Why Your Brand Should Matter to Your Photographer with India Jackson
Welcome guys. I’ve got India Jackson with me today. India Jackson Artistry. I adore India. If you have not yet heard me talk about her, then you’re not paying close enough attention to my stories, because I love her very much. Hi India.
India Jackson: Hi.
Stacey Harris: You’re like all uncomfortable now because I’m like, “I love her so much.”
India Jackson: I love you too Stacey. Oh my gosh. We rave about Stacey so much on our account as well.
Stacey Harris: I enjoy that too. India is fantastic. We met, I want to say it’s only been like a year, right? Hasn’t even been a year.
India Jackson: It’s almost a year. But not quite.
Stacey Harris: I feel like, in this weird way, I’ve not known you very long, but I’ve known you forever. Like there’s just that comfort in you, but I’m just like, “Oh yeah, I know India for like forever.” Anyways. Today we’re going to talk about something really, really valuable and something that you work with a lot which is personal brand because you’re a fantastic photographer and you own a wonderful agency that works with all kinds of brands and small businesses. But one of the things I love about you, is you very truly understand that everyone, regardless of what they do or what kind of company they work in or if they’re an employee or whatever, it has a personal brand and you do a really cool job of shooting brands, personal and otherwise in a way that’s in alignment with them and their brand and not necessarily a specific photography style.
And so I want to talk a little bit about the importance of a personal brand. Now, most of the people listening to this show are entrepreneurs, but I think often in the entrepreneurial space we get stuck in the idea that our business has a brand and for maybe some segment of them, they have a brand that is a personal brand. But regardless of whether your brand is a personal brand, you have one. I in a weird way feel like I have two like I have my … The Stacey Harris is a personal brand and then there’s actual Stacey that has its own weird brand. Why do you think that everyone has a brand?
India Jackson: I think in today’s day everyone is online. If you have social media accounts, if you’re putting yourself out there, if you’re interviewing, if you’re public speaking, that is your brand. Everybody has a brand because your brand is less about what you’re putting out there and more about what other people think of you. Like what would they say to someone else if they had to describe you.
Stacey Harris: I love that. And I want to back this up a little bit because I feel like your journey to this probably gives you kind of a very specific insight and your understanding of it at that level. I think it’s probably because of your own background and experience as somebody who was a model, is a model, who was an athlete. You have sort of had a brand inside a lot of different spaces. Before we go too much further, kind of tell everybody your sort of journey to figuring this out for yourself.
India Jackson: Oh Gosh. It’s been an interesting journey.
Stacey Harris: That’s why I like it because it’s so … I remember my first call with you ever because you’re in Bam and I remember our first call and I did not know you before you joined Bam. And we hopped on the call and you were telling me about working with these athletes and photographer with small businesses and I was like, “She has these insights into these spaces that nobody knows” Because it’s like very tight-knit communities, but you get it because you’ve been in them. So this is why you have to tell the story because it gives you these perspectives that other photographers don’t have.
India Jackson: Yes. I actually loved photography since I was a kid, but I think one of the things that creators run into is that your family or peers can encourage you to go into a different area of education because it just seems like there’s more job security in something else that’s not creative.
Stacey Harris: Which in this day and age, I think job security as a whole and any industry is probably a bit of a myth, but, okay.
India Jackson: Exactly. And I was studying science and taking anatomy and physiology and things like that. And a girl had to pay for school somewhere. I already liked photography and I was modeling at the time to stay in the creative industry but also pay for school. And I was on the other side of the camera and I was spending all this time with photographers. I’m spending time with other models and I kept seeing that we would get hired for something and we were there to represent a brand and just showcase the product or the hairstyle or whatever it may be. And we were basically like a human coat hanger, you know that’s what we were hired to do, we sign up for that.
It wasn’t really about our personality or who you were but that feeling of you’re constantly being photographed. There’s constantly an image of you somewhere in a magazine or online, but you’re never being seen kept becoming a thing. And popularity grew amongst like me and I started building a following, which is kind of weird to say now because I was a teenager at the time. And then life happened and a lot of the girls that I was working with who were doing music videos, wanting to get out of that industry and to slowly position themselves to be in TV ads for things like Target or KFC or whatever.
