Pippa Tanko: A Photographer’s Process of Pivoting

Episode 418 on Wednesday, October 5, 2022.

Are you afraid of niching?

Do you really want to pivot and focus on a different type of client than you have in the past?

Our guest this week, Pippa Tanko, did just that she went from shooting families and babies to photography That focused on companies and their owners. We will find out why she made the shift and how the transition has gone. We will also ask how she avoids burn out and how she kept going when it got hard.

Pippa is a brand photographer from South Africa based in the U.K. I can’t wait for you to hear her story.

Join me Wednesday, October 5, 2022 at 2:30pm ET / 7:30pm BST / 11:30am PT / 8:30am in Hawaii. Sign up to get the link at https://creativesignite.com/signup

You can always join us for the live taping experience and be part of the community. Come a little early and introduce yourself in the chat, say hey & tell me where you are located in the world.

Check out Pippa’s work:




Questions I will be asking:

  1. Pippa, can you give everybody a little background about your business and where your love for photography began?
  2. How far into your business did you decide to pivot? What were you doing before and what are you doing now? How did you know you needed to pivot? Was there something that triggered you to pivot?
  3. Did you have to give up anything so you could focus on this pivot for your business?
  4. How do you get your ideas? How do you ideate for a new project? Does your research look similar from client to client?
  5. What does brainstorming look like for you?
  6. What is the process of working through ideas with a client? Do you brainstorm with a client? How do you brainstorm before you meet with them for the first time?
  7. How do you redirect or direct a brand that has aspirational ideas that might not be aligned with where their brand is?
  8. How should a creative go about thinking about their brand photography? And how important is it that entrepreneurs show their faces and not just their work online?
  9. How do you direct an entrepreneur in choosing locations?
  10. Is there a challenge you hear from entrepreneurs that you would help them get a jump start on creating a style and not get frustrated in the early stages of their career?
  11. What is one thing you’ve learned in the last year that’s been the most impactful to your life and business?

Or listen here:


Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode. I was about to say addition. Either one works, um, of creatives Ignite and I’m really excited to have my friend Pippa Tanko. She is from South Africa, but she lives in the uk. She’s south of London and she is a brand photographer, but she’s done other kinds of photography as well.

And if you’re new to Creatives, Ignite, um, we are just coming back. I’m super excited that Pippa gets to me. My first interview back. Um, Pippa and I have gotten to know each other probably over the last year and a half. We’re in a group together and we still meet every Monday morning, super early for me.

It’s not Monday morning for her. Um, but we meet at 6:00 AM my time and I’m dressed ready to go. Of course, I don’t wear makeup, so it doesn’t really matter, but I have seen Pippa grow a ton and I. Have really loved seeing that weekly kind of interaction and she’s probably seen me struggle and grow as well and things.

I think when you can struggle and grow with other people, um, it’s really important. So if somebody’s new here today, um, the thing with creatives ignite is that it is for people who are doing their business alone or usually solopreneurs. And we own a creative business and we are trying to do lots of things.

We’re trying to do our marketing, uh, do better in our creative industry. For me, it’s designed for Pippa, it’s photography, but there’s so many things that are shared and the more people that you talk to, like the more people that are like Pippa that I talk to are just more designers that I talk to. I see the things where I can improve and then I can also, they can help iron sharpens iron.

Right. So anyway, I’m really excited. So Pippa, thank you for doing this with me. Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m super pumped to be here tonight. All right. Well see. It’s tonight for her and it’s today for us still. Right. And even better, you guys get to wish her a happy birthday cuz her birthday is tomorrow.

So happy birthday to Pippa. And so anyway, and Hannah Wilson’s here too. She’s here in mobile as well. Okay. So Pippa, I want you to give people a, uh, a little bit about your background and where your love for photography came, and then when did you start it as a business? Okay, sure. Um, so I, as you said, I’m a brand photographer and I capture creative agency owners or creative entrepreneurs, um, in their best kind of being their best selves.

And, um, I use this, I do this by creating images that really empower them to show up for their business and become the face of their brand. Um, . And that really, I suppose the reason why is to really help them attract their dream clients so that they can charge higher rates, which we all want to do, right?

And um, so that we can do more of the projects we love to do and work more with the clients we love working with. And so that we can build that kind of life of freedom, that business and life of freedom. Um, and I guess photography has been a big part of my kind of journey from really early on. So my father was killed in a car accident when I was eight months, and that left my mom a widow with two small children.

And, um, which meant that we didn’t grow up with an awful lot of money. But one of the things that was hugely important to her was to send us to private schools. And so God only knows how, but she found a way, um, and she, she managed to send us to private schools. But for me it was really quite difficult because I always felt like this, the poor kid on the block, you know, I was embarrassed.

My, my family didn’t have big, nice, fancy cars and huge houses and didn’t go on great holidays and things. And so, um, I grew up feeling quite insecure. And it wasn’t for my teens when I discovered photography, photography through a cousin of mine. And he used to capture these incredible portraits. Um, and I think that through those portraits I started to see that everybody is unique because the people that he was photographing weren’t big, fancy, you know, People with loads of money.

There were just your average Joes on the street, you know? And I think it made me understand that it doesn’t matter who you are, you can, you are unique and you are special. And so that started to kind of resonate with me, I suppose. And um, and I started to connect with those faces and those people. And I started to kind of understand that I was also special through that process.

And that was incredibly powerful in my journey. So, so photography has been with me for a long time. A lot of my family members are photographers and, um, Yeah, I just feel like it’s kind of running through my veins, a little bit of that. Yeah. So how old, how much older was your cousin than you? He was, he was about 20 years older than me.

I think he got married when I was about three, if I remember. So my mom was the youngest of, of her family by quite a long, by, quite a long shot. So, so he was a lot older. So he, being a, being in a single parent family, my mom spent a lot of time thinking I could just do it a break in the holidays. So she’d, she’d ship us off to, to my cousin’s farm to go and to go and work and hang out and be looked after and for her to have a bit of a break.

But he was a photographer and I think the first time he took me into the dark room was when I was about 10 years old. And I’ve never forgotten that experience of watching an image come to life. On a piece of paper as it rocks through some liquid. Yeah. Which is really incredible and I think that I have that vision in my head still to this day.

