Episode 27: Carola Moon on Personal Branding Photograhy

business Aug 03, 2021
Carola Moon Knows Personal Branding Photos

Carola Moon is a mompreneur who knows all about personal brand photos. She shares why you need them and how to use them, as well as how she integrates being mom and entrepreneur.

Carola's amazing opt-in can be found here: 7 Must-Have Brand Images

Connect with Carola on FacebookInstagram, or her website  

Carola's favorite gadget is her shampoo bar 

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This is a transcript of the This Mom Knows Podcast - Episode - 27

Jennifer Uren
Originally from Germany, Carola Moon is a mompreneur based out of England and mum to two kids. Carola left the corporate world to pursue a dream and is now a certified business coach and a branding photographer. Pictures are powerful, so I'm excited for today's conversation and talking more about how we as mompreneurs can leverage pictures in marketing our businesses. So welcome, Carola.

Carola Moon
Hello, Jenn - so much - I'm so happy to be here. Thank you so much.

Jennifer Uren
Oh, I'm so glad you can be here. So the bio told us very little told us enough. It told us something. But tell us a little more about yourself. Like, what brought you to England? And why did you stay? And maybe the things that you know, you and your family enjoy doing for fun?

Carola Moon
Yes. So, yeah, so I nearly failed my A Levels because my English was so bad, so that's what made me say, "Actually, I need to go to the UK and need to learn the language." And I just fell in love. Like, I just didn't want to leave. I did leave to go to University in Germany. But then as soon as I could, I was back. And yeah, and I have been gone and you know, like I live for in Vienna for four and a half years, but I just this is my home. I love to be here.

Jennifer Uren
Is that where you met your husband? In England?

Carola Moon
Yes, yes. At work in the corporate world.

Jennifer Uren
Okay, so that was definitely part of the draw. I took four years of German and I spent some time in Germany, and it did not improve my German at all. So, so well done with your English.

Carola Moon
It's hard, it's hard!

Jennifer Uren
Yes. Very hard. So wonderful. Well, I'm excited for our conversation today. So why don't you start by telling us, you know, what, got you started with photography in the first place?

Carola Moon
Yes. So it was probably was my dad who had like these old Canon AE-1 it's actually this one, and I started shooting with that when I was 16, maybe. And then, but then, you know, life happened, I did everything else. And then when I had my son, my second child, and my husband gave me a digital SLR. And I really fell in love with creating photos where the face was like nicely sharp and foc- focus. And then everything else blurred in the background. And that technical challenge was what first got me into photography. And then I started a I discovered Sue Bryce she's quite famous in the US. And she is a, like a makeover, portrait photographer. And so I did that for six years, I think. And even when I came back to the UK, I then had a studio, a commercial studio doing makeover photoshoots. And what I noticed was that I just love to work with entrepreneurs. And it was mainly women, but the conversations were just so inspiring, and they they really made me feel alive. And I, you know, we had a, you know, like a mini mastermind in doing those shoots, and I love this. So I then realized that actually, it's not just about making women feel pretty, and you know, and value themselves. It is a lot for me about, like, the bigger picture, the bigger dream that many of the entrepreneurs have that I work with, and that I just makes me feel so happy to be involved in being an enabler to their success.

Jennifer Uren
Okay, so that's really what brought you so is photography, and then you just sort of niche down realizing that this personal branding photography fit with entrepreneurs and helping them. So did you know that's what it was called? Did it have a label? Or did you just...how did you figure out that piece of it? The personal branding?

Carola Moon
Yeah, so that came a little bit by researching and you know, at first I just called it business photos, you know, do you need a headshot for your business? Do you need anything for your website? But I didn't really know. And then I just like more and more, did my research and you know, and I think maybe someone mentioned it, and then eventually I was like, I think that's what I'm doing. That's what I love doing and that's what I want to do more of.

Jennifer Uren
So there was that clarity of "I'm already doing it, but now I've got a name."

Carola Moon
Exactly, exactly.

Jennifer Uren
That's always the best because that's, that's free. And it's a little less work because you're not starting over. You're going oh, I already did that. So.

Carola Moon
Exactly.

Jennifer Uren
Oh, so as you started your business, did you did you start your business before you have had kids or did you already have kids when you started as a photographer.

Carola Moon
So as a photographer, I started when my son was one. Sorry. Yeah. So he was very, very little. And yeah, the challenge was there that there was the photography side of it. And then there was the business side of it, and the marketing side of it. And then there was me being a mom.

Jennifer Uren
Right?

