April 11, 2021

Bridging photography and life coaching.


When you are a portrait photographer who is also a life coach, sooner or later a question comes up: how can my photography clients benefit from my coaching experience and vice versa? What do these fields of expertise have in common? Is there a possibility to come up with a hybrid offering?

Before we go into the depth of this article, I’d like to note that everything that I am writing about here is solely based on my experience, observations, and practice. My photography and coaching styles are unique to me and therefore some of the findings I am about to share might not seem obvious to everyone.

Several years ago I remember falling in love with the quote of Henri Cartier-Bresson. Here he divides photographers in two distinct categories: the ones who discover and the ones who “fabricate” the shot.

Untitled, Dasha Dare, 2019

Portrait Photography

In my photography practice I happen to fall into the first category, with one correction. Cartier-Bresson, the author of the decisive moment concept, was mainly famous for the street photography. I, however, am a portrait photographer, and discover the decisive moments while being in conversation with my subject. Hence my background in coaching is especially beneficial to my clients.

With that in mind, I’ve come up with a list of answers to the question “What are the benefits of hiring a photographer who is also a life coach?” :

  1. The atmosphere that we create together  during a photoshoot is 80% of the successful session. A coach follows the code of ethics, regards the client as an expert in his/her life, creates a safe space free judgment and stress, holds trust and confidentiality are among the most important values. 
  2. A coach is an active listener, always present with the clients, maintaining a laser sharp attention and focus. He or she asks deep questions aiming to explore your potential and empower you. There will not be any awkward conversations or questions that are invasive or inappropriate.
  3. A coach listens to the words that are NOT spoken. We look for shifts in energy and in body language. Paying attention to this helps in photography to catch the moments of your authenticity.
  4. A coach aims to bring the client’s full potential to the surface so that the client can experience it.

Now, let’s take a look from a different perspective.

Life Coaching

My coaching work has to do with helping people re-establish the relationship between their busy mind and intuition. As a result, the speed of decision making increases and the overall level of life experience goes up. 

So what can me being a photographer add to your coaching session experience?

  1. Photography is a highly intuitive act, as I rely on my intuition and inner guidance when capturing the portraits.
  2. Part of my job as a photographer is to know how to make you feel more comfortable in the new setting. 
  3. In my coaching sessions we oftentimes talk about inner creativity and establishing creative practices to support development of intuition. As a full time creative person, I can lean into my experience to help a client navigate their own creative world. 
  4. During somatic practices, a life coach, who is also a photographer, has a way of seeing when a person is disconnected from their body. Photographs of you can become an asset for us to study your mind/body relationship.
  5. Photographer is driven by seeing and capturing the beauty in you, your potential and super powers. 

The best of both worlds: Photography and Life Coaching

Therefore, a Portrait Photographer who is also a Life Coach intends to: 

  1. Create safe confidential space where you are free to be yourself.
  2. Use active listening and facilitate an involved, empowering conversation.
  3. Read in between the lines and observe body language. 
  4. Rely on intuition. 
  5. Cultivate the state of presence. 
  6. Provide the second set of eyes to see you and your life from the outside perspective.
  7. See your potential and let you experience it in the sessions.

To put in simple terms, the goal of a coaching session is to find a resolution to a particular life matter you have and see what’s possible for you. In my practice we explore your potential and align your inner navigation system with your critical mind.

At the same time the goal of my photography work is to take a picture of you in the state of authenticity and alignment. It is a portrait of the person who can create the dream life for him or herself. Therefore, a photograph can serve as a reminder of how the state of higher power and potential feel in your body.

The desire to be SEEN

There is one very important aspect that links portrait photography and life coaching that I haven’t mentioned before. People come to both sessions to be seen. In my practice, the combination of both areas of expertise gives me a number of instruments to shine the light on my client’s true potential and super powers.

If you are a person looking to progress in your self-discovery journey, having a specialist bridging portrait photography and life coaching, equipped with as many tools as possible might be very helpful and effective in achieving your goals.