Your Visual Story Should Complement Your Written One

The emPowered Author Podcast

Photography holds a unique place in our lives. It not only captures moments and memories but also has the ability to emPower, inspire and communicate without words. And, while authors believe that their book’s hold the power of their message, it’s important to not neglect the visual story that should accompany it.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Chanel Wells-Henderson, my favorite photographer during Season 5 of The emPowered Author Podcast to discuss author branding photos and headshots. Chanel’s passion for capturing a brand story in a photo is evident in her work. Together on this episode, we highlight the profound influence that a single photograph can have in legitimizing our efforts, building confidence and connecting with others. During this episode of the podcast, Chanel and I discussed:

  • Why every author needs a photographer.
  • How a good photographer always has the author in mind, ensuring the story they capture aligns accordingly.
  • The 6 reasons photography matters.
  • What photos authors need and how to use them.

Photography holds immense power in capturing confidence, telling stories and enhancing author and authorpreneur brands. It enables us to communicate beyond words, connect with audiences worldwide and legitimize our endeavors. Finding the right professionals and understanding the visual nature of our thinking are all essential aspects of harnessing the true potential of photography. So, whether you’re an authorpreneur looking to strengthen your business brand or an author seeking to capture the visual side of your story, remember the transformative power that photography can bring to your life and story.

Here are some of my favorite highlights from this episode: 
  • A good photographer doesn’t just capture a photo, they capture confidence. (7:14)
  • If you know your brand, you know what to bring to a photo shoot to ensure your brand is visualized. (9:11)
  • Chanel tells her story on how she fell into photography. (12:42)
  • Many people despise photo taking, however without brand photos, businesses don’t expand. Don’t let your upper limit hold you back. (15:43)
  • Photos are important elements of websites. We highlight the 3 parts of a good website and how photos fit into it. (18:52)
  • Photos matter! We work through the 6 reasons they do. (21:02)
  • There are some core photos every author needs, and we highlight them and how to use them. (35:11)

Author photos are our jam! If you’d like support in bringing your author brand to life, reach out and let’s chat. Learn more about our author photography solutions and let’s see if we can help you.

Resources highlighted in the episode include the following.

Check out the other episodes in this season of The emPowered Author Podcast.

Listen on your favorite podcast platform.

Memorable Quotes from the Episode

5.1 Author Photography
5.1 Author Photography 3
5.1 Author Photography 2

Meet the Podcast Host and Guest

Stephanie Feger

Stephanie Feger

emPower PR Group

Stephanie Feger is passionate about helping authors make their author emPact. As the host of The emPowered Author Podcast, she has merged her love for reading books, writing books and marketing books to help authors be successful by sharing emPactful marketing strategies and tactics through the podcast. As an author herself and a seasoned book marketing expert, her goal is to ensure that authors are strategic and focused when it comes to book marketing. 

Madelyn Copperwaite

Chanel Wells-Henderson


Chanel Wells-Henderson is a branding Rockstar. Seriously! Her ability to capture authors’ brands to help tell their story visually is proof that she works in her zone of genius. With her brand photography business, she captures photos that elevate a brand and helps authors reach their ideal client (and ideal reader)! She knows that authors have a group of super loyal fans who want to support you (and buy your book) and she helps authors speak to them through their photos.

Ease the stress of planning your photo shoot with this handy checklist.

Whether you’re camera-shy or love the limelight, we want you to make the most of your photo session. Be fully prepared with our downloadable planning checklist.

[00:00:00.350] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
I definitely enjoy working with the authors you bring because they're prepared. Those are the best photo shoots when you prepare the right way. And I think we'll talk about that later. But when you prepare the right way for your photo session, it turns out amazing every time.

[00:00:17.980] - Stephanie Feger
Hey, I'm Stephanie Fager, and emPower is my middle name. Okay, well, not really, but it should be. I believe that emPowered people emPower people, and I'm obsessed with emPowering you, the non-fiction author, with emPactful marketing strategies to help you take your important message and share it with those who desperately need it, want it, and will buy it. As the owner and chief strategist of the emPower PR Group and the author of two books myself, I have merged my love for reading books and writing books and marketing books to help non-fiction authors like you with laser focused strategies and tactics to write books that sell, promote books to those who need and want them most, and build meaningful businesses from emPowering messages. Think of this as your one stop shop for marketing insights from an author who has been there, done that and understands exactly where you are. All right, so get your pens ready because I'm ready to empower you on all things photography. This is the emPowered Author Podcast.

[00:01:25.540] - Stephanie Feger
Our world has become an extremely visual one. One that makes us a bit more social per se. Now more than ever, photos are just important. They matter. From selfies to live photos to headshots and lifestyle branding, photography is a way that we tell stories. For you, my author friend out there, I want to make sure you have what you need to tell your visual story in a way that complements your written one. This season of the emPowered Author Podcast focuses the lens on photography insights on everything you need to accompany your author branding efforts. Come on, we have a whole lot to talk about. Let's dive in.

[00:02:12.810] - Stephanie Feger
Chanel, I am so glad to be in your new studio. And you're not taking pictures of me today. What's wrong with that? We got.

[00:02:20.610] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
To get you in here, get some new pictures. I'm excited.

[00:02:23.710] - Stephanie Feger
We do. So Chanel just happens to be one of my favorite people. And she is somebody who has found her zone of genius in this space. I'm reading the book called The Big Leap. Have you read this?

