We had the good fortune of connecting with Carina Fleckner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carina, how does your business help the community or world?
As a personal branding photographer I help entrepreneurs grow their businesses through on-brand images that showcase the personality of their brand in order to connect with their audience on a more personal level. People want to do business with someone they trust and can relate to, so if you have a business it’s important that your personal brand is authentic and relatable, but at the same time it needs to be intentional and professional when it comes to putting your best qualities and hard work on display.
However, what I do goes beyond that because it’s not a typical photo session that ends in a couple of hours. What I’m interested in is the transformation. There is an extensive planning stage that includes a questionnaire where my client shares everything about their brand, how they want to be perceived and what their mission is. Then we meet to plan the photoshoot and, taking all that into consideration, we decide on the locations, outfits, props and key shots that will best portray their brand.
On the shoot day we both know what the goal is and the client feels ready and confident, and that creates the desired results. Then they receive an online gallery of beautiful and authentic images ready to be used on their website, social media and marketing materials. That’s how we turn their vision into reality.
I believe what I do with photography pushes people to become the best version of themselves, or at least it helps reveal that to the world. My mission is to inspire and empower business owners to stop playing small and step into their brilliance by showing up with confidence. That way they can use their super power to serve their community and help other people improve their lives too. It creates a ripple effect that makes a positive impact in the world.
Please tell us more about your career. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I’m from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and after years of teaching English in different countries and photographing live music as a hobby, I decided to invest in learning more about photography and began to improve my skills.
When I moved to sunny San Diego in 2015 I started photographing more people off the stage using this beautiful natural light and amazing backgrounds the city provides. My images became brighter and more vibrant and lifestyle photography became much more attractive.
I made Carina Fleckner Photography official and since then I have worked with families, couples, weddings, live music and events.
However, for a long time I hid behind the photos I took and my business wasn’t really growing. I didn’t even know the concept of having a personal brand. I thought people only wanted to see my portfolio and who I was didn’t matter as long as the images were the way they wanted them to be.
I couldn’t have been more wrong!
When I was building my website, I had no good photos of me to use. Selfies don’t really work for me and cellphone photos are just not an option when you’re creating something that you poured your heart & soul into.
Then I met Meg Marie, a personal branding photographer who did my photoshoot and later became my mentor. When I started using my photos and showing up more, my business started to thrive. I went from hiding behind my camera to hiring photographers to help me build my brand and online presence.
Now I lift up other entrepreneurs that struggle with the same thing I went through and I feel I fully understand them because I have also been there and done that!
One of the things I’ve learned on my journey is that community is everything and being surrounded by driven entrepreneurs that want to improve other peoples’ lives will give you the necessary tools to live your dream life.
I know it’s not easy but it’s worth it!
I’m proud of myself for what I’ve achieved so far and for deciding to take the leap to do photography full time and help my fellow business owners. I’m very excited about the projects I have in store for my clients, including a year-long membership program for those who need fresh content every season and on-going support through workshops and conversations on a private Facebook group. I know it will be a game-changer for lots of people who want to elevate their brand and business, and thrive.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Funny you asked! My best friend is moving to San Diego and I can’t wait to show her around! I live in the Hillcrest/ North Park area so we’re definitely going to check out the multiple fun bars and delicious restaurants around here as soon as it’s safe to do so. I’m also planning on taking her to a nice brunch at The Mission where they make the best cinnamon french toast. There will be nice walks and picnics in Balboa Park, sunbathing and swimming in Pacific Beach, and saying hi to the seals and sea lions in La Jolla while having a yummy natural gelato from Bobboi. I love coffee and food, so most of my plans involve eating or sitting at a nice cafe while chatting with a friend. You know, it’s the simple things in life that I find the most meaningful. There’s also a quote I love from the movie ‘Into the Wild’ that summarizes really well how I feel: “Happiness is only real when shared.”
I get excited when I can share all these little things that make me happy with other people, so I’m looking forward to having my bestie so close!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I love this question because I truly believe that the most crucial part of success is having the right support around you. The community I am a part of has been extremely uplifting and supportive, and I hope to serve them as much as they have served me.
I also really appreciate my clients for trusting me to help them on their journey to a more fulfilled life.
Now, if I have to pick one person, I’d like to give a special shoutout to my mentor Meg Marie Photography who not only inspired and encouraged me to pursue this life-changing career but has also shared her knowledge through courses and workshops. I’ll be forever thankful for all her support.
Other: Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/carinafleckner/
My photo: Julie de Andrade Other photos: Carina Fleckner Photography