Hello all and thank you so much for being here! Welcome to my educational series all about Personal Brand Photography. Before I jump headfirst into this intriguing subject, I wanted to share my background of how I accidentally stumbled upon Personal Branding Photography, why I love it, and how I can help you!
So without further ado, lets get this party started!
(Queue a famous storyline by my favorite Golden Girl Sophia Patrello… “I can remember the moment I knew I wanted to start my own company.” (Except no funny punchline at the end or no eye roll by my fellow girlfriends.) I was 24 years old interning at a top fashion photography agency in New York City. Every Friday evening, I would spend hours on the floor in the business section at Barnes & Noble in Chelsea, delving into book after book about how to start a photography business. I was the epitome of the saying “ignorance is bliss” when it came to understanding how to do this. I had zero business background, no experience in the corporate world, and no idea of how to write a business plan. But I was aware of one thing. While I didn’t know any of the above line items listed, what I did know from the get-go was that the perception of my company would be everything. I didn’t realize back then what I was doing was creating my own personal brand.
From day 1, I’ve always valued how the look of my brand presented itself. Even when I was just starting out and I didn’t have much of a professional portfolio, I knew only displaying the best of the best images would be better than muddling it up with a few more mediocre ones. When I moved back to Orlando and began establishing myself, I knew to ultimately attract the level of clientele I wanted, perception would be everything. At that time, I had decided to specialize in photographing high-end, luxury weddings and portraits. I, of course, did not just start out shooting high-end weddings, but I wanted it to be the market my company attracted. I recognized I had to showcase a strong visual brand. This was done with a beautifully designed website, logo design, thoughtfully curated imagery, and a well-thought-out bio, and tag lines. I also knew I had to represent my brand as well. With every networking meeting I attended (and there was a lot), I was sure to dress professionally, engage with fellow vendors, and follow up on every business card exchanged with a friendly “nice to meet you” email. In 2007, I built enough business to quit my side jobs and begin my full-time career in wedding photography. I didn’t know the term back then of what I was doing was called Personal Branding.
Throughout the years, as my photography evolved, so did my Personal Brand. Every few years I would invest in a new website, copy, revise my logo, and update my work. From 2005 to 2016, my brand persona grew from a fun, bright, and playful aesthetic, to a more elegant, polished, and effortlessly sophisticated feel.
In 2017, when I decided to retire from weddings and transition into commercial photography, I had to re-brand again, but this time it had to be even more strategic and thoughtful. I chose to change my company name slightly from Liga Photography to Abby Liga Photography. I also changed my website domain from ligaphotography.com to just abbyliga.com, dropping photography entirely. This was because I didn’t want to stay in that photography box as I saw my brand evolving to offer more than just imagery. I made the bold move and chose to completely forgo showcasing wedding photography on my website and just showcased the imagery that I wanted to photograph. This was a blend of lifestyle and commercial photography. The galleries ranged from Lifestyle, Interiors, Food + Drink, Editorial, Travel, and Advertising. In order to keep up my income, I did accept weddings on a referral basis that ultimately phased out in 2019.
During this time, I rigorously worked on making connections in the commercial photography industry and networking with art directors, photography producers, stylists, and studio rental houses. I also hired a photography consulting agency where they provided a database of local, regional, and national brands where they believe my work would be a good fit. And while I was gaining more advertising work with traditional agencies, I also began collaborating with like-minded entrepreneurs creating lifestyle shoots solely for the purposes of cross-marketing ourselves on Instagram. We would create and design a lifestyle shoot concept, include any vendors in our networks who would be able to contribute their products/services to the shoot. This resulted in capturing fabulous content for all who contributed to cross-market on everyone’s social media accounts. It was a win for all and it helped boost everyone’s social media presence.
I quickly saw the value of how my photography was helping grow my fellow entrepreneur’s following and how much there was a need for unique content for everyone’s social media presence. This niche of photography excited me and gave me more joy as I use my gift to help businesses become more profitable. I saw the excitement that it brought to each business owner and the look of relief on their faces when they had quality imagery to post. I knew there was something here and it was called Personal Branding Photography. I didn’t know that was a thing!
Fast forward to 2021, and I have had the pleasure to work with multiple small businesses within this specific niche, watching them be able to post, market, and show off their personal brand with confidence and pride. Here is what a few of my clients are saying about how Personal Branding Photography has changed them and their business:
It has been a genuine pleasure working with small businesses helping them capture the true essence of their story and providing them the quality imagery they need to properly tell this story.
I am so excited to share with you all I have learned from my journey transitioning to Personal Branding Photography. Stay tuned as we dive in further and learn more about the foundations, what personal branding photography is, and ultimately how it can help you grow your business!