EP 20: Personal Branding as an Entrepreneur with Christina Jones

Your personal brand is the way you promote yourself. Your lifestyle. Your business. Your personality. How do you want to share who you are with your audience? But introverts hate being the center of attention. I am right there with you. You don’t want to be the focus in front of the camera because that is uncomfortable, but when it comes to promoting your brand you want imagery that will speak to who you are. Using stock photography, having a professional brand shoot, or taking photos of yourself will help you achieve your authentic look along with these informative tips.

Our guest on the podcast today is Florida-based, Lifestyle Brand Photographer, Christina Jones. She helps female creatives and entrepreneurs create scroll-stopping lifestyle imagery so they can attract their target audience and build a brand and business of their dreams! When she’s not snapping photos, she’s spending quality time with her two kiddos, Solomon and Olivia, and her husband, Gary. She loves iced coffee, fashion magazines and could eat brunch at any time of the day!

In this episode, Christina and I dive into how her love of brand photography started, her best brand shoot tips for introverts, how to know if you and your brand photographer are the right fit for each other, ColorJoy Stock Membership and who it is for, batch creating your own brand session and much more.

From Executive Assistant to Lifestyle Brand Photographer

How does one become a brand photographer? I don’t think that was even in Christina’s mind as an executive assistant at an accounting firm, but her journey is so unique and it led her to where she is today and making a true difference in diverse stock imagery. Christina always had a love and appreciation for photography, especially in the fashion space, but it wasn’t until she went on maternity leave for her second child, Olivia, that she started taking pictures of her daughter and posting them on Instagram. 

From there she started getting into mom blogging, influencing, and creating content for brands for their social media campaigns. She did that for around a year until her daughter didn’t like taking photos anymore, but she realized she loved doing photography for brands. She began reaching out to local moms and small businesses and eventually transitioned into doing brand campaigns for small businesses. This allowed her to quit her full-time corporate job and continue with her entrepreneurial journey full-time. 

She started hearing from her brand clients about looking for stock photos of diverse women, especially women of color, and they couldn’t find feminine working style photos with brown hands, typing on a computer, or writing in a notebook. But a year ago, when quarantine started and civil unrest happened, she rebranded the membership beyond her clients, and that’s how ColorJoy Stock was created. Not only does she do lifestyle brand photography, but she now does stock photography and product photography.

Brand Photography Tips for Introverts

Every entrepreneur definitely needs to have a brand shoot at least once a year. If you want to share lots of beautiful images on social media and build up your personal brand, then even more frequently. As an introverted entrepreneur, this can be a terrifying experience to think about in terms of finding the right photographer and doing a brand shoot session. Don’t worry though because Christina has some great tips to lead you in the right direction. She knows the importance of being the face of your brand on social media and making connections with your audience.

Before you go about hiring a brand photographer, get into the practice of taking selfies, getting really good at creating content on your own. She says the more confident you feel on your own in front of the camera, the easier it will be when you actually schedule a photoshoot, and someone else is taking the photos for you. Brand photography is an investment, and you want to make sure you know you are feeling confident in front of the camera because it will show. She remembers looking back at some of her old brand photos when she first started taking her own, and she noticed that she looked terrified, too.

Her next tip is to get some outfits that you feel really confident in or if you happen to put on makeup one day that you really like, take advantage of those moments. Having these things planned ahead of time is a great way to build confidence as well. You can write out the kinds of shots you want to take on paper, or you can download her free Brand Story Shot List Template that will be very helpful in getting your ideas together, especially if you are launching a new product or want to celebrate something using your imagery. This allows you to be less anxious when it comes time to do your brand shoot.

What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Brand Photographer

When it comes to reaching out to ideal photographers, you want to keep a few things in mind. You want to be comfortable with the photographer you choose, but it’s also important you trust their decisions. I’ve personally had a photographer tell me to position my hand a certain way, and at first, I thought it would look awkward or weird, but it turned out to be perfect. Christina mentions that you should make sure even before you meet up with them, that you feel comfortable with them and with their personality because if you are working with someone who is super excited and high energy, that could make you nervous. If they are active on social media, then you can see how they interact with clients and watch their videos if they have any.

That being said, you also want to make sure you ask certain questions to make the best decision. These questions could be:

  • Are they in your budget? – If their pricing isn’t on their website
  • Do they have a studio or have access to it? – You don’t want to book them to find out later that they don’t have access to it
  • Are they flexible?
  • What are their turnaround times?
  • How do you handle certain scenarios or challenges? – This comes back to their personality and how it fits with yours
  • Do they travel or are they willing to do so?

 

These questions are a great starting point and you may even come up with some on your own. Another thing to consider is that you make sure they send you a contract, so that you understand the legal parameters you have, as far as how you can use the images because every photographer does it a bit differently.

