Here at Unicorn Marketing Co., we have the privilege of working with some incredible creatives, entrepreneurs, and overall wonderful people! We want to highlight creatives and their amazing businesses. Meet Maxine of Maxine Bulloch Photography!
Where it All Began
Maxine’s mission: To support small heart-centered businesses that are doing great things and share themselves confidently through joyful, honest, and values-aligned images packed full of personality.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your company!
Hi! I’m Maxine, and I’m a photographer. Since moving from the UK, I have lived in Vancouver for 8 years, and I’ve been running my photography business for 5 years.
I work with small heart-centered businesses to create fresh and aligned images that bring their brand to life. I love to support small businesses and help them feel confident and excited to share themselves and the wonderful work they’re doing.
How did you first get started in the photography and storytelling industry?
During my studies at a university in the UK, I got involved in taking photos at a local events magazine. This meant I got to go to all different types of events around town.
I’d photograph everything from Brazilian street carnivals to music festivals, tattoo conventions, a teddy bear making competition, and a personal highlight was the beard and moustache competition!
Getting to drop in on conversations to take photos was a real high! My camera gave me a feeling of permission to be a guest in different scenarios and helped boost my comfort of talking to strangers.
How was the process of building your own company?
The process is an ongoing one! I understand the cliché ‘rollercoaster’ of entrepreneurship as I’ve felt on top of the world and then thumped back down to earth within the space of a day. It’s a constant reminder that good things take time, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s important to remember why I started my business in the first place and find at least one win from the day!
One thing that has helped me feel balanced is being part of small business conversations, masterminds, and communities. Learning about other people’s journeys, ways of working, and having a place to ask for advice and recommendations has been extremely valuable. The interactions and tools that I’ve learned about here have helped me finetune how I work on my business over time.
What are the different types of photography that you do for companies?
I work with small businesses in 3 ways:
Firstly, Branding Photography. This is photography that showcases a brand’s identity. The images can be used across the whole brand from website to socials, to marketing campaigns, and more! This type of imagery really helps the brand’s audience and potential clients to feel connected to the heart and soul of the business and boost the know-like-trust factor.
I offer branding photography either as one-off sessions or as a subscription, which is four shoots a year. This option is great for businesses that are expanding their services, growing their team and community, or have seasonal offers. Regular shoots are a great way to keep a fresh and vibrant brand!
I also offer Business Portraits. This is for people who want to update their online profiles with imagery that is current, aligned, and showcases their personality.
Finally, Event Photography. My first love! I’ll be your fly on the wall and you’ll find me at events holding glassware in front of my lens to create reflections in the frame 🙂
How do you approach each new client? What work goes into each shoot?
All new clients who come aboard for a Business Portrait or Branding Photography session will get a Creative Consultation or a Strategy call. These calls are really important for us to connect and get related, and also to help us effectively design the shoot. We’ll go through all the areas of the business and their marketing to hone in on what we’ll focus on during the shoot so that we get images that really reflect their brand.
What are some of your favourite services that you offer?
I love all the services for different reasons! If I had to pick a FAVOURITE, I would say subscription photography. As the service and the four shoots take place over the course of a year, we really get to explore and photograph all corners of the brand and create an image library that is very comprehensive. The ongoing nature of subscription photography allows us to build a great working relationship and get the most out of each shoot.
What is storytelling in photography?
Storytelling is essentially creating a narrative using imagery. If you think of a brand as a book with 20 chapters, storytelling is taking 20 parts of the business and translating them into imagery that people can connect with and through them understand and feel a connection to the core of the brand.
How do professional photographs elevate a business’s brand?
Ah so much!
Branding photography is imagery that captures the essence, values, and identity of a brand, and can be used for marketing + communication purposes.
Visuals that can give someone a good idea of what your business does, as well as how, and the people behind the brand. They showcase their personality and stories and also capture attention.
We humans love a feeling of connection and relatability. Images are an easy way to help people decide if they feel something about the brand. It will also determine whether they will make space in their social media feed, their inbox, or invest time, energy, or money in the brand.
From your point of view, what makes a good photo?
I think the essence of a ‘good’ photo is whether it makes you feel something. Whether that feeling is happy, inspired, curious, connected, or even baffled or angry!
Composition, balance, and lighting also play important parts in whether a photo is good. But like anything creative, ‘good’ is subjective!
How did you develop your photography style?
Two ways: Firstly, practice practice practice, and trial and error!
