On the Couch | Fi Mims | Fi Mims Photography | McNeill Real Estate

Recently we were delighted to host Fi Mims of Fi Mims Photography, a personal branding professional who combines her love of photography with her skills and knowledge of personal branding, to help women in business create their online personal brand.

Allowing them to shine through their images and cement their own personal brand.

If you are looking to create a wonderful portfolio of professional images to complement your business and showcase both you and your products, then Fi Mims is the person you need to contact!



SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM TO WATCH THE VIDEO, or read the transcript below



McNeill Real Estate are delighted to be hosting local business owners, identities' and personalities from around the Mornington Peninsula, to share their great products, services, and events with others.

This idea to share came about when the team, Janet McNeill and David Kershaw, realised that during the course of running their own business, they were meeting so many amazing people with great stories, that they wanted to let others know what was on their doorstep.


If you would like to be involved in sharing your own story, contact Janet or David to discuss further.... we cannot wait to meet you!

Videos are uploaded every Tuesday, so make sure you subscribe to our channel here to learn all about the Mornington Peninsula, how to buy, sell or rent and meet some fascinating people!!


Janet and David



JANET: Have you ever wondered about whether personal branding is important when you're running a business? Well stay tuned to this video because Fi Mims explains it all for you.

JANET: Welcome to another episode of on the couch with McNeill Real Estate. My name is Janet and today I'm delighted to welcome Fi Mims of Fi Mims Photography, a highly respected and widely sought after Melbourne based personal branding photographer, who specialises in personal branding and visual content. So welcome Fi.

FI: Thanks for having me Janet, great to be here.

JANET: It's a great pleasure to learn more about yourself. So our first question is, tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

FI: Right I'll try and keep it short, but I've been a photographer for 15 years and my background I started out as a wedding photographer and a family portrait photographer, and probably about, probably I started transitioning into business photography when my kids were born about 12 years ago. Okay and for the last five to eight years have been really heavily focused on personal branding. Working mostly with women, but also with men and corporates and general businesses and absolutely love it.

JANET: Yep that's fantastic okay.  So obviously you know a bit about the Mornington Peninsula, what's your favorite part?

FI: Oh do you know what, my husband and I both love nature, so probably just getting into those some of those bush walks you can do, which we've only been down here for two years, so we're still sort of getting out and about. Went to Point Nepean for the first time over Easter and loved that.

JANET: It's amazing isn't it,

FI: I think those beaches, when you get right down towards the bottom end of it, it's stunning.

JANET: Yeah all the back beaches are just so rugged and incredible.

FI: Yeah and I've never, we never really aimed to live near the beach, we came down for other reasons, lifestyle and the kids schools, but just having, living near the beach has completely transformed me. Like I love it now, I wouldn't move away from it just really does something for you.

JANET: It does, it absolutely does I always find I think I've said this before, that if you go into town or whatever, and you when you come back home, you sort of get to Frankston and then just everything just opens up, and the air is cleaner and you just feel like wow, you know you're home. It's brilliant. Absolutely yeah.

JANET: So Fi, how long has Fi Mims Photography been in business?

FI: Yep so about 15 years. So yeah actually probably more like 17 now. I suppose in those first years, when I was a wedding photographer, I sort of had to build the business and I suppose the beauty of wedding photography, which a lot of photographers start out doing, is because we can do it on weekends while we still work part-time. But yeah very quickly sort of went in and did it full time and yeah just built it slowly from there. Yeah so about 17 years.

JANET: Okay that's brilliant. So one of the questions we're sort of asking because you’re a personal branding photographer, which is quite different from you, know your wedding and your landscape and your astro and that kind of thing, so how do personal branding images position a business above their competition?

FI: Yeah so firstly maybe just quickly, what is personal branding, because most people know it now. But even this week I spoke to someone who was like - I didn't even know that personal branding existed, until I started googling business images, and basically it is, there's a great quote that says, “your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room” Yes and I think that's a great way to describe your personal brand. So it's just that whole, it's a combination of the experiences you offer, the value you offer, even your values. Obviously your products as well, but it's basically the whole experience people get of you when they see you anywhere online or meet you in person. So and I think everyone has a brand, whether we like it or not. Whether you are in business, or even if you are in potentially a corporate, sometimes I think people feel like it might just be if you run a business that it matters, but everyone's personal brand matters. So I suppose personal branding photography, I like to say that it's not just about getting great images, or beautiful images, but it's about getting images that really align with the person's brand and personality and also their audience, because those images are really your marketing tool,  and they should speak to your audience about who you are and how you can help them and you really want to be trying to create personal branding content and images that speak to them and attract them to you, so they want to work with you and they understand that you are, you can help them out. Yeah so I think the old school marketing was different to these days, where it's about connection and being relatable to people, because the market is so noisy now, particularly the online. you really have to try and stand out and get people's attention, so personal branding images, basically trying to do that.

