MVP 13 | Branding Photographer

Capturing a picture is as easy as 1-2-3, but bringing life into art takes the magic from the eyes of an artistic professional. Taking us on a journey beyond the lens of the camera is Marina Wanders. She is a commercial and branding photographer with keen eyes, artistic minds, and magical hands to bring art and spirit out in her photography and into the room. Today, Marina opens this episode with a thriving photographer’s story, which takes manifestation and action to build her dream client. She also shares how she is bringing life into photography from the lens of a thriving photographer. Marina finds integrating authenticity into your brand attracts clients because that is where they will resonate. Tune in to this episode to capture the value of today’s conversation, and you will know how to catch your client’s eyes with a single click of a thriving photographer’s camera.

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Bringing Life Into Photography From The Lens Of A Thriving Branding Photographer With Marina Wanders

Our guest is Marina Wanders. She is a commercial and branding photographer who has worked with Rachel Hollis, Aubrey Marcus, and many amazing people, including Arbonne International, other big corporations, and so much more. She’s fantastic at bringing the art and spirit out in her photography and into the room. I’m excited. Marina is here with me. Thank you for joining me.

Thank you so much. I am integrating that introduction into my body and I’m like, “You’re good.” We’re going to channel that energy into my body and we can both be professional.

We don’t have to be. We can just have fun if you want to. We have a lot of different topics that we can and will talk about. We won’t talk about them all in this episode, but I’m thinking of having multiple episodes with different topic directions. We’re going to start with you telling us first about your journey with photography. How did you become the amazing photographer that you are?

I remember being 5, 6, or 7 years old and being fascinated with the perception and perspective of a window screen. You can either focus on the screen and then the background gets blurry or you can look past the screen then you see the background, the screen gets blurry. I remember doing that for hours. I spent a lot of my time grounded as a child. That’s probably what I needed, but I was locked in my room like a princess and threw away the key kind of deal. I remember thinking like that for so long and driving on road trips, I would be like, “This would be a cool picture. This and that was here.”

In 2018, I got a divorce. It was very much like you can pursue your dreams, passions, and goals or you can be a bartender. You could go back into service. You can do that life but we know we need money. We need a house, car, and phone. I never paid my own bills as an adult, then I was an adult with two children. It was this point in my life where it was like, “What direction are you going to go?” My mom would always tell me like, “You can do anything you want in life.” I chose the photography route. Here we are. I’m not on here about being the world’s best bartender.


MVP 13 | Branding Photographer


I became a photographer and I started off by donation. I remember the first time someone donated $300. I was flabbergasted. I was like, “You’re going to give me $300.” I remember it was my friend Madison, and we have been best friends since kindergarten. She’s a photographer now. Shout out to Madison. I remember that and it fueled my soul. I was like, “I can pay my bills on this. I can be a full-time creative, love my job, and still give my kids everything that they’ve always wanted.”

Fast forward five years, God has taken me on this crazy ride and now I photographed celebrities. I remember getting calls and being like, “Would you like to photograph Aubrey Marcus next week?” It’s like, “What? Yeah, I would.” I remember hitting that milestone in my career of like, “That was my dream client, Aubrey Marcus.” That’s who got me into my spiritual awakening and my healing. I always was like, “I want to be Aubrey Marcus’s photographer.” He has a photographer. She’s great. Shout out to her as well but I was like, “I want to do this.” I did. I remember that I was depressed afterward. I was like, “I reached the biggest thing I thought was achievable. Now what?” I think I’m rambling on about the question that you asked, but that was like the journey.

I feel very blessed that I’ve never taken a class on how to edit photos. I’ve never taken a course on how to use a camera. I watch YouTube videos and play around, but I feel like it’s such a God’s gift to me. I am grateful that it provides the lifestyle and everything for me and my kids. I get to basically be a stay-at-home mom and help people, but while creating art. That’s my thing.

We could do branding photos that you’re holding the coffee cup, you look like you’re smiling into the camera and you’re typing on your laptop. We could do that, but a million other people have already done that. That’s not art or creative. It’s like, “How can we showcase your personality with glitter, flowers, rainbows, sequins, and disco balls?” Maybe none of that is your brand and that’s okay. We could use flowers and stuff too, but it’s like, “How do we create art out of your business that captures people’s attention so that you can share your message even more?”