They go back to these same photographers and they’d still get music video looking photos. I’m like, “How did they turn a headshot into a sexy like music video girl looking photo” I don’t know. But somehow they manage to do that and they started coming to me for help and saying, they really liked my work, that I should do this and provide this place where you can come and get exactly what you asked for instead of having a style.
Stacey Harris: Right. It’s almost like in the … And this is something and then we’ll keep going down your journey just a second, but I feel like this is one of those sort of lessons that so often if we don’t take control of our brand, if we don’t make the decisions and work with the kind of people who are going to help us execute the vision that we’re looking to move towards, it’s easy to … Through the course of, in this case, jobs and maybe for some of our entrepreneurs, we end up pigeonholed by the style of photography that our photographer chooses for us.
That imagery can dictate a brand, that is not actually what we want to do moving forward. And this is one of the reasons that sometimes there needs to be a change in photographer if you’ve worked with a photographer for a long time, because sometimes you need to very consciously go in another direction to make sure that it’s looking at where you want your brand to go and not sort of the brand that for some of these girls that sounds like maybe it was created for them just on the basis of the jobs they got to say yes for a little while in their career.
I think that’s a really interesting lesson that we can all kind of take. And again, for entrepreneurs, I think it’s most often probably happens in, we work with a photographer because we don’t really know what we’re doing, and we don’t really know, maybe totally whatever and is yet full disclosure. And we end up sort of adapting ourselves to the brand of photos that they take. And we’re like, “Oh wait, I don’t actually take pink tutu photos with macaroons and confetti” Can you imagine if I ended up at that brand shoot?
I can’t even imagine what people would say on my Instagram. They’re like, “Wait, is this like a body of swatch or situation?” But that happens a lot early. I remember the first photographer I ever worked with, he wanted me to … I had long pink hair of the time, like just below my bra strap probably. And I remember he kept wanting me to take these pictures where I would flip over and then flip my hair back. And so my hair would be like that cascading thing, and I was like “Why?” But that was the kind of photos he took.
And I’m like “I’m good.” I remember I had a lot of photos of me carrying my laptop. Again, not really on brand for me, and I’m like, “Why? Why?” And I want that to sort of be a lesson. If you don’t take control of what your brand is going to look like, someone else will.
India Jackson: Yes. It is so important to be intentional about your brand and to make sure that you’re working with people that are getting a clear idea of that before they ever start creating for you.
Stacey Harris: Yeah, because I think so often we end up sort of just continuing to put one foot in front of the other, and we’re like, “Wait, how does this what shook out?” We sort of move forward now, and you’re more behind the camera because you’re helping these women sort of align their photography, and their headshot with what they want their brands to be like instead of based on the jobs they managed to get to say yes when they needed to pay rent because we have all taken those jobs where we’re like, “Okay, so this is a job that purely is a rent payment, this is 100% just the car payment.” I want this job, not at all, sort of what was the next step for you?
India Jackson: I noticed that the next step was that I was spending a lot of time just talking to my clients. Way more time talking to them and making them feel comfortable and really helping them weigh out who they are beyond just how they look. If they were a model or if they were a business, who they were beyond what they sold and connecting that piece to the why they even got into what they were doing or why they created the product that they have. And as I would dive deeper into those stories, it was like a light bulb went off that they had all of these things inside of them, that the outside had no idea about because they weren’t sharing it.
Stacey Harris: And you know what, we’re all guilty of that. We’ve all done it. We’ve all gotten a little too far inside of our heads and we’re like, “Wait, everyone doesn’t know that?” Oh No, because I didn’t tell anyone.
India Jackson: Yes. And so that concept started to keep coming up of their identity that they knew was inside of them versus their reputation of what someone else would say about them from their normal interactions or what they saw online or in their marketing. And it really just became a matter of the clients starting to point out to me like, “Oh, I never thought about that.” You saw something in me that I didn’t see or you saw the unseen thing. And they were like, well, why don’t we shoot from this perspective? Like, let’s not do something cookie cutter. Let’s actually show those things that are making you unique. And really just that’s going to make you stand out because so many people are too afraid to put themselves out there for the behind the scenes and what’s going on and showing the why as well and not just the how and what we sell.