JANET: And so with that personal brand imaging, you're trying to connect what people see online, with the person they actually meet.

FI: Yes as well,

JANET: so you don't want to create this persona online of an incredible person and then when you meet them in reality it's like hmm that's really, that's not what I expected,

FI: because people, I mean authenticity, is said a lot these days but it's a true word. Like people want authentic connections and it's okay to get your hair and makeup done, and be dolled up for your shoot, but you still want to be looking like yourself. You don't want to shock people and I always say to people, that's also a good reason to update your images, because you know, some of us get older, we're like that shot from 10 years ago, it looks great, so I don't want to go and get another shoot done, but it's so easy to do, isn't it and look I work with, as I said mostly women, and 99% of the people I photograph, when they first call me say “I hate having my photo taken”.

JANET: Well, that was my next question - how do you deal with that? So that's kind of you know people say, I hate being in front of the camera, you know I'm self-conscious, I don't want to be there, I hate my photo. You know, if you're doing a video I hate my voice.

FI: You know, how do you deal with that. Well, lots of practice over the years! I mean I don't work with models, I only photograph, you know I call us, real normal people. Real people, I shouldn't just say women all the time, because I do also photograph men. But I direct through the entire session. I mean, I've worked really, my big thing is about making people feel comfortable in front of the camera and making it a fun experience, and you know we talked earlier about the fact that you know, work should be fun - you got to have fun with things, like getting on video and getting in front of the camera, so I try and make it quite fun. And yeah I direct through the whole session. Which I think a lot of the feedback I get, is that people really appreciate that, because it's about, you know it does make you feel vulnerable stepping in front of the camera and I think, you know there's always a bit of judgment out there. Or we judge ourselves probably more than people, we do really, but the best thing to do, if you don't like photos, is to go and get a professional photographer because they'll make you look good!

JANET: That's true, I remember actually the main photo that I'm currently using in all of my marketing, is the one that you took with me a few years ago.

FI: Oh that's great!

JANET: Yeah I love it, so I've had first-hand experience and definitely, you know for, you made me feel yeah sort of special and natural and comfortable, because you know same sort of thing, it's all very well I like, I love taking photos right yeah but being in front of the camera, I really don't like it, but I know that, that photo I absolutely love it, because I think it's just, it's just me, it's relaxed, it's professional and yeah it's brilliant!

FI: If you don't make people feel comfortable in front of the camera you're not gonna get the shot so, no that's right I remember back when I was studying, they said it's like 90% psychology and 10% skill, so that plays a bit more skill there as well.

JANET:  I've got to say that sounds like real estate!  I think it's the same everywhere.

JANET: So what sort of photo shoots do you have available - sort of in studio, on location what do you?

FI: Yeah both actually. So I work out of a gorgeous studio in Highett two days a week. A place called luna event space. I have had my own studio for the last seven or eight years but, post COVID yeah I went, you know what, I don't need to shoot every day. You just can't, I mean yeah gotta do a lot of other things in your business as well, so I work out of there two days a week, which is a stunning studio space, but I also work out on locations. So it really is about what sort of images people need right. It's not you can either have this, you can have that, but you know what sort of images do you need and do we do that in the studio, or you know, we might hire a co-working space and people might have their own offices. These days we even hire Air bnb’s if you know. If a female entrepreneur wants to be shot in a beautiful lifestyle location which is a house, you know, we've hired a few places on Airbnb. Which is stunning.

JANET: Yeah fantastic. Well that's awesome

FI: and you don't have to clean your own house.

JANET: Yeah that's even better isn't it! There's always benefits. So what sort of people need to do to prepare for a shoot?

