathie look through her camera for some of the shots. She sent me two photos that she took of me during the time! Both silly and serious here:
Kathie was so wonderful to work with – patient and kind, and really insightful and passionate about her businesses. She was generous enough to gift me a wonderful 2019 calendar of her nature photography too – which she has available for purchase.
She also left her thoughts about the session: “Loved the experience, the location and the relaxed atmosphere. And most of all, love the photos that were taken. So hard to choose.”
Choosing is definitely one of the hardest parts! I’m really glad that Kathie got something out of her personal branding session. I really love working with businesses and aligning with their goals and values.
If you’re interested in getting some professional personal branding photographs or headshots for your business, get in touch or book your session online!