How to Shine Online With Powerful Brand PhotographyFeb 04, 2022
Each month, we select one of our Impact Tribe members to be our “Daring Member of the Month.” This is someone who has gone out of their way to support other members, add value to our community, and take daring steps to grow their business. Today, I’m proud to introduce you to Brand Photographer, Jennifer MacNiven!
Jennifer has been a shining member of the Impact Tribe for over two years. We love her big heart and bright spirit, and she shows up to each meeting with insight, value, and questions that help everyone grow. We especially appreciate all of the love and support she shows to other Impact Tribe members – I like to refer to her as the “connector” of the group, as she is always going out of her way to build connections and give support to other members.
In today’s interview, Jen and I talk about:
- How entrepreneurs can overcome their own insecurities and feel confident in front of the camera.
- The power of having high-quality brand photos, and on-brand “stock” photos to use in your marketing and branding.
- When and how often to revisit your brand photography, and why it’s important to have current, seasonally-relevant images.
- And so much more!
Meet Jennifer MacNiven
Jennifer has had a camera by her side ever since she was little, it’s almost like she was born for being a photographer! Her passion became a part-time profession in 2004 and in 2013 she made it her full time love after her 12-year career in the Neurological Medical device industry came to a close.
Over the years, she’s had the privilege to photograph cherished family and private moments, corporate events, international retreats and amazing brand stories.
She’d be lying if she didn't share that some of her favorites were capturing images of inspired entrepreneurs, conscious businesses, yoga instructors and thought leaders in the most exotic of places.
She’s captured magical images of her clients in the desert of Morocco, the rice fields of Bali, the beaches of Australia, the jungles of Peru, the busy streets of Istanbul, the quaint alleys of Barcelona and the mountains of Switzerland.
It’s no surprise that Jennifer loves traveling - she’s been to 32 countries and counting.
Jennifer is also a Yoga Instructor, author of, “Mind, Body, Soulmate,” nature lover and as a double Pisces and Taurus, she’s highly empathetic.
Q: How did you get started in your business?
Jennifer grew up in a military family, and loved having a camera by her side to capture fleeting memories and have something to look back on for all the places she’s lived and traveled. It was 2004 when she realized that while traveling for work, her favorite part of those trips was actually photographing people and moments in the cities and states she visited. Seeing the moments that are not posed, the nuances of people’s lives, and capturing someone’s true essence is still to this day Jen’s favorite part of photography.
In 2013, she planned a month-long trip to Bali, took her camera, and actually ended up staying there for a year! Meeting so many inspiring people and entrepreneurs and capturing beautiful shots of them is what inspired her to take the leap of turning her passion into her business.
She mentions that the yoga community is what inspired her and allowed her to get her foot in the door in the world of photography. Then, as she met more online entrepreneurs, she became inspired to tell their stories through photography as a Brand Photographer. She never imagined that she could turn her passion into a full-time business, but now she couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Q: Who do you work with, and what’s the most common problem you help them overcome?
Jennifer is one of the few people who calls themselves a Brand Photographer that I, as a Brand Strategist, feel really “gets” Brand Photography and has a powerful ability to brilliantly and authentically capture people in the moment.
Because Jen has gone through her own journeys of healing and doing what she can to make the world a better place, those are the types of people she attracts. She mainly works with healers, coaches, conscious-minded individuals, and service-based entrepreneurs with a genuinely service-based heart.
Her work always starts with conversation about who she’s photographing and what they love, and she practices holding space for her clients that allows them to feel comfortable, and allows her to be interactive during their session..
The biggest problem she sees entrepreneurs face is their own insecurities – the voices in their heads that say they need to lose a few more pounds, get their hair done, get a new outfit, etc. She mentions that the reality is, people are seeing you now as you are, and showing up as you are in this moment is what’s important for authentic brand photography. She even counsels some clients through their insecurities in order to allow them to see themselves as beautifully as they truly are.
Her main goal is to help people see themselves as who they are now and let go of their insecurities and past versions of themselves. She loves to help people become their own biggest cheerleader, which often starts with Jen as an outside “cheerleader,” allowing them and inspiring them to truly see their own beauty!
Q: For people who may be feeling some insecurities about showing up on camera, what can you say to help them move past that?
Jennifer has seen time and time again that new images that truly capture you as you are can work wonders for your business. She recalls the feelings of posting a new profile photo, and what she refers to as a “love bomb” of comments and likes coming in from friends and colleagues. Not only does it feel so good to receive these love bombs, but it inspires people to want to get to know you, to connect with you, and to work with you, because they can see you as you are now.
If you wait, then people won’t have that chance to see you.
Q: What can having high quality brand photos do for your business?
The return on investment is absolutely incredible – it’s like night and day how people respond to high-quality brand photography.
Not only do your clients realize that you took the time to do something professional, but it also gives you images that reflect who you are and put your face to your brand, which allows your audience to resonate with you and what you do.
Having high-quality photography automatically adds credibility to your brand and gives you the tools you need to market yourself effectively. I absolutely love that Jennifer knows the unique needs of entrepreneurs and exactly how we use photography in our businesses, and she perfectly captures exactly what our vision is, while also creating a huge array of actually usable images.
Q: What are brand stock photos, and how do you create them?
Using a yoga instructor who wants to talk more about meditation as an example, Jen mentions she could take some shots of them holding a Tibetan bowl or their mala beads as part of their stock photography library. These types of photos give them the context to talk about meditation, and give them imagery that can help bring their words to life.
It’s so important that Jen knows what her clients are selling and what they want to talk about through their content – because she realizes that as entrepreneurs, we need to have images that are related to and provide context for us to talk about whatever topics we need to in our businesses.
Q: When does someone need to think about investing in brand photography, and how often should they refresh their photos?
Jen believes that brand photography is one of the first things that new entrepreneurs should do. Knowing your ideal client and general brand feel first is important so that you can take photos that will accurately reflect your brand, but before you build your website or start sharing on social media, having a brand photography session will give you the tools you need to appear credible to your clients and communicate with them effectively and authentically.
She recognizes that we are seasonal beings who change throughout the year, and recommends photography sessions at least 1-2 times per year to reflect who we are in that season. Having current, seasonal images allows your clients and audience to relate more authentically to you and gives you the tools to share more authentically about who you are and what you do.
Q: What does “daring” mean to you?
Daring, to Jen, is stepping out of your comfort zone. She relates this back to her travels, not even knowing where in the world Bali was, not having a plan months or weeks in advance, but booking a ticket that week and getting on the plane – this is how all of her journeys have been.
Daring, to Jen, is going to new places, challenging herself, and doing the uncomfortable inner work that’s needed for her to become a better version of herself. It’s challenging to step out of what feels “normal,” but that’s where expansion comes from and what allows us to truly grow and find ourselves as people.
Q: What are you most excited about right now in your business?
Jen has always felt drawn to women’s circles and connecting with women, and she’s currently working out a way to make photography something that women can do together to support each other.
She realizes that she’s been timid about sharing who she is and what she does, so now she’s excited to step into the light and really share herself with the world. She’s currently looking forward to growing more as an inspired business owner, and helping more people grow and shine through their photography.
You can learn more about Jennifer’s work and business, and get in touch with her at this link.
If you want to join Jen and other amazing members in the Impact Tribe, we would love to have you! When you join the Impact Tribe, you get access to a library of biz-booming courses, next-level coaching, and an inspiring, uplifting community of women on a similar path as you. Learn more and join us today at this link.