[00:02:34.480] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
I have not read that.

[00:02:35.590] - Stephanie Feger
So you know how much I love books. So you should read it.

[00:02:38.660] - Chanel Wells-Henderson

[00:02:38.930] - Stephanie Feger
It is about figuring out your zone of competence, your zone of incompetence, your zone of excellence, and your zone of genius. And the things that you're in your zone of incompetence, you shouldn't do because you're not good at it. The zone of competence, you could do it, but someone else could do it better. The zone of excellence is where many of us get stuck because we're good at it, but doesn't bring us immense joy. And the zone of genius is like, then you are just soaring, you're happy, there's peace, all that stuff.

[00:03:08.600] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
This stuff makes me happy.

[00:03:10.590] - Stephanie Feger
I know. And you can feel it when you walk into your studio because the energy that you bring to every photo shoot, the energy you bring to when I do it, and just your space. I always get pumped when I'm here. So you're all listening. I bet you can tell I'm talking to my favorite photographer on the planet, Ms. Chanel. Welcome to the emPowered Author Podcast.

[00:03:29.360] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Thank you. Thank you for having me.

[00:03:31.400] - Stephanie Feger
Absolutely. So Chanel and I have worked together for a couple of years.

[00:03:36.550] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Yeah, I think two or three.

[00:03:38.480] - Stephanie Feger
Two or three? Yeah. So I have to share how I found you. I was in preparation for this. I was sitting and trying to reflect back. I know who connected us, but I'm trying to remember why. I think I was working on my website.

[00:03:54.620] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Okay. And it was...

[00:03:56.230] - Stephanie Feger
Yeah, I had decided for a long time, the emPower PR Group was... We worked under, like down below the street. No one knew about us because I had so much business, I didn't want people to know about me. That's embarrassing to say, but a good problem to have.

[00:04:10.370] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
A great problem to have.

[00:04:11.530] - Stephanie Feger
It is. And I didn't want there to be so much demand and then I couldn't fill it. But I thought, this is ridiculous. I need to formalize my business. And I'm like, but I need photos. And I knew as an author how important photos were. I had had some photos taken right when my book came out, and I got three photos. And if you go back and look at my headshot on Color Today Pretty, that book, it doesn't really even look like me because I had my hair done, it was all curly. You would be like, Who is that girl? But I felt like a million bucks. So I knew the power of photography, but I knew I needed some beautiful photography for this website. And I reached out to a couple of people. I don't know if you know the story. I reached out to a couple of people because I'm like, I got to find somebody. I need a good person. It's just like, you need a good dentist, you need a good hair stylist, and you need a great photographer.

[00:04:57.710] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
This is true. I'm nodding my head, yeah.

[00:05:00.810] - Stephanie Feger
These are great people.

[00:05:01.760] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Make sure you have all those people on the list. Don't let them go when.

[00:05:05.140] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
You find them. Well, I feel that way. You know this because I have people who drive in to get photos from you because I tell people, you can go to people in your area, it's fine. But I know Chanel and I know she's going to do exactly what we need. I reached out to a friend of mine who's another entrepreneur, and I noticed her photos were really amazing. I'm like, I'm sure I can't afford your photographer. This is my thought. I'm like, Melissa, I don't know. And she was like, Oh, my gosh, let me introduce you to Chanel. So that is like the beginning of this great friendship and collaboration that we get to do. At least I feel it on my side.

[00:05:40.100] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Yes, I love Melissa. So anytime she sends somebody, I know they're going to be pretty cool. So I was like, Yeah, come on, let's do it.

[00:05:48.090] - Stephanie Feger
That was back in the day. And so we're sitting in your new studio. That was back in the day when your studio, you had to walk three flights up the stairs.

[00:05:54.750] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Oh, my gosh. Such a beautiful space. But getting there was a pain. I think I can't on it, 85 steps. Now we're in the first floor. No steps. No steps.

[00:06:04.070] - Stephanie Feger
Yes. But once you got up to your studio, it was like gold. I want to say it was, and it really was because it was in a church. It was a mixture of both of those things. But you were able to create an environment that was so peaceful for me. And even as someone who's done media interviews, worked in PR, all that stuff, being in front of the camera, does it freak me out? But it does when it's about me.

[00:06:30.170] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
It freaks me out. Does it? I still don't like to get my... I do get my pictures taken very often, but every time I prepare for it, I'm like, just let me take the picture of somebody else. I don't want to do this.

[00:06:43.360] - Stephanie Feger
I think I went down a step notch of stressful when I walked in and realized you take two types of photos and I was only going for one.

[00:06:51.960] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Yes. That's true.

[00:06:53.870] - Stephanie Feger
Chanel is a truly gifted photographer. I knew this when I said, because we were taking some photos during COVID and I had gained a few pounds and I'm like, This outfit doesn't fit the way I want it to. She's like, "Girl, lean forward, do this, do that." Then I looked over and I realized you also do boudoir. So I thought, this lady knows how to get your best angle.

[00:07:14.400] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
All about posing and just getting the right angle. It's all about the right angle. When you get the right angle, then the foopla you got going on and have had going on for quite some time, it doesn't matter anymore.

