5 stars for VACT

Taking them from ‘meh’ to marvellous!

Something I get asked a lot is how to put more of yourself in your photos, to take something that’s more than just a samey-smiley-selfie?!

Maybe you’re not sharing as many images of yourself as you could in your marketing because you feel it’s “just a selfie of your face” or even that it’s a little vain to be doing so.

If you are left thinking there could be more substance to your images then, I have some advice and tips for you to help inject some life into your content photos and really make a statement with what you share.

As with many things, there’s prep work to be done to achieve these photos that have a bit more about them!

I’m Katie, a brand photographer with 16 years experience of photographing women and I specialise in creating YOU-oozing photos to inject energy and confidence into your marketing.

So, before you even pick up that phone and switch to front facing camera here’s what we need to be doing:

Understand WHO you are, WHAT you are about and the VIBE you want to be projecting.

Essentially – when people come across you, your content or your work (online or in real life) HOW do you want them to feel about you?

As Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has said “your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” – so what do you want them to be saying?

Here’s where my Litmus Test exercise comes in handy! Whether you’ve done some brand/branding work before or are totally new to the ideas of brand values, vibe and brand personality, the Litmus Test is a great way to figure out ‘you’.

And if you have done the brand work before, it’s a great tool to use and check to see if you are still showing your audience the things you want to be.


  1. Ask a close friend, partner, family member etc to describe you in 3 words (with no context, just message them or ask them “describe me in 3 words”
  2. Describe yourself in 3 words

These adjectives will help you build a picture of the vibe you project and how people feel when they spend time in your world. Ask as many people as you like, but ask them first, because we’re very harsh critics of ourselves and if you do #2 first your words will likely not be as positive or true as they could be!

(Remember to be kind to yourself – if we had an actual friend who spoke to us as we can often do internally to ourselves we’d be telling them to take a hike!!)

The next part of the Litmus Test is to go back through your latest testimonials/reviews and pick out the descriptive words your clients are using.

Leading by example from myself, when I started out (many years ago!) as a wedding photographer my reviews, while nice, were…well nice. And pretty beige: “Katie was professional and polite and did a great job”. Fast forward to today, where I’m very open about who I am, how I want my clients to be themselves, and I confidently project my values of happiness, creativity, fun and adventure so my reviews now say things like “Katie is f**king amazing” “Katie, you’re an artist”

So check your reviews and see how the language matches up with the descriptive words you collated from yourself and your inner circle.

Then what we need to do to start leading this into helping you create waaaay more interesting photos of yourself is to think about that “feeling” part – how do you want people to feel when they meet you online?

Calm? Excited? Energised? Peaceful?

What kind of places match those? The beach, a bar, your living room, a park…

And then I’m going to ask you – what’s your kooky thing?

Do you have hobbies or interests or little eccentricities that you’ve probably never thought would be of interest to your prospective clients before? These delicious details are where the creative juices can start to flow.

For example – I had a client, Kelly, who is an online tutor for secondary school kids. I unearthed that she is very into Anime and in particular DragonBall Z. She has been known to cosplay, so I got her to bring her outfit to her shoot and we recreated some anime action type poses, along with smoke bombs. She ADORED the final images, as did her students (and parents!) and they led to some fun conversations and increased connection.

Another client, Katherine, loved traveling to Italy so we included the Tuscan vibes into her photos by getting creative with lemons in her photos.

Bree has a huge passion for literature, in particular The Hunger Games – so one of her shoot locations was the library and we incorporated fire and sparks into the photos.

The “kooky thing” doesn’t have to be way out there, it doesn’t have to include costumes, it can be anything.

You might have a passion for making your own dresses – wear them in the photos.

You might have tortoises for pets – get ‘em in the shot.

Your earring collection might rival Cartier – make them a feature in your profile photo.

These elements will provide talking points for you and your audience, provide caption ideas and help you to feel more connected to your images – so they’re not just a selfie, but a photo with context and meaning to it. Even if you don’t directly reference it.

The more connected you are to images of yourself, the more you LOVE them, rather than just like, the more excited and energised you will be to use them and this will translate into your copy, your caption, what you’re projecting.

Now you’ve hopefully put some thought into how you’ll be in the photo, where you’re going to be for the photo and what you’re going to project in the photo it’s time to get shooting!

Head to my free tutorials for tips on the practicalities of taking better selfies: 

HOW TO NAIL YOUR SELFIES https://katien.aweb.page/p/ec673434-09e1-4bff-b001-d350e20fdbde

MY TOP POSING TIPS: https://katien.aweb.page/p/d6a25708-1a72-4eeb-acd0-4d1abe2cc10d 

Meet Katie

Meet Katie, a brand photographer who put simply creates images tailored to showcase the real personality of you and your brand.  

Here’s how you can connect with Katie: