Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and wondered how some of your favorite local businesses and entrepreneurs get that perfect shot for their feed? Well, it’s very likely that their secret weapon is photographer Carley Storm. Carley is the Founder of Carley Storm Branding Co, a Bloomfield, New Jersey-based photography and video production company that helps small businesses and entrepreneurs create content that can be used on websites, marketing materials, and social media platforms. Read on to learn more about Carley’s journey and get her secrets for taking that perfect selfie.
(Photo credit: New Moon Photography)
The Montclair Girl: Can you tell me a bit about Carley Storm Branding Co? What type of services do you offer?
Carley Storm: I’m a brand photographer and video producer. I utilize my resources to help build your personal and company’s digital brand using photos and videos. My goal is to create content that cohesively tells your brand’s story and showcases what makes you and your business so special. I work with everyone from females looking to grow their personal brand to business owners who are interested in creating video ads to use for marketing. I love how every brand is different and I am challenged to help them elevate their online presence. Whether you are a coach, author, doctor, publicist, influencer, or small business owner and need brand photos and headshots, I’m your girl!
MG: How did your business come to be?
CS: I started my career as a Dental Hygienist. Post-college, I lived and worked in London and then made my way to Rome, Italy where I worked as a Hygienist for five years. When I came back to the US, I continued my work as a Hygienist in Manhattan. During this time, I was always taking pictures of my travels and dreamed of making a career out of it. I returned home from Italy and bought my first real camera and continued to shoot all the time. During my first maternity break in 2016, my best friend asked me to take photos for her business (now Iris Yoga in Montclair) and a huge lightbulb went off. I had found a way to pursue my passion and take pictures for a living! My first goal was to get busy enough with photography work to quit my full-time job and I was finally able to do that in 2018.
MG: Why are photo and video assets so important for small business owners?
CS: This is simple: the more professional your website and social media looks, the more professional you come off to potential customers. Quality pictures of you and your business help convert page views into bookings or sales. Photos of you and your work provide confidence and build trust instantly. Your photos and videos tell your clients about what you do and what it’s like to work with you. This will drive interest in your business resulting in leads!
(Photo credit: Rebecca Ryan)
MG: How do you instill confidence in the clients you photograph? Your photos always show the best versions of your clients.
CS: I try to make my sessions as fun as humanly possible by playing music, laughing, talking with my clients, and even popping a prosecco when necessary. This is easy when you photograph awesome people like my clients.
MG: What are your tips and tricks for taking a great photo?
CS: Lightning, lighting, lighting. I suggest putting your phone on the window sill for gorgeous, indirect light, and using a self-timer.
MG: What are some great shoot locations in the area that make for the perfect backdrop?
CS: This is my favorite part of planning a shoot. I love to get creative with it. I have shot behind gas stations (shoutout to the Valero in Watchung Plaza!), alleyways on Bellevue, and the Upper Montclair train station. I’m a sucker for a good brick wall and peeling paint. Montclair has so many fun backgrounds to work with and is one of my favorite places to shoot. It’s fun to think outside of the box when it comes to getting a good shot. I’ve climbed fire escapes and walked in the middle of rivers to do it! I love to explore, hike, roam around and I’m constantly scouting locations.
MG: You are all about supporting other female entrepreneurs and are great at lifting them up. Why is this important to you?
CS: GIRL POWER!!! Being a confident female entrepreneur, I hope to inspire other women and mothers to do the same! Showing my children (George & Cecilia) that you can follow your dreams inspires me! I hope to find the things that inspire the women I work with and lift them up to greater heights as well.
MG: What’s next for Carley Storm Branding Co?
CS: I’m super excited to announce that I’m opening up a “Headshot & Brand Bar” in Bloomfield this fall. This will be a creative space where clients can pop in for headshots and entrepreneurs can bring in products to shoot for their websites and social media. It’s going to be a bright, colorful, and fun space and I can’t wait to share more details.
MG: Any advice for someone looking to start their own business?
CS: JUST DO IT! You can literally Google and YouTube anything you need to know about anything you could ever want to know. Don’t stop growing, learning, improving, and dreaming.