[00:07:25.940] - Stephanie Feger
And you know what else? And this is something I think you do and a good photographer does is I didn't go back and look at my photos and notice things that I normally would notice because you captured an essence of me and a confidence. And that was what the photo shared. It wasn't, oh, my gosh. Stephany has five extra pounds, or look at how that's tight over. I didn't even see that.

[00:07:51.540] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
And part of my process is talking to you beforehand about the photos. And just in normal conversations, if somebody's preparing for their photos, they're talking about all the things that they hate about their self. And I'm paying attention to that. I don't like it because this is a no hate zone. So when you walk in these doors, you're gorgeous, you're worthy, and it's time to get your pictures taken, and it's going to be fine just the way you are right now. We don't have to lose 10 pounds. We don't have to figure it out. I got you. Part of that process, you don't see this stuff because you already told me what you didn't like, so I never showed you the picture that I knew was going to like. You didn't show me those pictures. No, I didn't show you. That's awesome. See, this.

[00:08:33.470] - Stephanie Feger
Is why I love doing interviews like this, because I learn things that you hadn't told me, and that's great. That's awesome. But it was cool because I got to experience your expertise before I brought some of my clients to you. And so I got to understand what it was like from someone getting the photos taken. I also found out and realized what makes good photos. And we'll talk about this in a future episode when I bring in all my bags of stuff. Chanel bag lady. Some people call me cat lady. You call me bag lady.

[00:09:09.350] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Yes, it's definitely a bag lady, but it works.

[00:09:11.620] - Stephanie Feger
It does. Because I know now if I want the right photos to match my brand, what I need to bring. I also know the things that wear well. I was able to figure those things out and also how you work. Now when we work with authors, we can get and collaborate beautifully because I'm like... Because you know I'm going to come to the table telling them what to bring and how to be prepared. I know you're coming to the table to make sure that we're going to get the best shots in the ways we can use. It's like just a match made in heaven.

[00:09:42.360] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Yeah, I love it.

[00:09:43.500] - Stephanie Feger
I do too. I do too. I love finding people like you. I actually, I don't know, I get really pumped when I look at the people I get to work with. And I'm like, again, these people are in their zone of genius. They're experts in this field. And then I get to make these beautiful connections with people who need you. And you get to bring out this level of confidence in them. It's just beautiful.

[00:10:04.360] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
I love it. I enjoy it. I definitely enjoy working with the authors you bring because they're prepared. Those are the best photo shoots when you prepare the right way. And I think we'll talk about that later. But when you prepare the right way for your photo session, it turns out amazing every time. I know. And it makes my job easier. I'm like, Oh, you get all the things let's go.

[00:10:25.220] - Stephanie Feger
Work on it. Yeah. And I think you bring up a valid point, and we will definitely if I don't have it on the list to talk about, we need to. This reason as to why you can go and get a photographer. I'm sure someone, whoever's listening, can find a photographer in their area. There's great photographers out there. Yeah, absolutely. However, I do believe, and we will get to this when we talk about how to pick a photographer. I do believe for authors specifically, you want to make sure that you are working with someone who understands your needs, whether you're an author or anything else in this business. And sometimes that helps having a strategist be a part of the conversation, too. And I think that's why you say they come prepared because I've been thinking about all of the marketing needs that they have and how do we can use all these photos. And oddly enough, we end up usually coming up with some detail shots, which we will talk about later. And they might not have been things that the author would have ever thought of getting. But I'm like, you need this and it becomes the cornerstone of all their marketing materials and what have you. So yeah, again, I love when we get to work together. I love when we get to. So before we dive in this episode, I really want to dive into really the power that photography has. I want to understand how you got into photography.

[00:11:38.460] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
So I have a son. He's about 12.

[00:11:40.510] - Stephanie Feger
And he's so sweet and tall. We were just talking about.

[00:11:44.170] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
He's very, very tall. Taller than me now. One day you wake up and you look up and you're like, How? And I'm not a short girl.

[00:11:52.220] - Stephanie Feger
But I just realized, I knew he was a teenager, but he's only 12.

[00:11:55.970] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
He's only 12 years old, yes.

[00:11:57.930] - Stephanie Feger
Oh, my God. He's not a teenager.

[00:11:59.520] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
He's a tween. He's not a teenager at all.

[00:12:02.180] - Stephanie Feger
He's 6 foot.

[00:12:03.140] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
He probably looks like he's about 17, but only 12. Wow. When he was born, growing up, basically, my mom had pictures everywhere. We were an Olin Mills family, and you walk down the hallway and there were canvases of all the kids hanging on the walls. I wanted to duplicate that when I had my kids. Photography was important to me, and I had reached out to... I didn't want to do the box studio type of pictures. I wanted to go outside. So I had reached out to some photographers in the area and nobody responded to me. And I was like, You know what?

[00:12:40.800] - Stephanie Feger
Business opportunity missed.

[00:12:42.510] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Exactly. At the time, my sister in law was building her business. She wanted to be a baker. And so she was asking me all these questions because I got a degree in marketing and she thought that that just meant I knew some things. I didn't really know. I didn't really know the things I know now, but fake it till you make it. Absolutely. I was helping her grow her business and start her business and I was like, Oh, this is fun. Because the photographers did not answer the phone for me, I went out to Best Buy and bought a camera. Stop it. I'm going to take my own pictures of my kid. Then as I helped her grow her business and watch her get paid, I was like, I mean, if I could get $25 so I could get Just Fab shoes. I was into just FAB shoes back then. I was like, if I could get a new set of just FAB heels, the words of the club this weekend by taking a picture, I'm going to do it. I really knew nothing about photography. I just loved pictures. I bought a camera based on Ashton Kutcher being in the commercial. So I'm a Nikon girl, and that happened just because Ashton Kutcher was the promo person for that back then.