Stacey Harris: I think it’s so easy for us to want to prove our value by sticking in that what and how because it feels I’m like pushing my fingers. I’m like, it feels like tactile, like tangible to us when really, generally speaking, the thing that is different from selling your thing and really branding your company is that feeling. We talk a lot about a brand being lots of different things, but most often is sort of like the way somebody feels when they’re done dealing with you. That’s essentially the brand and that’s our values are most often directed to that.
It’s most often why we started doing this for, I mean I know for a lot of the view that are listening to this right now, your service or info based, your the impact is so important, but sometimes we still get distracted by the tangible when the impact really comes from that why. And so how did you start bringing these conversations and this intent into your shoots? Is it that your style varies from client to client based on that conversation or those conversations? Is it sort of maybe changing where the look, like where the shoots happen are the kinds of shoots that happen? How do you sort of integrate those two things together? So that those brand promises and those brand feelings and that why really comes across in the visuals.
India Jackson: It’s definitely all of the above. I feel like no client’s brand should be alike because no two people are like, and people are buying from people first and foremost. So really just getting to know the head person in charge if it’s a company and their people and their company culture, really dictates how our shooting things. If it’s an individual getting to know who they are in a deeper level and then every decision that we make from there, from the amount of contrast that’s used in the photos, the saturation, the overall tone, is it warm or cool tone images. We’re looking at all of these different elements that make up a photograph and specifically choosing that off, of the color psychology and the rest of the brand that they already have in place too. Because I do believe that your brand should be an evolution, you shouldn’t just change everything overnight and start over. Don’t burn it all down.
Stacey Harris: 100 percent like halelluya like, yes, as somebody who’s been through a couple of rebrands a, it’s just not good for your psyche to try to manage all of that at once. It’s a lot and I think it evolves, you evolve as a person just like I’m not the same person I was 10 or 20 years ago, which is, we don’t need to talk about that. But anyways, your brand isn’t the same. My brand’s not the same as it was two years ago. It’s changed since then. And I think that I, I love that evolution piece and I love that factoring in all the brand pieces. So let’s bring this back to a personal brand. For those of us who are a personal brand, The Stacey Harris is my face better or worse.
How do we manage the balance between our personal brand and sharing our why and putting that on our visuals and still maintaining sort of our own identity. Because this is something that I’ve kind of waffled with, especially when it comes to the visuals, is how do I express in my visuals, this segment of my personality. That is my personal brand. I talked about this a little bit on the show. We have an episode, that we did where I talked all about sort of the differences between The Stacey Harris and Stacey and sort of dealing with my own mental gymnastics as I worked through getting comfortable with that. How do we express sort of that part of us in a photo? Is it a matter of like zooming in on the why around why we’re showing up as this personal brand or does it really need to be all of us in our visuals?
India Jackson: I think it really just depends on the person and where they’re at in their journey. And so some people are more comfortable sharing more things than others. I don’t believe in oversharing just for the sake of oversharing.
Stacey Harris: I agree.
India Jackson: Because we all have many, many different layers to who we are, but it’s a matter of finding a balance between showcasing what makes you unique and still feeling you have some privacy too. For some clients, their kids are off limits and they don’t want to show their kids on their social and that’s totally fine. You don’t have to do that.
Stacey Harris: I don’t.
India Jackson: Yeah. And most of my clients don’t. For others, they feel way more comfortable showing up on a live or showing more headshots themselves or if they really like fashion, even though their brand has nothing to do with fashion, they might do outfit of the day, and they’re getting themselves known for their impeccable fashion sense. However, maybe they’re realtor which they’re not selling clothing but I think it’s-
Stacey Harris: But there’s something about a well-dressed realtor that will really, I mean I know a lot of realtors and there is something you learn when you go to school to be a realtor. They’re like teaches you to like dress really well. It’s crazy. I don’t understand. The reason I bring this up because I know you work with a lot of athletes. I know you do, you shoot bodybuilding competitions from time to time. I know you have experience in this space and being on sort of both sides of the camera again, which I think is another really valuable perspective that you have is you’ve been on what I call the uncomfortable side where you’re the subject, and the photography side.