That’s cool. So then did you study photography in school or did you, did you know you wanted to be a professional photographer like your cousin? Or how did you get to that stage of that being your business? Sure. Uh, no, to be honest, they did do photography at school, but we didn’t have enough money for a, a camera and you had to have an sr.

So I couldn’t, I couldn’t do it as part of the, the school curriculum. And so I actually went into graphic design initially, um, funnily enough, , and um, and that’s what I studied after school. I think I was still just trying to figure out what I wanted to do. And it wasn’t until I came to the UK and my cousin and his wife actually moved to the UK around the same time as me, just by coincidence.

But, um, I went to work for them. He kind of encouraged me to take up photography. I think one day I was having a play with one of his cameras and, and when he, when he looked at the image, he just said, You’ve got such a natural gift. You should, you should, you know, think about pursuing it. And he really helped me, helped me buy my first camera and he was like, Read this book, you know, go and read this.

Go and look at this. And so I’m actually pretty much self taught, obviously with a lot of guidance from him. Um, and I That’s good. A few small courses, but nothing major. Well, and so much of what we do is we are refining what we like and what other people are responding to and how you’re able to see what’s working.

Um, and you’re like, Can I capture that? So it’s a lot of just exploration and in, in what you’re capturing, but so much of photography, oh my goodness, is your connection to who’s behind that camera. So, um, if I’m, if you’re taking my photo, I, you have to have a rapport with me to get me to loosen up, and I’ve seen lots of photographers who just don’t have that.

And you are just a natural at that. Well, thank you. One of your superpowers. It’s one of the things I always say is even as photographers that we can’t take photos of ourselves and the reason why we can’t, I mean, I could put a camera up on a tripod and I could hold a trigger in my hand and I could remotely take a photo, but I’m not gonna have that light in my eyes.

I’m not gonna have that like sparkle and that interaction that you get from being opposite somebody else who you’re kind of feeding off. Yeah. And there’s so much to that. So you, how long ago did you start your business as be doing photo? Uh, so I started going, I started probably about 18 years ago and 18, 19 years ago, 2004, whatever the, whatever that is.

Mm-hmm. 18 years ago. Um, but I actually started in family and baby photography I guess cuz it was where I felt comfortable. I worked with families and babies, so I kind of, it just felt quite natural to go into that. I liked children, They say never work with children or animals, but for some reason I thought it was a good idea and I, and I love, I love children and so it was, it was a great start and.

I think my passion actually start just running around taking photos of landscapes and learning about light and painting with light. But when I started my business, I knew I wanted to photograph people. And so that started with children because you know, it’s really easy to make kids laugh. You just make a bunch of farting noises and you sorted

That’s right. That’s right. So then, okay, so then how far into babies and children and families, cuz you were doing that. Mm-hmm. , when did you start doing, cuz I know you did some architecture you worked for, I mean, and talk about beautiful. Oh, Hannah Wilson says if you make fart noises with adults, it makes them laugh too.

So just keep, keep, you know, doing that sound with your underarm, I guess. Um, don’t do it for real. It’s not funny anymore. Um, but the, um, how far in. Into that, Like how many years or decades were you in that you were like, I need something, Or was it just a challenge to take the architecture, architecture photos.

And then how long after that did you decide to start doing what you’re doing now? So I guess I started maybe four, four or five years in, uh, people started through word of mouth kind of saying, Hey, would you take some photos of this project? Or, and you know, I think as creatives we are always looking for ways to push ourselves.

Mm-hmm. . Um, so, so I started just. Saying, Yeah, why not? You know, and, and, and going and giving it a shot. And, you know, as time grew on and I started to learn more about it, I started to deliver better results for clients. But I never really marketed myself as a commercial photographer or a branding photographer, but I still did win projects where I was working in those industries.

Although my marketing and all my focus really was on families and babies. Then, yeah, probably, I don’t know, maybe, maybe five or six years ago I decided that I, I, I kind of started to feel like there was a connection to helping business owners, and I’ve started thinking about how I could use the skills that I had to help other business owners and.

branding, photography wasn’t really a thing yet. I mean, it’s been around for ages, right? But it wasn’t called branding photography. Um, but it was starting, it was starting to get a little bit of traction at something I’d heard about. I think most of the things that we get over in the UK start in the States.

So maybe that’s something that I’d heard, um, there and I started thinking about how I could do it and what I should do. But I think sometimes the problem is when you are in it, you so easily drawn back to what you know, so. I would think, right. I’m gonna start pushing and figuring out how I’m gonna do the, the brand photography and how I can help business owners.

But I kept just getting stuck back into, well, I know how to do babies and I know how to do families and I know how to market for it. So I just kept getting stuck back in and, and marketing for that. Was there a trigger or something? So if you’re getting pulled back, um, I, I know we were both in Matt EM’S group, um, with Faye.

And so what was something in before when you decided to join a group, right? Uh, what was that trigger that made you were like, I gotta do something this, Like, you could have just, you know, um, run that fence line all the time. I do some babies, I do some, you know. But what was it that made you say, you know what I wanna.

I wanna do my business more seriously and I, Or, or that was it. And then you just decided to pivot after more learning you were doing, What was it? Um, I guess, well first of all, I decided I needed to put my money where my mouth and have my own personal brand photo shoot. And I think that was quite pivotal in my journey because I got to see it, how powerful it was in my own journey.

Yeah. Um, so I think I’m not used to being on the other side of the camera, you know, I’m used to being on this side of the camera. So for me it was pushing myself outside my comfort zone. And I did that probably maybe, maybe a year or so before, before covid hit and we went into lockdown and, um, that kind of planted a seed, I guess, because I felt.

I, when I saw the images and I saw myself as the business owner I was striving to become, that was Incredib incredibly powerful in like how I started showing up for my business. And so, and I guess I’d had these ideas of maybe changing into this genre, but I think that kind of cemented it for me, if that makes sense.

Yeah. Then, then lockdown happened and it just gave me the time and the head space that I needed. All of a sudden I was thrown into, You can’t be near babies. You can’t, you know, even, even when things started to lighten up again and, and open up again, like I wasn’t gonna put a mom who had just gone through labor at risk by being around them or a newborn baby that was just, you know, we used to photograph them in the first 10 days.