Secondly, understand what feels right for me. Initially, I used to think I should be taking photos in a particular way or style like other photographers I’d follow. I tried to incorporate more fashion-y poses into some of my shoots. I also played with a darker and moodier editing style, but that look and vibe just wasn’t me. Eventually, I realized there was not one ‘better’ way to take photos, but lots of great ways to get results. There is space for all different styles! Whilst I do love looking at fashion-y type shots, I love creating and taking lighter, brighter, and cleaner photos – that definitely feels more authentic to who I am.
What types of shots are important for businesses to have for their websites and social media?
Having a good range of images in your library is helpful to make sure you have relevant visuals ready to go for different types of brand messaging.
Here’s a list of 9 photo ideas for service-based small businesses.
1. Behind the scenes: showcase your team at work
2. Images of your team delivering your services in the field or to clients
3. Detail images of tools or equipment you use to provide your services
4. Images that showcase your unique process or approach to your services
5. An image that showcases something uniquely you
6. Images that showcase your different values at play
7. Photos of your team members collaborating or discussing projects
8. Photos of your work environment, including your office or workshop
9. Event photos showcasing your business in action at trade shows or networking events
I have a blog post that explores this here!
Why is it important to have good headshots/business portraits when building your website?
You and your team are the heartbeat of your brand, and I don’t know about you, but when I’m researching a brand to work with or buy from, I love to learn a bit about the people who make up the business!
Cultivating a relationship between you and your audience is the first step in creating your brand’s ‘know like trust’ factor. Having up-to-date and value-aligned business portraits helps you position yourself, start to create that relatability, and stand out in your area of expertise.
How do you make people feel comfortable when you do business portrait photography?
Good question! It can be a strange and awkward experience being in front of a camera!
Before a business portrait session, we’ll always connect beforehand on Zoom for a creative consultation. As well as helping us to plan the shoot, it helps us start to get to know each other, and not be complete strangers come shoot day.
On shoot day, the goal is to get people to feel comfortable quickly! We don’t dive immediately into shooting, we’ll spend a bit of time connecting at the beginning. We’ll chat a lot during the shoot and mostly talk about things that are not business-related, like pets, kids, family, and vacations. That always helps nerves and brings out natural expressions.
I have a couple of go-to questions that I love to ask during portrait sessions to help get people thinking and moving and showcase their personalities. My favourite question to ask is about morning routines. As well as bringing out lots of different expressions the question also helps bring some movement to photos, especially if people are hand talkers!
When you look at websites, what are the main places where businesses need to invest in photography?
The top place is the ‘Team page’ or the ‘About me’. This is the heart and soul of a business, so having good quality and aligned photography is key.
The home page is also important as it’s often the first place people will experience the brand. There are so many missed opportunities on websites that rely on stock imagery. There’s definitely space for stock, but representing your team, and what your business does with images that are impersonal and generic is a huge disservice to a business. It takes away any unique aspects of a brand, and when you see the same stock images being used across multiple websites, the trust diminishes. It takes a lot to run a small business, and having images that do justice to this helps you to stand out in the sea of similar businesses.
How do your photographs help a business more than just visually?
As I MIGHT have mentioned a few times above, brand imagery is your magic ingredient for know-like-trust-buy.
What defines a successful shoot for you?
Seeing the client at ease. Knowing we have covered all the angles we planned for and more. Having had a few ‘LOOK AT THIS SHOT WE JUST GOT!’ moments, and of course, everyone having had a good time!
What do you love most about your job?
I love that it’s creative and strategic. Working with aligned people and brands, and the relationships that get built. It’s also a beautiful thing to observe people’s comfort and confidence rise in front of the camera.
Do you have anything new that you would like to share?!
I sure do! Unicorn Marketing and I are launching a brand new shiny service together! Having had feedback about how difficult people find it to present themselves in a clear, relevant, and accessible way, we’ve created the ‘Bio Boost Kit’.
This is for small businesses, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and really anyone who has a website and struggles with their ‘About Me’ page. It’s one of the top pages that people and potential clients click on to learn more about a brand, so it’s an important one.
We’re offering the full ‘About Me’ page treatment, meaning you get copywriting bursting with personality and portraits to match.
We’re here to polish up your online presence and help convert potential clients into real-life clients.
We can’t wait to work with you!
How can people connect with you, Maxine?
Thanks for reading!
Thank you Maxine for taking the time to share about yourself and your company, and thank you to all our readers!
Check out our Magic Hour Podcast where our Founder asks imaginative, light-hearted questions to her incredibly talented guests from here, there, and everywhere! Listen to our Magic Hour episode featuring Maxine which is out now!