Today we hear from the lovely Holly Pender-Smith who works as a Virtual Assistant. She explains how a commercial photography shoot, also known as personal brand photography, shot over at our bright and naturally lit studio in the HQ Building, Plymouth, helped her business and brand achieve that vital professional look.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
Business owners can sometimes struggle with problems such as creativity, technological knowledge, organisational skills and a lack of staffing to name but a few. I assist, and help them run their business by offering administrative support & PA services remotely from my own home. By delegating time consuming administrative tasks to a Virtual Assistant like myself, business owners can concentrate on growing their business. Leaving what might be considered the “mundane” jobs to people like myself who thrive off those aspects of the job.
Who hires a Virtual Assistant?
Small business owners and busy professionals. They usually require help with general admin, event and travel planning. I also attend online meetings and take the minutes. Keeping websites and social media content up-to-date is so important and it’s something small business owners struggle to maintain. From the perspective of a PA, it’s all about lifestyle management. Busy professionals trust me to organise their diaries and keep everything running smoothly behind the scenes.
Do you have an ideal client?
I do have an ideal client but it definitely works both ways. I enjoy working with people with the same core values as my own. My business was formed to create a better lifestyle for myself, and my family. This means that my core values are all centralised around finding a healthier work/life balance and my clients feel the same. I feel incredibly lucky that I can work with these wonderful people!
What prompted you to have a brand photography session?
I’d known Amber for many years as a professional photographer at Liberty Pearl Photography. When the opportunity to have a professional brand shoot came my way, I jumped at the chance! The images have proved invaluable for my business, in creating content for my social media channels, website, my profile documents and blog.
Did you have any concerns before the shoot?
No concerns but I didn’t really have any “props” as such – being the nature of what I do is home and computer based. I don’t sell products or have anything physical to photograph. But thankfully Amber had some great props in the studio that we could incorporate into the shoot that best represented by role.
What previous experience of commercial photography did you have?
None at all! It was my first commercial photography session. I’d only ever had special occasions photographed before like my wedding and the children’s baby pictures so it was all new to me!
Would you have done anything differently?
I’m really pleased with how they’ve turned out! If I could do anything differently it would be to make sure I was more organised! It would have helped to have had some business cards there as a prop!
If you could offer two tips for anyone planning a commercial photography session, what would they be?
Firstly, don’t hesitate! Having such professional photographs has added such depth to everything I do online now. It is so important to invest in yourself and your business in order to achieve the results you want! Secondly, do some research on what you want to get out of the shoot! I found Amber’s suggestion of starting a Pinterest board with photo ideas incredibly helpful. I shared this with her before the shoot and then we both had a great idea of what we were hoping to achieve.
Where have you used the photos?
What impact has the photos had on your marketing strategy and business growth?
In general it has just given my business a wholly more professional feel. Because of the nature of the business, I don’t meet people face to face. I am purely ‘virtual’ so it’s imperative that my clients see who they will be working with. This is something that you can’t really get across if you’re using a standard photograph as your profile picture.
I’d just like to add, for anyone nervous behind the camera that within minutes of walking through the door into the studio, you will no longer be nervous. It is such a down to earth setting with lovely, accommodating, and friendly people who just want to achieve the best possible photographs for you and your business!