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How to Show Up Confidently on Camera and Authentically Represent Your Brand

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December 8, 2022, by Becca Klein

#007: How to Show Up Confidently on Camera and Authentically Represent Your Brand

In this episode of The Blog to Biz Show, I'm interviewing Petra van der Wal. Petra is an expert on brand photography and mindset.

In this episode, we'll be covering:

  • How to show up confidently on camera
  • Why brand photos are so important
  • How to use brand photos
  • Mindset shifts you need to make to authentically show up on camera

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Full Transcript

My guest today is Petra van der Wal. Petra teaches photography, branding, mindset, and how to show up confidently on camera. Hi Petra. Welcome to the podcast.

Thank you so much for having me, Becca. I'm, uh, really honored to be here with you.

So tell us a little bit about, your background and how you got into this line.

Okay, so I'm a, uh, brand photography teacher and, uh, confidence coach. And, uh, I help female entrepreneurs elevate their business and, um, grow their income by, uh, teaching them how to stand out and truly connect with their dream clients, with, um, with photos, amazing photos and videos that they can, uh, take themselves with just their phones.

So that's what I do, um, in my everyday life now. And, um, yeah. So how did I get into this line of work? Well, I actually always loved photography. I think I got my first DSLR when I was, um, 21. And, um, I did a, uh, three year study on photography and I just, uh, see gorgeous images all around me all day long.

And, um, yeah, so at one point I moved to France when I was, uh, I think, uh, 32, we moved to France and that's when I decided to start working as a professional photographer. So, um, I've been working as a pro photographer for over 14 years in. I did mostly wedding photography, brand photography, and before that I worked as a marketing manager in, uh, in Holland for 12 years.

And something that I really love doing as well. And the advantage of having done both, uh, those jobs is that nowadays I can combine my knowledge and experience from both. So I instantly know, uh, exactly what kind of business photos my clients need to make, uh, that connection with, uh, with their.

That's great. I'm really jealous that you are a photographer. I wish I had photography skills and I don't. I just kind of point and shoot with my iPhone and hope for the

Uh, yeah, but that's really something that a lot of people think, oh, I don't have a photographer's eye, but. It's really handy when you have that, when you have that natural feeling. Um, but if you don't, it, it absolutely is something that you can learn. So you shouldn't be, um, thinking, oh, it's, it's not for me.

I don't step into it. Even if you don't have that natural talent, you still can learn how to, uh, make beautiful compositions and because actually it's just a matter of knowing how to do it. So you should, Becca

I know I should learn. I went the longest time without having any brand photos and just used like, Facebook pictures on my website, which looked terrible. And then about a year ago, I finally got some actual brand photos taken, and I think it's been a great

It definitely is. I think you, every business need to have good brand photos because it's what makes you look professional and um, yeah, I think that is, uh, that is truly important to, um, show that you are professional, trustworthy, um, and it's what helps people, uh, take the step to buy from you.

Yeah, absolutely. I use them now on my regular website, on my sales pages for my courses, on Instagram. It's, They're so great to have and I wish that I had done it years

Yeah, but I know that there are a lot of, um, starting business owners that don't have the budget to do, um, uh, beautiful brand shoots straight away because hiring a professional photographer can be quite expensive. And honestly, it should be quite expensive because if you have a good brand photographer, they take the time to get to know you.

They take the time to understand what kind of photos you need. So it should be, it should be expensive because you're paying for quality, but. The thing is that in between, um, I don't know, you did this shoot like over a year ago, but that means that we show your, uh, you show your face all the time. It's the same photos that we see, and I think it's really important that you have a constant flow of really good.

Photos of yourself. So having the skills to be able to do that yourself with your phone, um, really is a, is a game changer because then you can constantly, if on your social media, on your website, if you have something new to post, you can, uh, shoot a really good picture of yourself or your service or your product, um, without having to hire a brand photographer.

So yeah, I think it's really, uh, um, a useful tool to, uh, to.

Yeah, that's great. I wish I had those skills,

Well, I can help you get them

can learn from you, So how did you first get the idea to start teaching people to take photos with their phones?

