Introducing Amelia McLeod Photography

We’d love to give a big, warm welcome to Amelia McLeod Photography who steps into the business spotlight this month! We’re so excited to find out more about the story behind her incredible portraiture. 

Having followed Amelia on socials throughout her 365 self-portrait project & beyond, Jess from Jess McEachen Copywriting loved getting to take five with Amelia. And boy, does she have some super exciting news to share! Her Urban Goddess Experience will produce a stunning publication that is sure to change the lives of the 45 women taking part.

We chat about how personal branding photos are integral to doing business now, and Amelia gives you her 5 hot tips to nail your social media imagery!  (Yes – even if you feel like you’re not photogenic!) We delve right into Amelia’s backstory and the journey she took from a major in Zoology to creating her photography business where she’s had clients cry with joy, finally seeing themselves as beautiful women. Amelia also reveals how being in the SA Woman membership has bolstered her confidence, knowing she’s not alone in the juggle – no, you definitely are not! 

This is a beautiful & inspiring read and we’re just delighted to have Amelia McLeod Photography with us in the Business Spotlight for July.

// Thank you for joining us in the Biz Spotlight in July! For anyone who hasn’t met you yet, can you please introduce us to Amelia McLeod Photography and who you love to work with?

Hi Jess! It’s so great to be here.  My name is Amelia McLeod and I am the sole owner and principal photographer at Amelia McLeod Photography. I am a portrait photographer who specialises in adult and small group photography. 

One of my two main genres is Personal Branding, which encompasses more than just a headshot – it is images of you that reflect the values and principles of your company  and can include  lifestyle photography for your business (that is, showing you in your business setting) and also content media (the extra stuff you need for your social media and website).

The other main genre I love to shoot is Contemporary Portraits – the modern version of glamour photography. That is, I have taken the model of Studio 2000 (surely so many of you remember them) and bought it into the modern era.

Portraits are taken in a style inspired by magazines like Vanity Fair and Vogue, and show each woman their true selves. This is an empowering day for each of my clients as we are able to do something just for them, away from the kids, husbands, businesses and everyday worries. Oh, each woman gets her hair and makeup done on the day too, so she can feel like a queen!

Lastly, I also specialise in conceptual portraits.  These are more fantastical and can show the client in any setting – they can be flying, set in a far north tropical forest, or balancing on a ribbon above the Adelaide skyline.  Anything you can imagine…


// I feel like I need pom poms or a confetti cannon – because you have kicked off a super exciting project! Tell us all about the “Urban Goddess Experience” and why you’re going to be photographing & interviewing 45 women this year?

Yes! It is so exciting!  I truly believe that we are all beautiful in our own very unique ways and I want to showcase that to the world.

The Urban Goddess Experience was born out of a small blog series I started in 2019 before Covid stopped it in early 2020. 

It is exploring the idea of what beauty means in today’s society, but also about celebrating our individual achievements, something as women we don’t do very often.  The achievements can be small to us as individuals, but very big to the person that we can inspire, or super grand – something we should be proud of ourselves and should be shouting from the top of a mountain!

I will be interviewing each of the 45 participating women across a variety of topics and will be photographing them as how they want to be seen as a Goddess. Then, at the end I will be collating all of the interviews and portraits into a book (to be self-published at this stage, so any SA Womaners who can help with guidance etc would be very helpful) and an Exhibition.  I am aiming to have all of this ready for SALA next year.


// “Empowering everyday women by creating exquisite portraits, artfully capturing moments in time”. Gosh I couldn’t love this description in your Insta bio more if I tried! Tell me though, what are the transformations you see in women who step in front of your camera? And why do you feel your most important work is to empower?

One of the most common things I hear after telling people that I am a photographer is that they are not photogenic, or that they have never had a good photo of themselves. 

This is often due to seeing photos taken at in-opportune times (like when we’re eating), taken by surprise, terrible lighting and not really understanding the science of how a single lens capture in our image (if you’re interested in the science, you can check out my blog post “How not to hate having your photo taken”).

Also, we truly are our own worst critics, and we can all find something about ourselves that we don’t really like.

With my clients I take the time to get to know them, to understand their motivations, and create a comfortable, safe space for them to allow their true natures to shine, not the faces that they put on for everyone else.

I often see a progression during the photoshoot from feeling nervous and insecure in the first photos, to feeling free and comfortable by the end.  This transformation can be from shyness to fierce power, or the opposite, from the “brave face” to vulnerability.

I have had clients cry with joy at seeing their final photos, seeing themselves as beautiful women, as confident women, seeing themselves with love. 

When we are able to look at ourselves with love and admiration, instead of seeing all of our perceived flaws, it can be an extremely empowering experience that can increase our own self-esteem and self-confidence. This can be life changing. When we are more confident in our own selves we create a space for others to look at themselves in a different light too, so it can have a flow-on effect too.

With my clients I take the time to get to know them, to understand their motivations, and create a comfortable, safe space for them to allow their true natures to shine, not the faces that they put on for everyone else.

I often see a progression during the photoshoot from feeling nervous and insecure in the first photos, to feeling free and comfortable by the end.  This transformation can be from shyness to fierce power, or the opposite, from the “brave face” to vulnerability.

I have had clients cry with joy at seeing their final photos, seeing themselves as beautiful women, as confident women, seeing themselves with love. 

