My name is Janine Laag. I could tell you that I am a down-to-earth, friendly Australian living in Sweden. That I have a passion for people and finding that one thing that makes each person special. That I love my kids and my husband and that I think I have the best dog that has ever existed. That all of a sudden I have an obsession with campfires, kayaking and camping – even though I’m totally clueless about how to do any of it (and suspect it might just be the early stages of a midlife crisis).
And that I love taking photos that make people feel something!
But what I really want to tell you is the story about what has lead me to this precise moment.
The pile of books by my bed is basically a timeline of my photography career so far. From learning the ins and outs of my camera, to exposure, to lighting, to posing, to documentary family photography. All with the aim of getting the images from my head and into my camera.
I realised early on that I am allergic to fake and try to avoid posing that doesn’t feel natural and expressions that feel forced.
I wanted to learn how to communicate in a way that helped my clients relax and have an amazing experience, elicit natural expressions that you don’t get from ‘saying cheese’ and have them walk away from sessions with a spring in their step. This is when I discovered and fell in love with the ‘Moment Design’ technique. The whole concept just felt like ME and I think it’s made a huge difference to my work. (Book a session so you can find out more about it.)
Then this strange thing happened.
My photography turned from a hobby to a business and my pile of books took a completely new turn.
When I was growing up and deciding what to do with my life, I avoided anything to do with business. The word left a horrible taste in my mouth. It felt so impersonal and BORING! But then I started to veer away from the traditional business books and discovered some that taught me that business can be personal. You can run a business with passion. It comes down to listening to your heart and doing things your way instead of trying to fit into other people’s moulds.
Everything started to fall into place.
I started meeting other entrepreneurs who were running their businesses with passion. They were so inspiring! But I could also see the frustration. They were putting their heart and soul into their business, working a lot and sacrificing time that could have been spent with family and friends, but they felt that they didn’t have a choice. They had these great products and services, but just weren’t reaching their ideal clients, which meant that they weren’t reaching their goals – personal, professional or financial.
I’ve realised that we’re stronger together and when I understood that my photography could help other people grow their business, it all just made sense.
I discovered personal brand photography and the importance of using images to tell your own personal brand story to attract clients. It all comes down to being authentic and wanting to share your passion to help make other peoples lives better, more beautiful, easier or… (insert your own word).
(Can you tell I’m just a bit excited about this?)
(Thank you to my wonderful friend and colleague, photographer Helena Berzelius – Studio Lea, for the photo of me.)
Janine Laag, Lumeah Photography