Carola Moon
And all of that, putting that all together, because there was so much learning on all fronts, like, including, like, how do I, you know, deal with a one year old again? I mean, my daughter was by that time three, but you know, it was still all relatively new and all, you know, quite demanding.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes. So, um, so you said it was all challenging, but what was your biggest challenge with within all of that?

Carola Moon
I think my biggest challenge actually, was to carve out time for the business, because it would have been so easy just to be a mom, you know, to, you know, to an extent. But it's almost like it was so it's such a drive for me, it was so important to me that I needed to make room so that I actually could build a business. So I needed my husband to be more involved, and I needed some childcare where, you know, possible, and there were those things, so that I just almost like I needed to make that space so that actually, I could have the time to build my business.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. So. So did you just sit down with your husband and say, here's what I need how can we work this out? Or did you start to just hire sitters, you know, mommy's helpers to come in? How did you minimize that? How did you work that out?

Carola Moon
I think it was - remembering back - I think it wasn't mixture of sometimes like, me exploding, like, you know, overworked trying to juggle it all. And then like, this doesn't work, you know, and then taking it from there. And other times being quite clear, like, yeah, I need, you know, as soon as my child can go to kindergarten, you know, I'm, I need him to go. And, you know, and I need these evenings free, you know, like, you know, that's what you need to take over and I need to just like me, not a mom, during that time. So it was, you know, it was a little bit of a, you know, sometimes organized and sometimes not so organized.

Jennifer Uren
Right, right? Let me ask you, when you would say like, I need, you know, Thursday nights and Saturday mornings, and you make those available for clients. But if no client booked a photoshoot, would you still keep that time to work on another aspect of the business? Or did you sort of slide back into mom mode and say, "Well, I don't have I don't have a client tonight, so I'm good."

Carola Moon
I probably would say, there were times when I knew like my to do list was like, you know, I need to build this, do this, whatever it was. But I think yes, probably in hindsight, too many times, I just slipped back, you know, I just went back into, because it was the familiar. And also, it felt there was a tension within me where like, one part of me really wanted to just make this business bloom and make it be what I dreamed of. And the other side, yeah, I didn't want to not be there for my kids.

Jennifer Uren
Right.

Carola Moon
So it was quite a challenge.

Jennifer Uren
I think that's a common challenge. And I've noticed with my children, I, I've got them. My youngest is five, my oldest is 20. So we run the whole gamut. But we I've noticed that if I have an appointment like this, they're good. They respect my time and space. But if I say I need two hours to write or two hours to work on this, then I'm what what are you doing mom, and it's a lot harder, I think to protect time for the, you know, the head work, that's not the actual "out with a client" or "out with a, you know, pursuing something, you know, having a meeting". So, yeah, so that's interesting that that's, that seems like a universal challenge. But...

Carola Moon
And, and, you know, my kids are now nine and 11. And I just recently had had to have another conversation with my husband where I was like, actually, you know, we've slipped in the wrong way. You know, like with me taking too much on you know, how can we rebalance?

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, yeah, we've had similar conversations of we've, we've agreed I'm a work from home mom, but our family and our home is, is structured for a stay at home mom. And so we've got to make some shifts because you can't do both.

Carola Moon
No, no.

Jennifer Uren
So yeah...

Carola Moon
It's too important, like our dream, like, you know, I don't think we would serve anyone, if we don't pursue what is so important to us what, like this bigger dream that we are having. I think it's, it's, it's it is worth protecting and you know, creating and making so.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, and I think, I think partly because we have a relationship with ourself. And this by pursuing our skills and our talents and the things we enjoy, we're modeling for our children a healthy way. You know, it's when it gets I think into this, you know, career driven, I'm never home, that's too far one way, and then the I will sacrifice myself completely for my children. Those are the extremes that are so unhealthy that I think you're right. So that may lead into this next question, which is really what has been the biggest reward for you and your family by having you be a mompreneur and building this business?

Carola Moon
So for me, it's, I, I feel I have a different feeling of aliveness when I do my client work, when I do the work, when I deliver images that my clients just suddenly show up with after years of hiding, or where they literally start to show up bigger and more impactful. It just like, it just makes...I get goosebumps, I feel different. And I have a different sense of fulfillment through my family and kids. And for me, it's all important. Like it's not just the one or the other. And I think like you said earlier about how it's demonstrates to the family and to the kids how pursuing your dream how important that is. I mean, they see how I'm different when I have done good work. And when I feel fulfilled through my work, I show up different for them as well. And they see that. Yeah.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, that's great. So it's life giving for you and your family. So that's

Carola Moon
It's bigger than providing income, etc. It is. Yeah, it's more than that.

