Sadie Gough Coaching – Website and Branding Photography case study
Your website and branding are often the first ‘touchpoint’, i.e., the first contact potential clients will have with you and your brand. If your images are poor, you are not presenting the best version of yourself and you will not attract your ideal clients. Your website is your ‘shop window’ so it needs to reflect your personality, your brand and values to resonate with your target audience.
Anyone can tell you what it’s like to work with their business, but how do you know whether they are the right person to tell your story? I asked my client Sadie, a Kent-based confidence coach to tell you in her own words what it means for her business to have a positive brand and what it’s like to work with me.
“Being a confidence and mindset coach is about helping others, whether their level of confidence is high or low, depending on what they’re going through. My focus is working with women who felt positive and confident at certain parts of their life but are maybe going through a bit of a lull.”
“For me, it’s about helping them reignite their passion, taking their confidence to the next level and being able to help navigate any negative self-belief they might have. It’s about helping them get to the best version of themselves and showing them how to do that.”
What did you need the images for?
“I wanted imagery I could use in my social media content as well. You know, I’d never really had that type of thing done, I’d come from a corporate world. It was about me as an individual stepping up out of my own shadow. I desperately needed to be able to get things I could use visually so people will be able to see me as an individual and the face of my personal brand. That’s why I reached out after I’d seen your work with another client [Adelle Martin].”
Why did you specifically choose Graham Baker Photography?
“I knew how you approach things, and how you engaged with your clients. It resonated with me because I was quite nervous about being the focal point; I’m okay in the background and helping other people, but to have the cameras on me was quite daunting but I knew I needed to take the next step. But having seen your work with other people, I knew you were somebody I could trust and you would put people at ease because I’d seen you do it.”
“For me, it was around the next step of my business development; I’d been hiding behind the curtain, putting all the content together and building all of that great stuff. Then it was like, you know, you could be the best-kept secret!”
Why did you hire a photographer as opposed to doing it yourself?
“I didn’t have the right equipment; I could use my smartphone, but it wasn’t going to look professional and it would not be a good representation of the brand. It would look kind of cheap. I felt a professional photographer would also be able to see the positives in me, not the way I see me and you would be able to bring out the best.”
“I definitely wouldn’t have done that if I’d been trying to do it myself.”
” I can overthink things at times but I don’t think I had any hesitations about doing this. I knew the progression of my journey to have a website and branding, and I needed a ‘shop window’ to be able to promote myself. You know you want people to come to my window, for that to happen, I would want to have professional imagery.”
“I’d done my homework. I’d looked at other people’s websites doing similar work to me and I knew what I did and didn’t want. I’d already identified my brand and I needed imagery that was going to fit, so it was always a natural progression. I don’t think I even questioned it.”
What would be the most important factor you would want from a photographer?
“Someone who listens to what I wanted and understood who I was as a person. This is what my business is about, this is my brand.”
“Years ago, when I had my wedding photography, I had an idea of what I wanted, but the photographer didn’t even want to listen – it was as if they were going to come in and do all of the standard shots they wanted to do. They didn’t engage with who I was at the time or what I wanted from the day.”
“Because of seeing how you worked with other people, I knew that wasn’t going to happen.”
I’m a male photographer, shooting for women, to appeal to women. Did it matter?
“No, not at all, because I feel there’s a different perspective and it didn’t even cross my mind.”
I don’t just turn up on the day and expect to take photographs; my way of working is to start planning from the moment I first make contact with you. It’s all about the storytelling, not just shooting the images.
“Before the shoot, when I had the initial call with you, where you built the relationship with me and you kind of knew what I wanted to do. We’d set up mood boards and you gave me some hints and tips to build up as a storyboard.
“This gave me the confidence to start stretching myself, thinking about things differently and different kinds of images. There was a lot of direction around the types of props I might want to bring too.”
On the day
“We had a chat at the start to alleviate any concerns and fears and there was this natural flow to the process and before I even realised it, I’m standing up there in front of the camera and thinking, How have I got from coming through the front door feeling, I’m not going to be able to do this, to, I’m fine.”
“You would be talking to me and explaining what was happening at the same time. It wasn’t all in one place, it was different setups, different outfits and an understanding of what I wanted to use the imagery for.”
“There were some images I got back I hadn’t even realised you’d taken! It’s all those little things that kind of built up; it wasn’t focused on my face, it was everything also associated with what I do within my coaching role.”
Showing your story is what helps with your audience’s reasoning to work with you. They can see what the experience is and if they want to have the same, you’ve already started to manage their expectations.
Client assume a brand photography session will be all about taking pictures of them as a person, but there are many ways to highlight what you do and who you are, without even having you in the picture!
“I say the surprises were there was imagery I hadn’t even known you were taking. I wasn’t thinking about what was coming next. Obviously, I remember being in front of the camera, but it was all of those other photos I wasn’t even in – That was a surprise. The whole process didn’t have to involve me standing directly in front of the camera all the time.
“The other thing that surprised me was how much I enjoyed it, because of my nervousness and because of how I don’t necessarily like putting myself front and centre. I was surprised by how tiring it was, as well.”