Amelia McLeod

Amelia McLeod Photography

// Out of interest, what have you noticed throughout the pandemic in terms of preserving moments & having photos taken? Have people realised life can change so rapidly and are wanting to capture the here & now? Are they releasing any cares about stepping in front of a camera? Or have any other themes emerged?

Wow, that’s a great question.

Socially I think people are sharing more photos, but I don’t think there is a lot of printing of photos happening, which is a great shame. 

In fact, we are currently in an era where more photos are taken than any other time in history, however in 10 years we will have less photos printed and shared physically as they all stay on our phones and devices.

I have noticed that more of the people I know are photographically documenting more everyday events than they were before the pandemic, but mainly their families and not so much themselves.

However, there is a group of people, and especially women, who have realised during the slow down that was the lock down, that it is important to take the time to think about what is important in life, and to go on journeys of self-discovery and returning to the essence of who they are without all the noise. 

Women who are approaching me now are saying that they want to document their journeys, to express who they are, and that they want to do something for themselves.


// Gone are the days where if you were a sole trader, you’d just have a single headshot because anything more than that was unnecessary or way out of the budget! Can you share with us why personal branding photos are so important now?

We need to understand that in today’s society we have incredibly short attention spans, and that means that we don’t really read text as much as we used to, and many users are on platforms that are more visually based.

Personal branding photos form a compilation of photos that tell a story about your business, you and what you stand for.

They help to build rapport with your target audience and increase conversion.

Branding photos enable you to show sides of your business that may otherwise be unknown to your audience – like the time and the talent it takes to build your specialty.

A good set of the right images allows your audience to know you, like you and trust you.

And yes, today you can pay for some good quality stock photos, and there are even good ones available for free, but if a potential customer sees the same photo across several brands this can make them feel disconnected.

However, if you can stand out from the crowd with your own, brand specific photo, consistent photos, this can make the audience feel more connected.


// That leads us nicely into the land of socials, which can feel like a hungry beast in terms of content & imagery!

I loved where you wrote in a recent post… “Did you know that when someone sees your photo on social media, you only have 3 seconds to make an impression – in fact, 1 second to decide if we like someone, and take the other 2 seconds to decide if we can trust them.”

3 seconds!!! That’s hectic really! What are your top tips for images on social so that they do jump the trust hurdle?

Firstly, good lighting. A broad soft light is best to reduce unseeemly shadows around the eyes.

Secondly, get in close.  Social media profile photos are small, so to make a connection and stand out, people want to see your face.  If you have a full length photo your face is so small people can’t make a connection.

Declutter your background. Simple is best so that focus remains on you, not on the things around you.  Maybe choose a brand colour, after all, everyone associates red with Christmas and Coca-Cola. 

Wear clothing that reflects your brand message. Take care with your wardrobe, don’t just wear your casual clothes you wore out on the weekend, make sure they are neat and tidy.

Then, bring some energy to your headshot. Excitement, joy, determination – of course, keep this within brand – I would really hate to see a lawyer smiling like a cheshire cat….

Meet Amelia McLeod from Amelia McLeod Photography

// Now, can we go right back to the start for you, because I’d love to know what led you to running your own photography business? And, even moreso, how did you first step into the world of portraiture & fine art photography?

Ah, the “origin” story, hah! 

Okay, well I am relatively new to all of this.  Growing up I was always encouraged strongly to go into a professional job, and was told that “there’s no money in art”. 

So I followed my love of animals and did a Science degree with a major in Zoology and a minor in Genetics. After Uni I then applied for anything that said ”Science degree”.  I started my career in Cardiac Ultrasound 23 years ago. I worked my way up in management, but I found that my life had been taken over between work and on-call.

At about the 10 year mark, I was determined to find something else, but didn’t know what I wanted to do.

I changed hospitals in 2009 and got out of management.

I had time again, and so I took up photography as a hobby with the dream of being a National Geographic landscape and wildlife photographer, but it turns out, I don’t really enjoy early mornings and mosquitos…

I started photographing family and friends and realised how much I enjoyed capturing portraits. It also seemed like a really great creative outlet from my very structured career. 

I really came into my love while doing a 365 self-portrait project on instagram. It was a lot of work, but it really helped me to develop my style and my love of fine art.

I started my business in early 2017 as a hobby business, however, after attending a workshop in July 2018 I became serious about the business.  It allows me to express my creativity, connect with people and fills me with such joy and passion!

// We do so love having you within our membership! What’s your favourite part about being a member of SA Woman and what have you gained from it?

Well, let’s see.  I joined SA Woman just before the Covid lockdown in March 2020.  I have attended several meetings since we were able to get back into face to face get togethers, and I have met some lovely women at small lunches.

My favourite part of being a member is meeting other women in business and knowing that I am not alone in how I feel about juggling it all (and I don’t even have kids!). 

It is really great to know that if I need help with something business related I can reach out through the group and ask – there is usually always someone that can help you out.

With the plan of moving into my business full time, it is also great to know that there is a way to meet up with others socially, to build friendships, networks and support outside of an office setting.


// Lastly, a question we do love to ask everyone – where are your favourite spots for a delish working lunch?

Well, if truth be told, I don’t often have working lunches….. perhaps I should have more of them!  But when I do, one of the nicest places to go is Bond and Lane in Colonel Light Gardens.


Thanks for chatting with us Amelia!

Find out more about Amelia McLeod Photography:

WIN: Win a Personal Branding Session! >> Enter on Facebook or InstagramComp T&C’s

Book in: Urban Goddess Experience

Facebook: Amelia McLeod Photography


LinkedIn: Amelia McLeod