Interview with Marketing Photographer Olivia Bossert
Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week, we chat with Olivia Bossert, a UK-based photographer who works with brands (like Barbour and Joules!) to help grow their audiences, sell their products and inspire their followers. In addition, Olivia offers coaching services to fellow photographers and hosts a podcast with tips for other creatives.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career.
I’m a 26-year-old Swiss and British female fashion photographer, based in the UK. I first picked up a camera when I was 15 and accidentally stumbled on the website Flickr.com whilst working on a school art project. I have no idea why, but photography had never really occurred to me as an art medium. I’d always been creative, and loved fashion, but struggled to find a place for myself in those industries. That all changed when I found photography.
2. What prompted you to start your own business?
The need to create, mostly. I’m wired to make stuff, all the time. When I left school, I knew I wanted to study fashion photography, so that’s what I did! After finishing, I ended up focusing on the magazine I’d co-founded, “Atlas Magazine” before eventually coming straight back to where I’d started: with photography. I worked for a few companies here and there and interned as well, but the moment I was able to work for myself, I took it. I absolutely adore being my own boss, choosing the work that I take on, and running my own schedule. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
3. Your blog and podcast are huge resources for other photographers and for businesses. How do you decide what information to share so you aren’t giving away too much?
Thank you so much! That means a lot. Honestly, I don’t really hold anything back. I believe that there is more than enough work to go around for everyone. In sharing what I know, I help others, which in turn raises up the industry as a whole, and ultimately creates more work in the long run. The more you give, the more you get back. I also just really, really love sharing. Connecting with other creatives and talking about work, creativity, and life is so inspiring to me, that I wouldn’t have it any other way!
4. Earlier this summer you wrote a blog post about your decision to stop photographing weddings. Was it hard to walk away from that side of the business?
Honestly, it wasn’t. I knew very quickly that wedding photography wasn’t the right choice for me, so I walked away. Sure, I had a moment of doubt here and there, but whenever that happened, I went back to myself and got super clear about where I was going and what my goal was: to make my career as a fashion photography succeed. Going back to that goal made walking away from weddings very easy.
5. What is Olivia Bossert Photography’s most successful form of marketing?
It varies if I’m honest! Sometimes its Instagram, sometimes people find me through a Google search and read a blog post. Sometimes it’s through Pinterest. Sometimes it’s word of mouth. I think that all the marketing I do works together quite well. There’s no one thing which is better than the others.
6. With iPhones, editing apps, and the popularity of Instagram everyone seems to think they are a photographer. Does that affect your business at all?
No, it doesn’t. I’m highly skilled. I know how to manually take a great image. I can manipulate light, I’ve spent years honing my craft, working on composition, creating my own editing style. I love that everyone has such immediate access to photography these days! It’s wonderful that everyone gets to be so creative. But just having access to a smartphone doesn’t suddenly make you a photographer. My clients book me for my vision, my style, and for me as a business owner and person.
7. For those trying to build their personal brands, it can be hard to think of photos to take, especially when we aren’t traveling or doing anything super exciting. Any content suggestions or tips?
I’m going to make a shameless plug here, because the ebook I just released, “How To Take Beautiful Instagram Photos” has a whole chapter dedicated to popular Instagram themes and lots of ideas of photos to take! I’ve created a discount code, just for BossLady readers: BOSSLADY001.
But to get you started, I suggest trying this exercise: Pick a theme. Perhaps it’s the color blue. Grab your camera or smartphone, and head out for a walk for an hour. Along the way, keep an eye out for the color blue. What do you see? Do you notice anything new? Take photos along the way of anything and everything which inspires you. You might come away with nothing at all, but you might also randomly take an image which you otherwise never would have! It can open your eyes to something totally new.
8. If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before you started your business, what would that be?
To trust myself. To go with the flow. To not worry about what other people might think, and do what works best for me, not what I think other people want me to do.
9. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
Nature, without a doubt. Going somewhere new. Getting out of my comfort zone. But also, fashion! I love clothes so much. They inspire me massively.
In terms of fuel for my creativity: I need space. Time to myself. Time to reflect. Calm. Quiet. Time away from work can be hard, but always fills my creative fuel tank right up! Surrounding myself with other creative people who inspire me, that’s also incredibly inspiring.
10. Who is a #BossLady you admire and why?
Oh gosh, so many. My best friend, Anna Clark, she’s an incredible creative and human being. Estée Lalonde for being such a powerful woman. I’m loving Alex Beadon right now. Her podcast is incredible. And my mum and grandmother, always.
Just for fun…
Favorite time of day to photograph: It’s so cliché but it has to be golden hour.
One item I can’t live without: not an item, but my dog.
Photographer idol: Paolo Roversi
Cocktail of choice: I don’t drink!
This Disney princess hair I most covet: Rapunzel, always.
If I could be anywhere in the world right now, I’d be in: right where I am, now.