professional photography

Latina photographer Judy Justin on why portrait photography is key in personal branding

Portrait photography is successful when you gain the client’s confidence, says Judy Justin, a U.S. Navy veteran, mother, and a professional photographer. In today’s world, where you need to stand out from the crowd, your personal brand is not complete unless you have the right images to show who you really are, and what is the story you want to tell through your images, Judy says.

professional photography

Judy Justin Photography at the 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo

Although she works in many genres, her favorite is portrait photography, which allow her to get to know her clients better and connect with them on a deep personal level.

From simple snapshot to portrait photography

professional photography

Judy Justin, founder at Judy Justin Photography

For Judy, photography first began as a personal hobby, taking snapshots for fun. In 2003, when her two boys, Ethan and Joshua, were born she became more invested in the hobby as she began documenting family memories. Soon her passion for photography evolved into a small “side hustle.” She continued to pursue photography for years, honing her craft and expanding her skills.

In 2012, Judy finally created a formal business for her photography: Judy Justin Photography, though it remained a side job while she continued to work as an IT Specialist. Then in 2014, the company that she worked at for seventeen years transferred her position to Houston, Texas. Unable to make the move, Judy decided it was time to take on Judy Justin Photography on a full-time basis.

Since 2014, she has grown her business and worked with many clients and companies, with her work being featured in catalogs, schools, banners, social media, and corporate pages. She has photographed a few celebrities, though to Judy the most rewarding experience is helping to create memories and having her photographs hanging in people’s homes for generations to see and enjoy.

What makes the customer feel comfortable and confident in professional photography

One struggle Judy has faced as a business owner is finding and marketing to the right audience. Over the years she has learned to accept rejection and not take it personally. Not every client will be the right client for you and it may take some time to find your audience.

“Learn who isn’t your client or customer and go after those who are,” says Judy.

Once you do find that audience, it is important to then gear your marketing toward them and focus on customer satisfaction so that your business can continue to grow and flourish.

In a field like professional photography, customer satisfaction is especially important. Photographs can be incredibly personal and meaningful, so clients should always feel good and confident about their photos.

“Customer satisfaction has to be a priority,” says Judy. “Not just with your product, but with the experience you provide.”

The secret to creating a quality experience and happy customers: Confidence

Judy has found that confidence makes all the difference—and not just from the subject but from the photographer as well. A confident photographer makes clients feel more comfortable and at ease during their sessions.

portrait photography

Judy Justin (R) with Susana G Baumann at the 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo

“They love it and will trust you because of it,” says Judy. “After all, you are just a stranger with a big camera. They need to have confidence in you. These expectations can create anxiety but you have to learn to breathe and control the situation. Make eye contact and listen to your client as a friend, not just another dollar.”

Comfortable clients also make for better photos and authentic expressions. Judy has found that the more comfortable the client the better the experience and final product overall. She has spent years learning and perfecting her craft and client approach specifically to prioritize client comfort and satisfaction.

“Sometimes people get very, very comfortable and somehow I become a therapist with a camera,” says Judy. “For me, it’s a compliment and I am happy to not only get great authentic expressions but that I can possibly help my client vent during out session.”

The final outcome makes a satisfied client very grateful

The most rewarding moment is when Judy gets to show her clients their gallery after a session. “I am like a kid at Christmas,” she says. “I love watching their reactions or at least hearing it over the phone. I live for that.”

portrait photography

Courtesy Judy Justin Photography

Judy’s experiences as a Latina have also helped her connect with clients and create a welcoming and diverse environment during photo sessions. “People appreciate it when you understand them and where they come from,” she says. Being bilingual has also been a huge advantage in her business, allowing her to reach a broader client-base.

To other entrepreneurs, Judy suggests to take especial care of their images. “A good set of professional portraits or pictures can say so much about you. It is sad when you see people in high positions -especially on social media- with pictures cropped from a wedding or social pictures, or worst yet, no picture at all! Your image is your first business card, and it speaks volumes about you and your business,” Judy said.

You might be interested: Latina Career Coach Bonnie Negron gives advice for achieving career goals

She also advises women to simply take the first step and start.n “Take that step and then take another and another,” she says. “Don’t let negativity discourage you. You will never please everyone and that’s okay. Don’t limit yourself. Tomorrow is another day.”

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Victoria Arena

About Victoria Arena

Victoria Arena is a writer and student, passionate about writing, literature, and women's studies. She is bilingual, fluent in both English and Spanish. In 2017, she received her Associates in Fine Arts for Creative Writing from Brookdale Community College. Now, she is working toward her Bachelor's in English Literature at Montclair State University. Along with literature, Victoria is interested in Gender and Sexuality Studies, which she is pursuing as a minor, focusing closely on women's issues, gender inequality, and LGBT issues. These studies provide her with a feminist lens, which influences her work from both fiction to academic writings.
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