It’s with your own unique brand and spirit. That’s one of the things that I noticed about you and your art in your photography. I’ve worked with photographers throughout the years from a branding and marketing standpoint. It’s interesting because even back then, doing product photography was one thing. You can make a product come to life. There’s a difference between a food photographer who snaps the shot and one who puts together the scene or the crafts and captures even the essence and soul of food.

You can do that. I remember talking to different photographers, trying to look and see in their portfolio, like, “Do they just go and snap the shot list that I provide to them like what do we need to capture in order to tell the client we did this or do they look at that list and see, ‘What’s the most interesting, beautiful angle to capture this?’ Whether it’s, “I’ve been out in oil production fields and taking pictures of pipes, how do we make this look beautiful?” You can make it gorgeous. That’s what I’m saying.

You can bring life out of anything. This is what I would always ask as an art director, creative director, and brand manager, “Do I have to be on the set scene with you and say like, ‘No. Get down on the ground right here and look up. You can capture that little twinkle over there at the same time. That guy’s welding. Run over there and capture the spark?’” Do I have to be on scene on the set and tell you all those things because the shot list says, “This pipe, that pipe, this person, this group?” What I have seen over the years in looking at photographers from a brand standpoint is the difference of art versus being able to use a camera.

Immediately I saw that you brought out because you don’t do product photography. You do life photography. You call it a brand because it captures the life essence of the person. That’s what branding is to me. A brand experience is capturing the life essence of the brand, company, and product. That’s what I see from your photography. I have two questions. How do you go about understanding what’s right for each person? The other question I don’t want to forget is how did Aubrey call you? How did their people come to call you?

Let’s start with the second question because that’s a crazy story and I would love to share that publicly. I was working with a coach and financial struggles have definitely been a part of my story for the last few years. We were sitting there and she was like, “We’re going to manifest your dream clients right now. Close your eyes.” We did this thing with a coach. We’re doing this meditation. We’re calling them my dream clients.

I didn’t even think of Aubrey at that time. I was like, “I need someone to pay my rent bill. Please come. Let me brand you. Let me help and support your business.” We did the whole exercise. Everything is the same. I still have $40 in my bank account. I’m like, “Whatever.” The next day, Aubrey’s assistant called me. I had never even talked to Aubrey Marcus’s people. At that time, there was no direct connection. They had gotten my Instagram from someone who gave them my number.

They call me like, “Our photographer is out of town. We’re having an event next week. We need a photographer. Can you come?” I was like, “I will be there. No problem. No questions asked. Here’s my contract. I will see you,” and then I was there. It was crazy. It was such a surreal experience of being there and photographing the event.

I remember listening to the podcast years prior, then being there and realizing the power of your beliefs, thoughts, and manifestation and knowing full fruition how true that is. It was phenomenal and incredible. It’s proven that you literally can do anything you want to. Some things are bigger like you want to go to the moon. That probably is going to take a lot of power, dedication, and meditation. If you want to attract your dream clients, it’s not that hard. It’s simply believing in it and knowing where you want to go. I love that we shared that.

MVP 13 | Branding Photographer

Branding Photographer: If you want to track your dream clients, it’s not that hard. It’s simply believing in it and knowing where you want to go.


When you said it, I was like, “Had you been following her? Did you call her before? Did you do all these things that most people would say, ‘If you want this to come, then that’s what you have to do.’” It makes sense to me and where I am in my life journey and the process that I’ve been through that it would happen, especially for you. We were talking about surrendering. It’s interesting because there are many things that we may understand or know to be true. Whether you believe in manifestation, God, or anything like that, there are things in your life that you know to be true that, “If you do this, this other thing will happen.”

We can break it down to being as simple as, “If you eat less calories, you will lose weight.” Concrete things versus more spiritual things, “If you wake up and journal your dreams, you’ll learn something. If you wake up and meditate first, then you’ll do this. If you are clear about what you want and stick with that clarity, then you will achieve it.” You do have to work on something. You can’t manifest and meditate all day.” Maybe somebody can.

