How do I get my business noticed online? How can I create an engaged social media audience? How do I convert website visitors and social media followers into customers? What hashtags should I be using? Are Google ads a good investment?

I'm Sydney Chakalos, a marketing nerd and small business owner with a passion for helping other small business owners grow their business using effective online marketing strategies on any budget.

Learn how to create and implement a marketing strategy that strengthens relationships with your audience and increases your bottom line. We'll cover topics around social media, email, Google ads, branding, and websites. Building your brand is a marathon and I'm here to help you win the race.


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Marketing Your Local Business Online Podcast

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Elevate Your Brand with Brand Photography

In my years of experience working with small business owners, I’ve noticed that we tend to put getting professionally branded photos done on the back burner. Whether it’s because we don’t feel ready to have our photo taken or because our iPhone cameras seem to do the trick, hiring a professional photographer often isn’t a priority. 

Today on the Marketing Your Local Business Online podcast, we’re chatting with brand photographer Michelle Fiorello of Vision Balm Photography as she shares why brand photography is a worthy investment for small business owners and the impact it can have on your business. Let’s dive in!

Why is Brand Photography a Good Investment for Small Business Owners?

One of your superpowers as a small business owner is your ability to connect with your customers. You aren’t just a product, website, or brand name. You are a unique individual, and so is the product or service you provide! There is no better way to showcase this than with brand photos. Good visuals will draw in customers and even help build trust in your brand, especially if you are featured in the images. 

What If I Don’t Feel Camera Ready?

Michelle often gets calls to schedule brand photoshoots months in advance, because the client wants time to get camera ready by losing weight or growing their hair out. This is a common misconception among small business owners: that we have to look a certain way in order to get in front of the camera. This is NOT TRUE! Brand photoshoots are most successful when the client shows up as authentically as possible. Embrace and highlight your quirks, because they are what will make you stand out! 

How Do I Find the Right Photographer?

Having a brand photographer you feel comfortable working with is crucial, and Michelle has 3 tips for finding your perfect match: 

Talk on the phone beforehand: Before scheduling your session with a photographer, make sure your personalities are compatible with a quick phone call. Chat about who you are, your brand, and what you want to get out of the photoshoot. You want to make sure you feel comfortable asking questions and making suggestions. 

Check out their style: You’ll want to get a sense of the photographer’s style and if it aligns with yours. Check out their website and Instagram to see how you like the way they take and edit photos.

Ask about their process: Knowing a photographer’s process will help you gain an understanding of what you’ll be getting out of doing a session with them. Michelle recommends working with someone that plans your session out in advance (i.e. locations, outfit(s), etc.). 

Bonus Tip: Ask your photographer to see the images as they are being taken during your session. Even though they are raw images that will be edited later, seeing them will give you a sense of if you are headed in the right direction in terms of your goals for the session. You might find that you like certain poses or angles, and you’ll be able to get more images that you’ll want to use. 

Connect with Michelle

Michelle is a professional branding & product photographer based in the Charleston, South Carolina area. Her superpower is turning your vision into joyful, clean, and colorful images that speak to your ideal clients and customers, so that you can grow and make more money! To learn more or schedule a session with Michelle, please visit her website at or email her at

Connect with her on Instagram & Facebook!


meet sydney

Strategist. coach. educator.

get to know me

Hi friends! My name is Sydney, founder of Marathon Marketing & Branding, and I’m so happy you’re here! As you might have guessed, I am an avid runner, which allows me to have more of that pinot and pasta in life. Running long-distance is all about training, endurance, and consistency. I realized that these same traits are directly applicable to social media marketing as well.