“Some of the photo ideas, like the chair in the garden, I’d never have imagined how it would work, but it’s great imagery for me. It was really good fun!”
Website & Branding Appeal
My photography can help to highlight the qualities you want to bring to the fore. Whether you want to look approachable, professional or humorous, we can find your ideal looks by getting to know you and your brand beforehand.
“My imagery fits my brand of who I am and what I can offer. The feedback I’ve had has been positive, the colours, the website and branding and of course the photography.”
“The images set up expectations for being approachable and engaging and I wouldn’t have had if I’d tried to do the photography myself. I think that’s where your perspective as the photographer of getting to know me as an individual has helped the imagery come alive.”
Is it fair to say the imagery we created appeals to the people you want to attract?
“Yes, because I think even though it’s in a home environment, it’s still showing a professional businesswoman, along with my back story, where I’ve come from and the challenges and changes I’ve gone through.”
“The photography is portraying a confident woman who has taken the lead in her life; I think the words I use, fit nicely together. It says it’s fine, you can have challenges and you can have struggles and I’ve been through them, but this is where I am now, but it’s not pretentious. It hasn’t been forced, it’s natural.”
“My background has always been corporate and I’ve always been somebody to turn myself out in a professional way. Other people would come in and make no effort, but I want to portray myself in the best light. I think it would resonate with people either in business or in a corporate setting, they can see I have professionalism, but I’ve got a softer edge as well.”
What's the biggest benefit you've had with your library of images?
“I’ve used the imagery on my website and branding; when people go on, they see me front and centre, I’m not hiding behind anything. I’ve also used the imagery that doesn’t include me, as they complement and support my story about what I do. The portrait shots have also been used on my social media posts, going out on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.”
“The response to my posts seems to increase when I’ve used an image of myself, which I was nervous about – I wasn’t an active social media user and I’d never post too much of myself. To have to consciously put a photo out of myself and be the face of my brand was hard at first. On LinkedIn, I’ve had over 3,000 reactions or views of that particular first post.”
“When I’ve looked over my social media, the ones having had the most reactions to it are the ones with images of me in them.”
Photographs can be used time and time again and can be repurposed; you can use them on a banner, or you could crop them and create social media posts. Undertaking a brand shoot is an investment, both in terms of time and money, but the value you get from the photos is priceless. Some of our clients are using images from their shoot two years ago and they still look relevant, professional and fantastic value.
Who would you recommend this service to?
“I would say anybody like myself, with their own business and need to promote who they are and their brand. it could even be someone who has already established themselves but needs to elevate to the next level, to give them a different perspective of who they are so others know, like and trust them.”
“I think anybody who wants to drive themselves forward and get themselves known and out there so potential clients can see who they could be working with. I think having professional photography just polishes off the brand.”
How have the new images helped to promote you, your website and branding?
“It’s helped with my confidence; when I look at those photographs, I feel positive and energized. I might not always necessarily be happy with myself, but doesn’t come across in the images.”
“It pushed me out of my comfort zone and It was something I needed to do for my website and branding. You’ve helped give me the confidence to be able to use images of myself, they’re seeing me representing the brand and the work I’m doing; I’m a normal person my clients can relate to.”
“With a coaching business, It is difficult because it is a personal relationship you need to have with your client. I needed to be able to show them I’m approachable and someone they can trust. The imagery I’ve got is in a home environment and resonates at a level I feel would feel comfortable to the kind of clients who want to engage with me.”
Was it worth the investment?
“Yes, it absolutely was as the photographs can be used in so many different ways. It gives a truly professional edge to my brand I would not have been able to achieve by myself.”
“Graham was fantastic from the very first call that we had. He clearly explained the process we would go through, from setting out the plans of what and how I wanted the photographs to convey about me and my coaching business to thinking about the location, clothes and accessories that I wanted to use. He provided guidance and support and helped me create a mood board of ideas that we could both contribute to, to really get behind the essence of what I wanted to achieve.
“I am not particularly keen on having my photo taken and I was nervous about the thought of having to pose for headshots, but when I explained this to Graham he was fantastic and listened to me and helped me reframe how I thought about myself in photos. On the day of the photoshoot, Graham again talked me through what would happen and it was another chance to fine-tune what I wanted.
“I did feel nervous at the start of the session but Graham was great and immediately put me at ease, talking me through each stage. He is very calm, friendly and approachable and great to work with, always checking in with me to make sure I was ok. I received my final images from Graham within the advised time frame and they are fantastic. They are exactly what we were wanting to achieve and I am so pleased with them. I have so many images to choose from and I can’t wait to get them on my new website and also start using them on social media. They are really going to help promote me and my business and the style of the images has really allowed my personal branding to shine through.”
“I highly recommend Graham to anyone who is looking to get professional branded photographs done for themselves and their business. It was an absolute pleasure working with him.”
Are you ready?
Has Sadie’s story resonated with you?
Get in touch with me today. I promise to take the time to get to know YOU, your brand and your values. Through the power of storytelling, we’ll help you to communicate with your target audience so you stand out from your competition.
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