Um, well, the thing is, I, uh, had a client, um, the regional tourist offices of the area that I, uh, lived in, I live in, uh, uh, lived in because I just moved. But, uh, in the south of France. And a beautiful region with lavender and vineyards and, and I had a chance that one of my clients were the tourist offices, so I was out in the field taking beautiful pictures all the time, and I noticed myself that I started making them with my phone more and more because the phones just got so good that I.

Didn't, uh, take my camera out of my bag anymore. And when they realized that, they just asked me to teach their employees how they could take, uh, amazing photos for their social media when they were doing their events. And that's where I had my light bulb moment. I just, uh, realized that. Almost all business owners nowadays, uh, need to have good professional looking photos for the social media and, uh, and their websites, but they don't necessarily have to budget to hire a professional photographer all the time.

So by teaching them the skills to take those pro looking photos themselves with just their phones, I, uh, I can just help a lot of business owners and help them grow their, uh, their businesses. So, um, yeah, that's where I got the.

So what types of photos should people be taking to kind of establish these brand images?

I think there are three types of photos that you need to focus on. First of all, presentation photos of yourself. So like the ones that you got done for your brand photo shoot. Um, secondly, the behind the scenes photos. Those are the photos that you use to connect with your dream clients. And thirdly, the photos of either your product or your service.

So, um, I think it's for both service based as product based businesses that you need photos of yourself. A lot of product based businesses think, oh, it's no problem. I just put photos of my products up. But you really need that human connection, so it's, it's really important that you show who is behind the brand.

It builds trust and authority, and it makes your dream clients feel safe with you. So you shouldn't skip that step. You, you really should use your, um, your photos, your, um, your tongue tight. So . Yeah, you should

No, it.

Um, so it's really. Important that people can see who, who they are buying from and what it is that makes you uniquely you.

So if you used behind the scenes photos, for instance, you can take a photo. When you are working on your product or if you are a service based business owner, uh, just you behind your laptop, uh, in your favorite cafe, uh, working, that's the photo that I took myself just, uh, yesterday and, uh, put it up on my social media.

So those are the kind of photos where you tell what is happening in your daily life. And, um, yeah, you just give an insight in your business and, um, that's, that's what creates connection with your dream.

I'm interested in the idea of taking photos of yourself. Are there. Techniques or certain poses, certain backgrounds, anything that you can recommend to make those photos look really professional, even though you're taking

Yeah, first thing really important is to clean your lens because I see a lot of photos online where there's this awful haz. And, uh, people don't realize that it's just a matter of cleaning your lens. We touch our phones all the time. And, um, yeah, that's, that's just really something that you should be doing every time you take a photo of yourself.

Um, then secondly, put on your portrait mode. Most phones nowadays have, um, a really good portrait mode where you have a blurry background and if ever the blur is too much or not enough, you can, afterwards in your gallery, you can, um, edit the photo and put up more blur or less. So those are already two tips.

The third one is to make sure that you have a decluttered background. If you are outside to have a background that isn't outshining you. So it's great if you get into shadows because then you have a really soft light on your face, but don't have a very sun background at the same time because then you are just, um, yeah, the, the background out shines you so that you should.

So that basically are just some technical tips, um, how to pose, uh, with confidence. That is one of the, um, subjects that I'm, uh, teaching in my, uh, three day challenge that's coming up. Uh, we are doing an entire workshop on how to pose with confidence. Um, there are several poses that are really easy if you are blocking.

A lot of my clients have the problem that as soon as a camera is, is on them, they just kind of freeze and don't know what to do with their hands and even their smile feels uncomfortable. So we have some really basic poses that you can, can fall back home and, and then obviously you need to do the mindset work to make sure that, um, or that you don't freeze up and, um, that you feel confident enough to shine in your photos.

Tell me more about the mindset piece. I haven't really heard about that in reference to photography. Like what kind of mindset do we need to have?

So, yeah, mindset is really important. Um, it's something that I work on a lot with my, uh, my clients. We do exercises to connect with your inner self, with your motivation, uh, remembering your why, why you should be proud of yourself, being where you are. Um, those are all the things that help people step out of their, uh, fear of being seen.

I. Becoming visible, becoming more visible, um, to shine as the face of your business. That triggers a lot of fear for, uh, for, well, almost all of us actually. It's, it's, uh, before getting into this line of work, I didn't realize how much of an issue that is. But really, truly, even the most beautiful people feel, uh, uncomfortable being on.

