✨“I don't think you can go out there and build a brand without a purpose. Because there's no, you're wasting time.”💫 — Zahrina Robertson
Tune in to this delightful conversation with Zahrina Robertson, an award-winning photographer, videographer, speaker, and author.
💡Zahrina teaches us all things photography and videography to bring your best version to shine.
💡She gives us best practice advice to increase our visual presence.
💡Moreover, she provides her perspective on personal branding and how to strengthen it to shine.
📹 Watch us Live https://youtu.be/2xpueITE9kE
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My guest today is Zahrina Robertson. She is an award winning photographer, videographer speaker and author. She is a leading international authority on the power of personal branding. Over the years Zahrina has captured brand images for leading brands such as quantas, business Jakes and Tourism Australia as well as international enterpreneurs like Richard Branson, Simon Sinek, Carlos some Patti and Ida Botros. Serena has been engaged as a speaker for Westfield, about women. And I come business in heels and more. She was headhunted by Arianna Huffington from the world's largest online publication, the Huffington Post. Serena is a highly thought after speaker conducting workshops on personal branding to guide and motivate corporates, startups and enterpreneurs. To Success. I warmly welcome Zahrina Robertson. Welcome to BrandsTalk. Thank you lovely introduction. Thank you. You're welcome. So before we dive into making a stand out online presence to shine, we all are interested in your own brain story in your journey that led you where you are right now, before you started your business. Could you tell us a little bit of that? Yes. Mmm hmm. I would say I was born with a camera and maybe a paintbrush in my crib. That's our might have started. And my dad was a photographer. And I just was I guess he just rubbed off on me growing up the photography side of things, but he never was the one to say hey, this is how you older camera. This is how you take photographs. This is how you do things. He wasn't like that. He was just doing his thing. And, and then he went on to have a different career and things like that. And but I guess in the back of my mind, it just rubbed off on me and and then I went through high school and studied marketing because I love marketing and I love the concept of business. And I liked the concept of business marketing branding, but it wasn't such a big thing. It was more about marketing back then. And then I started marketing and walked in corporates, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy and they're like that for marketing. And, and I just had an epiphany when I was in the corporate business in that business in corporate doing what I was doing that it was so crazy. It was a female driven industry, literally female in driven industry, selling female enhancing products, right, make up on all that. But the women in the corporate business were masculine, very masculine driven, and I didn't like that at all. I just felt very started to get really itchy with the way that the way that it was not good was grating on me. In regards to that masculinity of women in corporate I didn't like it at all, and I just left because it was a bullying incident. Right? And it was just really bad. So I went because you know, in life, there's things that make you itchy and you have to leave. And it's that really it's that Parting of the Ways of something. It might be a relationship it might be it might be a customer or not I might be a situation and might be anything and everything right. And when that happened, I was I was just before. Before that happened I was I it, what am I supposed to do? What do I do? You know, like, and a voice came to me? Oh, it was like, the photography, and it was literally really clear. And I was like, photography. Gosh, I didn't even know I had no idea what the word entrepreneur meant at the time either someone like, someone explained to me, what is an entrepreneur? What is that? Who is that? And, and it all made sense when I left corporate. And I said to myself a promise to myself, I'm going to do photography. And if nobody likes it, I'm not doing it again, find another job, I'll go find a job if nobody likes my work. And I'll give it a crack. And while I haven't looked back, and people love my work 100 years later, right, and that's great with my work, my photography, my branding, and my approach to branding and marketing and the branding part of it, and strategy. And I just carried on and but it was just really an incident that tripped me over the edge of the cliff, I took the I took the belief in myself, and I ran with it. And I did it. And so that was been really good. And so I've been doing photography and branding and videos and capturing women's brands, I had a male came into a thought leader at all, and one of the world's leading speakers and Australia's most expensive speaker in Australia. He came to my studio and he said, Serena, why are you not working with men? I just because I just was thought, you know, I'd like to niche into the women only and it'd be great. It goes, Well, men need your help going, Okay, give it a crack. Anyway, haven't looked back from that either. You know, and then i Men need me as much as women need me and I love it. So I helped dress them, for the photoshoot with their strategy with everything to understand how they're coming across the images, and that all storytelling, so making sure images are storytelling to the brand values and who they are as a person. So that's been really cool. And then and the part of this journey has been, you know, writing books and speaking and sharing my thought leadership about this, bout my Bout what I see by him feel behind the lens for men and women who want to make a difference, who want to attract a wider audience and you know, make it you know, get paid what they're worth, you know, so it's been really cool. I really love your brand story and how you arrive there where you are right now. And it's so beautiful. You said you followed you basically you followed your instinct, you have this voice that was so clear. So I really love that and then to have the strength and the courage to follow the voice even though you don't know how it is going to turn out. Yeah, totally. It