So I had spent some time, and really it was the, the kind of branding work and the long term clients I’d already worked with and that kind of construction and, and, um, Architecture work that I was doing that kept my business going throughout lockdown because you could just be in an empty building taking photos, you know, not near any people.

And so I guess lockdown just gave me the space and the time and the opportunity because all of a sudden all business were throwing, thrown into having to do more online. And so suddenly there was this kind of rejuvenation on like how important it is to be visible and how important it is to show up.

And, you know, everything was going online from like meetings and, and so I think there was also suddenly this opportunity and it was something that I’d been thinking about anyway. And it just gave me the time and the head space to put all the processes and the kind of thinking and ideas behind. So then in that, cuz I know that there were times in that you were like, Oh, it’ll just be easier to do the things that I already know how to do.

And this is where that pivot right? You when, Yeah. And I don’t think this is one of my questions, but maybe it’s sort of, um, how, how did you get through that barrier? And because that’s a big thing, especially when you, you’re having to learn how to market and target new people. You’re having to put yourself out there and in lockdown was really difficult because you couldn’t go do stuff.

So then what, um, what would you say to somebody who’s like in that pivot and they’re trying to like niche down, but they’re like, but I’m not getting, like, what would you tell him to keep, like keep at it because blank. I think for me it’s like, Yeah, I had to almost step into a new version of myself, if that makes sense.

And I had to, like, I’m a firm believer as it’s all or nothing. Like you just throw yourself into it and you, you know, it’s like if you move country or if you move, I dunno, for me it was move country was a big one. Like right, Because you move country and you’ve gotta make it work. Especially if you’ve got family or you’ve got kids and things like that.

Like you put yourself in, you go all in, you move all your stuff over you, you, you do it and you do it wholeheartedly. And if you do it wholeheartedly, you’ve got a much more, um, sec or higher success rate, if that makes sense. Um, I think if you just, I think it’s just pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and, and trusting that you have everything you need inside of you to.

to do that. And you know, there were things that were difficult was I had to start saying no to the family and baby clients and you know, did I get it right straight away? No, I didn’t. I initially, I just took repeat business. I didn’t take any new business. But if I had a sibling, you know, new baby was born and was a sibling, I would say yes to those shoots.

But now I’m at that point where I’m just like, it’s a clean break and. I’m not doing anything. So does that answer your question? Yeah, that does. I think we have to overlap. I think sometimes when we go cold Turkey on this new thing, we, because maybe we don’t have that full commitment or we just don’t have enough, like we haven’t talked about it enough or we don’t know how to explain what we do in a succinct way.

Um, that maybe it, I do think we have to have some of that overlap so that we still are like, I’m still good at this. I’m still good at this, I’m still good at this. Right. I can, I can always fall back and be a baby photographer if I need to. Right. Yeah, I agree. I think you do need that fall back for your own kind of, I don’t know.

I dunno. Um, just to keep yourself confident and understand that you’re gonna keep sustaining yourself, because at the end of the day, we, we’ve gotta make an income, you know, we’ve got to, this is the money we live off, but I do think that learning to say no and throwing yourself into something new, Um, is not without challenge.

And so you have sometimes giving yourself permission to still do a little of the other stuff, but really focus all your efforts on or the working on the business towards where you’re trying to get to, if that makes sense. Yeah, yeah, it totally does. Was, so was there anything that you had to give up so that you could focus in so that you had to stop saying yes to everybody?

You had to give up that, like pleasing everybody, but was there anything else that maybe we wouldn’t think of that you had to give up to really put a little bit more time and effort into, into this part? Um, I mean, you had a lot more time learning you, you gave up time. Yeah, so I guess time would be the big thing.

I guess I was always very good at having that kind of, work life balance. And so I guess the scary thing when you’re suddenly throwing yourself into something new is that you think, Oh my God, I’m gonna have to work so much harder and I’m gonna spend so much more time. But actually, if you manage your time, you can actually be really efficient and still make sure you’ve got that work life balanced.

So I guess it was just, I’m not sure if there was anything I had to give up. But, um, I had to give up saying yes to everything as you said, and, and that, just not trusting that I had the ability to make it work. Well, and I also love, I wrote, I wrote this down as the answer kind of to this question, and then maybe the one before was, um, you had to commit to it, that it was the new version of yourself.

I think seeing those photos of you being that photographer that you wanted to be, um, and then just the power of a photograph, right? That was something you could point to and be like, This is what I am doing, and then I wanna know what all in means. Like when it got hard. What does some people do that you didn’t do?

Like, uh, when it got hard, what did some people do that I didn’t do? Like it was never, it was never an option for you to go back to South Africa. You were like, No, I’m gonna make it work here in the uk. So say you just had that mindset and maybe having done that so many years just from the way you were brought up.

Yeah, I mean I guess I’ve always been quite like that. That’s part of hu my personality really. I talk a lot about, um, with my clients actually. I talk a lot about our history and how that kind of shapes who we are today. And I’ve been a all or nothing kind of person. We used to do a lot of like, um, we call it cling in South Africa, but basically it’s just jumping off rocks into water.

It’s the higher, the better kind of thing. And so I was probably the only girl that used to do it. All the other girls were sun tanning on the rocks at the bottom, . But I would’ve been with you. I would’ve been jumping up with them. Yeah. I mean, come on. But um, I’d often get up to the top, and maybe someone’s been up there for a little while and they, they’re kind of hesitating and they’re thinking, Should I jump?

And I’d literally go up there and say, Right, where are we jumping from? Okay. And do it because I know if I, if I didn’t just do it, if I didn’t take action, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t do it. You know, I would start to dump myself. I would start to overthink. Yeah. That’s really powerful to know. Right? And that’s same way with a client when you’re trying to get them to warm up.

You just have to try. And I think you’ve explained to me how you’re talking to a client and they’re like, I don’t know. And you’re like, I’ve gotta warm ’em up. I’ve gotta get ’em to a place where they’re stopping thinking and overthinking. Does this smile look normal? You know? And you’re like, Oh no, it does not.

