Emily Keys left her corporate career in the city, and from the rural town of Kyogle in Northern New South Wales founded Emily K Creative, a photography and styling business that specialises in creating professional content for online businesses. Emily K Creative has grown rapidly, serving clients Australia wide and internationally. Combining a successful business that allows her to collaborate with global brands, with a flexible work approach that meets her lifestyle needs is Emily’s goal. A dream that many have, and that she has accomplished.
Tell us how you transitioned your career from corporate Human Resources to Photography?
After my first child was born, like many women I found the balance of work and motherhood difficult to maintain. I enjoyed working in Human Resources, but the expectation to be online all the time in a corporate environment coupled with battling daycare illnesses was hard to manage.
When my husband was offered a new role interstate, we took the opportunity to move from the city to a rural town where living costs allowed us to have one parent at home. It was during this time, and while I was pregnant with my second child, that I took up an old passion for photography and moulded it into a business, Emily K Creative, that I can run from anywhere.
How did you build an international customer base while living rurally?
I niched my business Emily K Creative down to product photography and social media content, which allowed me to work from a home studio with two young children. But living rurally meant I needed to reach further to find my ideal clients – those that were on a business-growing journey of their own, and were ready to outsource their content creation.
I primarily use Instagram to reach my audience and with some returning clients under my belt, Emily K Creative began to grow via word of mouth. Now clients send me their products to photograph from all over Australia, and international locations such as New Zealand, Singapore and the US.
Share your three best tips for marketing your product through photography.
Particularly in the online world, it’s so important for businesses to have stand out photos and videos of their products. This is often the first way a potential customer will experience a product so it needs to entice them to click through. Here are some tips for marketing your products through photography and social media:
- MAKE YOUR PRODUCT THE HERO. Avoid cluttering the photo with too many objects or a messy background. The customer should easily be able to pick your product from the image. Clean, clear and well lit photos are professional and show you’re serious about your product.
- STAY ON BRAND. In a world of fast content consumption, you want your product photos to be recognisable. Choose a style that suits your brand and use an element of it across all your photos. For example, you may buy some props in your brand colours to pair with your products, or you may have reoccurring themes such as florals or bright airy spaces. In my personal branding, I often opt for neutral tones like whites and woods then pair with soft pinks or blues.
- LEARN TO EDIT. Whether it’s with a program or app, being able to edit your photos to give them a little more punch will go a long way to making them stand out as professional. There’s many editing courses out there, or you may opt for some Lightroom Presets which are essentially a customisable filter. Consistent editing can become as much a part of your visual branding as the photos you take.
How can outsourcing their photography save SME businesses time and money?
At some point or another, many small businesses get to the point where they need to outsource some of their tasks and photography and content creation is often one of those things. Setting up, shooting and packing down a set for photography can take hours, and is something that needs to be done often to maintain a decent bank of content.
And as your brand grows, you may also find you outgrow the photography equipment and sets available to you. If your photography needs a step up with professional high resolution images, models and locations or a creative redirection, then outsourcing to a photographer will save you countless hours organising this yourself.
Your greatest challenge?
My biggest challenge as been to hold Emily K Creative back from explosive growth. Some months I have enough bookings that I could work full time, but I need to remind myself why I chose to go into business – to be available to my family and have a flexible lifestyle. As my children get older and start school, I’ll allow the business to take more of my time.
Most proud of?
Having a wonderful community of online clients who often feel like friends. Just because I live in a small town, doesn’t mean I have to be limited in who I can work or collaborate with.
Advice for future female leaders?
Stay in your lane. It’s easier said than done sometimes, but block out the external noise, set yourself clear goals and work to achieve them. It doesn’t matter if someone else reaches a business milestone before you. Run your own race.
You are the female economy. Whether you are a female consumer, business owner or a woman in the workforce, you can create gender equality by choosing female led brands.
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