And how to get over that is to, um, to empower yourself to think of what it is that makes you, um, get in front of the camera. Why are you there? Um, we do several exercises on that, for instance, Listing all the things that you have done in your life that you should be proud of. That can be anything, that time that you selfishly helped someone, uh, or unselfishly, what's the word?

Unselfishly, maybe, um, a diploma that you got. Uh, anything that you are proud of and that helps you to, to step into, uh, your power. Another thing that I advise my clients is to make a thank you folder where you keep every thank you that you got from your clients. So you screenshot every comment of a happy client and on days that you need to be on camera, but you feel small, you feel, uh, afraid of being judged, then just think of your thank you folder and realize the importance that you already had on someone's life, and that gives you a real.

I think a lot of people are, are, um, struggling with this, uh, the imposter syndrome, uh, not feeling good enough. Uh, the fear of being judged.

Yeah, that makes sense. I, I, I definitely struggle with imposter syndrome and I, I like the idea of a thank you folder. I'm gonna do,

Yeah, it, it really is, uh, is so very helpful. And the imposter syndrome, even the, the biggest names, apparently they still struggle with imposter syndrome. It's so very common and, um, but it's, uh, there are many, many ways to get over that when you need to be on, uh, on. So, uh, for my next, um, round of, of my vi uh, VIP coaching course, I'm even having a special meditation made for my clients.

So that they can boost their confidence with that if that's, uh, not everybody is into meditation, but for me that's something that really works. And, um, uh, one of my clients is a, um, uh, yoga teacher and a, um, meditation coach. And so she's now, uh, making a, um, a beautiful meditation, uh, for my clients. So I'm really, uh, excited to see what that will be, uh, will be.

Um, since we jumped to mindset so I'd like to text to you about lighting. I know I always hear that lighting is so important for photography, so I've heard that natural light is the best.

Is that, is that?

It definitely is. Uh, funnily enough, uh, yesterday I made a video about that, uh, because it was a very gray and rainy day outside and inside the house. I didn't have the lights on at that moment, and it was really dark. Uh, people think that that isn't a good time to take photos. They just wait for a bright, sunny day.

But actually the gray days are the best to take, uh, really well lit photos in front of your window. So you just get rid of the curtains and you, you put yourself or your product in front of a window and um, that light falling in just is heaven. It takes like 10 years. So, uh, if you want to be less wrinkled, then you definitely should get yourself in front of a, uh, in front of a window.

Um, but obviously you, you cannot use that all the time. If, for instance, you need to shoot a, an, an entire series of photos, um, especially for product based, uh, business owners, uh, you have an entire range of of products to to shoot. Then you definitely should have studio lights because you cannot manage the outside light.

It can change with the sun coming back up or just the fact that the day the hours are turning, your light is changing. So for them, you need to have good Stu Studio lights. But for your own photography, definitely uh, get into the natural light. That's the best light you.

So in cases where we can't use natural light, I, I've heard that a ring light is the best. Is that the case or is there another kind of light that you would recommend?

Um, it depends if, um, normally a ring light is really good, um, and it's the easiest light that you can, uh, that you can use. You just, um, uh, it gives a beautiful soft lighting on your face. Um

so for people who have, um, skin problems like acne or, uh, have really serious, uh, bags under their eyes, then you better have two lights. Um, two lead lights that you, that you place, uh, at 45 degree angle on the left and on the right of yourself.

And that way those, um, shadows that are created by one light are canceled out by the other one. And so that way you get a more evenly. Uh, even light on your face and you get rid of the wrinkles and the bags, et cetera. So it depends. If, if you have, um, if you don't have any bags at all, if your skin looks good, a simple ring light is, uh, more than enough.

But if, uh, if ever you have some, uh, skin problems that you want to hide, uh, the more light you get, the more lead lights you get the.

Are there certain makeup techniques that you use or does that really matter? I know for my photo shoots, I always got my makeup done because I'm just terrible at makeup and it made me a bit more confident. But are are like, you know, for people that don't wanna actually get it done. Do you have any tip.

