We’ve all heard the phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ and in the case of South African entrepreneur, Karené Wedekind, she is capturing eye-catching images that can help businesses to portray themselves and their products in the best possible light.
LoA learned more about this unique entrepreneurial venture and Karené’s vision for the future of her business.
"I serve small and medium businesses by creating bespoke photos that give their companies a sense of quality and value."
What does your company do?
I serve small and medium businesses by creating bespoke photos that give their companies a sense of quality and value. I provide styled and branded food and product photography that suits every individual business and can be used across various visual platforms. I have social media packages and offer the option of documenting behind the scenes product stories. (For a more budget option I sell styled stock photography in my online shops at Etsy or Creative Market under the name: Studio Louvain Shop.)
Before just jumping into photography for a business, I assess my client's visual needs. We look at what you already have that can work and what the business needs photographed most urgently. We start with that. Do you need some awesome cover shots for your website that can also be used for promotions? Do you need classy branded Instagram photos to slot in, between your candid pics, that you can use on Facebook too? Do you need people to see your behind the scenes process? Or do you need your products photographed for your online shop?
Then we look at branding. The tone of the companies branding voice should come across clearly in the photos. If the brand is fun and funky the photos should be fun and funky. If the brand is clean and minimalist, then the photos must show this.
Only once we have established what the photos must do and how they should look, I start suggesting ideas for individual photos. We look at images that my client has collected and create a mood-board to make sure that we're on the same wavelength. I want to create images that my client loves! Images that they want to use over and over again!
"Before just jumping into photography for a business, I assess my client's visual needs. We look at what you already have that can work and what the business needs photographed most urgently. We start with that."
What inspired you to start your company?
I've always been curious about why some small businesses succeed and others don't. I'm always analysing and discussing this with my husband and I think it's often rooted in the way a business presents itself. How it "pretends" to already be successful and valuable. I believe that enticing visuals can elevate a business to a higher income level. (By visuals I mean good photography paired up with great design). With my Fine Art eye and photography background, I realised that I can help people succeed in business, by doing what I love! And the more small businesses succeed - the more employment we create. The more employment we create - the more people we free from poverty...
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Did you know that within the first 3 seconds of somebody going onto a website they decide whether they want to support that business or not. First impressions do count. The quality of your photos tells people about the quality of your product.
My images are not that mass-produced, clinical, plastic-looking stock that you see everywhere. They are handcrafted to suit the visual branding of each business. The style of the photos tells people about the ethos of a business, before they've read one word of what is written.
My Fine Art background means that I don't just know how to work a camera, but I'm visually literate. I know what makes an image memorable. I know how to speak using colour, composition, light, perspective etc. As I arrange every element in my photos, I use all this knowledge and experience.
"I want to create images that my client loves! Images that they want to use over and over again!"
Tell us a little about your team
I am a solopreneur at this stage, but as my business grows I'd like to employ back-up staff to help run the business, when I am shooting.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
My father lectured in small business management, and would often come home with stories of the businesses that were being created by his students. My mother, who is in marketing, found ways to bring in extra money by writing or baking or catering. She showed me how every little bit counts and they encouraged me to follow through with my ideas and make my own money. I think I always knew deep down that I would one day be self-employed. Take my family marketing and small business background, throw in my Fine Art degree and a recipe for visual branding has always been brewing.
But it's a process. I gained a great amount of experience while working for a small product photography company for a while and I assisted for some top food photographers in the country. Then when I decided it was time to start a family, I decided I should stay at home for a while to focus on raising my babies. I soon found myself taking photos of children, babies and families and offering photography courses. A small, flexible business was started.
Then we moved to Germany for 2 years, so I closed down my business and began researching online businesses, while concentrating on honing my food photography skills, for a blog.
It was all a gradual build-up. I came back knowing that I was ready - it was time to focus on what I had originally intended on doing: Becoming a food and product photographer.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I'd like to work closer with some good boutique designers with a vision for branding. As a team I think we can create a product that is beautifully unified in it's purpose. I'd also like to educate business owners on creating their own beautiful visuals for their companies - social media photography and simple product photography skills can help businesses update their visuals in a professional way, themselves. I've started a new blog, which will give examples and ideas for using good visuals in business.
"With my Fine Art eye and photography background, I realised that I can help people succeed in business, by doing what I love! And the more small businesses succeed - the more employment we create. The more employment we create - the more people we free from poverty..."
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
I love that building a business is creating something that reflects who I am, rather than trying to fit into somebody else's mould. I love constantly improving it to serve clients better and seeing it change as I change. I love that a small business is a living creation that is constantly evolving.
I also love the flexibility in time. I love being there for my kids and creating time capsules for family and business. My kids are learning so much, by seeing me at work. I believe we can have the best of both worlds and this is how.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Be more specific. Figure out what you do differently, make that your special thing - focus focus focus and use that to stand out in the crowd.
Then always dress your business for success. Make it look more confident than you feel. If your business looks professional, it'll be taken more seriously.
Contact or follow Karené Wedekind Photography
Why LoA loves it….
There is something magical about creative entrepreneurs who can elevate a product or business by the power of visuals. In the case of Karene Wedekind, she has the most incredible eye for detail and captures the essence of a business and its products, making them hugely desirable to any viewer. In an increasingly competitive business world, standing out from the crowd is critical, and powerful, eye-catching photography can provide the edge that is needed. Karene is giving her clients that edge each day through her amazing work. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa