My clients make headlines. 

As a professional branding photographer, I work with CEOs, high profile realtors, public figures and amazing entrepreneurs all over Central Virginia. So it’s not uncommon for me to see my clients’ names and images in news articles. But it’s always a thrill to see my clients get the recognition they deserve. Which is why I was so excited to see my client, Christy Coleman, CEO of the American Civil War Museum in Richmond, Virginia, featured in a new Smithsonian article.

The article talks about The American Civil War Museum, a new institution formed out of a merger between the American Civil War Center and the Museum of the Confederacy. The story of how Christy helped to bring forth this new institution is the stuff of a movie! So I won’t spoil the plot twists—read the article).

But I do want to share a few things about claiming your personal brand, which Christy inspired me to write this post.

Christy has been a public figure for many years. She is a veteran and pioneer in the field of historical interpretation, was the first director of African American Interpretations and Presentations at Colonial Williamsburg, and has even won an Emmy!Christy knows about living her authentic self: why she matters, how she contributes and makes a difference.



And Christy also knows the power of claiming her personal brand.


As you might imagine, Christy is photographed—a lot. But when she came to my studio for her personal branding session, she told me that she was tired of not liking the photos that media photographers took of her for articles. In other words, Christy wanted to claim her personal brand and provide her own branded images to news media and other media outlets so that she had more control over how her likeness and brand was featured.


Now, you might be thinking, “But Kim, I’m not a rock star like Christy Coleman. Why do I need to claim my personal brand?”

 I consult with business owners and leaders about leveraging their professional brand to attract more clients and opportunities. I like to make sure my clients have covered all their bases, including claiming their names and businesses on social media channels and sites like Google My Business. Even if they don’t plan to post on all the social media sites, I want my clients to claim their names and brands.

It’s the same principle with your professional branded headshots and portraits. Claim your brand!

Even if you only have the opportunity once or twice a year to share your portrait with a local civic organization for a speaking event, these are opportunities to claim your personal brand and take ownership of how you present yourself to your audiences.

Christy Coleman knows the power of claiming her personal brand. That’s why when she was interviewed by Smithsonian for the Civil War Museum article, she gave them a photo to use that we did during her personal branding session. When you read the article, you’ll see one of the images that I had the privilege to take during our executive branding photography session together.


Claiming your personal brand means standing for what makes you amazing. (And you ARE amazing, by the way!)


Your personal brand also means your hairstyle, the clothes you wear and your unique and authentic smile. That’s why I spend so much time with my clients before our photo shoots getting to know them, their tastes, their “Branded Words,” and what they want to achieve with their photoshoot.

I want to offer you two things to do next.


First: write down your three to five “Branded Words”: these are the words that represent who you are, the impact you seek to make, and how you want to be known. This is an exercise I do with all my clients because it’s empowering. Your “Branded Words” help to remind you to keep claiming and owning your personal brand.


Second: I want you to visit the new Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar in downtown Richmond! It is a powerful, life-changing experience. (You can learn more by clicking this link!)

It’s Your Time,


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