Jennifer Uren
Right. Right. It's, and I think that's the hard thing. Sometimes there's a need to build a business, but to do it just for income is not fulfilling, it's when it's it, it gives you life, because it taps into who you are, then the income is icing on the cake.

Carola Moon
Yes, exactly, exactly.

Jennifer Uren
Well, let's talk a little bit more specifically about what it is that you do. And so it seems to me that every business has a brand, whether they've designed it intentionally, or it's by default, which means it could be really good, or it could be really terrible. So where do we even start? I mean, it's one thing to take personal branding photos, but where do you even start with creating a personal brand?

Carola Moon
Hmm. I think it a lot comes down to really doing some navel gazing. And by that I mean like, you know, finding out what do you stand for? What are your values? Like how do you want to show up as your business but also, how do you want your business to show up? Almost like a separate and identity and, you know, entity in itself is like what does that, you know, you know, how do you want to know do you want to be, you know, like bending over backwards so that your clients really feel like listened to him and seen and served, you know, and all of those things that they then feed into how you show up, like what is important to you, how you you know, it feeds then into, like the feeling of the logo, the colors, the things that you want to provide, the way you show up that then all of those things you would then put together into then images, now, which is one part of the, you know, the identity, the brand.

Jennifer Uren
Okay? Okay, so, so it's gonna make the difference between whether you're sitting down, have a picture of someone sitting down at a table with a cup of tea versus sitting at a dinner, having drinks with, you know, a corporate meeting or something is really going to convey what is the feeling? Am I very prim and proper? Or am I very casual and relaxed? Is that kind of what you're saying?

Carola Moon
So, yes, so what I think what's the important bit is like to ask yourself, you know, bar the values is, what is it that you do? how do you serve your clients? So this is like, not, like, if you are doing board meetings, then yes, we are in a boardroom and take photos there. However, if you are a yoga instructor and you, you know, then find a beautiful yoga studio, and a lotof the...and if things speak to you, whether that's colors, fonts, activities, shapes, anything, bring all of that in, because that's all we become part of your personal brand. Yeah.

Jennifer Uren
Okay, that's helpful. Because I, I have found the colors of my website are not the colors I decorate with at home, but they fit what I do with my business, but you know, it just wouldn't communicate the same. So it's, it's not just what I prefer, I realized, and I hired someone to help me design that and pick my colors, because that that's where they were gifted. But it was amazing to me, because the sites I was drawn to, and the sites that reflected what I do, you know, very different and, and I had to go, that's because I'm drawn as an individual versus what I'm doing business wise.

Carola Moon
So, and that is a good distinction to to look at. Sometimes it pulls together. Like in my particular case, my, the colors I've chosen for my business are my personal preferred colors, okay, and they suit me as well, so I could wear them. But that is not the case. Like in your case, it's not the case. And then it's the business. in debt, the identity is different to your personal identity. And therefore colors and certain things like you know, certain things you bring in, which then also makes it you then would need to choose clothes, that outfits that compliment your business colors without making you look washed out. So it's then finding that balance between those two.

Jennifer Uren
Yes. Okay. So that's a great point, um, which we'll talk about in a little bit. Some of the other things to know about, like the clothes. But when I think about personalized, you know, personal branding photos, I think about things I see on Instagram, things I see other places, and a lot of times they just they feel like they're stock photos...but with me in them, is that essentially what they are? Or do they really tell more of a story than that?

Carola Moon
So I personally think they're a bit of both. So they are personalized stock photos without looking hopefully, stiff. So the important thing is to create images that are authentic to you and your business and your brand. But also that tell your story, like you were saying about them needing to tell a story. And the stories are unique to you. I think many people who go choose for whatever reason, choose stock photos, they would have a topic, you know, like woman reading a magazine or you know, woman running in the park, and then they would choose those images to represent them. But it doesn't quite work because it will be not taking into account their brand, val- values, their colors, their, you know, elements, their, you know, style and all those things that it's just not them. And it's not been designed to be for that particular person in that particular business.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. So it could be a subtle difference, but a powerful one.

Carola Moon
Yes. Yeah.

Jennifer Uren
Okay. Yeah. So, for a lot of women, it can feel really weird being the center of attention. So I know there's a mom listening who is thinking, "Well, I could never do this because I don't like having pictures taken of me." So what would you tell her to help her become more comfortable with this idea and being in front of the camera?