We’re gonna keep you talking until you get your smile normal. Exactly. And you know, every, every client’s slightly different. And I have different ways that I do that, but often the best ways is just acting like a complete idiot most of the time. . That’s right, That’s right. Well we can do, like Hannah said, have fun.

Yeah, right. Exactly. Exactly. Cuz nobody really wants to. One of the things that, as I’ve looked at your portfolio many times, um, you just really capture people. You capture people in, in actions, but also feeling they look like they’re just happy and. Enjoying life. And that’s the kind of, I mean, I think we could probably have a whole episode of just like what you not, you should not do for your brand photo shoot.

Right? Like you shouldn’t be, I mean there’s lots of things you’d have webinars which will make sure everybody knows how to get on your list so that they can follow you and stuff. But alright, so how do you get your ideas? So say a client comes to you, um, and they, do you think most of the time they have something or they don’t have an idea?

You know, some clients will come to me with a really clear idea and some clients will come to me with absolutely no idea. So it really varies from client to client. But I guess for me, the first kind of step and the most important part is getting to kind of understand and know that client really well and what makes them tick and what you know, who they are, and kind of understand their history and where they’ve come from and where they’re trying to get to.

And then also who they’re trying to work with. So do you do that before or during your first meeting or so? No, so that would kind of probably come into the first part of my process. Obviously I have a, a chat with people before they decide to book with me before kind of we figure out if we are a good fit, if they’re a good fit for me, and if I, if I think I can help them.

And, um, so I kind of, the way that I would do that, I suppose, is to, I would kind of look through what their current, what their current visuals are like, and kind of see how, what kind of feeling and ideas I get from what they’re currently putting out there. And that I would do before I’ve, before I’ve had a chat to them at all, they’ve just maybe booked a call with me and so I kind of have a general idea.

What I think’s going on. Sometimes I’ll jump on the corn and they’ll be in the middle of a rebrand or something will be completely different. And so that’s when they’ll talk me through that. Okay, cool. So then what about, and I think you have a deck for me, and so this is my question. So how do you get ideas?

Where do you go to get ideas and then after you’ve had that initial meeting? How I use the word ideate, I think maybe, I don’t think I made up that word, but anyway, so like get ideas, Brainstorm is actually, is the real word. I, I looked this up after you used . I was like, maybe I’m just stupid and I’m making up a word.

It’s the real word. But I think sometimes you, in America, you. Slightly different words than what we use in the uk, but I did Google it after we spoke. And it is actually a word I asked my husband, who usually knows every word there is to know. And he was like, I don’t think that’s a word. And then I Googled it,

Well, so I wanna know how you get ideas and if you wanna share your screen, that’d be great. Cause um, so do you think your research looks similar from client to client or is it really different? Like, because that’s, I think, one of your strengths as a brand photographer, you’re able to find something that’s gonna work for this brand.

Everything isn’t just the exact same. I always think about photographers who are doing like, um, like, uh, kids who are in their last year of school, which I think maybe it’s grade 13 for y’all. For us it’s grade 12, um, their senior year. And they’re all like at the railroad tracks or they have this like picture, you know, like a, a wall behind them.

That’s a lot of. Tagging or stuff. And so it’s like everybody kind of looks the same, but you’re, it’s really important as a brand photographer that you capture the essence of, of the brand. And I, That is harder, right? Yes, exactly. I think kind of the first step is to look at the competitors and kind of see where they’re at, and I think that’s probably what I do first to see what they’re kind of doing so that we can make sure we, we are differentiating ourselves and we’re not looking the same as all our competitors.

And we get often get into that horrible comparison game. And so it’s just making sure that we are actually quite different. So I find researching their competitors would probably be the first step. And the second step is, as I said, really getting to know them because I think I kind of, my ethos is we are all unique.

And so if we can bring some of who we are into our brands, it’s gonna resonate more with people that have similar values, for example, or personality traits or, um, beliefs as we do. So I start very much from the client and kind of getting to know them and getting to know their history and their story, and understanding what those beliefs are and what those values are.

And then that kind of starts painting a picture. I’m quite a visual person, so it kind of starts painting a picture in my head, but then sometimes it’s difficult to show that to a client. So what we would do is collaborate on a vision board and I’ll, I’ll just share my screen with you now. So this is a vision board that I did recently with the client.

So usually I ask them to make a vision board where we add just to add 15 to 20 images and then we collaborate on it and I’ll add some images and I’ll add some images and we’ll start kind of getting a feel for the brand, if that makes sense. And then when we come to the shoot, um, obviously this also lends itself to like understanding more about the brand so we can think about what we’re gonna include in the shoot.

Obviously we’re gonna include them, but sometimes we’re not just telling that story. We’re thinking about who we’re trying to attract and how we can use imagery to do that. So sometimes, you know that location plays a part in this hugely. Not only. Like telling the story of our brand, but also attracting those, those people and making sure that it’s in line with who you’re trying to attract.

So once we’ve kind of worked out where we’re going to, where we’re gonna shoot and what we’re gonna do, we’ll do the shoot and then we’ll think about kind of the styling for the brand. Um, I’m just gonna try and find where I’ve gotta click next. So for this, um, for this shoot, we wanted to be out in nature.

We wanted it to be really natural and authentic. She has roots, Indian roots, so we wanted that to come across. And then we went looking for a location that would really speak to that and included in that with some outdoor kind of images. But then using that vision board, I suppose I kind of get an idea in my head and I’m a visual person, so I visualize a lot and, and so then I would go and I would think about how are we trying to.

to differentiate ourselves and make our brand stand out. And that’s by maybe adding a certain look and feel to our images. So this is kind of the look and feel that we’ve gone for. It’s a lot. It’s got a bit of grain, it’s got a little bit of an overlay. The colors are not too vivid and it works really well with her story.

Well, and knowing lighting, right, the power of lighting, how the light is hitting those, uh, leaves. But it’s also how it’s hitting her. Like, I don’t know where you found this place in England. Like, are you just always on the lookout for places? Does this place near you? Yes. This is, this is not that far from me.

I, my whole, like, I think one of your questions later on is how do I, how do I brainstorm and how do I get my ideas and how do I get my inspiration? And actually it’s, it’s from visiting places, it’s going to see places. I’m always on the lookout for locations. I always have kind of a little bag of tricks of locations that I think would work with creative clients because most of the clients I work with are creatives.

