Have you ever wondered why being intentional about your small business photography is so important?
In today’s interview with a brand & family photographer Rania Urban, we will dive into the power of branding photography in attracting your ideal customers and communicating your brand message in marketing. Rania will also share her inspiring story on how she started her business and pivoted through the years as her definition of success changed after she became a mom.
Rania is a lifestyle and documentary photographer in Langley, BC. With a background in business and marketing, she has been running her successful portrait business, Rania Urban Photography, for over a decade! Rania has always been an advocate for putting moms in front of the camera, making women feel beautiful in their portraits and leading them to embrace their changing bodies with motherhood. She has been recently specializing in women’s empowerment, focusing on kicking the stigma of aging and celebrating the beauty of women of all ages. When she’s not empowering women, you can find her in the studio empowering her fellow entrepreneurs, helping them build their online presence through their branding.
Ways to connect with Rania Urban:
Questions asked in today’s episode:
- What is branding photography, and why is it essential for small business owners online?
- What are essential branding photos every small business owner should have for their online marketing?
- How did you start your business?
- What made you commit to it, and what changes did you make in your life, so you could take your business full-time?
- How did your business evolve over time?
- How do you define success in this season of your life & how has it changed since you started your business?
Q: How did you start your business?
It all started when I was in high school. I was that girl with a camera in my hand all the time. I even shot my first wedding when I was still in high school! I always had a passion for photography, but I didn’t know it would become my career. However, My business started naturally from seeing an opportunity when I was on mat leave with my daughter! When I was taking and sharing photos of her, my mom’s friends started asking me to take pictures of their kids too.
I would set up cute little photo setups during our park dates or at home, and people loved it. I realized I had a talent for capturing precious moments, and that’s how my business began to grow organically. It took some time before I leaped to go full-time, but after having my kids, I wanted more flexibility and to be my own boss. So, I took the opportunity and started my business officially, and I haven’t looked back since. It’s been seven amazing years since I took my photography business full-time, and I’m grateful every day that I followed my passion and turned it into a successful business.
Q: How did you go from taking photos as a side hustle to taking your business full-time?
It wasn’t an overnight decision but a combination of careful planning and a shift in priorities after I had my kids. When I decided to take my photography full-time so I could be home with kids, I knew I needed a plan to make it happen. So, I started by creating a detailed business plan. I identified my target market, set goals, and outlined strategies to reach them. This helped me understand the steps I needed to take to grow my business.
One crucial aspect was budgeting. I knew that transitioning to full-time would require financial stability, so I carefully managed my finances. I saved money to have a safety net and invested in essential photography equipment and marketing materials. Having a budget allowed me to make informed decisions and track my progress along the way.
I dedicated more hours to building my client base, honing my skills, and improving my services. This meant letting go of certain activities or commitments that didn’t align with my business goals. I also surrounded myself with a supportive network of fellow entrepreneurs and mentors who provided guidance and motivation. Ultimately, taking my business full-time required a leap of faith. I had to trust in my abilities and believe in the value I could offer to my clients. It wasn’t always easy, and there were moments of doubt, but staying focused on my long-term vision helped me persevere.
Q: What is branding photography and why is it important for small business owners online?
Branding photography is really important for small business owners online because it helps you create a consistent look for your business, make your business stand out and connect with your customers on an emotional level.
When you showcase your products or services through photography, it ensures that your brand is always represented in the same way. This helps people recognize your brand and builds trust with your clients. It also gives them an idea of what to expect when they work with you, order your product or visit your workspace so they feel more comfortable.
Q: What are essential branding photos every small business owner should have for their online marketing?
01 – The headshot
Now, don’t let the word “headshot” intimidate you. It’s simply a photo of you that reflects your brand’s style. You don’t have to be all formal and stuffy in a suit if that’s not your vibe. Be authentic and dress in a way that represents your brand. It could be a casual or more formal look, depending on what your brand is all about. Every small business owner should have a headshot on their main page or About Me section on their website and social media to establish a personal connection with their audience.
02 – Styled product photos
Instead of just capturing product photos laid out on a table, your brand photos should have intentionally chosen photo props because they add an extra layer of visual interest and help tell a story about your products or services. Props can create a mood, evoke emotions, or provide context, making your photos more captivating and relatable to your audience. They allow you to showcase your offerings in a way that goes beyond just the product itself, helping to communicate the lifestyle, benefits, or unique features associated with your brand. You want your customers to be able to imagine how it would be to own your product.
03 – Workspace
Whether it’s an office, studio, or even your kitchen counter, style it in a way that aligns with your brand’s aesthetic. Don’t worry if you don’t have a fancy space – even a small area can be transformed into an inviting workspace. And if you are working in a dark bedroom and have no place to take a picture of your workspace, you can always move your photoshoot outside or to the coffee shop and take a few photos with a laptop or phone! The goal is to establish relatability and create a personal connection with your audience and show them that your business is real.
04 – Working environment
This is where you can capture yourself in action, either interacting with clients or replying to emails, restocking shelves or packaging products for your product-based business.
05 – Personal touch to your branding
Let your audience connect with you on a personal level by sharing photos that reflect your values and show us who you are. For example, if you love drinking a matcha latte, you can take a picture working from coffee shops, sipping a latte with your laptop nearby. The goal is to humanize your brand and establish relatability.
If you’d like to listen to more detailed answers and hear about how Rania grew her business overtime, you can tune in to this podcast episode here ?.