[00:13:58.850] - Stephanie Feger
I mean I buy something that Ashton Kutcher was into.

[00:14:00.950] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
I mean, he's pretty dope.

[00:14:02.750] - Stephanie Feger
He is. I like him.

[00:14:04.200] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
So I bought the camera. I took pictures of Jaylen. It very much started as family photography. And then I realized, I don't like kids that much. It's not really the kids. It's the moms when the kids are with them and they want the picture perfect photo, then the moms start acting a little wonky, I'm sure.

[00:14:24.100] - Stephanie Feger
Well, it's like brides and other moms.

[00:14:27.100] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Yes. We got to figure out something else with this photography. And then just my circle of people had the entrepreneur spirit. So everybody wanted to do something. Everybody had a sad hustle. I was the friend who was like, We can do more than hustle, so let's figure out how to make this look legit. I was very much, we're going to fake it till we make it because if it looks good, everybody else is going to believe us. And if they believe that we are professionals and we are confident in what we're selling, then they're going to buy it and we'll figure it out. And so that was the process there. So I grabbed the camera and started photographing.

[00:15:09.000] - Stephanie Feger
Okay, so I have to unpack a couple of things. One, you have taken some of my family photos, and I'll never forget after the drive out to the middle of nowhere which is where I live and Chanel was like, I will never drive this car again in my life. These bugs in the country are going to eat me. You said you were like, Normally, I don't do family photography, but you made it fun. And that made me feel good because I'm not one of those moms.

[00:15:30.500] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
No, she wasn't.

[00:15:31.300] - Stephanie Feger
Do you know why? Because I trusted you. Yes. I didn't care. I knew I was going to walk away and Chanel was going to have captured some amazing, beautiful... And there's still the photos that I have on my Facebook page. We have all over our house.

[00:15:42.610] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
I saw them the other day.

[00:15:43.770] - Stephanie Feger
You noticed? I have not and I realized that's been two years. So I wanted to share that. The other thing I wanted to share and note that you said that I think is interesting for those listening. I think so many of us realize that we've got something that we want to do or a goal we want to go on, but it's scary to get there and it feels like it's unknown. There are things that we hold back. This book I'm reading that you got to read, it talks about this upper limit is what they call it. So you hit this, okay, well, I'm comfortable and this must be all I can do. But you push through it. To be real, all of us in the entrepreneurial space do that. It's like, all right, well, we've got to figure this out. The other thing, though, and I don't think you've not given yourself credit in saying this, sure, you picked up a camera and figured it out. But there's a difference I've noticed between a photographer and a good photographer, and that's your sense of perspective. And I don't think that's something you learn. Yes, you can sharpen it, but I think you have it or you don't and I think you have it. And I think that's what makes you different is, I mean, I look at your photos, I'm like... And I love photography too. I have a Canon, so we can debate on this in the future. It was not because of Ashton Kutcher, it was because it was on sale. Different things, different strokes for different folks. I'm always looking at perspective too. But when I see the perspective you bring, I'm like, she gets it. So you had... It's cool because you've had something, you didn't know you had it. You found it. There was a need. You looked to fill it and then you liked it. And then you found that you could actually help other people. And it's beautiful. Thank you. That's really beautiful. That's awesome. That is awesome.

[00:17:20.120] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
I think my favorite part of all of it is just making sure that the entrepreneur is confident. Come in and you're like, I hear a lot of people, I got this little thing that I'm doing, and I think it'll be a little bit better if I had some pictures. And then I'm like, Okay, but is it a little thing or are you just making it a little thing? Because it sounds like a big day. And so I enjoy watching that transformation from you had a selfie and now you got this professional picture and how much more you step out and become that person that's in your head but you didn't feel it in your heart because you are able to update the photo.

[00:18:00.510] - Stephanie Feger
It's funny how one photo can, like, legitimize everything you've been working on. Not only for you, but for other people. Because I do realize when I had my professional photos taken and then when my website came out, which I have never told you this either, I don't think. This is like, tell all therapy session in podcast interviews. But before I met you and I was working with my web developer, I was like, I like her website. And I sent your website to my web developer. I was like, I don't know what it is about her website that I like, but there's energy in it and I want you to pull from that and pull my brand. You were one of my mood board, inspiration board. It was how your website was. That energy is connected with the photos and it's just all intersected.

[00:18:44.810] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Yeah, we might talk about it later, but a big part of website design is making sure you have the right photo.

[00:18:51.180] - Stephanie Feger
A big part. Girl, I think it's everything.

[00:18:52.990] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
It's a big part. There's three parts to a good website and it's designed to make sure it's functional. It's the pictures because without the pictures, what imagery do you really have on there? And then it's the words, but people put a lot of stock in the words, but it's 2022, baby, and nobody reads it. Nobody reads it.

[00:19:11.770] - Stephanie Feger
Nobody reads it. Stephanie, I know. And I say this on an author podcast, they will read your book. They will read your book, my lovely author friends.

[00:19:20.420] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
They won't read the website, though.