Carola Moon
Yes. I think one of the biggest things we do is that we think things like "I don't want to be in front of the camera." There is something though that we often have this bigger dream and we want to serve these people. So it's almost like we can either stay with us in our discomfort of you know, having to face the camera, etc. Or we can think bigger and look almost behind the camera at the people who we're actually wanting to have the impact the transformation with and it is bigger than us. It is you know, it's almost like it's like general business growth. We will need to do things like doing podcasts, like doing Facebook Lives with what- whatever it is, you know, doing sending certain newsletters that where it feels it may feel uncomfortable, but actually, it's just part of our personal growth to show up in, in in a, in a way that has a chance to reach the people we want to reach.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, I love that imagery of looking beyond the camera to the person you're trying to serve. Because it can be uncomfortable if it's just you and the camera and the photographer. But when you're looking at the bigger picture, no pun intended. I think I think that's a really good perspective to hold. So I like that. That's great. And then we kind of talked a little bit, but these photos that they would use them on business cards, their website, their social media, is that generally for continuity? Is that is that how they would use them?

Carola Moon
So ideally, someone would have a library of images, which they then use in all of those places, you know, and, you know, you can add, like, for campaigns, on their freebies, on their like them contact page, thank you page. book covers, you know, that lots and lots of different ways to then use them. Yeah.

Jennifer Uren
Okay. Okay, that's great. Yeah. So that that helps with the branding, because it's giving some continuity, and not the same one picture every single time.

Carola Moon
Exactly. Because the problem is that mostly, we will get bored faster with our images than our audience. However, our audience also will, will be like, that's yet again, the same photo, you know, and it has to do with I think it has to do with, see, we are all multifaceted. But if we just show up with one photo, we're not showing the different facet of ourselves, we're not trying ourselves a little bit more relaxed, a little bit more professional, a little bit more boss, lady, or whatever it is. And it helps our audience to actually get a feel for us. And that feel translates into trust to then actually say, actually, I think, I think you have the right solution for me, please, let's work together.

Jennifer Uren
That's a good point, too. I like that. So I found you, but we're on two different continents. So how does somebody going to go about finding a good personal brand photographer, especially if they're not in England?

Carola Moon
Yes. So I think it's important to find someone, you just click with, you know. You don't need to click with in such a way that, you know, you definitely you could be friends, but in such a way that you feel like, I think, I think I'm in good hands. You know, and you find that out by obviously looking at the website or social media, you know, posts, but then also having a conversation with them. I think that's really important, because it gives both of you a chance to see what would be provided what's how would the shoot go? And would I have the support I need? Or would I, you know, would we be spontaneous and just walk up? You know, that is a personal preference. And then, and then yeah, and then you can choose whether you both want to work together. I think it's really important that you just like you feel the pull.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, yeah. That's good. And what is a typical package? Like, should they expect you know, 20 images, 50 images? What- what's typical?

Carola Moon
I don't think there is a typical because when I've done some some research, I've found anything from three or one image headshot to hundreds of photos on a drive or, and then and you see anything from "Okay, I just walk up and take some photos" to, to "I set it out by bring hair and makeup I like I have a studio or location" da da da. And everything with hand holding all the way or not everything from no editing or hardly any editing to like, you know, full like you know, photoshopping.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, yeah.

Carola Moon
It really depends on I think that is where the conversation is so important because every photographer photographer will have their way of serving their clients. And it's important for that to meet your so if you don't want to have like all the support, then you know, there will be a photographer for you out there. If you want to have all the support, keep looking, you know until you find to get the support.

Jennifer Uren
Okay, well that's good to know. So there's your first thing is what is it that "how much help do you need along the way?" is going to guide your your conversation. Well, you have an amazing resource that we'll talk about at the end and it helped my daughter and I plan a personal brand photoshoot. But besides the photo setup itself, how you know where the setting for it and how you're going to take it? What are some other things that really needs to be taken into consideration with planning the session? You've already mentioned clothing color, is there anything else to think about?

