Jami Rice | Personal Branding Photoshoot | Santa Barbara, California


in the studio

Santa Barbara, california

Whenever I am blessed with a client like Jami, I'm reminded exactly why I love Personal Branding Photography so much. No two clients are the same - every individual has their own unique style, & my favorite sessions are always the ones where clients get really invested in the planning process & are excited to bring their own creative ideas & concepts to the table. Jami Rice was one such client, & we had so much fun together throughout the entire process of designing & creating her Personal Branding photos!

Jami is based in Los Angeles, & she hosts a true crime podcast called “Murderish” - a podcast with over 40 episodes that “delves into true stories of murder, disappearances, & other creepy events”. She reached out to me & asked if I could create some special images to help her promote her growing podcast, as she was having a new website designed & was beginning to think more seriously about building her brand. Jami was specifically in search of photos that depicted the overall vibe of her podcast, & we spent a lot of time brainstorming ideas together & coming up with some concepts that were classy, interesting, communicated “true crime”, & weren’t too kitschy or overly grotesque-looking.

We decided to try a handful of different creative concepts that would give her some visual variety & a lot of photos to choose from, & now she has a whole library of unique photos to use across her social media platforms, to promote future podcast episodes, etc. Read on to see the stunning images we created together & to get a little glimpse into what goes on behind-the-scenes during a Personal Branding photoshoot!

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I almost always start off my Personal Branding sessions with a few hours in the studio - this allows us to have a space to spread out our outfits & props, do hair & makeup, take a few moments to organize everything for the day ahead, & to get any in-studio photos that we need. My amazing Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist, Cheryl Nacario, did a pristine job not only styling Jami, but she stayed on for the entire day to assist as well! Having a Stylist & Assistant on set all day makes such a difference - Cheryl is a pro at creating natural hair & makeup looks, & her subjects always look so flawless. Also, having her around to assist is a game-changer… there are so many shots from this session that I would never have been able to create without an extra pair of hands.

To start off our shoot, I set up a little desk area in the corner of the studio & got a selection of shots of Jami “at work” recording her podcast. She brought along some helpful props (her fancy recording mic, her work computer, etc.) & we got a variety of portraits & flatlay images that will be perfect for her to use on her website & in her marketing posts. 

I always instruct my clients to bring along not only outfits & accessories that they love & feel comfortable in, but to bring along little props as well. Photos are always so much more unique & special when clients bring along a couple of personal items - a favorite notebook, mug, unique necklace, etc. It’s fun to incorporate these things into the session & to use their props to add a little more personality to the images!

Next, we moved on to my favorite shots of the entire session - a set of portraits with a crime board in the background! I love getting the opportunity to design sets, & as I was doing research for this session, I came up with the idea to create a personalized crime board for Jami that not only looked authentic & supported her brand messaging, but also incorporated some photos from some of the crime cases that she’s covered in past episodes of her podcast.

To create this crime board, I visited a few of my local thrift & craft reuse stores (a gold mine for us creative photographers!) to source materials. I gathered an entire collection of vintage photos, old newspapers, sticky notes, maps, etc., & laid everything out on my living room floor to test it out & plan how I wanted to layer everything for the session. On the day of the shoot, I hung it all up & we added some last little touches to make it perfect. The crime board made for an absolutely amazing background & we got so many fun shots of her interacting with different parts of the board - she definitely looks like a top-notch investigator!

Our final studio set was shot with a fog machine - yes, a literal fog machine. This was another concept that I planned out ahead of time & felt would give Jami some extra creative images to use for her site & marketing. After a little experimentation, I got my lighting perfect & the timing right - & we were rewarded with some stunning portraits! These shots definitely support the overall mysterious vibe of Jami’s work & podcast, & I can’t wait to see how she uses these photos in her branding. These images were some of the ones that I definitely could not have pulled off without an assistant… thank you, Cheryl!

For most of my Personal Branding shoots, we create a mixture of more traditional imagery (think headshots, simple lifestyle portraits, etc.) & more creative imagery (styled portraits, custom sets, etc.). The goal is to create a variety of images that can be used for multiple purposes & will tell the client’s story in a unique & interesting way through creative use of color, location, posing, etc. If you’re interested in learning more about different types of Branding photography, be sure to check out my blog on the “10 Types Of Branding & Business Photography” to learn more.


on location

santa barbara, california

After a break & some lunch, it was time to move on to the second part of our shoot - on-location! I’m a big fan of picking one or two locations that are close to one another & offer a fair amount of visual variety, as rushing all over the place to multiple locations doesn’t always make for the most relaxing afternoon. Any locations that have a variety of backdrop options work well - parks, downtown streets, interesting buildings, etc.

For Jami, we chose to go to the nearby Santa Barbara courthouse & take a few portraits in & around the buildings, out in the gardens, etc. In our initial consult call, Jami mentioned that she had served on a Jury a few years ago, & that that experience was part of what began her fascination with true crime & also inspired her to begin her podcast. With that in mind, I wanted to create a few shots of her in a courtroom-esque setting, so I took some different portraits of her inside one of the public courtrooms so that she could have some photos that reflected this initial inspiration to start her podcast.

Last, but certainly not least, we headed down to the beach to take a few of those classic, So-Cal beach portraits. The great thing about hitting locations towards the end of the day is that it makes for better light - you get that soft, glowy, afternoon golden-hour feel & it makes for a very fun & relaxing way to end the day!

After this shoot, Jami now has a set of unique, interesting images that will help her to promote her podcast & communicate to new listeners exactly what she’s about - true crime, fascinating cases, & her unique investigative approach to her podcast. I can’t wait to see how she uses these photos to help her business grow!

I hope you all enjoyed this little glimpse into this Personal Branding shoot - check out all the links below to learn more about Jami, read some other blogs, see more sessions, & to learn more about my work. Feel free to leave a comment below as well if you’ve got questions about setting up your own shoot, or check out my BOOKING page for more information about packages & shoot structure. Till next time… - MK

Want to see more? Follow Murderish Podcast & Miranda Kelton Photography on Instagram!


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MeEt miranda

Hello! I’m a Portrait, Headshot, & Personal Branding Photographer based in Bend, Oregon.