Do you find that it varies depending on whether your personal brand client is maybe like a more traditional entrepreneur like service based, maybe they’re an accountant or a realtor, versus if they are somebody who is more of a … I mean I think athletes are a little bit performers like there’s a certain showmanship, especially in the bodybuilding community. Do you find that there’s a difference there or do you find that they’re sort of some commonalities between even personal brands that feel kind of opposite end of the spectrum? Are there some sort of common elements that maybe our listeners can be aware of as they’re building out their own brand shoots?
Maybe lessons business owners can learn from the poor performer or people. This is why I’m obsessed with podcasts put on by stand up comics. I love when they dissect how they put together a set because as a speaker it’s like, “Oh yeah, I could totally pull that into how I present content.” So I like these lessons from other places and you have a very unique ability to bring together two very different clients, that are … It’s a personal brand photo shoots. So what are some of the commonalities and what are maybe a couple of the fun differences?
India Jackson: That’s a great question. Commonalities, I feel like what everyone has in common is we all have hobbies. We all have something that we’re known for and that might be a different thing per person, but it’s that one thing that like all of your friends, your inner circle come to you and they ask you about, that’s not what you do. And I think that just kind of a good starting point is making a list of what are those things. So in the example of realtor, everyone asks her about her outfits, so she’s really known for fashion. And so that’s one of the things that she’s leading with because it comes natural for her.
I think the other thing that everyone has in common is really wanting to be authentic. It just shows up as who they are. And so when you pull from the things that are in your bag of interest already and your hobbies already it’s a great thing to showcase those things. I want to know if I’m a big fan of what you’re doing or I want to support you or I find you interesting. What are you reading right now? Everybody’s reading or learning something.
Stacey Harris: I love that.
India Jackson: What podcasts are you listening to?
Stacey Harris: This one.
India Jackson: Exactly. Stacey Harris podcast.
Stacey Harris: Obviously.
India Jackson: What are some of the things that you’re doing in your pass time? That’s what everyone has in common. And those are easy things to show in your images. Those are easy things to share behind the scenes, we all do some kind of prep work into what we do. So the athletes, they’re prepping for their show, meaning they are going on a diet, they’re spending time in the gym, they’re doing posing classes. People want to see behind the curtain what goes into what you’re doing to get you to the finished product. But that’s the same for a product based business. If you’re a clothing company, you have to make the designs and then you have to come together with the pieces and then curate the pieces and pick the patterns and all these different things. We want to see that. And I think that that builds a deeper connection to the selling part of like what goes into what you do.
Stacey Harris: Yeah, it’s a great value establisher, when we see kind of the behind the scenes and we see what goes into putting together the thing we’re buying or the service were receiving, there’s something in our brain that makes it a little easier for us to attach the value. But also it’s a great credibility establisher are like, “Oh yeah, you’re an expert.” I’ve literally seen you putting together the designs or the fun part, the less skill stuff but the more fun stuff to see. I can’t remember what the brand is now but they put together like gift boxes. And I went looking at them because I got a gift box from them and it was beautiful and they hand put together all of these gift boxes and for the life of me I will try to find the brand and put it in the show notes.
But they put them together and they do regularly stories where they get the whole team together and they line these up or they’ll have little team competitions to invent a new box. We got all these stuff, these things in, now five different people will challenge each other to put together the coolest box and that’ll theme out sort of boxes that come out the next quarter. That was such a fun thing to get to watch and really be kind of invested in the box. I ended up getting gifted because I was like, “Oh, I watched her win that little challenge they did.” And that’s how this box came to be. There’s something really cool about that. So I love the behind the scenes you shared. I also want to give a little bit of a shout out to two people who I think do this really well on the interesting side of things.
Racheal Cook, over @racheal.cook on Instagram. Does a great job of this. Talks a ton about books and skincare, which are two of her absolute obsessions. She’s a business strategist. They have very little to do with the day to day of her business, although she does read a lot of business books as well, but it makes her feel human and it’s like, “Oh, I like that too.” I think Tara Newman over @thetaranewman on Instagram does a really great job with this, with um, talking about her own fitness and nutrition and CrossFit and reading and journaling and like her own routine, which is great from a leadership mindset standpoint. But also like getting to know her.
I knew she was obsessed with coffee long before I worked with her because for a while they’re like, her story is always started with the Nespresso machine and her whole ritual that is coffee. I love those examples as we talk about, some things that they have that are very much so different. Are there any things that maybe we need to like stay in our own lane on?
