When Lauren Gall and Melanie Ammerman came to Worthwhile Media, they had a simple problem to solve. As the owners of VaVa Virtual Assistants, they needed photos for their company’s website and social media. As a company focused on providing virtual support to entrepreneurs and small businesses, they relied heavily on photography to show the faces of the real people behind their digital business.
Before working with Worthwhile Media, they had hired other photographers, but shared that the experience had been stressful, unorganized, and lacked the direction they were looking for from a photographer. In the end, the photographs were useful, but the experience had been difficult.
They also shared that the shoots were very sporadic. Without consistent photography sessions to provide new content, they relied heavily on stock photography. However, the options available to them felt limited. The lack of diversity among stock photos was a problem, and they couldn’t always find what they needed to tell the best brand story for their business.
As the owners of the company, Lauren and Melanie also needed fantastic headshots and environmental portraits of themselves to share among all of their PR and marketing efforts. But in past shoots they often felt rushed and awkward in front of the camera, never fully happy with the results.
It was with these problems and past experiences they came to Worthwhile Media looking for a solution. In turn, Worthwhile Media was able to provide ongoing, consistent photography that exceeded their expectations and an experience that was organized, timely, stress-free, and a whole lot of fun.
We asked Lauren and Melanie to share a little bit about their experience working with Worthwhile Media and the benefits they found in addition to the great photography they received. Keep reading to hear their story below.
"One thing that we were just blown away by is that Melissa does so much planning beforehand, she has a plan for every shoot. We hadn’t had that in the past. That’s one thing we didn’t expect but we are so grateful for." - Lauren
"Melissa and her team are very organized. She even goes as far as recommending hair stylists or makeup artists, the color palette to stick within, and the big lists of props to bring for us to use. That's really helpful. She has the whole picture of the images in her head and then she breaks it down to explain it to us, so things are in place the day of our shoot." - Melanie
"I also want to say Melissa is very adaptable. If things come up, like inclement weather, or sunlight going away, or a location not working, or something like that, she thinks on her feet and figures it out. And she works well in any scenario. Crazy dogs, excited kids running around, no problem. She remains calm, and cool, and collected, and gets the good shots that we need." - Melanie
"Before working with Melissa, we didn't really have a plan around connecting with our audience. We were connecting, but it wasn't in an organized way." - Lauren
"Melissa always has a streamlined plan. We don’t have to come up with the ideas, she’s the expert and does that and then she guides us in the process… she helps us show our clients how we work, so they can visualize it. It gives them a better picture of how it looks to work with us on a day-to-day basis." - Melanie
"Since working with Worthwhile Media we are more focused on our why and why we do what we do, which is to help business owners live the lives they want to live. Being able to tell the stories that show what we do and what our purpose is, helps us to relate more to clients in that space, and makes us a more well-rounded brand." - Melanie
“It's been great to have continuous and recurring photography sessions, so we don't really have to think about it." - Melanie
"We used to spend a couple of hours every time we wanted to hire someone for new photography. We had to search for the person and then wonder if they were going to give us good images. Now we just don't have to worry about it, because we know that Melissa is handling everything. Working with Worthwhile Media takes a lot of stress off our plate and frees up our time.” - Lauren
"Working with Melissa has also reduced our costs. We know what the expense is, we know when it's happening, it's already set. The stress around that is taken away." - Melanie
"Before we started working with Melissa, we didn’t have a consistent story message across our brand. We had consistent color themes, but not story themes. Now, we have multiple, good quality images that we can work with to tell our story."- Lauren
"We spend so much less time worrying about creating content now that we know Melissa has everything taken care of. It’s a comfort to know we have images that our team can work with. They don’t have to search for stock images or reuse images from five years ago. That's helped a lot. "
"The digital marketer that works on our account is pretty resourceful as far as finding images, but we don't want to be using stock images all the time. Having the images available creates less stress for her as she doesn't have to go search for tons of images all the time. " - Lauren