Um, but sometimes I’ll get a client that maybe doesn’t, you know, I don’t have a location that fits, and then I’ll have to go and do research and I’ll go and visit locations and I’ll look for something specific to them. But I do. Spend a lot of my time enjoying going to different places. And so that’s, that’s, but that’s also like, that’s something that if you’re not doing that, then you’re not able to service your clients.

Right? Yeah, absolutely. And I guess, I mean, you guys have taxes too, so that’s like a tax write off when you’re going to different parts, uh, that are near Right. You, if you go to leads, you might be having a, which is pretty far, but I know you’ve been, um, so it’s like you could, uh, scout out places up there if you needed to, right?

Yeah, absolutely. So, I mean, I hadn’t thought about it as a tax write off, but, uh, even in my spare time, you know, where, when we are going out looking for somewhere to go, walking or somewhere just to, you know, spend with the kids, sometimes I just come across places in that. Space. I try and not go to the same places over and over again.

It just gets boring. And I suppose going to new places always helps with ideas. That’s cool. Okay, so go ahead. Keep going. So, so anyway, so we, so we created this kind of look and feel and then I apply it kind of to, to all the images that we’ve taken for the brand. And then I would go back to the. After I’ve come up with this kind of look and feel and, and see if it feels in line with where they are.

So I have a question in this, this wasn’t on the sheet, but um, if you have, Cause she’s in multiple places. She’s in multiple outfits. So is this over a brand photo shoot? Is this over? A period of days. I know you have packages, which I think is brilliant and we all should do this. Um, but you have packages that are like, Well, you can have four brand photo shoots this year.

And I hate, I hate that I just have this photo of me in a sweater because it really doesn’t work all the time. I need one with a sweater. I also need one. What happens when my hair changes? You know, I need some, Which I think is so brilliant that you do this. Like they’re signing a year package or that’s one option that people can do and I just, Because it’s not like you’re doing all these at one time.

Right. Well, actually, you’re right. I don’t always do them all at one time and I do do have packages where we work over a period of the year. I find that that works really well with showing seasonal changes. Mm-hmm. and showing keeping current because as businesses and brands and business owners, we are constantly evolving and changing and I think showing.

things that are current are incredibly important. You know, we might also go gray or, you know, it’s important to look like you are current. Yes, yes. But, but this shoot is actually all done on one day. Wow. So we found a location, uh, if you can see that image in the, in the middle where she on a kind of a wooden dick.

So this was, this was what drew me to that location in the first instance. It had, it came, it had a coffee shop, It had like a yoga room that we could use. It had a restaurant upstairs and it was all very earthy and natural and that lended itself really well to her brand. But it also had an area where you could go walking, um, outside.

And so I would, I went before the shoot I’ve been to, to this place before, but I went before the shoot and had a look around and checked out the forest and looked at where I could find, you know, where the best light was, what time of day that would be the best light, things like that. So actually all of these images were taken on the same day.

So like, is this a eight hour thing? A six hour thing? Cause so this was probably a four hour thing. Oh. So we would plan all the outfits ahead of schedule. We’d choose the locations and then we would map out the shoot so that we were. on schedule ? Yeah. I don’t think it ever runs on schedule, but generally I would, I would cut it up into three parts and would say, Right, the first part will be at this area, um, on location, and we’ll be shooting these kinds of images and these will maybe, um, cover these topics in your social media because we work a lot towards creating images that, um, cover your content in, in the brand shoots that we do.

And then we would say, right in this section, we’re gonna go to the yoga room, for example, and we are gonna use these two outfits and we kind of map out the shoot, if that makes sense, and what outfits we’re gonna wear and what kinds of images we we’re hoping to achieve. Well, like the one where she’s doing something with her hands, I don’t know if she’s making something or not, but then there’s another image that’s like candles and a book and a leaf.

Did you have to bring stuff like that with you for Yes, exactly. So we bring, um, The candles and leaf images actually is just an another image that I happen to have that I’ve put in there as kind of a placeholder because we were doing the second part of her shoot actually tomorrow and where we’ll be doing all those kind of filler images.

But it’s just to give that kind of feel to, for this purpose. And um, we would, we would plan all of that, like what props we’re gonna bring, what kinds of images we’re gonna go for. And then often my clients will be shopping, they’ll go, Oh, I found this looks really cool, and they’ll send me a photo. Or, I, I also keep a bunch of stuff that I’ve got that I use, not for every brand, but I just happen to have bits and pieces that I pick up cuz leaves that I think are pretty, or candles I’ve collected, or I’ve got old books that I really love that were my grandmothers and things like that, that we can incorporate if it fits the brand and if it, if it’s right.

And sometimes we, we have to go out and source things. So then sometimes would like an image like that one with the books, is that something that you might take on your own, um, without her and it’s just some of those filler images because we all need some of those things. Yeah, absolutely. And these are very good at telling like the story of a brand or giving the feel.

She’s actually a, a jeweler and she makes, uh, crystal jewelry that and does, um, some crystal healing. So that’s kind of what the next two shoots are gonna be. Some are gonna be some filler images that tell the story and give that kind of feel for the brand. And then we’re gonna also have her product shuts where it’s the actual jewelry and how we showcase those and what images we show and you know, how we can tell the story.

Like continue her story, So continue that thread through all the images from her personal brand images to her kind of storytelling filler images, and then to through, into her product images as well. Yeah. Okay. So then, um, do you, I know you have others as I’ve seen. Yeah, so I, um, I thought I’d just show, you know, how different brands can be and that they don’t, you don’t, It’s not just one style.

I think some photographers only shoot in one style, and I think it’s great to look for a photographer that would suit your style or what you’re looking for. But as a photographer, I actually bend and mold my style so that it fits the brand. I’ve obviously still got my own style, but I feel like. , it depends on the brand and what they’re trying to achieve as to how I’m gonna shoot for them.