India Jackson: I think that the language is different. That’s a big thing to note. So definitely knowing who your audience is and what are some specific nuances of that. When I say prep and that’s me using athlete language. I literally had somebody else asked me if I was talking about a medication, I didn’t know there was a medication called Prep.
Stacey Harris: There is?
India Jackson: Apparently there is. So It’s-
Stacey Harris: What are you Prepping for? I’m very concerned about this.
India Jackson: I’m not sure, but it’s just a matter of knowing, okay. We all have industry language and so knowing like, okay, this audience speaks this language, but when I … and suddenly shifting audiences, which we all may decide to rebrand and go after a different following or go after a different type of ideal client. Does that client understand the language that I’m speaking gets a little interesting.
Stacey Harris: This is really … I would go as far as saying at some point we all evolve our clientele because we learned from working with people. I talk often to people who are in their first year or two and they’re building their ideal clients. And I’m like, honestly, just realize you’re going to have to redo this because I adore you, but you haven’t yet worked with enough people to be really, really solid in this. And I hear, I am not eight, nine years into this eight years into this and my ideal client has changed.
I mean any India you and I have had this conversation not long ago where I was talking about like I realized earlier this year that I sort of evolve some things, and I got to give my audience some time to catch up and to sort of like I need to make some adjustments on my front end stuff to make sure that the stuff we’re talking about on the back end and the front where people were talking to on the front end are the same people because I made some changes really rapidly and I went, Oh wait, I have to go tell these guys on the front too.”
And we’ll all do that. I love that language piece, but I think it also comes into the aesthetics. Like making sure that the photos we’re using are relevant now and this is why I love one of the packages you have is those regular photo shoots for clients. This ability to sort of stay current with your photos, which is especially important on social. How often do you find sort of what’s best for your clients to be doing these sort of more social focus. Probably photo shoots where they’re updating that sort of library of content that they have so that they can make sure that yes, their language but also their photos. For either a personal brand or a more like company based brand. Our current to who they’re talking to right now.
India Jackson: I definitely think it depends on the client. I’m finding that product based businesses, especially product businesses that are going after being able to have influencers kind of help push out their content.
Stacey Harris: Right.
India Jackson: Or having ambassadors need more frequent shoots. We’re running into a lot of those kinds of companies wanting to work with us on a monthly basis, especially apparel brands because they’re always coming out with new pieces. And if there’s trendy apparel brand that means that they’re also phasing things out pretty quickly. So they need that consistency and they also need to have it on multiple kinds of people, whether it be an athlete this week, a model next week and a teacher the following week who has a social media account.
What I’m finding that is service based businesses typically the … It’s kind of surprising I find that when they do it themselves, they may have a concept in their mind that they need to be shooting like once a month or every day. But really if you do it strategically, you can get anywhere between two and four shoots a year and get a lot of content in two to four big projects, AR projects or full day projects where you don’t really have to worry about your content again, as far as visual, you’re just doing updates from there. You’re able to get a really great bank of images to work with and just one big shoot.
Stacey Harris: Well now that’s where, not to toot my little strategy horn sort of knowing what’s ahead for you in your marketing can make it easier to do maybe these twice a year or four times a year shoots because you can be like, okay, so we need these kinds of shots because we’re launching this program in the season or whatever. You can kind of account for what you’re kind of going to need. If you’re talking a lot about taking time off in the summer, then maybe you’re shooting those with more of a summer vibe because that ties to a launch you have about, a more of a focused task time during the summer or whatever. But if you know that ahead of time, it gets easier to sort of batch these shoots. Yeah.
India Jackson: Yes. I can’t speak highly enough of having a marketing plan in place. The clients that get the best return on investment are ones that know what they’re selling and when they’re selling it and we personally as a team, enjoy spending time with the clients to figure out what that is, and really making them feel we’re a part of their marketing team or extension of that they’ve hired. Because once I know what it is that you’re trying to sell for the year, my team is able to go in and create images that are able to create the energy that you want behind that, the way that you want people to feel when they look at that and then also shooting it in a way that will get the thing sold easier because the human brain makes a connection with a photograph 60 000 times faster than it ever does a written word. So we need to grab them in and make them feel like this is for them from the beginning.