I think that’s how you end up with $40 in your bank account.

Lesson learned. Don’t sit there and try to manifest. You have to go to somebody and tell them your dreams and then we’ll show up the next time. The interesting thing about all of this is that no matter your level of commitment to spirituality or success, and anybody reading this has some dedication to success because it’s a business show, it is like reading one business book a month or week or whatever your thing is that, you know it to be true. There’s still a re-remembering and commitment. For instance, your diet or your workout routine. You get into a pattern and then you get off the pattern and you think, “It’s over. I’m done. I didn’t do it anymore.”

Let's learn; don't just sit there and try to manifest. Click To Tweet

Once you re-remember, you can get back on the path. The interesting thing is maybe surrounding yourself with people who have the same mindsets as the things that you know to be true will get you to that next point. If you know to be true that a connection to God, manifestation, and knowing your clear path is more important than making sure your business plan is fully ready, then committing to that, but being around people who have that same level of commitment to remind you of what you know to be true. I love all types of people and I’m around every type of person that there is and I’m like, “You’re amazing.” That’s true too.

Your way of doing like, “You get up at 5:00 in the morning. You do this. You have a protein shake and whatever.” That’s your way of knowing success to be true. Should I do that? You were saying earlier, being in this way of having 5 to 10 different ideas of what could be or what you think might be true for how you come to your next level of success. Once you’ve found success, what’s your next level is another step and journey.

Sometimes at that point, once you get to that level of success, you probably have to be like, “What do I do now? This is the pinnacle of what I thought I wanted. How do I get the next superstar?” You have to remind yourself like, “How did I get here? What do I know to be true? What habits do I need to put back in place?” It’s okay if you get off that path to come back to it or to find another path that you now know to be true as long as you at least stick with one for long enough to confirm or deny.

From beginning to end, let’s see. Let’s have this experiment. I feel like I’ve been doing that with exercise. I don’t love exercise by any means. I’ve been hearing that voice that’s like, “You need to exercise.” I’m like, “No, it won’t change anything, but let’s commit to 30 days of exercise and see the results at the end. Does it work or does it not?” So far, the workout game has been totally beneficial to my mind, body, spirit, and business in return as well.

Let’s be scientists. It’s interesting because everyone is agreeance. There’s the placebo effect. There’s spirituality, God, and all of these things. They’re all saying the same thing. If we do that scientific research in our own lives, commit to one thing, and see the end results, then we can confirm and deny for ourselves, “Is it good? Is it not good? Yes or no?” Move from there, then you pivot, move, and restructure your business. You flow from that space.

MVP 13 | Branding Photographer

Branding Photographer: Commit to one thing and see the result.


What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for all. Everybody’s body, sleep patterns, and needs are different. General healthy eating and movement are good, whether it’s a commitment to go to the gym, do yoga 3 or 4 times a week, or go swimming in the river and do a walk. Some of those things are what science has done for us. You can consume calories and lose weight. You can increase calories and fat and gain weight. Actors will like to eat a whole bunch of donuts to get the role. We know what happens there.

In business, life, relationship success, and all those types of things, you need to look at it from the outside for a while and say, “I’m going to commit to doing this thing for a little while and truly trying it.” It’s one thing that is interesting about manifestation and mindset. This has tripped me out in my life. I’m 42 going on 43 and there are several things in my life that I’m like, “Why is that here? Why is this showing up for me?” I look back not to judge myself but go, “I asked for this in this way. I didn’t think it was going to show up like this.”

The opposite has been true. You talked about struggling as a single mom. I became a single mom. I paused there because I feel like there are two different types of single moms. A lot of people have all sorts of extra respect as they should for single moms. The ones who literally have no husband, ex-husband, or ex-partner that they can rely on at all definitely have life so much harder. Now that I’ve been a single mom who gets child support on a regular basis and knows that my ex-husband will show up on time and give my children a good extra life separate but wonderful, I am grateful for that and understand the difference in a totally new way.