So I thought I’d just share a couple of the other I’ve worked with. Well, and that’s maybe that your design background where you’re really serving the client instead of it being you. You’re actually really, and as we are trying to find photographers and we’re, if we’re in the uk, clearly we’re using you, but if we’re not, then um, having somebody who’s gonna try to uh, tell our story in our way, cuz these are definitely very different.

Yeah. So it’s about capturing that kind of look and feel in a way that’s really in line with the brand. Um, and. They want to be shown, if that makes sense. So Hannah has a question real quick that I think is a really good one. She went over to the UK some, she was in your neck of the woods this summer and she said, What’s your backup plan on a shoot like that where the weather could be really messed things up if it’s not a certain way.

So I will not shoot if the weather is terrible. And the way that I get around this is that I actually work with a really small amount of clients every month so that I can build in that flexibility to work around the weather. Now we will, if it is a brand that requires a sunshine day, then I’m constantly watching the weather.

And I think I only confirm the shoot the night before, depending on the weather, like leading up to the shoot. I’m always watching the weather and then I, I might message the client a few days before and say, Look, the weather’s looking a little bit sketchy, but it may change. So just to make you aware. And then as we get closer, We might switch things around.

For example, we might, for her for example, we would’ve switched around and maybe done the products that day. Right. You know, so it’s just about building in that flexibility and obviously when you’re booking venues, making sure that they’re happy for you to build in that flexibility. Yeah. The way they’re being terrible.

I hope that answers your question. Yeah. This, that was great. Perfect. So yeah, this was an interior designer and she had a much fresher kind of look. So we went for a lot kind of cleaner images, light and bright and airy. Um, then I’ve worked with a, with a brand. I guess web developer and brand, um, designer and his is, you know, way more different.

Lots of color, lots of fun. So I think it just shows how you can choose your style to suit your brand, if that makes sense. Yeah. And lastly, this is another jewelry brand that I’ve worked with where we’ve incorporated kind of her story into the whole brand. So she’s a. She’s a doula and she imports jewelry from all over the world, but her story is very much one of travel meets fine art jewelry.

And so we wanted to pull in that element of travel and link it through, thread it through all her images. So we’ve given everything quite a boho kind of travel, warm travel destination vibe. Um, we’ve built in some kind of shadows and sunshine to show that those are beautiful, her product images as well.

So it just, you know, trying to find that sweet and that story and sweet it through all your images. Some of the, um, that one where she’s on the beach. I know, Diane, you’ve seen the, the behind the scenes image of that one. It was actually quite a chilly day with loads of people around, but we managed to capture this and we’ve included a little bit of some travel magazines to just keep that kind of sue running through the.

Yeah. I love that. That is, you can go back through her Instagram and see that and see the in process, which I really love that Pippa includes that because it does, it looks like it’s just this beautiful, warm day. The lady had like a big sweater on and then Pippa would pull it off and she would have take some photos and there were tons.

And the other, I, the other process photos show all these other people that Pippa was going around, but you did amazing. And the um, the ones with the jewelry, uh, and the top middle and the middle left, and then the one right next to her on the right, that, uh, background, the, what they’re laying on. Did you pick that out?

Is like a stone or a tile or something, or is that something that she had in. So that was a tile. So often I will make recommendations, so I’ll say, think about how you want your, you know, what you want your images to, your jewelry pieces to be on, for example. And I’ll say, look at things like different types of fabric, different tiles, uh, pieces of stone.

Pieces of wood. And, and I think it’s just thinking about what’s gonna be in keeping with the kind of brand and the aesthetic you going for. So she actually had this tile, She sourced this tile and we loved the grain of it. And we actually shot on three or four different tiles before we chose the one that we were going to use.

But I think we were kind of trying to go for the right colors to fit in with her brand colors and then get some kind of texture. And also thinking about like, these are probably the kind of tiles you’d have in a warm destination. Yes. You know, so it’s pulling that into, into the, the images as well. I remember going to her site and being like, I love this, um, this jewelry, but I don’t think she had like a, the shipping to the us.

And I’m like, Man, these things are awesome. I mean, the jewelry’s awesome, but it’s that the photography made me want to go and investigate this. I don’t know if I ever told you that, but I was like, I was this close to buying like three pairs of earrings and maybe I will, but so what do you do? Um, if you have a client who has their own ideas and they’re maybe not the best ideas, like I know, um, my friend Hannah, I have a really bright red shirt, which I really like.

This red shirt, not this one, but this is also about the, it’s really hard to photograph something like this and the, and it’s cold where I am right now in this room, so I, people never see what color my shirt is. But that isn’t always the best for if you’re on stage or if you’re in, in, um, getting photographed because it can wash me out who’s super, super pale.

Um, how, how do you, um, maybe if they have an aspirational image, but they’re not there yet, how do you direct them? Cuz a lot of this, what you’re talking about sounds like brand strategy. You’re running brand strategy with them before they do the photo shoot. Yeah. Um, I think part of being an expert in your industry and in your field is being able to have those difficult conversations.

Right. And being able to, to say, Look, I don’t agree with you. And clients can take that or leave that. Obviously we’re gonna say it in the, in the best possible way. Um, but, but I think it’s important because they’ve hired you because you are an expert at what you do. And so, , I can only deliver my best work if I’m true to my beliefs and kind of what I see for their brand.

And I’ve never have had a client say, No, I still wanna do it my way. So I think, I think a lot of my process now kind of irons that out because they get really on board because I use them and their unique personality and their own beliefs and their own values to kind of style their brand or get, you know, we ideate together.

It’s very collaborative. So I do think, I have had one jewelry client actually who had a completely different idea, and I think a lot of it comes from that. We see maybe another brand in our industry and we think, Oh, they’ve got it right, so let’s copy them. Mm-hmm. and I see this a lot with kind of solopreneurs who maybe.

Are working on their own and they don’t have that confidence to just trust themselves. Yeah. So sometimes it’s, Oh, I just wanna copy, I dunno, Tiffany Jewelry, for example. But that is not in line with their story and it’s not in keeping, and it’s not gonna differentiate themselves because everybody wants to look like Tiffany because Tiffany does some incredible jewelry.

Right. So it’s just about having that conversation, having the confidence to have that conversation. Yeah. And let them know your thoughts and, and why you’ve making the decisions. You think are right for their brand, and most of the time, if not all the time, they’ll, they’ll get on board with that. Well, and I think you’re having enough of their background and you’ve, uh, looked at their competition.