[00:19:23.140] - Stephanie Feger
No, but you need your write. You're exactly right. You need conversion copy. So that's a different type of writing than what we're writing in books. But photos are game changing. Actually, the season before hours is all about websites. And we talk about the power of photography. I am not opposed to some stock photography if needed. However, you have to be really selective. And this is why I like detail shots with you. I would much prefer leveraging my detail shots on my website, which could be conceived as stock photography, but it's not.

[00:19:58.180] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Right. And it has those little pieces in it that tell your story. And it's always very specific to you.

[00:20:08.340] - Stephanie Feger
Hey, Stephanie here. And I wanted to jump in and take a little bit of stress off of you. If you are planning an upcoming photo shoot for a headshot or a branding session, I'm sure you have enough to worry about already. Whether you'd like to be in front of the camera or not, one thing is certain, to take full advantage of your photo shoot, you want to be prepared. Chanel and I have a quick planning checklist with some tips for you to consider as you plan your next photo shoot, and we want to give that to you. So visit to download it today. I am confident you'll find it extremely helpful. And a side note, it's what I use every time I'm prepping for a new author branding photo session myself. But enough about that, let's get back to the conversation.

[00:21:02.460] - Stephanie Feger
When I was preparing for our chat today, I found an article from the Digital Photography School. I don't know much legitimacy about the Digital Photography School, except that they brought up six reasons why photography matters. And I'm like, oh, these are really good. I thought it would be important. I know we've talked a lot already about the power of photography, but for those who are listening and I'm thinking, I just need an author headshot and that's all I need. Before we go into what we think you might need, I want you to really contemplate how powerful a single photo or suite of photos can be. One of those that they share is that the photos tell us what is important to us. It's like I think about when I prepared for my lifestyle photos with you, I had to go around my house and I looked at all of the things that meant something to me and photos do that. And you mentioned even the photos on the wall. That tells a story. There's something about that.

[00:21:58.080] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Yeah, absolutely. I look at brand photography as telling your story. I mean, it's in my tagline, I'm going to help you tell your story so you can attract bomb clients so you can make more money. That's what we do. Anything that is you related and you bring that to the studio or you bring that as a part of a prop or something like that, that helps tell your story. You might be like, I'm going to wear these stilettos in my photo shoot because that's the thing that I'm supposed to do and wear blazers and stilettos. But if that's not you, then that's not telling the right story. And so if you are a Vans girl, you put your Vans on. If they are dirty sneakers because you work in the garden, you put your dirty sneakers on. But that's because we're telling that whole story. And so we don't want to be the person that's see somebody else in the photos. You got to be you. And I think props and just the things that you bring help tell that story.

[00:22:53.120] - Stephanie Feger
My favorite when my first photo shoot with you, which happens to be the photos that I still use all the time, is a mug. It's a cat mug.

[00:23:03.200] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
I remember that mug.

[00:23:04.940] - Stephanie Feger
Yeah. And it just so happens, it fell in my brand photo or my color scheme, my palette, enough. But I laugh at that now because even in the videos that I do for my business, my cats usually show up. So I'm like, That is a part of me. Don't be unapologetic about that. I have a new mug, so a new cat mug, we'll have to use in our next shoot. I think another reason that they mentioned I thought was really good is that it leaves a legacy. And of course, when we think about family photography, yes. Tornadoes just recently swept through Kentucky, which is awful. And prayers have been going out to those in the communities. We're based out of Kentucky. Well, I'm in Kentucky Chanel's in Indiana, but we're in that area. However, photography is big and you've probably seen over the news about there have been photos from Western Kentucky that have flown to Southern Indiana people. It's big.

[00:23:58.420] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Photography. Well, as far as leaving a legacy, when you pass or when a loved one passed, the only thing you have left is the photos. In brand photography, it's heavily on the digital side just because that's what we're using it for. But when I shoot anything else, I highly, highly recommend that we print the pictures. I know we live in a digital world and there's Facebook and all the things and you just want to post it and that's it. But you got to print those pictures because the prints last and even you get in a tornado and it blows the Indiana, but the print is there.

[00:24:36.150] - Stephanie Feger
Like four hours away.

[00:24:37.710] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Right. So the print is there. And I think that there's so much value in printed photography and leaving that legacy by just having a photo, period. I've taken headshots of people who have now passed and their headshot was the picture that they used on the obituary because that was the professional image that they had. And it showed their personality, and they were doing something that they loved when they came to get that picture taken.

[00:25:08.520] - Stephanie Feger
That's a beautiful story of reminding just how important the photos are. And I think when you think about your business, too, it can leave a legacy as well. It extends beyond just you. These are photos that I use all over my business, all over my materials, all over my business card. It goes out and who knows who it's going to touch and how long they will exist?

[00:25:32.450] - Chanel Wells-Henderson

[00:25:33.520] - Stephanie Feger
Forever. Especially in today's crazy world. Yes. This was an interesting one. I'm actually going to pair two of them together. You mentioned it's a complex language, but it also allows us to share and communicate. I didn't do any research to know how many languages there are in the world, but there's a lot. And yet, photography takes out any need for verbal communication, and you can tell a story no matter what language barrier you're up against.

[00:26:04.080] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Absolutely. So I think it just all goes back to the storytelling. And so as an author, you told a story already in your book, and then we got to visualize that because there are some people who are just visual. And so any way that we can pull that out in the photos is going to make a big difference.