is the other part of this part too. Following my thing like that, too. Recently, like three years ago, I was posting some some paintings up on I don't know, on on Instagram, and, you know, new art gallery near galleries at all. We'd love you to come over and exhibit in New York, and I'm like, Oh, okay. I said yes. I say yes to everything. Right. Yeah. That's good. That's good. That's right. Yeah, and it's experience of life, right? We're only here once and we're gonna keep saying no to things and get scattered things. I'm just not here to live life to the fullest. Right. So I said, Yes, I went there. And, and I, you know, and I sold some work and got some art collectors and things. But what it showed me that it was art and as I was just went into something a little bit different recently, and it's been really amazing journey. And I'm really pushing myself. Like I pushed myself to sort of like figure out with photography. Oh, I said, I thought lit listening to myself and created a brand. So it's very interesting. That's what I'm saying. You know, working with two interesting mediums. Okay, so you are capturing brains with your camera? Yeah. Are these brains are this mainly women, as you have mentioned? And what is basically their benefit you photographing them? So what the heck out of you? Exactly? Yeah, so as a leader of what I do, and like literally also i pioneer as well. I don't just pick up a camera and take photographs and do snap happy shots, right? I think about the person I think about what their businesses and how they evolve and their story. And try and I want to do story. I want to tell the story of people through their images. So it's much like the art as well but and also with video capturing their story through video is really important, but you know, paring it back. It's all based on the story and the strategy of that would take people through through, and I'm glad for this, I'm actually really glad I've had the corporate and the marketing background, I have to help, you know, with, with the strength of my positioning and my brand positioning of what I do. The type of people I work with is a lot of women who are actually jumping the corporate ship, corporate, I work with a lot of men. And there's a lot of coaches I work with, I love creating coaches brands, because they're very heartfelt and very, there's this heartfelt, right, and then just just nice people who know how to get the nurturers. Right. So, I've just happened to just fall into understanding and working with those type of people, which I love, because they actually see the value of what I do. And then and just a really lovely synergy. You know, I love that. So they, you know, business coaches, and people like that. So, the, what I and how I help them is a create that a brand portfolio for them that really storytellers that story. And it's been, it's challenging, to the point where you might I'm working with an introvert or an extrovert, right? You know, I had a, you know, I had an extrovert in my studio once, and she wouldn't stop moving, she wouldn't stop dancing, she was like, I think it was just nervous energy as well. But she was like, 10 going and dangling. And I was holding the camera. And I was like, really, like, there's all sorts of personalities that, that I work with that you have to be a mini psychiatrist to work to work out with them, where is the hotspot, where is this sweet spot in how to tame the animal and the Beast in my studio or in front of my lens, right. So in front of my lens, I'm having to chase that person's essence. You know, like, you know, like, you know, doing it or curating it, or telling them how to move the set, pose, whatever that is, telling them and showing them what I want through the eyes. Because I know, I know how to future proof them, people in business, and looking at them. Like, it's like looking at a crystal ball, I already know how to photograph them, it's just a matter of being in front of my lens, and actually getting that strategy with this resume, working through them with their strategy of how to turn up for what I want for them, how I will, you know, want I want for the wardrobe through zoom, like I do all that all these all these meetings, to then have that energy that comes in front of my lens to a point of amazingness, you know, to, like, you know, like people can't wait to be in front of me because they are so like I sorted it with her, you know, I get where I'm coming from, I get what we're going to do together. And it's like, an itinerary, you know, like a travel itinerary. Yeah. So you really step into your client's shoes, you really immerse with them, you connect with them on an emotional on a visceral level. So you really get to know them, you understand who they are. And from there, you work with them. And one of your quotes that grabbed my attention on your website is a great photograph, we'll share your story, but a personal brand or connect to your audience. Could you elaborate a little bit on that? Because now we come to the heart of it. What does a personal brand mean to you in that context? Well, the definitely the story, the story, the portfolio, the imagery of you really cements you as who you are and how you're showing up right? Now you're showing up as a million dollar brand. Are you showing up as a 50 cent brand? Are you going to take a $50 $20 photo? Are you going to take a you know, a photo shoot that really encapsulates all of you and more a position to that there's a big difference thing. And the and the personal branding part of it is, is how seriously you take yourself as a brand as a business person. To me it's you're seriously you invest in yourself if you're going to go down the road of dealing with somebody who's an expert like me, who's going to really really capture the essence of you on video and imagery at the same time. And your people know my value of work and price tag then they know wow, she's taken he's taken this seriously to work with Serena. So that in itself is an elevation about what people think of you as a brand. In essence, if you turn up with the photos and going you know like I like all my headshots, you know and and it's you know, in a digital dodgy and they have it and there's not one hero or a number of Euro shops to you know you dilute your mess Searching online, you're not really knowing or why you're sharing your