Stacey Harris: I love that. I’m really excited that you shared that because I think often times we run into, especially as micro businesses, I mean we’ve got a lot of folks who listen to this show who are sole entrepreneurs or who have maybe a couple of team members and the idea of investing in a photo shoot two or four times, once per year, much less two or four times a year can feel daunting. But I think that having these pieces in play, having the strategy so that you can maximize the time at the shoot and really make the most of that time working with somebody like your team who has a real understanding that this is a tool in the marketing sort of toolbox. This isn’t like, “Oh, we’re doing fun pretty photos.” No, this is … There is a message that we’re sharing here. And I think then building this inconsistently can reap such incredible ROI and support your business so much that it becomes one of those things.
It becomes a no brainer investment, especially when you categorize it next to a lot of the sort of BS investments that we end up making, maybe it’s not another course on a thing that you don’t actually need to know because you don’t actually sell it. Maybe it’s instead it’s investing in how your brand is showing up and really up leveling how you appear to your audience. I love that. I want to wrap this up with a couple of tips because this is a conversation you and I have had and I’m obsessed with the idea of bringing it to them, especially for those personal brand people.
Because we started the show it everybody has a personal brand, student, entrepreneur, employee, whatever. We also briefly kind of touched on it. Some of us can end up with photo shoots that aren’t totally representative of us because we ended up working with a photographer and we get photos in their style instead of in our brand. So what are some of the things as we’re going to hire a photography company or team or agency or person, whatever, that we need to look for to make sure that we are hiring somebody who’s going to deliver photos and alignment with our brand and not just their style?
India Jackson: That’s a great question. One of the things that I would look for is when you’re checking out their Instagram or their website, see if all the images have a similar look if they do, you know, that’s a red flag for me that they may not be able to shoot in a different style. Because you do have a lot of photographers that come from an artist background that is very much like, “Oh well this is the way that I paint” And I don’t paint a different way.
Stacey Harris: Right.
India Jackson: But if you really like-
Stacey Harris: Which is fine. They’re allowed to do that. However, it may not be in alignment. Personally, I love that when I’m looking at photography for my family photos because I can look for a style that’s going to fit well in the design of my house. I can look for photos that are going to feel like us in my house. Family photographers here in southern California. They have a very specific beach aesthetic. I love that. That’s exactly what I want. I’m happy to hire that. That’s not necessarily what I’m looking for. What I’m looking for a branding shoot though, so there’s nothing wrong with it, but I think you’re right. It’s a red flag when you go to talk about your brand experience.
India Jackson: Yes. If they have only one style that you’re seeing, and what I mean by style is the amount of contrast, how vibrant the colors are, how light or dark the images are, those kinds of things. Are they using studio lighting? Is it natural light? Are they using particular types of sets? And it’s only that one way. Just be really clear on, is that the way that you … Is a good reflection of your brand? Does it represent and work into your logo, your colors, the energy behind your company? And if so, then that might be a great fit for you because they already have that style. But if not, I would have some deeper conversation if you still want to work with them on are they capable of shooting the style that you need.
The other thing I would look forward to is really just doing the groundwork. If you don’t have someone who’s doing marketing on your team, that’s where I would get with a marketing person first. Because to invest in photography and to not know why you’re investing in it, it may be a wasted investment. You have to have a clear plan.
Stacey Harris: Absolutely. And you know I sort of hinted that I would tell the story … The photo that I had when I started my first business in 2011 and my headshot was literally a phone. This is going to kill you a little, prepare yourself. A selfie I took on my phone in front of my bathroom door. Literally, that was my Facebook profile image. It was submitted to all sorts of things. Here’s the deal. I had no idea what I needed photography for then. I had no idea what my intent was. I had no plans for … I literally just needed for my face in my Facebook profile. So for the first year, it kind of worked.
It was all right, I can imagine getting away with the same thing now because now I know what’s happening and I’ll be honest, I am terrible about this. I had a little mini shoot late last year where I got a handful of photos. Outside of that, the last time I was professionally photographed was, I think we’re up to five years. I think we just passed the five year anniversary. This is something that we are rectifying for me in these next couple of months. But it’s absolutely something that a lot of the reason I haven’t done it as I didn’t know, I’ve changed so much in the last five years and I kept going, I don’t know what I need right now.
