The Design Business Show 139: Brand Photography + Coaching with Shannon Confair

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | May 10, 2021
Check out episode 139 of The Design Business Show with Shannon Confair to learn all about brand photography!

Shannon Claire wants to live in a world where women don’t feel shame for wanting more! As a multi-passionate entrepreneur, she is a sought-after international brand photographer for million dollar brands, mentor, and coach for women entrepreneurs who are in transition to their next level of success.

She is a Mom to 4, Fiance to 1, beach lover, conversation starter, and eternal optimist.

Learn more about Shannon, and check out her latest projects at

Here’s what we covered on the episode:

Shannon’s Background in Photography (2:00)

  • How Shannon and I met through a mutual friend in 2016 and why she’s on the podcast to discuss branding photography and talk about how she’s been able to pivot her business through the pandemic
  • Shannon has been an entrepreneur for over 15 years and has always loved photography — in high school she wanted to travel the world taking photos for National Geographic
  • When Shannon was first starting out she used film and was inspired by coffee table baby books, which made her want to get into taking maternity and newborn photoshoots
  • The story of how Shannon started her successful photography business in her local town, taking any shoot that came her way, and then struggled to get clients and shoot the weddings she wanted once she moved to where she lives currently
  • When Shannon was struggling, she learned all about building a personal brand
  • Before, Shannon was relying on people seeing her photos and wanting to book her off those  — she realized she needed to differentiate herself because there are so many photographers
  • Shannon shares that she learned about niching down and started focusing on weddings, she then went even further down into what types for brides she wanted to work with, what types for weddings and where she wanted to shoot, etc
  • Right when Shannon was getting to the height of her wedding photography career, she decided she didn’t want to do weddings anymore, which resulted in her pivoting her business once again

Transitioning Into Brand Photography + Coaching (6:35)

  • Shannon explains that she went through a phase where she thought she didn’t want to do photography anymore but realized that wasn’t the case, she just wanted to be more fulfilled by it and wanted to help other women
  • How Shannon decided to take her love of helping women grow their businesses and her love of photography and put them together into brand photography
  • In 2015 Shannon started doing brand photography, which grew very quickly for her and by 2017 she was getting paid to travel and do photoshoots
  • Shannon shares that her photography business has been built from word of mouth and referrals
  • Why Shannon would strategically shoot live events for clients she was generally already working for because it was a great way to be seen, to meet people and book clients off the live event she was shooting
  • Shannon’s advice to anyone listening is to show up whenever you can as a leader for events because it can be a good way to book clients
  • When you want to upgrade your brand photography, Shannon says you have to consider where you are in your business, see how much you can invest and highly recommends hiring a brand photographer if you are serious about building a brand
  • Shannon shares that brand photography is an entirely different approach to photography from when she used to shoot portraits and weddings and explains the thought and strategy that goes into brand photography
  • If you are not at a point in your business where you can afford to pay a brand photographer for a brand shoot, Shannon suggests starting with where you’re at and getting some kind of lifestyle shots because those are useful too
  • How lifestyle shots show personality and are more warm and inviting than your standard headshot, which is going to draw people in
  • Why it’s very important to choose a photographer who will know how to pose you and make you feel comfortable
  • Shannon tells the story of a current client who had a terrible photoshoot with another photographer and claimed she never wanted to get in front of a camera again, but has been working with shannon to help her overcome that
  • Don’t feel like you have to hire the first photographer you talk to; talk to multiple and get recommendations from friends says Shannnon
  • When Shannon started coaching people on brand strategy, she explains that it came from her own experience because she had to develop her own personal brand, saw that it worked and created her own system she was taking people through called, “Your Unforgettable Brand”
  • How her personal brand coaching worked hand in hand with her brand photography and how she would end up using the brand coaching framework with her photography clients as well
  • The struggles Shannon faced as a coach and a photographer because she didn’t want to confuse people and lose business on the photography side because they were seeing her as a coach
  • What Shannon has learned through all of this is that her personal brand is what has carried through everything and explains how she caterers to her audience who need both her coaching and photography
  • Shannon explains that it comes down to knowing who your audiences are, knowing who you’re selling to and being able to cater each post, each message, and each ad service to those people who need it

Photography Through the Pandemic (19:18)

  • The twists and turns Shannon’s life went through between 2017 up until the pandemic and how she had set some things up in her business towards the end of 2019 that carried her through the pandemic
  • Shannon explains that she sort of started a profit first model, nothing official but she did have a savings account for future paychecks, a savings account for taxes, and has her clients on payment plans, so that way she had money coming in during the beginning of the year
  • A couple months into the pandemic, she started focusing more on coaching and started doing virtual photoshoots, which didn’t replace the income of normal brand photoshoots but helped her stay fresh and relevant through the pandemic
  • How doing a virtual photoshoot had never crossed her mind until a friend suggested she do it after seeing a virtual maternity photoshoot
  • The first few virtual photoshoots came with a learning curve, but now Shannon has a method that works each time she does it
  • Shannon explains that virtual photoshoots feel a lot like in-person photoshoots because she is still directing, posing people, taking the photos on her end, editing them and getting them back to the client within one business day
  • How Shannon will now offer virtual photoshoots as a service indefinitely because with every new iphone that comes out, the quality gets better
  • The virtual photoshoots have grown very organically and Shannon says that she puts availability out for virtual shoots on her platforms if she doesn’t have a lot going on some weeks

Growth in Coaching (24:22)

  • In 2013, Shannon took her first coaching training but explains that it took her years to be able to call herself a coach and add that as part of her identity even though she was more than qualified to be a coach
  • Shannon shares that she’s the type of person who once she gets inspired she has to take action right away and that’s exactly what she did last fall when she decided to do her mastermind
  • How Shannon ran her mastermind for the second time on April 1st of this year with a new group of women and shares she loves learning new techniques and skills for her coaching toolbox
  • Shannon treats her audience like she would treat her email list, which is very conversational, raw and authentic
  • Audience growth for Shannon has happened through paid programs she’s in and making those connections and explains why she tries to do a lot of guest appearances to help grow her audiences as well
  • Why Shannon asks for connections and describes herself as a natural connector, which isn’t always as warmly received online because she’s noticed online marketers and coaches have never run a local business before, so it’s a different type of networking
  • Shannon thinks people are missing the mark by not taking that local business mentality and using it in their online business
  • Connect with Shannon on her website or Instagram 


Links mentioned:

Shannon’s Website

Connect with Shannon on Instagram


Like what you heard?

Click here to subscribe + leave a review on iTunes.

Click here to download my Sales Page Trello Board

Let’s connect on Instagram!