images online for reasons, then you've got no idea about who you are as a personal brand, you're just showing up and sharing photos. And that is it, there is no heart connection, you just think I just look hot. I just look pretty because my hair is blow dried today, because I got my makeup done. But what happens is that you're you're falling in love with your hair and your makeup. But you've got no idea about how you're actually turning. And there's a big difference with people and women particularly and men. They don't understand the reasons why to choose the right images to share the story to share the some minimal messages about what me I put myself in the ideal shoes of your client. I look at the photo objectively, but what objectively is it sharing with me? Is it closing the deal? Is it saying hey, let's work together? Without saying the obvious there is so much that I do with my clients they don't even know but they only understand it when they've got to understand the choices of the images that we work together to choose. That represents the brand. Not the pretty photos of because they're here is Dr. Dre they got lipstick on? No. Yeah, I think it's reference. Because when people are looking at your imagery, they're judging you. They're judging you within milliseconds, and they're all gonna have different thoughts of you. And on Facebook as well, a love fest. But they don't get it. But they they you actually really see the differences of comments, you can actually see the differences when people have not put up the right photo in the right context. Very interesting. Yeah, so we also say the first impression counts, I think that's the first three to five seconds, that bring you and that is what people remember. Yeah, that's why I write this book, magnetic branding. You know, let's tell us a little bit about magnetic branding, the complete guide, heavy guide for a brand that attracts. So what exactly can we expect from that? Well, a lot, that we're talking about personality archetypes and brand archetypes and I saw my clients, okay, so there's not any, you know, I like to keep it all in house because I know what looks good in front of the client, in front of my lens, I know what will look great sitting on the body for the photoshoot. So I started and but even before that, it's understanding your personality archetype and how you turn up. So are you the magician? Are you the lover, and things like that. So I created know, like, you know, what, you know what to wear, what not to wear type stuff and all around your personality and how it turns out. So it's really exciting. To have that timeless, I've produced a book that's timeless. And also that, you know, like, just really helping with people with their branding. Great, could you give us maybe some pieces of advice, how we can strengthen our personal brand with images? So are there any tips that are more generalised so that the listeners can take that and put it into action right away? Yes, because I do brand audits on people visual brand audits, and I help people with data and they get to understand what's missing from their brand. So for the videos, what's missing with the videos, what's missing with their photography, and everything for Facebook, social media, LinkedIn, websites and everything. And, and I think that number one thing is actually knowing what's missing. And I think that that's going to help people really, really give them a kickstart. So I'm inviting people who are who are and this year and whoever's listening to this, which would be really good is to tap into me, and book an appointment with me and I can help you with that. And I can give you a, you know, a good idea about what's missing in your brand. You know, it's really vital to help give you a guide and an understanding of where to start about your brand. Because we can eat always a second pair of eyes to look at what's missing. Because sometimes we get clouded over about we don't know what we don't know. Yeah, very often we need this external feedback, this respectively the feedback from others, to get the holistic perspective on ourselves so because might not be the same, the same perception that we have on ourselves and others on us. So that can be very enriching and and helpful in building our personal brand, Serena, a following your version that you have and your living your why you do you also have some pieces of advice for women, especially who wants to start your own business. I'm sure you have gone through challenges you have gone through roadblocks, but there were also things that were rather easy for you to overcome. And some things were just flowing. Yeah. Do you have any advice how they can be their best throughout this journey from a solopreneur? Massively because you know what, I started this business. I seriously in the last 10 years, or with the birth of my son, Taj, now he's 13 years old. Now he's 14 This year, right. And I started this when he was a newborn. Again, as in, I was doing photography, corporate and all that. But then I was always doing the dog. But I took a bit of a, you know, a break with him, but not too big a break. But oh my gosh, just six months when I was when he was a newborn, six months out, like from zero to six months, I feel guilty about taking six months off. And as like, the world is moving so fast. Now the world is moving so fast. And I feeling out of breath. And that was like, just six months. That was it. And when he was 10, what, 1313 years ago, right? And I said the world is moving so fast right now. Facebook hadn't even been around I think them but they just came on a couple of like maybe about I don't know, maybe when he was about a year or something? Yeah, I think so I think towards the end, I'll never forget it. I was like how, how are people in businesses trying to keep up and I'm looking at my look at my and evaluate myself on reflection from now to then. And I the biggest nugget I can give anyone is, is sit back and write down what you do want to achieve for yourself holistically, and holistically, not in the short term, but maybe is a big picture how you know, and and what is the balance? What is the balance you want? Right for me, I want to have the balance of videography, speaking photography, right? I want that and the art. Now that's asking a lot, but guess what I'm achieving it. Why is because I'm putting