FI: That's a great question and I think sometimes that scares people off. Well I work with all of my clients before their session, in the lead up, I ask them a lot of questions about their brand. So you know, who you work with, what obviously how do you help them, do you have a brand style guide, like do you have colors and a certain type of look that you want to portray online, how do you want to look, what's the message you want to send, and some of my clients know a lot of that information, and others don't. So whereas the gaps, we sort of work through it together, and I can help them out. So they need to know what they what they want their brand to look like, and then I ask them about their content. So what sort of content are you putting out, you know, are you on social media, what sort of things do you talk about on social media, so we can create images that are really aligned with content. Yes so it might be some stuff about their offerings, but it might also be some personal stuff about them, because people want to sort of know the person behind their business these days as well. So it might be about how much you love your coffee, or you might have your pet dog in the photo, or you know, for example yourself you would obviously be out and about in the suburbs, you know with the type of houses that you would sell, and the type of location you would normally sell, and I might also be images of you at work with your clients, showing people what it would look like to work with you.

JANET: Yes okay, Yeah that's fantastic, that's brilliant. So do you also sort of recommend a few changes of clothing and accessories, or do you just sort of come in one outfit and you take all the photos?

FI: No great questions, and that's also part of the pre-session process, so depending on the length of the shoot I always do at least a couple of changes. Up to if you do one of my longer shoots, which is like a half day, four hour shoot, we do multiple changes, because I think it's really important to get a lot of variety in your images, so you're not in the same outfit or the same two outfits. Yes so just depending on what sort of shoot lengths, we get as much variety as possible and I usually say to clients, just try and choose outfits that again sort of resonate with who you are, you want to feel comfortable in them, you want to look comfortable, how do you want to show up online, what would your audience want to see, as long as it's remaining authentic to you and then looking at the colors of the person's brand and business and like you for example you're in purple which is great. People know you for your purple colors, so when they see that, they're like, Janet!

FI: Yeah so lots of outfit changes if we can, and also props as well, talk about props. Yes people want to bring in any props that will help tell their story.

JANET: Okay that's great, talking about props show us what you have brought in today, I'm envious.

FI: I've brought what I think are the two most important marketing tools in your business, a pro camera which you don't necessarily have to use yourself, but you should get someone to use one on you, because I think professional images are obviously very important.

JANET: That's a magnificent lens!

FI: That is that's an 85mm. It's my baby, it's my favorite portrait lens, it takes a beautiful photo, I have that on my camera a lot. Yeah it's quite heavy and the phone. The phone which I won't show you the back, because it's covered in ..don't look at that but I mean, this is our best marketing tool really, and well it's with us all the time, it's with us all the time. I mean social media takes a lot of time and energy, but you know it's there, it's at our fingertips and just like you're doing today with video, you can use it to connect with your audience, so well and whilst I honestly believe professional images and video are important, it's also important to just jump on and connect with people in an authentic manner.

JANET: That's right be yourself.

FI: Yeah whether it's video, or even photos, so yeah. So in the past I've held Iphone photography workshops and I talked to my clients about, you know make sure you incorporate just your own authentic photos and videos as well, and again your audience will love that. That's right, it doesn't matter if you jump on occasionally without makeup,

JANET: or you're having a bad hair day today,

FI: ppeople love to see that real life, Yes they don't want to look and see polished, curated images all the time.

JANET: Now Fi, I went online and I was having a look on your website, and I saw that you've got a Shine magazine!

FI: Ah yes. Tell me all about that. So I was producing a magazine called Shine for probably about four or five years. I think there's about eight issues and it basically had features and articles on businesses I photographed and also some tips and tricks on different things, however and you can still access all of those via my website and they're great reading and it's just a beautiful way to feature my clients and sort of offer something although I do find people are quite time poor and time to read magazines is I mean I struggle to read book and I love reading. So I actually last year I launched a membership for women in business, called Shine as well. So it's kind of my new bigger, better version of the Shine magazine, and that's for women in business. That basically helps them build their personal brand and show up online just consistently and confidently, because I think, you know, a lot of us really struggle with that. Yes so that's just a wonderful community, where we do different master classes every month online. So we might do something around copywriting, or social media, or finances, or seo and we do a few other online events and it's also just a wonderful community of women that's really supportive. And every quarter we're doing in-person catch-ups which is always nice, at my studio. So Shine magazines on the website but also if anyone's interested in Shine the membership, unfortunately just for women in business guys, but that's a great, a great thing I started last year that I absolutely love.