And so I love that advice around sitting down with somebody, you’re marketing coach, your mastermind, like figure out what the intent is for these photos. And I feel like, it’s so much more helpful for you as a photography team to be able to then deliver what it is I’m looking for. If I can just be like, “Oh, I just need photos, that’s not helpful.” What are you need photos for? And I think about some of my photography experiences, like the first photographer I ever worked with, I ended up getting a ton of vertical photos, which is not super helpful in website development.
India Jackson: Not at all.
Stacey Harris: And I was like, “Oh my God, I have no photos for the header of my website. What am I going to do?” It occurred to me, I had never asked him to make sure that we got some vertical photos that would fit. That would be a solid header for my website because I didn’t have an intent behind the shoot. And so again, I love that advice. I can’t harp on it enough. Do you think there’s a benefit in looping your marketing person in on the conversations with your photographer or maybe working with them to create a photography plan that you can then sort of further execute with your photographer being like, here’s a baseline. Are there any sort of like, maybe questions we need to make sure we can answer for the photographer to help get where we want to go?
India Jackson: Absolutely. I absolutely recommend having your marketing person if you’re outsourcing or your marketing team if it’s in house. Loop them with your photography selection and have them communicate with the photographer. And if you don’t have those things out and you’re just kind of doing it yourself right now, my advice is to just really, it doesn’t have to be complicated, or take too long, but just have a description of who you are, what you’re selling, why you’re selling it, who you’re selling it to, how you want to be seen. That is so important. How do you want the world to see you because that is your brand.
This is what I see you as. And how I would articulate that to someone else. And then also I think it’s helpful to add in if you have some pieces on what your company’s values are and how your ethics show up, ways that you’re giving back or what your mission is or your vision and how that goes into integrity because we want to make sure that the person that is taking your pictures has a clear picture of what you’re doing and all of those elements so that they can showcase that.
Stacey Harris: I love that. That’s really helpful. I love that. It kind of comes down to remember in elementary school when we learned how to write like informative essays and stuff and we’re like the five W’s and H like who, what, where, when, why and how. We all learned this stuff in elementary school, but it quite frankly guys, it’s the cornerstone of marketing. Those are all the questions you need to know. We talk about it in a Backstage Live, we talk about them in BAM, you know, this, we’ve talked about them with our one on one clients over and Uncommonly More like these are all the questions we have to know the answers to, to make sure that we’re reaping the most out of our marketing investments. And a big part of that is photography, especially for those of us who storefront is online.
I mean, I think it’s, it’s critical for all businesses online or in person, but for so many of us, a lot of the marketing we’re doing is online and sort of, again, bringing it to this personal brand thing. The other piece I think for me that makes photography so important as I look ahead to making those investments again for myself is I make a real effort to meet a lot of people in person. I really liked to make sure that there is a big part of my time and my business that is not online, know this is strange for me but it’s at conferences or local networking groups or those kinds of belly to belly environments.
Well here’s the deal, what do you do when you meet somebody cool or an event? You then go find them online. If that doesn’t feel like the person I met in person, you immediately lose trust and this is so critical for a personal brand that we keep that consistency intact and again this goes for anybody employees, students think about going to a job interview after you go to a job interview, the person who’s thinking about hiring you is going to look you up online.
As we hire people, we do this every time I go look people up online before their interview. And I do it again after their interview for exactly this reason so that I can see if what I met in person is like they are online. And I always assume for better or worse that the online version of them is probably the more authentic version of them because that’s where they’re not talking to somebody who’s there trying to get to give them a job.
India Jackson: Yes.
Stacey Harris: So make sure that that part of you represents you well to the person who might give you a job.
India Jackson: Yes. You said something I think is probably the biggest takeaway that I would want people to have today is being authentic. When you’re telling that who, what, why, how, it should be authentic because if more of your audience is seeing you online and the reverse of that, and then you run into them at Starbucks and you’re not the same person I saw online, I’m not going to trust you either. And I think that branding is a beautiful thing in a sense that you can curate what you’re putting out there to attract who you want to attract to you, to make it a little bit easier to get that next job promotion or to move into a different career or to get the next client and sponsorship. However, I think that who you are in person and who you are online, they need a match.