[00:26:24.120] - Stephanie Feger
Oh, I completely agree. And we are a visual society now. I actually have very little tolerance when I go look at stuff and there's no visuals. I get bored.

[00:26:34.940] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
The menu at a restaurant with no pictures? What am I supposed to eat here?

[00:26:40.040] - Stephanie Feger
It is true. I don't know. Yeah, we think in pictures and we perceive in photos. So why wouldn't we be thinking about that in our business as well? I liked this one. Photography makes us artists. And I thought that was really interesting. And I don't mean so much... I mean, when they wrote this, they were talking about the photographer, but being in the photos, too, it's a form of art you create. It, again, goes back to that story.

[00:27:08.420] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
It's a collaboration. I think as a photographer, I do see myself as an artist, but I'm collaborating with you. So anytime I'm working with my client, we're doing this together and we're creating an image. I'm not taking a picture of you. And so there's a big difference from somebody who's going to take pictures and somebody who's going to create images with you.

[00:27:31.190] - Stephanie Feger
Yes. And we'll get into that when we talk about how to pick a photographer because that's really important. I've seen too many people that don't live in the area. And I say that because everyone that lives in the area, I'm like, just stop looking. We together are going to Chanel. Okay? So it's done deal. But if you don't live in the area, I see so many people get taken advantage of in the sense that they spend a lot of money and it's not that collaborative experience. It's what the photographer wants, not what you need. And it doesn't end up in a win, win scenario. Okay, and number six that they shared is it has the power to move us, call us to action. And I'm even thinking about some of the programs that I create and how I have photos of me doing things and working with people and what have you. And that instills a confidence and trust in other people in my programs that makes them then go, oh, I want to do it.

[00:28:19.900] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
My favorite picture is the wiggling around dancing picture. Oh, you have to have.

[00:28:26.070] - Stephanie Feger
Beyonce playing when we do that one.

[00:28:28.590] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
We love Beyonce in this studio. But you just wiggle around and you dance. And then when you put that picture with anything else, it just shows like, I'm free, I'm fine. We're going to have a good time when we work together. And so that's one of my favorites just to let loose a little bit.

[00:28:49.360] - Stephanie Feger
I think we all need to do that. And you do a really great job in the beginning of a photo shoot doing fun things like that to get people a little less tense and shoulders up in your ears and more comfortable. And that's intentional.

[00:29:01.920] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Because it's scary. But I try very hard to make sure that you feel like we're just in here having a good time and I'm going to snap a picture of you, and it's going to be fine. And although I have a working plan in my head, the main objective is just to make sure that you feel comfortable and that you don't feel like you're at a photo session.

[00:29:25.190] - Stephanie Feger
Well, you do a good job of that. And you also are a very calming human. I think if I were doing what you were doing, everyone would be stressed because I am so high energy, about to burst with stuff. I don't even know what stuff that I would go, oh, we should do this and this and this. And that's where I think you and I are like a good ying and yang when we work with authors, because you are quietly being methodical. And I'm not quietly being methodical, but in a way where I'm feeding off of you. And it's almost this is this is why I think authors listening, you want to make sure you find people that mesh well with others in their field. You and I have figured out a way to be like telepathic where we now don't have to say things, but I already know you're looking at her hair, so I'm going to go fix her hair. Or I already know that plant doesn't look right there or it needs to be turned.

[00:30:19.370] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Stephanie is a great assistant in this studio.

[00:30:22.980] - Stephanie Feger
I have fun doing it. It allows my brain to think in different ways and creative ways, too. Well, and what you don't know is actually when I was pregnant with Eli, that's when I bought my Canon. And so I found photography as an outlet for me for a long time. So in college, I took a photo journalism class. This is a funny story. I went to Bellarmine here in Louisville, and you could pick two classes to be pass/fail that wouldn't hurt your GPA. And I was a straight A student, which I bet doesn't surprise you about me. Not at all. I've never got a B in my life. Look at you. Maybe on a test, but not as a whole.

[00:31:02.420] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Not in the grade. Okay.

[00:31:03.630] - Stephanie Feger
I graduated valedictorian, my friend. I know. Who cares anymore? Let's go. Nobody cares anymore. It's not a big deal.

[00:31:10.780] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
It's a big deal. It's still a big deal.

[00:31:13.130] - Stephanie Feger
But this class, I was terrified and I just thought I was taking it as pass fail, which is so funny. I didn't have a camera. They had to buy cameras for everyone. This shows how old we are. I am. You're younger than me. But I ended up acing that class. And I had so much fun and instilled this love that I had for photography. And so when we go places, I'll take my camera. And though you can do it now on your phone, probably just with a similar quality. It's not the same. It's not the same. Different lenses. I need to touch and feel it.

[00:31:44.670] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Although when I go somewhere, I do not take my camera.

[00:31:47.720] - Stephanie Feger
It's not safe.

[00:31:49.000] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
And I just want to be present, so I pulled my phone out.

[00:31:53.630] - Stephanie Feger
That's the way to think about it. Well, and you have to separate business and personal, too. If each other always...

[00:31:59.770] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Because if I show up to the family reunion with the camera... They're going to require you to do it. I love you all, but I need a pay day.

[00:32:07.020] - Stephanie Feger
Yeah, you should be saying I have a Venmo account. You can PayPal me!