"I get a lot of comments from people about how they like our imagery. I've had conversations where people have said that they really like the content and the images that we put out on social. " - Lauren
"Before working with Worthwhile Media, we were posting less and just trying to reach people. Working with Melissa helped focus our marketing efforts to find our ideal clients by telling their story. We did a shoot with a family and showed how working with an assistant helps you put work down and be with your kids. Telling stories that people relate to in their day-to-day lives has been really good… and that’s what gets us engagement." - Melanie
"The awareness of our brand and our reach has really increased with good quality content. People say they like our photos, and they love our pages. That all ties into having a really consistent brand." - Lauren
"We trust Melissa to make us look good. We love the photos of ourselves. We are happy to send them out to every publication to represent our company ." - Lauren
"I think they all look really good. I'm self critical. So I always struggle liking my own self in them, but I think they all look really good. I love the ideas behind each one and the variety in the type of photos we're getting, and just the quality is really good too. The lighting and the colors, all of that is really great. " - Melanie
"At our first consultation meeting, she took very detailed notes, down to which side we like to be photographed on, what colors we like to wear, etc. During our shoots, she is always super fun, directional, supportive, and makes us feel very confident and comfortable. We seamlessly move through her shot lists to get the images we need, and she even coordinates all our outfits to make the images look the best they can with all of us in them." - Lauren and Melanie
"As far as growing our personal brand, and how it relates to the business, having those images puts a name behind the brand and a face behind the name, so people know who we are. We are real people running this thing. We’ve built it and we love it and this is who we are." - Lauren
"It's been helpful to get more of a personal brand presence out there and growing that and tying it back to the company. It offers more of a connection on a personal level with who’s behind the business—then you can believe in what they are doing based on your connection with them as a person." - Melanie
“We’ve talked about offering our clients the laptop lifestyle. Melissa has been able to capture the images of us on the go, being outside, or going to coffee shops, and everyone sees that we're living what we are offering people.” - Melanie
“A lot of people think that we're just like computers, but no, we're actually real people. That's probably the biggest reason in my mind why it's so important to have those personal images. People really want to see that we’re actually real people and not stock imagery ...we’re real people. We actually do real things.”
The solution was to show the people behind the company and create personal stories potential clients could relate to as business owners themselves. Photographs of themselves and their team provided a platform for trust while photographs of their clients succeeding and overcoming their own struggles created that personal connection that draws clients to their services.
VaVa couldn’t build trust with potential clients without showing the human side of their organization. As a service provider working exclusively online they ran the risk of appearing “robotic” and impersonal. Quite the contrary they had an amazing team of real-life humans working as virtual assistants on the other side of that computer screen. And the company was owned by two real-life amazing women working hard to meet the needs of their clients and provide a fantastic service for both their clients and their team.
"We're focusing more on why we do what we do - it is to help people live the lives that they want to live, and have their successful company, and have work life balance. So being able to tell those stories makes a more well rounded brand - shows what we do, what our purpose is, as well as relates to the clients more in that space."
"Melissa has truly found her calling and she goes above and beyond what typical photographers do. Her passion for photography can be seen in everything she does for her clients. She is thorough, professional, highly skilled, and really fun to shoot with. And the images came out just beautifully! They are well lit, put together and edited, and they can be used for what we need them for. We cannot be any happier with our experience with working with Melissa!! If you are looking for a top-notch photographer in the Atlanta area, I highly suggest you hire her today - she is 100% worth it!"
-Lauren and Melanie, VaVa Virtual Assistants
In 2020, VaVa Virtual celebrated nine years in business. Established in 2011 by native Midwesterners Lauren Gall and Melanie Ammerman, VaVa Virtual specializes in executive assistance, marketing, and creative support for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and individuals. By pairing them with seasoned assistants, VaVa is able to give their clients more time to focus on building their business so they can achieve the work-life balance they desire.