Um, yeah, well, you, you just touched up on a really important, um, topic on that, the confidence. If you get it done by a makeup artist, you feel really beautiful and that gives you the confidence to, um, to really shine in your photos. On the other hand, people who are rarely putting on makeup, they will feel uncomfortable by getting more makeup on.

So, um, there's a balance to be found there. Um, I have a lot of clients who are not wearing makeup in daily life and who are struggling saying, well, I don't want to put on makeup. It isn't me, and I get that, but with photos, you and video, you get washed out really easily. So if ever you are not putting makeup on in daily life, I would advise.

At least put on some blush and a little bit of lip gloss or anything that gives you a little bit of depth, uh, in your face. Um, but try to stay as natural to yourself as possible. So I don't think that you need to put on loads of makeup, for instance, uh, I myself, I hardly ever wear foundation and even in my photos, uh, I rarely put on foundation.

It's just, uh, what makes you feel comfortable?

Um, yeah, well, to me be more confident on camera is, uh, what, what I touched up on, uh, earlier is the mindset. So, uh, make sure that you. Uh, take a couple of minutes if you have to, to do some, um, breath work. So just, uh, to, to calm down the nervous system and make sure that you fill your head with, um, positive thoughts.

If you feel like you look horrible in photos, which I hear way too often, uh, I'm not photogenic. I look horrible in photos. Uh, I need to lose weight before I can get good pictures of myself. Um, and I know it's hard to have to deal with all these thoughts, but you really have to let them go. If you want to shine, uh, as the face of your business, you need to realize that you are.

Good enough to be on, uh, on camera. And you have to fill your mind with positive thoughts to, um, make sure that you connect with your inner self so you feel empowered to step up for yourself, for your business. And, um, You have to think by yourself. Uh, realize that it's not only you who deserve to, to get out there and make yourself seen, but also your dream clients because they are waiting for you and waiting for your product or your service to help them.

And all that you need to do is to make sure that you get into their line of sight. Uh, you have what they need, but you need to get in front of them. Think of that when you are feeling awkward, when you feel, um, afraid of being judged. Your dream clients really don't, uh, let me be polite. They don't care about your extra pounds or your whatever you are thinking.

They just want your solution to their problem. So as long as you stay authentic, um, and be real, they will feel that connection with you. So, It really is a matter of letting go of all your fears, of being judged and step into your own power.

I like that.

To me the, the most important thing is make sure that you get rid of all those negative thoughts that, that negative self talk and, uh, make sure that you step into your power and, um, and your, your, your dream clients will feel that and want to step into your world.

I like that cuz like I know whenever I photos taken, I'm always like, oh, you know, I wish I could lose 10 pounds or whatever. But now that I think about it, I've never. . There's never been a time when I've been thinking about working with someone and I was on their website and I was like, oh, I would work with them, but they need to lose 10 pounds, so won't like,

it's exactly that. It's exactly that. That's what I'm always telling my dream Clients try to not think of that because there's no point. People really don't judge you on that. It's in your own head that that is happening. So you need to. Shift your way of thinking, and that is really important. You need to shift your way of thinking and that is what we are working on, uh, in, um, in my coaching programs and, uh, what we will be working on, uh, in, um, the second week of December.

Um, no, it's not the second one from 13 till 15 December, we will be working on that. In my challenge, I have a three day challenge. So this is one of the subjects of, uh, my three day challenge that I'm, uh, running from the 13th till the 15th of December. Uh, I've made an, uh, an amazing program based on my three pillars to help the participants become. Confidently visible and, uh, help them make a 2023 day success years.

So the first day we will be working on, uh, mindset. So, uh, exactly what we talked about, uh, earlier. We will be working on building your confidence so that you are fully able, um, to shine us the face of your business, and that will help you build trust and authority. And the third, the second day will be on connection.

So learning how to take photos that truly connect with your dream clients so you can attract them into your business and, uh, start selling to them. And then the third day is about foundation. So you will learn the proven system and tools, you will learn the techniques, and you will learn how you can work with ease and flow and save loads of time to spend on the things that you actually, uh, love doing.

One, um, example of working with ease and flow, uh, and something that I find really important is that you need to batch plan your photo shoots. You will save so, so much time. When you batch plan your photo shoots, that way you have, uh, your entire, um, content. So the photos that go with your social media content or for instance for your website, um, you can all plan that in one.

