WBOC Leading Lady: Alice G. Patterson
By David Tyler
SYRACUSE – New ideas are hard to come by in the business world, but local photographer Alice G. Patterson has developed a new business model that appears to be entirely unique.
Patterson, who has been a personal brand photographer in the Syracuse area for several years, started a new membership-focused business in 2018 that provides solo entrepreneurs with fresh, interactive images throughout the year. Called Loving My Business, Patterson’s service aids clients in fulfilling the ever-increasing demand for content as they expand their brand through social media.
The idea was borne out of consistent requests from her clients to have friends or clients participate in photo shoots to make them more interactive. Inevitably scheduling conflicts would arise
Patterson had an idea – create a membership model where a group of clients could all come together at a local business or outdoor setting for a monthly photo shoot. Each would have individualized photos as well as interactive photos with one another. They all would benefit by modeling in each other’s photographs and everyone would have fresh and seasonally-appropriate content for their social media branding efforts.
“I believe showcasing images of yourself with other people increases viewers’ know, like and trust factor, which leads to more engagement and hopefully more business,” Patterson said. “Members gain clarity on their messaging, image needs, have had an increase in sales and media opportunities, and last year, one of our members had her first six figure year!”
Currently there are 10 members of Loving My Company. While they come from a variety of different business backgrounds – from finance to fashion – most of the women are solo entrepreneurs.
“It’s just a win for everybody. It’s sort of like crowd sourced modeling,” Patterson said. “It’s a real community effort – the regularity of the monthly photo sessions takes a lot of pressure off my clients.”
In the “old days,” Patterson said, someone in business might have a new headshot taken once every few years, but the content demand of social media requires fresh imagery for people who really want to make an impact with their digital marketing.
“This is for someone who really wants to put their best foot forward, really get seen and noticed, and who is ready to do all the social media marketing to get their business seen,” Patterson said.
Patterson wasn’t always in the personal brand photography business. After graduating from the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, she spent the first part of her career as a wedding photographer in the Los Angeles area.
On a visit to Central New York for her nephew’s graduation in 2007, she made the snap decision to relocate to Baldwinsville, where her sister and mother were living.
“I was blown away by the difference in housing [costs] between Los Angeles and Baldwinsville,” she said, adding that she fell in love with house down the street from her sister and bought it sight unseen.
The transition, however, wasn’t smooth.
Shortly after moving to Baldwinsville in November 2007, she slipped on ice and broke her arm in five places, causing lasting nerve damage that would keep her from working during her first year in Central New York. When she was finally able to resume her work as a wedding photographer, she found the seasonal nature of the work in Syracuse difficult. Soon after she transitioned to personal brand photography.
“I really got interested in helping women in business with all of their photography needs,” she said. “Finding the WBOC really helped me … it’s where I started making friends as well as business connections.”
With Loving My Business solidly moving forward, Patterson is now trying to develop a teaching platform where she can teach photographers around the country to create their own membership models.
“I feel like every town could have a membership like this,” Patterson said. “So that’s one way that I’m hoping to scale my own business and also empower other photographers with this business model.”
In the meantime, she looks forward to continuing helping her clients find success with their marketing needs and encourages area businesses to host photo shoots for Loving My Business.
“I’m always on the lookout for great locations, so if there are any businesses out there that think they’re a great fit, I’d love for them to contact me,” she said.
To learn more about Alice G. Patterson and Loving My Business, visit agpphoto.com. Patterson is also the cover photographer for Syracuse Woman Magazine.