You see where they are, and then you, um, you’re not just saying, I think you’re saying this is why that’s not a good Yeah. You’re telling a reason. You’re not just an opinion. I’m not like, Oh no, that looks terrible. I don’t like it. You know, it’s not, it’s not like that at all. It’s, it’s stemmed in the research that we’ve done and, and the understanding behind the branding.

And so there’s a reason for it. I’m not just going, Hey, this is my opinion, you know, and also my experience as a photographer, you know, a huge amount, if not everything. In fact, everything with photography is about light. You can have the best background, but if the light is terrible, You’re never gonna get a great image.

So, you know, it’s just showing that you know, you know what you’re talking about and, and giving those reasons and showing that you understand. And I think sometimes just holding space for them to be able to process what you’re directing them. And you may say, Well let’s, um, let’s stop here for today and then let’s come back.

Um, just revisit the mood board, revisit the brainstorm that we’ve done, and then let’s see where you are next week when we meet again. Cause I know that you do, you’re meeting with them, you’re doing a lot of prep because you’re doing the, the strategy with them. Um, and sometimes I’ll just show them, right?

I’ll show them a mood board of like what they’re trying to achieve and then a mood board of what I think might work better and then maybe why it differentiates them in the market, for example. So sometimes it’s just something I need to visually show them for them to. To get on board with. Yeah. Well, and I love that you’re able to do the packaging, you’re able to do the lifestyle shots as well.

I think that there was a story, um, about somebody who they were pivoting and they were maybe in a home office and it was just really not. Can you tell that story just really? Yeah, it didn’t. Sure. So, yeah, I worked with the client and who they were trying to attract is actually a really high end client.

They weren’t someone that’s really, you know, it was for, they were a web designing company. They were someone that’s like up to date with technology. They maybe are not, their clients themselves are not hugely up to date. They may be in their fifties. They don’t know a lot about social media or new technology and, but they’re looking for someone who does, who does know a lot about that.

So making sure that then tho that’s represented in your imagery is hugely important. So they had quite a cluttered home office with lots of stuff everywhere. It didn’t give that kind of, Modern technology we know our staff feel. So having that conversation and saying, Look, this is not the right location for the shoot, and let’s look at some other options that are more in line with who you’re trying to attract and these are the reasons why.

So yeah, that, and we, we chose a lovely location and the shoot went swimmingly and we, we still kept enough of them in the location by, by bringing the props that were, you know, special to them or told a bit of their story mm-hmm. , um, into the location and making it theirs, but having it told the right story.

So I’m kind of skipping around. Do you. Did they give you suggestions or about locations and then you scope ’em out? Or do you usually come with suggestions first? I usually come with suggestions based on what I’ve understood by the brand. So recently I had a shoot with, for a publisher and a lot of the images in his mood board had books and a library or, you know, and so trying to find the library or books that you a, a library you can shoot in, because a lot of them in the uk they don’t want, you know, they want quiet.

It’s where people go to kind of read their books and be quiet. So, you know, having a photo shoot where we’re trying to laugh and you know, have a great energy is not gonna work. So, so then I had to go away and do some research on where could we find a library. Um, and so, That’s just me posting on social media.

Hey, does anyone know a venue that has a library? So that’s what I did for this one. And we found some stately homes that usually hire out for weddings on the weekends and kind of latter end of the week. And we booked a shoot there on the Monday when they don’t have any weddings and the room’s not being used.

And actually it was a great result because we had the library, but then we also had the rest of the house, which was very much in keeping with who he. For the brand. So, but I had to, I went and visited three different locations to choose which one had the library that fit the brand and was the right look and feel.

I love that. Okay. So then is there a challenge that you think that you see or hear a lot from entrepreneurs? Uh, creative entrepreneurs? I think you work with a lot of creative entrepreneurs as well. Um, but that’s who we are here. So, um, that would help them get a jumpstart on creating a style and not maybe getting frustrated in that those early stages.

So like, why is it first, why is it important that we have brand photography of our faces and not just our work online? Answer that one first. Sorry. Sure, no problem. So the reason why it’s important to have your face is because people buy from people they don’t buy from logos. Hmm. They buy from people and they buy from people that they know and that they like and that they trust.

So using photos of yourself to tell your story and share what you believe in and what you value is going to help people resonate. And I think it’s just important, just as important to, um, what’s the word I’m looking for? To repel the people that you don’t want to work with, as it is to attract the people that you do want to work with.

So I think by showing who you are, and you know what, it’s like, you see a picture of someone, we’re all nosy people. A we wanna see it, but you’ll decide instantly whether you, whether you like them or not. So it’s giving, having that opportunity of, of connecting with someone. Is much easier with a photo of yourself than it is with any other photo.

I mean, you could have a photo of your piece of jewelry, for example, but that’s not gonna, they might think, Oh, nice piece of jewelry. But, you know, having a photo of you people are, Oh, I wonder what she’s all about. I wonder what she’s, you know, and or if you, if you can tell a little bit more through that story or I see she’s reading that book that I’ve seen, or whatever it might be finding something that makes them connect.

Or it could be the location. I’ve just signed a new client today and she, we are going to shoot in this very retro kind of, um, cake shop. And so that’s gonna be, it’s super colorful. It’s gonna be super funky and I think that will just make people want to click through and find out more. So it’s finding ways to make people pay attention, I guess.

Showing your face is hugely important because it’s building that No, like, and trust and getting people to know you and understand who you are. Absolutely. And it is hard for everybody. So that’s where that rapport comes in. But if somebody’s sat down with you, like Pippa does, and ask you about your company and ask you about where your vision is and who you want to align with and who your, you know, who your customers buy from, um, that helps her to get an idea of painting that better picture.

And I think that so many, I think it also helps you get mm-hmm. , that you feel more comfortable with that photographer cuz and that’s probably the reason why I started building more into, like, spending time with clients before we actually get to the shoot. Because I could turn up on the day and take some photos, but I don’t know what makes them tick.