[00:32:12.300] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
My brother, he's really into photography, and he took a class recently in college. So now I will bring the camera, but I just give it to him and I'm like, here.

[00:32:22.070] - Stephanie Feger
I've met this brother, haven't I?

[00:32:23.670] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Yes, Arman, yes.

[00:32:24.370] - Stephanie Feger
I love him too. It's like everyone that's connected to you, I love. He was so lovely. I'm trying to think, was that for my photo shoot?

[00:32:31.450] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
I think it was. Maybe. I don't know.

[00:32:34.830] - Stephanie Feger
I think it was because I had this one where I'm standing around smiling with my stilettos and all this stuff. Yeah, I remember that one. I remember that one. So when I think about, you know, all the things that photography can do, I came up with, what, the five C's that I've realized that I have found valuable in photography when working with you. And that is this confidence that I've gotten both in my profession and in my entrepreneurial spirit, but just as a human. I look at those and I'm like, That's me.

[00:33:08.260] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
It just makes you feel good. I like to, like I said, I don't like to get my pictures taken either. But when I do, I put that feeling in my back pocket and I just let it go. I'm like, Yes, I'm the bomb.

[00:33:21.820] - Stephanie Feger
I noticed the more because you and I have done three sessions together for me, and then I can't even count how many authors and people we've worked with. I don't remember. But my confidence has grown. By the third one, I was like, We got this. It's no big deal. I know you're in it. Does my makeup look okay, girl? Is my lipstick messed up?

[00:33:43.240] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
And that's it. That's it.

[00:33:44.810] - Stephanie Feger
Let's do it. It was just fun. It also created a connection. Not only the connection that you and I have, but the photos have created a connection with other people, and it's helped people see me as the third one, incredible in my industry. So on my LinkedIn, I have my photos. I leveraged the photos as a part of my YouTube photography. All of my social has it. It's all over my website, and we're working on revamping my website right now, and I have more photos. That's the beautiful part. We can just readjust and work.

[00:34:17.410] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Mix and match. Mix and match.

[00:34:18.930] - Stephanie Feger
I love that. It created and helped build my story. And you'll laugh at this. I have a board in Notion. For those who don't know, it's a great little place to keep notes. Is next photo shoot with Chanel. And it lists everything that I know. Oh, I wish I had a photo like this. Oh, I wish I had this. I have this program and I could use this. I have a podcast now. I need a photo with me in front of the microphone to promote the podcast. So I've been keeping, girl, I've been keeping track. So our next shoot, we're ready. But on top of it all, and this is what I love as a marketer, people don't realize this, but I don't like marketing myself. I love marketing you and authors out there. I don't like marketing myself, but I think that photos can market you for you.

[00:35:04.290] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Absolutely. You put the picture out there and it tells a small caption and you tell the whole story.

[00:35:11.520] - Stephanie Feger
Yeah. So when you do it right, it can sell for you. We've been talking a lot, I think, about lifestyle photos and lifestyle branding. But before we wrap up this episode and you all who are listening, we got so much more in the next five episodes of this season to dive into. But I do want to talk for a minute about some of the ways that authors could be getting photos and using them at a high level. I know you have an entry way for some people to work with you through headshots. Yes. You feel really strongly about headshots. Tell me about your thoughts on headshots.

[00:35:42.900] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Everybody needs a headshot. I feel like we talked about it already. We're in a digital world, and so most people have some type of social profile. I had a lady come in here who works in HR, and I said, Do you really go and look on people's Facebook and LinkedIn before you hire? She said, Absolutely. It's the first thing we do. So just being able to, call it, impress the world with who you are as soon as they look at you, because we only get one first impression. Now the first impression is not when you walk through the door with your suit on or branding colors on and shake somebody's hand. They looked you up on the internet already. And so I think a headshot really just sets the bar. Then everything else from there, you just got to get your life together online. Don't lie. It's all truthful and authentic. But having that professional image to represent who you are is important. I think everybody should just go right now, look at your social and say, does this image of me impress me? Am I impressed by myself? Because if I'm not impressed by myself, if it's not a hell yeah, then you need a new headshot because if you're not impressed with yourself, then the people you're trying to attract are not going to be impressed either.

[00:37:09.620] - Stephanie Feger
Agreed. We've actually been talking, and I'm just going to say it on this podcast because I think when you say it in the universe, it happens. And for those who are listening to this live, great, in the future, great too. But Chanel and I want to be doing some regular author headshots together. So we will be hosting a couple of days throughout the year where you can get both of us together in a room. We can talk all things, books for Chanel who doesn't read. I'm just kidding. You're the one that tells me I love read. That counts. And you've told me about building your brand story, all these great books. But yeah, so we will be pulling authors together for a fun little experience, and you can get your headshot.

[00:37:46.110] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Yeah, I'm with it.

[00:37:47.520] - Stephanie Feger
Let's do it. We're doing it. We're doing it. And I do think, too, for authors specifically, headshots are great for the back of the book, for all of your book promotion, on your author central page, on Amazon. I'm talking a lingo, you're like, I don't know. But these things are important. And sure, you could possibly crop a lifestyle photo to make that work if need be. But there is something about a beautifully done headshot, and I've seen you do beautiful ones.

[00:38:12.280] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Thank you.