I wanted to mention that I’m living in a separate house and having to pay my own bills by myself without a partner and all of that, but the single moms who have to work three jobs because there is not another partner or another family member to help is a totally different level of respect that I want to shout out there.

That journey started for me a few years ago. I quickly got into a beautiful home, but I only had a six-month lease. It took me about two weeks to move in and make this place comfortable and it has to feel like home, “I’ve got to find another place in six months and I’ve got to do the first month’s last month deposit, all the security things, and moving expenses. I have my own business, there’s not the bank statement of a perfect steady paycheck income. How am I going to get into something? How is this going to work?”

I would panic in the backyard by myself going like, “All I want is a small house with a big yard near water. That’s a lot to ask.” I kept saying that in my head. I’m like, “How am I going to get that in Wimberley when everything is expensive and nothing is for rent? What am I going to do?” I put on Facebook, “Where do people go to find rental places in Wimberley?”

Zillow and things like that are not coming up or the moment something is for rent, it’s taken. It’s $5,000 or $8,000 a month. I posted that and everybody said, “Zillow.” One of my friends sent me a direct message and said, “I don’t know what you’re looking for but this house popped up on Community Forum.” I called the guy and I was like, “I’m sure you have a million people. Can I come look at it?” I talked to him and said like, “I’m a newly divorced single mom. My bank statements aren’t even separated yet. Our taxes aren’t done yet from last year. My business is struggling because I’m struggling. Please trust me that I will pay your rent and I will take care of your property.”

I came and looked at it. I’m like, “Wow.” It’s not that small. It’s a perfectly little 1,700 square foot 3 bedroom home for me and my boys, but it has river access and we spent the entire summer for six hours a day in the river. I’ve got this yard that backs up to a ranch and all these animals, birds, and all the things. My front yard was the craziest thing. Wimberley is more of a natural place. We aren’t a California-perfect lawn town, but most people still mow their lawns, do the thing, and keep it manicured. I like things more natural and especially out here, the wildflower season is amazing.

I decided to let my front yard grow and I got more varieties of wildflowers than any other place in the neighborhood, including the open lots where nobody lives. I have never even seen this wildflower before. The landlord who owned it before had a service come and mow. It hasn’t had wildflowers blooming every season, but my front yard is completely full of wildflowers. It’s July now so they’re all dry and not blooming, but a month ago, it was amazing like, “Where did the seeds even come from?” I go on that big long diatribe to say, “If you’re very specific and clear, and sometimes you hope for it years before, it will come. Sometimes you hope for it and you don’t hope for it, but it will come.”

You have to be careful about what you allow to resonate in your mind when you’re thinking about your life and your business. I go into all this because I think that as a small business, an entrepreneur or even a solopreneur like you are, we let our fears sink in sometimes. If we let them settle and we picture what that failure would look like, then we’re more likely to have that failure. If we feel in our body that fear of failure, we’re more likely to have it.

You should be careful about what you allow to resonate in your mind when you think about your life and business. Click To Tweet

If we’re afraid to do the thing, we’re more likely to fail at that thing. It’s an interesting concept that I don’t think that most business owners allow themselves to grasp. That’s my soapbox about that. That’s a long story on your interview. I’m only bringing it up because of your story about how you got your dream client. I appreciate you sharing that. Let’s go back to the Marina story. Tell us about your process for learning what setting or art makes sense for your clients. Some of them are more typical headshots. Some of them are like disco balls, glitter, and whatever it is. What’s your process for determining who gets the glitter?

If you’re a real estate agent, usually you don’t get a disco ball. In my process, first, we go on a phone call interview. It’s like, “What are you looking for? What do you want?” My clients come to me and they have an idea of like, “I have a horse. I want to incorporate it into my brand. I have pink limos. I need pink glitter disco balls in my branding. I am a real estate agent, I need this bougie house.” I feel like my clients usually come to me with that. I started offering. I switched my whole pricing or business guide. It’s like, “I want to dive into my client’s brand and social media.” I offer so much more than just art.