JANET: Yeah  I had a quick look at the Shine magazines and you would obviously, you can see what sort of photographs you take as well and of the women in that, and the article behind them, which is a really lovely way of showcasing the people that you've worked with, but also how you work and how you work with your clients, so that's brilliant. So yeah jump online and check out the two Shines.

FI: Well I have thought I should probably produce just an annual Shine just showcasing my clients, so you've reminded me to keep that at the back of my mind.

JANET: Good that's excellent. So Fi, what is your favorite success story around one of your clients or perhaps a group of clients?

FI: Yeah probably not one comes to mind on the spot but, I would say that I, what I love about my work is, that so many of my clients come back to me after their shoot and say that just having some images that they love, that really feel like them, helps them show up online and market themselves and talk about what they do, because I think, you know it's, there's so much fear around getting online that yeah just having that nice visual, content library with you, whether it's yourself or some details, just some unique images that are yours, it gives people confidence and that's I often say to people I sell confidence more than images, because yeah you'll need you just need that confidence to get online so I think that's my big success story about what I do which I love.

JANET: And I think in this digital age, being online is an, is a non-negotiable. If you're in business, you're online. It you know, if you want people to find you, that's where you have to be.

FI: So true and like you said earlier as well, we're talking about COVID and how, you know people are at least jumping on technology much, yeah much quicker now and that's they're not so scared of it. So you just have to keep taking that a step further

JANET: and then you get older, we have to embrace it.  I mean the little kids, they live with it, they grow up with it and it's just easy. For us it's like, oh okay, why are we doing this and how does it work. Forget about that, just do it.

FI: I've got kids that are 12, I've got twins girl and a boy and I said to my daughter I said next school holidays you're going to come along and do behind the scenes footage and create some reels for me!  Cause, she's all over Tik Tok, and I'm like... how can I use those things!

JANET: that's right that's what they've grown up with. So what other services do you provide?

FI: Oh well I do help, well I still got my photography, which is sort of a different range of packages and obviously the membership, which is more of a community to help people build their brand. I do have like a 12-month package which is more I suppose of an opportunity to work with me over a longer period of time, where I also do a lot of strategy around your visual content and look at your business as a whole. What are your goals, what are the gaps in your business, with particularly your visual content, and how can we fill those. So they're really my main, my main offerings.

JANET: Okay do you do video?

FI: Oh yes I do a little bit of video. I don't do a lot, but yes I do. If it’s a high quality production video, I work with some videographers that I'll bring on board. But I definitely have done a number of videos for my clients, where you know, something like this, where they're doing interviews to camera, doing a brand video to camera, client testimonials as well, and also some of the like a brand story, with some background footage etc, so yes I do a little bit of that and I'm wanting to do more. It's finding the time to get out there and learn more myself.

JANET: So Fi how do people get in touch with you and your business?

FI: So I am found by my name pretty much everywhere so as long as you get the spelling, even if you get it wrong so it's with m-i-m-s I often get two m's in there but my website is fimims photography and I'm also on Linkedin, Facebook and Instagram as fi mims photography so You should find me in all those places, pop over and say Hi.

JANET: when you're not working what are you doing?

FI: Oh wow, I love to read. I read a lot as a kid and I struggle with time for that now, so I love to read, as I said earlier about loving, my husband and, I both loving nature and getting out and doing walks, that's probably what we try and do and again living down on the Peninsula it's been great, because everything is so much closer. We like to go on bigger hikes as well, but finding the time to do that is tough and businesses so I would say reading and yeah getting out into nature, I'm a bit of an introvert at heart. Once I come home from my shoots so I don't mind just sitting on the couch and chilling out either you know. That's fantastic, that's brilliant.

JANET: Well thanks for joining us today Fi, it's been really very interesting to learn more about you and your business and if you wanted to contact Fi all the information is on our video here for you.

JANET: So that concludes another episode of on the couch with McNeill Real Estate. Thank you for watching.

FI: Thanks for having me Janet. You're welcome, hope that was helpful.

JANET: If you enjoyed this video and you'd like to learn more about other local businesses on the Mornington Peninsula then subscribe to our channel, hit the notifications button and we'll see you soon.