[00:38:13.020] - Stephanie Feger
You're welcome. So that takes me into this lifestyle branding. That's my favorite because I think it tells the full story. It allows you to put in context who you are and where you want to go. And sometimes that's in a studio. Sometimes that's on location. You and I have done both. We've had fun at both. The last one on location was really fun.

[00:38:36.290] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
I like on location. I don't get to do it all the time, but when I do, it always turns out good.

[00:38:43.390] - Stephanie Feger
Unexpected. The last one we did on location together for me was at a Florida studio, and we went for a different reason, but we ended up and I love my Florida, she was like, That whole space upstairs? It was like gold.

[00:38:56.390] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
It was beautiful.

[00:38:58.040] - Stephanie Feger
We had no idea.

[00:38:59.370] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
No, didn't. That was the.

[00:39:00.670] - Stephanie Feger
Best part of the photo shoot.

[00:39:01.530] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Just finding those little hidden gems. And sometimes you, as the client, already know about the hidden gems. That's where you go and work because it's quiet and you don't have to be at home with your kids. Or that's where you drink coffee every day. And those locations, I don't know if we talk about this later, but location is a big deal as far as telling the whole story.

[00:39:21.130] - Stephanie Feger
Yes. So I think every author obviously needs a headshot. But if you are looking to build a business around your book's message, which I hate to break it to you, author friend, but if you're publishing a book, you built a business, so it just happens, you're going to need some lifestyle shots. And that will help with your beautiful photography, for your website, your beautiful website, all your marketing materials. You're probably going to also need some detail shots. We'll talk about these later. But shots of the books, of you with the books, writing, you with pens. What do you want to do? Are you a speaker? Do you want to get some shots for your position that way? All of that stuff helps in your marketing materials. Yeah, definitely.

[00:39:59.450] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
And we talk about that. That's part of when you pick a good photographer, then they have those conversations with you so that we already know the list of shots that you need before you get here.

[00:40:13.700] - Stephanie Feger
Yes. And then the final thing, we live in a digital world where... I mean, if you're not on social in some form or fashion, like you said in HR, they look at you up on LinkedIn and Facebook, whatever, it's happening. And so you need some beautiful photography there. It doesn't cut it off their friend listening to take a selfie and have that be like your author photo. It just does it, in my opinion. It doesn't separate you from anybody who could write a book to the person who wrote this book. Yeah.

[00:40:44.660] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
There's a time and a place for a selfie. I love a good selfie. We take a selfie at every family function, but there is a time and a place for a professional photo. LinkedIn, the back of your book, your website, those are all places for professional photos where selfies don't belong. Great.

[00:41:02.740] - Stephanie Feger
Although before we wrap up today, you and I will have to do a selfie. That's an important thing.

[00:41:08.400] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Time and place.

[00:41:09.110] - Stephanie Feger
Time and place. All right. We have given so much. This is just episode one, you know? I know. We have a lot to talk about.

[00:41:15.140] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
There was a lot.

[00:41:15.860] - Stephanie Feger
I'm excited. So you all listening, join us. Let's continue this conversation. And next episode, we're going to talk about more things on how to be prepared for your photo shoot, how to find the right photographer. And we're actually going to also talk about things you don't know that you need to know, but you need to know. So stick with us. Chanel, I'm excited.

[00:41:34.380] - Chanel Wells-Henderson
Yes, let's do it.

[00:41:40.580] - Stephanie Feger
I love finding amazing people who live in their zone of genius, and that is totally and completely Chanel. Her photography skills are phenomenal. But getting her to talk about this photography skills that she has, well, that's where even more magic happens. I didn't even know there was more magic to be had, but it is, and she's proof of it. Chanel reminded us on this episode that photography has power and it can give you the confidence you need to feel powerful. Now, listen to me here and believe this, your message is powerful. Let's make sure that your brand is in alignment and your photos are too. We all know a photo is worth a thousand words and too bad author friend out there that the photo can't write a thousand words for you. Am I right? The truth is that photos tell a story. Since you're in the business of storytelling, let's make sure that your author photography tells the right story. A story that aligns with who you are, what message you are sharing, and how people can work with you. Author photography can be game changing in your marketing tools, a meaningful piece of your website, and a tool that you use in your visibility strategies. Chanel and I want you to get the most out of your photo shoot, so we've compiled a planning checklist to help take the stress out of planning your photo shoot and ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck. Visit to get that downloadable. And if you happen to be in the Greater Louisville area or are willing to come to us, believe me, we have plenty of authors who do. We'd love to capture your story through meaningful photography. And if Kentucky is too far of a drive, no sweat, we are happy to do a photo planning consultation with you and your photographer to help you achieve the best results that you seek and that you need.

[00:43:32.760] - Stephanie Feger
We are ready to emPower you as you embark on your author photography needs. Now remember, emPowered people emPower people. I've emPowered you now with photos to help you tell your meaningful story. It is your turn to emPower others.

Found this Podcast Useful?

Write a Review

The best way to support us is to rate and review the podcast on your podcast platform of choice.


Share with Others

When you are emPowered, others can be too. Share this episode on social or email to a friend.​


Let Us Help

Join us Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m. PT/11:30 a.m. EST on YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.​


Leave a Comment

EmPower PR Logo CMYK

Listen to the Podcast
Watch our videos
emPower FAQs

Headquartered in Kentucky

headquartered in Kentucky

@2023 emPower PR Group, a division of Color Today Pretty, LLC | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Terms of Use