It’s like, “What are you going to do with this? Where are you going to put this on your social media? Where are you going wrong on Instagram?” This is different than your question, but I’m going to share. My clients come to me and they need images, but they also need an Instagram makeover because their photos are off. Their profile picture is not particularly the best one. Their bio could be reinvented same with their Facebook and website.

We spend typically 2 to 3 hours on things that have nothing to do with photos. We’re looking into their social media and brand, “What colors do you want? What text should you be using? Are you feminine or masculine?” That’s usually where I start with branding. That doesn’t mean woman or man, but it’s like, “Do you have a more feminine brand or more masculine?” We branch off from there, “What are the colors that we want to incorporate? What is your mission? What do you want people to feel when you’re looking at these images? Do you want them to resonate with you and then dive deep into their personal healing? Is that what we’re trying to pull out of people or are people looking at this image now they want to spend $5 million on a home? What feeling do you want your clients to feel?”

Usually from there, it’s serendipitous that we know the right locations. I have a million locations. I’ve been doing this full-time in the Austin area for many years. I grew up in the Austin area, in Fredericksburg. I’m familiar from Marble Falls to San Antonio. If you keep me West of 35, I’ve lived everywhere and been everywhere. We know the spots and the locations. We show up. That’s why I started switching to half days and full days because I noticed in my hour branding sessions.

We can get you tons of images. No problem. I offer content days. We do hour-long sessions back to back with clients. If you show up, you have to know what you want and have your outfits ready. That’s on your own because that’s the structure of it. If you want consistent content and you know what you’re doing, these are the perfect days for you. If you want more support, then we show up together. We either have no more time limits. It’s either a half day or a full day. What does that feel like? Half days are 2 to 3 hours, which may not seem like a half day, but if you’ve ever had your photo taken like I have to get my photo taken all the time, after two hours, it feels like a half day.

I need to go eat lunch. I need a break and calm my nervous system down. It’s a lot of processing that goes on behind the scenes for my clients showing up, getting their photos taken, and your insecurities coming out. It’s a spiritual journey getting your photograph taken. I don’t know why. I didn’t make it like this.

It's a spiritual journey getting your photograph taken. Click To Tweet

I think because for you it is pulling out their authentic self, not just point, smile, and shoot. It’s not like, “Sit here, chin up, and put your elbow down.” She’s watching me do all the things that you’re like, “Chest forward.” You get more awkward as the photographer guides you. Sometimes that works. For you, it is pulling out the authentic side. I was thinking about this with my brand, photography, and the direction that I will be going in the future. There’s this woman, who I think is absolutely phenomenal. She’s a female life and business coach. I see her as super inspirational and incredibly elegant, beautiful, and bougie. Her photos are like gowns by the pool and she looks like a superstar. A lot of people think, “If I want to X, I need to have that bougie look in my Instagram.” That’s what people want to follow. The problem is keeping that consistent. It still has to be authentic. If I showed up on my Instagram all of a sudden in ball gowns by a multimillion-dollar pool, people would be like, “That is a nice pool.”

I wouldn’t be able to keep it up even if I married the wealthiest person, because that’s not who I am. I’m sitting here with no shoes, a tank top, and shorts. Not that I’m going to do my Instagram with all that, but it’s a more natural personality. That’s one of the things that people should keep in mind when they’re putting together their thoughts on what their brand should be. How much are they going to show up as that when they meet the client?

How close are they going to get? Are you the one who wears lipstick every day or not? Are you the one who shows up to your Zoom meeting in Dolce & Gabbana? What is your personal brand as opposed to trying to fake it on Instagram? It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t up the game and look your version of amazing, but it should still be your version. Show up authentically so that you can continue to own that for a long time.

MVP 13 | Branding Photographer

Branding Photographer: Show up authentically so you can continue to own that for a long time.


Authenticity is a key selling point from a business standpoint. We have done the social media game of the influencers being perfect, having the perfect feed, everything is curated and there’s an aesthetic. We did that era. That was from 2000 to 2020. We did that for twenty years. We love that and now we’re moving on. People want authenticity. They want to know the real you. After COVID, we have all gone on a new journey and we resonate with people on a deeper level. It’s like we want it to be visually appealing. You’re not going to eat a pizza that looks like it fell on the floor. You’re not going to. You don’t want to eat that but you want a beautiful pizza that tastes delicious.