And make sure that for the rest of of your month you have all your photos available. So those are the things that we will be doing in my, uh, challenge. And if anyone wants to join, I guess we put up a link in the description somewhere.

Yes. I will ask you for the link when we're done recording and I will put that in the show notes for

Really cool. Thanks.

So for people who wanna start taking their own photos, you've said that it's important that photos are important to kind of attract the right clients or students or customers. Is there a way to know kind of, you know, what type of photos they should take to attract their, their dream?

Um, yeah, there are two things that are really important about that. The first one is to make sure that your, oh, sorry.

Um, the first thing is to make sure that your, that your photos, uh, truly connect with the, so there are two things that are really important for the, uh, connection part and attracting the right people.

First thing is that you need to realize that, um, you are. Selling your product or your service, but you are selling the solution to the problem of your dream client. And so it's really important to realize what his or her problem is and what kind of emotion they are attaching to that. Um, for instance, a really silly, um, example for this is that I had a candle maker as a client and she was just photographing her candles, uh, on a.

And they didn't look very attractive. Uh, so obviously it, it doesn't sell very well that way. Then when I looked at her and we discussed about who are her dream clients, what are they looking for, what, uh, what is solution that she's offering to their problem, or I need to say that differently, what, is there a problem that she's offering a solution for?

And obviously it's not really a problem, but it's the fact that. Want to create more, uh, of a cozy ambience. They just want to have a soft light, um, yeah, just to create a really romantic or cozy ambience at their place. And so, uh, in order to make your photos connect with those dream clients, For her, we needed to put in, uh, objects that, that connected with that feeling of a warm, cozy ambiance.

So what we did, we, we put in, um, like the fake lamp skin that you see in front of a fireplace and we put in some, uh, wooden decoration elements. Uh, some flowers, sorry.

And so, uh, with those elements, her photos looked completely different and now they sell because simply people feel attracted to those images. And so it's really important that you think about, uh, what is the problem that I'm offering the solution for? And the second thing about, um, how to attract the right people is to stay true to your.

Be authentically you. And being authentic is something that, um, well, we speak about way too much in the online space. Maybe it's a word that is used, um, a lot, but that is also because it's, it's true. You need to stay true to yourself and that way you will attract the right people. For instance, a few months ago I had a, um, coaching call with a lovely young woman who is, uh, creating her group membership.

And, um, as she's wearing a ve she was hesitating on how to show up in her videos. She felt uncomfortable wearing her ve as she was afraid that people might judge her. So she mostly took it off, but at the same time, she didn't feel comfortable with that either, as it represents a real value for her. I just asked her the question, who is your dream client?

Is that someone who will judge you for wearing a VE or is that someone who will be offended by it? I think that someone like that is, by definition, not her dream client, as they don't share the same values, so, That's why it's so important that you, you, your dream clients need to be someone who shares or at least respects your values.

And, uh, and after that, uh, coaching call, she felt really relieved and decided to, um, yeah, to just make pictures and videos with her feel on. And these are subjects that you really should think about and have clarity on in order to connect with the right audience.

That's great. That makes a lot of sense. I know I talk about similar things in the course I've got coming out soon, um, about how to create courses and I talk about how you need to understand. Know problem you're solving and how to connect with people, but I've never thought about that with reference to photos, but it makes total sense that that, that you'd have the same kind of things in mind.

Yeah, absolutely. Because your photos, it's the first thing that people see of your business. Uh, I mean, in, in the online world, um, if you just have texts, you won't, you won't, uh, pop out of the, of the lot of, uh, people see. Photos as the very first representation of you. So you need to make sure that you stop the scroll and that you grab the attention of your dream client.

And the only way to connect with them is to make sure that you stay true to yourself and that you know their problems, that you know their struggle, and you know what solution you are offering to them. So if you manage to put that into your photos, then uh, well, you, you will just attract the right people into your.

Well, Petra, thank you so much for being here. This gave me a lot to think about and I'm sure the same can be said for for my listeners, so thank you so.

Oh my great pleasure. I was really happy being here. Thank you very much, Becca.

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Hi, I'm Becca

I blog about blogging and teach courses about courses. I fell in love with online business a long time ago and I can't wait to share my best tips and tricks with you.

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