Natasha Jay photographs women in business who want to show the world who they are and what they stand for. She shares her career story, why she chose business branding as her chosen field in photography, and what you can do if you want to be a professional photographer.
Tell us a bit about your business.
I run a personal branding and commercial photography business that specialises in helping female-run small businesses create visual content for them to market their businesses and products.
What were your reasons for choosing to work with women in business in particular?
As a female business owner, I have found being a part of a community has really helped me move my business forward and I wanted to get involved in helping other women by giving back to this community by using my skills as a photographer as well as the opportunity to share what I have learnt over the years as a woman in business.
What is an average day like for you?
There is no such thing as an average day, that’s what I love about photography. My weeks are so varied I never get bored.
When I’m on a photoshoot, I’m either editing away or working on shoot plans, but also running my business. I do a lot of the behind the scenes such as marketing, admin and customer service. I get to be out and about meeting so many inspiring women. It’s definitely all go!
Tell us a bit about your path to getting where you are now.
I ran a wedding photography business with my husband for 10 years before moving into personal branding. I saw a trend of women starting to realise they could turn their ideas and talents into viable small businesses.
Through these conversations, I found that I was also just as passionate about the business side of what I was doing as I was the photography and then something clicked inside that this was where I wanted to take my business.
Did you go to college or university? What did you study?
I did study photography up to HND level, and I LOVED it, it gave me my basic in how to use my camera and how to think outside the box. But the business side of things I learnt on the job and through the network of other photographers and small business owners in my community.
Did you always want to be a photographer?
I absolutely always dreamed of being a photographer. I took my disposable camera everywhere with me when I was little, and I stole my uncles old 35mm SLR the moment he even hinted that he wanted a new one. But I didn’t feel it was a viable career until later on in life when I was in my late 20s and I decided to go back to college and retrain.
I LOVE the power of photography, the connection you can feel to people that you haven’t even met, the moment in history frozen in an image forever. I think photography is such a powerful tool for storytelling and making you feel connected to the people or scenes.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to go into your profession?
Take risks, and play around, make mistakes, don’t give up! I took my camera everywhere and shot everything whilst I was learning.
Also, connect with other photographers, they have the same passion and eventually the same challenges as you do. Some of my biggest cheerleaders are the photographers in my community.
What obstacles have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?
Imposter syndrome. I think we are all wired to doubt ourselves, particularly when entering what is a seemingly alternative career choice. There’s a voice in the back of your mind always telling you others are better, this isn’t a real job. But learning to overcome that was the most powerful step for me, acknowledging that I deserve to be a part of this space and what I do is valuable to others. It took time getting there but now I have confidence that this is where I belong.
What is your career highlight?
I recently had to start a waitlist for branding photography, which I never thought would be possible, it’s such a little thing but knowing that I have created a service that people value and are willing to wait for make me feel incredibly proud, especially as its a business I really believe in.
If you could go back and tell your teenage self one thing, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid or ashamed of making mistakes, it’s part of the learning process. Every mistake is a learning opportunity and will make you a strong person and businesswoman in the long run.