I don’t know what makes them laugh. I don’t know. You know, they’re not relaxed. They’ve never met me before, so that’s a huge part of. becoming friends almost. Mm-hmm. before we, before we even take a photo. Um, and I think that’s what I’m trying to get people to do through the photography, is to just make friends with people, to get people to understand who they are and share who, you know, their personality and things.

But, and that’s just to kind of build that personal brand and make friends with people and get people to know you. Yeah. Absolutely. Okay. So then is there a challenge that you hear from entrepreneurs when you’re first meeting with them that they’re like, Mm, you know, maybe, and I realize I shouldn’t have asked the question this way, so I’m gonna, um, change it a bit.

So is there something that they’re either they’re not confident or they don’t like the way their body, Can you just take me from the hips up or, you know, do they have something that you hear regularly? I suppose the biggest thing is like, who would wanna see photos of me is probably the, the one I hear the most, like, Uh, let, it’s face it, nobody thinks of, Well, very few people love having their photo taken.

Think, Oh, what I’m gonna do today is I’m gonna book a photographer and I’m gonna go and have some photos of myself. You know, because we’re all our worst enemies. We all judge ourselves. We’re all like, Oh, I don’t like my nose or my ears. You know, like for me, I, I hate having my hair tucked behind my ear on my photo shoots.

I always tell the photographer, Please, if I tuck my hair behind my ear, you know, make me move it, sort of thing. But, you know, some people it’s their teeth or so they don’t wanna smile. But I think nobody else sees us the way that we see ourselves. No one judges us the way we judge ourselves. Mm-hmm. . So it’s just, you know, Practice makes perfect.

Really, as I said, like I used to hate having my photo taken. I remember that first shoot, I was hugely nervous, didn’t wanna be on the other side of the camera. Now I’m like, bring it on, you know, four times a year, let’s go, let’s a day out the office, I get to dress up, I get to hang out with a friend and do silly things and actually have a lot of fun and grow my business in the process.

So I guess that’s, you know, that’s the biggest challenge that people think, Oh, who would wanna see me? And also like, if I’m constantly sharing photos of myself online, everybody’s gonna think, I think you know, too much of myself, but actually people don’t. Think about us the way that we think about ourselves.

They don’t, don’t judge us as harshly as we judge ourselves. That’s right, That’s right. That, absolutely. Okay, so last question is, what is one thing that you’ve learned this last year that’s been the most impactful, either in your life or business or both? So, uh, it took me a little while and I had to put some thought into this cuz I feel like I’ve just learned so much over the, the last year.

But I think the thing that’s had the biggest impact is that kind of be, do have thinking about like being the person you’re striving to become today. So if you wanna be a seven figure, six figure, whatever it might be, business owner, start acting like one today. Start being that person today and living that life today.

So that’s kind of the be and then the do is do what you need to do to make that happen. A. And just think about that one next step that you could take, that one thing that you could do that’s gonna get you closer to achieving that goal. And don’t. worry about the hoards of stuff that we, we think we need to do.

Just take one action every day that’s gonna get you closer. And then finally the have is like dream big and manifest those things into your life. Create vision boards, get excited about your life and business, and then start living that life today. Mm. That’s a good way to end . Well, so I always like to make sure that everybody knows and I’m gonna read it.

Um, So that people know if they’re listening, you can, um, always go to the this episode. Um, Pippa, p i p p a, Tanko, T A N K O. It’s an easy way to search on my website for this, but if you’re on YouTube or on SoundCloud or wherever you get your, um, podcast, it’s underneath. Um, so all these links, they’ll be at the top of this, but Pippa’s, uh, website is Pippa tanka Tanko branding.com and then Instagram, Pippa.

Tank, go branding all one word. And then you can also check her out on LinkedIn. She’s on LinkedIn a lot. She’s told me that was the first place she goes every day when she starts her, her social media part. So she starts on LinkedIn cuz she is for brands. So I hope this has been helpful to y’all. It’s helpful to me to see how somebody else from another vertical as photography, she’s still within our industry as a creative entrepreneur, but one, how she’s tackled her business and how she’s pivoted through it and just stuck with it.

So I’m gonna keep that, commit to it. Commit to the new version of myself and what does all in mean to me, Diane, What does all in mean to Jen? Close? What does all in mean to John Engles and d Les all in. It, you know, you have to determine what that means. And I love this at the very end, I wrote this too, like the be the do and the have.

And I think you have to start with that, uh, big dream. And then again, just like she said earlier, just commit to it. And then even when it gets hard. So there has to be people in your life that are gonna walk with you and encourage you and support you. But then you’re also gonna have to have those hard conversations with yourself.

You can’t please everybody. So the thing you had to give up was pleasing everybody. You’re saying yes and that, but that’s made a huge difference because you have pushed through and you, you are making this what you are and you’re doing great. I mean, you’re booking people all the time. It’s not always easy, you know, it’s not like you just, one day you were, yesterday, you did babies, and today you’re doing, you know, it takes time and you have to.

Be seen as that. So I think that, anyway, I thought I, This was great pip up and happy, happy, happy early birthday. It’s just a few hours for you now, so I just, uh, appreciate you doing the day before your birthday. Oh, no, thank you. It’s been so much fun to be here and to chat to everyone. Thank you for all the lovely comments.

I’ve had a, had a look at a couple of them. Well, so next week we, um, I believe Von Lika is on, and if you don’t know who he is, he is an illustrator and he’s done tons of amazing logos, but he also does, um, he’s just a great teacher. He is on LinkedIn learning, and, um, he’s funny and he has a great way of, um, illustrating and getting new ideas.

So I hope you guys will, uh, I’m gonna talk to him about burnout because I think Pippa, me and you have definitely talked about burnout. We didn’t talk about it today, but I know that we both felt a little, we’ve definitely been in the burnout stage, and I think as any creative entrepreneur, when you’re wearing all the hats in your business, again, you should probably come back on and tell us how you do your family balance and time.

And you do. You could probably teach us something on that one for sure. Pippa, thank you so much for being here today. And just to rip, just in case somebody missed it, it is Pippa Tanko branding.com and that’s on Instagram, her website, and then Pippa Tanko brand photographer on LinkedIn. So hip, thank you so much and thank you guys for coming and hopefully I’ll see y’all all next week.

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