myself out there on get corporate to book prefer speaking on branding, I do the art that's got its own home and, and, and that story. And the photography and video is something that I'm working on establishing on with my partnerships. So it's really important to look at how you want to do business, how effectively you want to do it. And really at the end of the day, it's how what you want out of life and the balance, because your balance is not going to be the same as your you know, your your competition. Your balance is your life, your soul, your movement through this world, your life. Like say, for example, like some of my work has been copied, right? So what do I do? I don't know, I you know, you can only speak up and say what you can say but but the things come into your life for a reason. And things come out of your life for a reason. Things come in and out, in and out. We are always evolving. We've heard this before, right? We're always evolving. Now if we're not evolving, or we're not like that rock or that pebble going down the river rolling around rolling around getting rounder and rounder and rounder. pert being perfected all the time in life, then, then we're going to be that rocket gets shoved into the into the what do you call that thing into crevice and you get stuck. So you don't want that you don't want to be the rock that gets stuck. You want to get rolling, rolling and rolling. And it's all about your own rolling your own your own movement. You know, yeah. You said something really important. And I think that's an obstacle for a lot of people. You mentioned something so beautiful. You said you reflected from now to then. So it's your own evolvement it's your own rolling and you're not comparing yourself to all the others. Yeah, that's you will never be satisfied or happy because there will always be someone who is better and someone. You are better compared with. Right. So I like that, that we really need to see how much we have evolved from let's say last year's time or 10 years to now. And that's an accomplishment. Yeah. Oh I love it. I love looking at what I did last year. And what I am doing so far this year, and then I'm looking at what I'm about to do this year, right now, this is really cool, because I'm taking the pace back. I'm taking the pace back a little bit, but I'm doing it with intention, instead of being. Exactly, yeah, well, you know, on my bicycle. Yeah. Yeah. In order to add up, you always need to be as women or men, we don't probably always need to be on the treadmill. We don't need to be like, Oh, are you know, like, aren't you know, chasing chasing? We need to take a step back? I don't know. And I think this is probably the first time in a little bit that I've probably done that. Yeah. There was something I was I was listening to a podcast today to another one. And it was all about the feminine side and the masculine side. And the masculine side is more about doing and pushing. We should much more go back also into the feminine sign it's about creating and being are taking a step back and also just be for a moment and say about this, and intentionally creating. So how do we want to involve going forward? What do we want to accomplish? Yeah, in the next couple of months. Right? And what's fascinating when people come to me for a second and a third photo shoot, right? Yeah. See the difference? I say they're in the masculine, and then I end up in the feminine. Oh, amazing. Seeing that transition of them in their photos. And it's interesting, it's so beautiful than how you catch that with video and with photography. Because you feel you bring to the to shine to the outside world, right? Through your photographs, right. Oh, and so we are almost at the end of our show. Serena. I would like to do a quick word wrap. Are you ready to give me short answers? All right. visual presence. What do you associate with that? What comes top of mind? When you hear visual presence? Lady die. Wow. Empowerment. Inner Peace. Inner Peace. Yeah, we need that inner peace, right. positioning, yoga moves. enterpreneur. Up and down, like a Yo yo, are ya? Oh, yes. Absolutely. And brands. purpose in your year? Your your, your purpose? Okay, hopefully, right. It has to have a purpose a brand. Now. Even more. So. issue is it's part it's part of can have no, I don't think you can go out there and build a brand without a purpose. Because there's no, you're wasting time. Yeah, I mean, some have the purpose of just making profits. But that's kind of bottom line, you know, but nowadays, there needs to be a deeper meaning that comes with nowadays, I think that I've started to realise being on the creative side and doing art like this is crazy, my my Serena gallery and all that and all that. So is that is that I realised that when you're doing, we are all creative, we have to be all creative to start something. Even if you're in corporate, you have to be creative on how you going to do stuff. No, you have to be creative on how you're going to achieve something or do something. So it's so interesting. The world, you have to have creative mind and thinking for anything and everything. So I just go oh my God, when I started well, that's just a quick one. When I started when I was being interviewed on podcasts with photography, and all the policies. I'm like, no, no, no, no, I'm not. I'm not an artist. Don't call me an artist. I just I know how to hold a camera. I know what to do. I know what to look at. I know how to capture it. That's it. I'm not an artist. I just know how to hold a camera. And I know when to click. It's intuition. That's it. But I'm not an artist. They call me there. And that was on all these interviews. But like 10 years, I'm like Nah, I'm not an artist. Pick up the vibration No way. Yeah, never say never and never say no. You never know. Oh yeah. So Serena where can listeners find you? How can they get in touch with you if they want to? Yeah Instagrams arena underscores that H for Harry ri na underscore photography underscore video. Okay. The other one was arena artist if you aren't artists. All right, Serena, thank you so much for being on Bradstock today. It really was a pleasure having you here to learn about your brand story. And thank you for revealing the hidden gems on how to stand out online and shine in your best version. Thank you, Serena. Thank you, thank youhttps: