Emma Jackson – Photographer & Videography in The Cotswolds

How magnetic images can grow your business

Struggling to grow your business? It could be that your brand photography isn’t captivating your audience.

Hello you, Emma! I’m so excited that you are the opening interview for the Gather and Grow series. It’s so exciting for me to be back interviewing fellow creatives – so let’s jump right in!

In one sentence can you tell us what it is you do for your clients:

Creative personal branding photography and films for female business owners – creating magnetic images to grow your business by showcasing your talents, telling your story and captivating your audience.

We have so much history of working together, and know lots about your current business but how did you start?

I’ve been taking photos for as long as I can remember, however I never believed photography could be a job that real people could do! So I studied languages, lived abroad, travelled a lot, and ended up working in corporate communications and branding for over 12 years. 

My boyfriend (now husband) and I took a career break and travelled the world for a year; I took my camera, he took his surfboard. My love for capturing a moment in time magnified 100 fold, and I started to take photography more seriously.

Back in the UK, I continued working in Communications and Branding while juggling photography on the side. After returning to work from maternity leave I ended up taking voluntary redundancy in 2018, after realising this was my golden opportunity! My heart was in supporting other females in pursuing their passions – articulating and elevating their brand, attracting their dream clients and growing their business all through beautiful imagery. And so my Personal Branding photography and film business was born!

I’ve been doing this for almost five years now and I never imagined I could love going to work like I do!

For those readers who’ve never invested in a brand photoshoot, walk us through a typical shoot process from booking to sending over the files

I never expect a client to book a branding shoot knowing exactly what they need, or knowing how to organise a shoot. I’ll work with a client and help them to identify what their business needs in order to get them to where they want to be.


I offer a free, no-obligation ‘Virtual Cuppa’ discovery call to chat and ask any questions about what type of session might be right for you. We can discuss your challenges and how I could help you overcome those. Once you’re ready to book we’ll secure your booking with a contract and invoice for the deposit – and then we’re official! 

Designing your shoot strategy

Once your date is confirmed, we can start to design your shoot. We’ll work together to create a visual look and feel for your session. I’ll send you a detailed brand questionnaire, to help me understand more about your business goals, and I’ll run a mini audit of your website and socials, to identify gaps and quick wins to help your brand sparkle! You’ll create a Pinterest board to share your ideas and inspiration for your shoot with me, and you can also make a list of any specific shots you’d like to achieve.

Together we’ll find a location that reflects your business and we’ll plan everything from outfits and props to the key stories that you want to tell, tailoring everything to what your business needs. Identifying your brand stories will help guide the shape of your shoot.

On the day

On the day, your shoot will be very relaxed and flexible. I want you to have fun and enjoy your time creating your branding images or short films. I use gentle non-posed posing to create natural images that capture your personality. Your final images and films will be delivered in a secure online gallery 2-3 weeks after your session, ready for you to download and use straight away. 

What does a day off look like for you – how do you decompress from work?

Mostly running around with my six year old – so I would use the term ‘day off’ in the loosest of senses! If it’s a day with the family we might go for a bike ride in the Forest of Dean, go climbing or just potter about in the garden. If I have a rare day to myself, I’ll meet a friend for coffee, do some gardening, go walking in the hills or maybe nap! 🙂

What is the biggest struggle you’ve had to overcome in your business and what advice would you give to someone else in this situation?

I think believing in myself has been one of my biggest challenges in becoming a business owner. Who am I to think I can do this? Am I good enough? What if I can’t do this? How the hell am I supposed to know what I’m doing?!

There are two main things which have helped me overcome these hesitations. Coaching and finding my village. Working with a business coach helped me to question these limiting beliefs and to challenge my brain’s default responses. And surrounding myself with like-minded women who encourage each other daily has really created a support network and given me an inner business confidence.

How do you balance your personal and professional life as a business owner?

I think this is an ongoing practice but I try to separate the two as best I can. I am fairly disciplined with emails and DMs and I don’t respond outside of my working hours. What I find more of a challenge is helping my brain to switch off – ideas or thoughts about the business might come to me at any time, but I’m working on trying to acknowledge them and follow up when I’m next at my desk. 

I find that having a business buddy makes a huge difference – another small business owner who understands and who can bounce ideas around with me and talk things through.

As a working mum, the juggle is very real, and it’s easy to lose who you are when everything is pulling on you in different directions. But I think investing in time for yourself, whether that’s through hobbies or friends, is a bit like a muscle – the more you practise the stronger it gets. 

What advice would you give to other female founders just starting out?

Gain your experience and knowledge first, and then don’t be afraid to charge your worth from the start. You’ll find that easier than trying to increase your prices to where you should be part way down the line.

Find a way to network that feels ok for you, and build a community around you. 

Forever sitting in your comfort zone won’t help your business to grow. But living in your panic zone isn’t helpful either. Find your stretch zone somewhere between the two and dip your toe in from time to time until it starts to feel a bit more comfortable. That’s the best way to grow. 