ColorJoy Stock: Stock Photography Membership and Who It’s For

ColorJoy Stock is a diverse stock photo membership. They celebrate every woman, no matter your skin tone, body type, background, or lifestyle. They want to make sure every woman is not only represented in the membership library but feels celebrated and welcome. Christina is passionate about what members need, looking at trends, and the type of images that get used. Christina and her ColorJoy team really try to make sure that they are targeting women, who not only want to build a diverse and inclusive business but include women of color because there’s a lack of representation in stock photography. One of the main focuses of ColorJoy is to inspire other stock photography memberships to be more diverse, to create content that diverse women, who are wanting to attract more diverse women, can use through their marketing. 

Another amazing feature is their commercial license membership option. Lots of places don’t offer this, but if they do it is astronomically priced. I love that they have this option that is pretty affordable for people to use beautiful images in a commercial way for their members or for their clients. Lots of the other memberships are worried that people are going to turn around and resell the images or do something that isn’t favorable, but at the end of the day, Christina says once the membership grows, you can’t really control that anyway. ColorJoy simplified that to make it easy for everyone to use the images, and most of the members do. I can’t recommend it enough for people to sign up for, especially if you’re struggling with beautiful imagery for social media or your website.

Doing Your Own Brand Session to Create Content on Your Own

If you’re creating content on your own, Christina highly recommends batch creating, basically creating your own brand session. If you want to create content for the next week or the whole month, you can set aside an hour or more to create the shots you want. You don’t have to worry about what to post next or for the next few weeks on social media. This also allows you to repurpose the photos when you are launching a product or service. When you feel prepared, you feel more confident to show up in the world.

Even if you aren’t working with a photographer, you can use Christina’s Brand Story Shot List Template to batch create your own content. It helps you organize what kind of photos you need at any given time. There’s also a worksheet where you can jot down your target audience, your target customer, what their pain points are, and your business processes from start to finish. Because your audience wants to see the behind the scenes of your business as well, like what goes into these beautiful templates you’re creating or what goes into creating the results that you create for your clients. It can really drive those conversions, too. She is redesigning the template with a few more features for creating mood boards, and brainstorming content, so be on the lookout for that.

Tapping Into Brand Photography as a Service Provider

Brand photography is something that I feel a lot of entrepreneurs, especially service providers, aren’t really tapping into. It’s so needed, especially for service providers because you’re not selling your service. You’re selling yourself, right? I know I take horrible selfies, so investing in brand photography is definitely valuable. In this Instagram era with reels and showing up on video, Christina says people may not necessarily feel the need to invest in professional photos, but if you’re launching a website, or selling a new product, you need professional photos for that. You can’t use a reel on your website. You can’t use a reel as your profile photo, your about page photo, or you can’t use a video to necessarily create a product listing. You still need professional photos to promote your products and services. With everything that’s going on, there are photographers who do a mini session, Christina does this too, so if you’re not necessarily ready to do a full session, ask if they offer a mini session or a starter session, where you can get a handful of photos. Brand photographers for entrepreneurs make the biggest impact on your business as far as the value you provide because even if you aren’t seeing obvious results, more leads will be attracted to you.

Christina gave so many amazing tips on personal branding and brand photography on this episode of the podcast today. She shared about how her love of photography after her firstborn led to her becoming a brand photographer, tips on confidence in front of the camera and putting together outfit choices that make you feel even more confident, batch creating your brand session, ColorJoy Stock Photography membership, and how to know if the brand photographer you chose matches your vibe. Be sure to grab both of Christina’s freebies, 25 Free Styled Stock Photos, and Brand Story Shot List Template for some beautifully diverse stock photos to use with your content and a list of brand story shots you want to take for your brand shoot – professionally or by yourself.

What kind of personal brand shots do you feel would best capture who you are in your business? Start creating a list of brand shots you want to incorporate in your shoot to use for your content.

A Breakdown of This Episode

[1:13] Christina’s journey from accounting firm executive assistant to lifestyle brand photographer

[6:12] Tips Christina has for introverts who are terrified of doing a brand shoot with a photographer 

[10:20] Being comfortable with your brand photographer

[11:45] Questions to ask when reaching out to a brand photographer to see if they are the right fit

[16:18] Christina’s ColorJoy Stock membership and who it is for – plus commercial license membership option

[21:55] ColorJoy Stock’s new affiliate program

[25:08] Batch creating by doing a brand session for yourself

[29:10] If you aren’t tapping into brand photography as a service provider, you need to, and here’s why

If you enjoyed this episode, I invite you to take a screenshot and tag me on your Instagram stories @introvertcoach and tell me your biggest takeaway!

join the introvertpreneur club:

Are you an introvertpreneur, who is feeling stressed out and overwhelmed, while trying to market your business in an extroverted way?

If you are a service provider, freelancer, or other service-based business, this membership will help you find the marketing methods that work best for your business, and so much more!

You don't have to do this alone anymore!

join the email list:

Join our email list and never miss an episode, plus you’ll get the FREE Ultimate Guide for Introverted Business Owners delivered to your inbox, too.

Being an introvert is a superpower.

free virtual summit

The summit for freelancers and service providers who want to scale their business and create additional revenue streams.