Carola Moon
There's quite a lot. So, I usually start with talking about like, what do you want to portray? What are the, and then ask some prompting questions, things like, what do you how do you usually serve your clients? What does your typical workday look like? How do you relax outside of work? How? What are the things you keep telling your clients to do? You know, there might be you need to read this book, or, you know, journaling is, you know, everything is in the journaling. As long as you journal, you know, you find your answers, whatever it is, you know, there is then a way to portray that in your photos, because it will help you to tell that story, but it also helps your clients to really see how you deliver it. And like you said, that then goes into, okay, so if you, like, I've had a client recently who did a presentation on a whiteboard. So then the question came up, what do you usually wear when you do presentations of that kind? And then that's then prompted the client to say actually I wear this kind of clothes, so and so. And then we talk? Do you hold anything in your hand? So then we talked about props, and in her case, there was like, markers, etc. You know, so it all starts with a story, which then leads through is like, "Okay, how can we bring this to life?" Because, it's not just person at desk, computer done. Because actually, we don't sit like that we usually you may have some plants or flowers on the table, we may have a mug of coffee or something. You know, it's all of that that tells the story. And ideally, if you have something branded, or at least in brand colors, that works wonders.

Jennifer Uren
Okay. Yes, yes, that was the night before we had planned mine - we had planned ours and the photographer was a no show - so that was a little jarring for me. But the night before I was like, clothes, what am I gonna wear and so I ran out and found all sorts of things that that fit my colors, but I hadn't even thought about that until...

Carola Moon
That, that's not that breaks my heart when that happens, because I usually work with my clients three weeks ahead. I do a planning session where we go through all of that. And then by the time the sheet comes round, they have like their three to five outfits ready. They have all their props ready. They have, like, know exactly where they're gonna be in which room. We shoot what.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah

Carola Moon
it's just Oh, no such. Yeah.

Jennifer Uren
It all worked out well, but...

Carola Moon
What I love about your story is that you were set to do it. And you did it. Like you just did not let it stop you. You went ahead with it. Fantastic.

Jennifer Uren
That's right. Thank you. Yes, I was like, when else will I have this time set aside? Like I have now. So. So if, if a mompreneur was like, "Okay, I don't have a chunk of time, but I'm just gonna get three pictures to get me started", what would three key pictures be that they should have? Just to get them going?

Carola Moon
So yeah, I think the first one is the hero shot. And that is pretty much the the shot that you would see on the homepage, because if you're the face of your brand, you know, give the people immediately like the chance to connect with you. I think that's the first one. Then one that you arguabl- arguably could call the headshot. And I think that's the one that sits on the about page so that that can be a little bit more natural. And that can be you know, it can be maybe outside or something or what do you do outside of work. And then, thirdly, I would say, the services page, like something where when you talk about how you deliver it, how can you portray what you do in your case, for example, you know, you with your mic, you know, you know, recording a podcast. I think these are the three the hero shot, the about page photo and the services photo.

Jennifer Uren
Okay, well, that's super helpful. So we're getting close to the end of our time, we're going to wrap up with a few questions but this is my favorite. I'm a gadget girl. I love tools. I love all this. So what is what is your favorite time saving gadget, system, or trick either for home or business?

Carola Moon
So I thought about this and it's not necessarily time saving, but what I've recently found which I love is eco friendly. So I have a thing for eco friendliness and I love shampoo bars. Also because they're like soap bars, and you just like, like, I put them in a little bag, and then you'd literally just rub them over your head. And they they foam nicely, like if you find the right one, beautiful, and it's so much lighter to transport. So therefore the the miles are way less. So the impact on the environment is so much less. So I've converted the whole family and I'm making my way through my friends.

Jennifer Uren
Well, that's great. I've not really heard of that. So I'll have to check that out. That's great. But yeah, it was my first thought was "Oh, that makes for easier travel."

Carola Moon
Exactly. Yeah. Most definitely.

Jennifer Uren
Wonderful. So how can people find you? How can they connect with you? And more importantly, how can they get your opt-in that is so wonderful?

Carola Moon
Yes. Thank you. Um, so yeah, so I've got a website. It's TheCarolaMoon.com. So like th e Carola Moon all one word .com. I'm also on Facebook cover Facebook page, @TheCarolaMoon again, the same on Instagram and I'm on LinkedIn as well a little bit and on there as well. So if you have TheCarolaMoon.com/freebie is when you can have that hang on.

Jennifer Uren
There you go. Yes. And it is wonderful. Everyone needs to have it even if they're hiring someone, this will help you get your head around what it is that you're working through and planning. So it's very valuable

Carola Moon
Exactly. It definitely helps. If you hire someone or if you do it yourself. It doesn't matter. Definitely.

Jennifer Uren
Yes. Well, Carola, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today. And this was wonderful. Thank you.

Carola Moon
Thank you very much for inviting me and yeah, I I started listening to your podcast and I really enjoyed your episodes. So keep up the good work.

Jennifer Uren
Thank you. Thank you.

Carola Moon
Thank you.

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