And finally, done is better than perfect. You can evolve as you go.

How do you prioritise self-care and mental health as a business owner?

Self-care and mental health are really important to me, which I’ve learnt from bitter experience. If you’re not ok, your business is not ok, and you can’t serve your clients to the best of your ability.

As business owners sometimes it can be difficult to justify time off, whether that’s a Netflix duvet day or an actual holiday. The guilt and the ever-ticking brain! But time away from the business is necessary to keep your ideas fresh and to maintain your sanity.

I’m an external processor and make sense of things through talking. I have a good friend with a similar business who I work closely with and we talk constantly. She understands the ups and the downs, and we are a safe space for each other to talk about anything personal or business. I’m so very grateful for her. 

I love walking in the hills, so I often look to arrange walks with business friends where we can chat about life and work whilst getting some exercise and fresh air. I am hoping this is the year that we’ll get a dog! So I cannot wait for the blustery walks for quiet headspace and podcast time! That helps keep me grounded. 

What are some of your proudest moments as a female founder?

Initially I was going to say that having some of my images published by companies such as  Vogue Italia and The Guardian has been really exciting. But the more I think about it, I think I’m actually most proud of creating something from nothing, and of proving to myself that I can do something that I once thought impossible. Building a business from nothing has taught me self-belief, resilience and determination

Why is brand photography crucial for female entrepreneurs and how can it grow a business?

The internet is a noisy place and it can be hard to make yourself heard. So we need to focus on the one thing that is going to set you apart – YOU! 

Personal brand photography creates a compelling library of editorial style images for you to dip into to help you create a consistent, seamless brand. These images will elevate your brand, tell your story and help you connect with your audience on a personal level to grow your business. Capturing a wide variety of elements of your brand – such as headshots, your workspace, creative process, tools of your trade and more – will showcase your unique personality and you can use them in all sorts of ways throughout your website, social media and marketing platforms. 

All of this enables your audience to know, like and trust you – and ultimately want to work with you. Purposeful photography tailored to your brand personality will help set you apart and position you as the expert in your field, and really boost your visibility – and confidence – as a result.

What would you say to someone if they asked “Do I really need professional photography?”

Of course anyone can take a photo on their phone these days. But we all know that first impressions matter. It takes just 0.05 seconds for someone to form an opinion about your website and decide to stay or go. So it’s about taking charge of that opportunity!

Branding photography is obviously an investment, but one that will help you stand out from the crowd.


I know from my own experience that being in front of the camera can be daunting. This is why I invest a lot of time before the shoot getting to know my clients and involving them in the planning process, so that by the time their session comes around they feel more relaxed because they know exactly what will be happening!

My half and full day sessions offer oodles of flexibility to capture lots of brand stories that will speak directly to your ideal client and have them itching to work with you!

For someone who is keen to dip a toe into the brand photography water, my Branding Mini Sessions are the perfect opportunity for a quick update to your images without the commitment of a full branding shoot. Taking place once or twice a year, they will give your brand a voice, creating purposeful connection with your audience. I organise a beautiful venue, which provides a home studio environment, with both indoor and outdoor areas to choose from to help tell your story.


How to take your own brand photos at home

If your budget simply doesn’t stretch to professional photography at the moment – or you simply fancy trying your hand at your own images – I have created a free workbook that walks you through four key branding shots you can take for your own business at home. 

Can you share some of your favourite shots and why you picked them?

I’d love to know what’s your favourite part of what you do?

Waking up and not feeling like what I do is ‘work’. I feel so fortunate that I’ve found something creative that makes my heart sing by collaborating with other women, creating something together and helping them grow their business.

What can we expect from Emma Jackson Photography in the near future?

I’ve recently launched branding films – short, dynamic, storytelling films for your website and social media, to bring your brand to life, breathe fresh air into your website and put a spring in your marketing step. So I’d like to continue to build on this and develop this service.

This year I have started a blog series, ‘She Who Dares’, in collaboration with other creative women. The idea is simple: invite female business owners to share their tips and expertise to support other women solopreneurs, and help reduce the overwhelm of the juggle. A rising tide lifts all boats. 

I have a brand refresh and a new website in the works for this year, which will help me reflect where I am now with my business. I plan to continue to evolve my services, helping women to live their passions, elevate their brand and grow their business.

As we come to the close of our catch up let’s wrap up with some quick fire questions!


Favourite colour:

Shades of nude. And sea green!

Favourite season:

Spring – give me all the blousy blooms!

A wellbeing tip to share with other entrepreneurs:

Make time for yourself. If you’re not ok, your business/family/home won’t be ok either. Get out for a walk at lunch time, see daylight, allow yourself time off.

Find a friend who does a similar thing. Being an entrepreneur can get lonely, so having a business buddy who can be your sounding board and champion when you need it is worth its weight!

3 things you would share with your younger self:


The journey is what brings the colour

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