Stacey Harris: And I think absolutely there can still be things you don’t share online. Like if we’re in person, you’re more likely to hear and or see a photo of my kid usually because he’s on the front of my phone, he’s usually the wallpaper on my … Right now in fact just checked. He is, in fact, the wallpaper on my phone right now so you’re more likely to see and or hear about them. You’re not probably on Instagram stories going to hear him and you’re definitely not going to see him. And so there can be a filter, there can be certain things that are sort of exclusive to that online. But even if you get more of me in person, that more still feels in alignment with everything you got online.
India Jackson: Yes.
Stacey Harris: Authentic doesn’t mean everything.
India Jackson: Exactly. There’s a difference. Stacey is consistently, I mean just in me working with you as long as I have, you’re consistently bubbly, funny. Those are the things that I know to expect from you no matter what-
Stacey Harris: This is why I really brought her on guys so she could just compliment me for a while.
India Jackson: But yes, they definitely need a match and I think that that takes a lot of the stress away from it too. I think that sometimes we feel like we need to create something that’s not us and that can make it be a little bit scarier and more stressful. Just be yourself.
Stacey Harris: It’s hard to keep up, man. You know, I talked about this on the episode I did where I was talking about sort of the differences between The Stacey Harris and Stacey and, really the story of why the pink hair started and why the pink hair is not around anymore and sort of that evolution and it really … It’s hard to put something on all the time and now that I was ever inauthentic. And again, listen to that episode, I’ll link to it in the show notes, but now that I was ever inauthentic, but it was definitely more effort to put on that part of me all the time. And if I made space for days where I wasn’t feeling particularly pink haired, I wasn’t feeling particularly The Stacey Harris and I was just like, “You know what dudes, we’re just going to show up on IGS as Stacey today.”
It’s just sometimes … Yes, it’s fairly consistently this, but every once in a while the voice is a little bit lower than this, which I think is weird there is a voice difference. And sometimes it’s just that there’s no makeup and it’s just … This is what’s happening today and that’s all there is to it. it gets a little more matter of fact if you will so I think that’s okay too. But it’s easier when you’re just like this is what it is. It is what it is. It’s hard to put stuff on when you’re not feeling it.
India Jackson: But I think that when you are being authentic on both sides of the fence when you show up as yourself and you don’t have the makeup on as somebody who does follow you and it’s also a client of yours. I still have equal appreciation for that side too because I’m getting to see the real you in multiple ways, the multiple sides of who you are because we all have different aspects of that.
Stacey Harris: That’s true. And sometimes I think we in an effort to curate our best selves, curate the personality out of us, we curate the dimension out of us. And I think this is really easy to do with our photos as well. We curate out kind of the parts of us that make us interesting.
India Jackson: Yes.
Stacey Harris: All right.
India Jackson: We’ve water ourselves down.
Stacey Harris: Yes. And that’s no good. You have on your website a really great blog post if I remember correctly about personal brands and a ton of other great informative stuff. So can you tell them where they can find all of that stuff?
Stacey Harris: Yay. Awesome. Thank you for coming and sharing all this incredible value. I hope you all go check India out, follow her on Instagram. She does a great, great job with Instagram. And you’ll get to see some really amazing bodybuilding pictures and her client work and she just really great stories. I just love it. It’s also good. All right. Thank you.
India Jackson: We have you to thank for that.
Stacey Harris: Oh, thank you. You were doing pretty good before we started together, but we have evolved some things.
India Jackson: Yes, a lot.
Stacey Harris: I’m excited. I’m really excited. And you also get to know your team a little bit there. You can see some of their work and see some of behind the scenes with all of you guys. Because India Jackson Artistry as a whole group of great photographers. Yeah?
India Jackson: Yeah.
Stacey Harris: I’m excited.
India Jackson: And I will say that like that has happened because of you two.
Stacey Harris: Thank you.
India Jackson: We were transitioning onto it.
Stacey Harris: You did a little bit of that work but okay, I’ll take it. Alright, thanks you guys for listening and thank you India for your time, and I’ll see you guys next week.
India Jackson: Thank you for having me, Stacey.
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