What we’re diving into now is the taste of people like, “What do you have to offer? Are you being authentic? Are you being your real self?” We can play with that. I’m a new person every other day. It’s like, “Today I’m dressing up like my housewife Marina. I’m going to attract my million-dollar man wearing a white dress and gold earrings. It’s great. Tomorrow maybe I’m pop star Marina and I’m wearing a sequined suit.” You never know what you’re going to get, but that’s all authentic to me. Everyone has these sides of themselves to play and have fun with your brand and do a way that you can be consistent.

“Do you have the funds to afford a photographer every month? If yes, let’s do that. If not, let’s figure out a way to keep your content high quality and still remain professional at the same time.” When I first started branding myself, I was like the queen of rainbows. My feed was delicious, gorgeous, rainbow, and glitter. I’m still very proud of that brand but it was hard to remain consistent. I am a photographer and a creative but I couldn’t post anything that wasn’t me covered in glitter and paint celebrating my birthday because it wasn’t on brand.

Make your brand something that is realistically achievable because you’ll die if not. You literally won’t be able to maintain it. You don’t want your brand to be like rainbows, glitter, and butterflies, but then you’re also not doing that on your feed. You’re like eating pizza on the couch. Let’s find some place of cohesion that feels comfortable to maintain.

You can show up authentically for needs to come with that. When you have an idea, “I should post this, how does it align? How does it not align?” The more often you think, “I would like to share this with my community,” it aligns with what your community wants. Paying attention to that, not just looking at the analytics, but who is it that you want to show up and work with you on a daily basis and what are they hoping to get. Will you feel excited about that showing up with those people every day or will they wear you out in some way? Will they build you up or wear you out?

That’s one of the things about building a personal brand. Even if you have a product company, everybody still wants that personal piece of it. They want you to show up and intermingle with your product. That’s an interesting journey to walk down as well. Everybody wants to know what’s behind the product and the person. They want to show up with the brand. People feel like they are partners with the brands that they buy these days. They are feeding an animal. Do they like that animal is their pet, they want to cuddle with it every day or are they embarrassed and they’re not going to tell anybody that they have that animal in the basement?

I’ll bring up Jimmy John’s for instance. This is what I’m okay with totally bashing it. I love their sandwiches. I like their products. Their people were great, but then I learned that the founder and owner of that company goes wild game hunting for sport. A big game for fun with no regard for whether or not they are going extinct or what the impact is on the world. I stopped eating there. I haven’t eaten there in years. If somebody says, “Let’s go to Jimmy John’s,” I have this feeling of like I’m beating the monster in the basement. There are many people in our world who are more like that and more conscious of it than ever before.

People have been doing that from a religious standpoint for a long time. They will purposefully align themselves with a business that aligns with their religion, but in the past, they were less likely to shy away from a neutral business. Now people want to know. They want answers. Whether you are a personal brand, a photographer, a solopreneur or you have a product, you still need these personal, energetic, authentic images of people to have in your social media. It is the world that we’re living in. You can’t hide from it anymore.

Content sells. We’re all content creators at this point. Basically, we’re all presidents of the United States in an aspect of everyone is going to know exactly what you’re doing. They will know if you’re hunting game in Africa and that you’re killing the rhino or whatever Jimmy John is doing and take full accountability for that. Once you have accountability for yourself and you are good with your morals, it’s fun because then the power is in your hands. We have so much knowledge. How many people can you reach now versus the other days? What is your personal brand? What do you want it to be? You can create it from there. Qveen Herby has taken the Instagram world by storm and she is doing her own thing.

She knows the power of social media. She’s righteously acting with all the forces of the world and has bloomed overnight. Her lyrics are incredible. She’s here to change the world game on this planet. I totally believe that. She’s used it for good. I love that. I stand behind that. We could talk about all the horrible things about social media. We’re also aware of addiction, influence, and all of the things, but we can also talk about the influence that we have to make a difference. We’re at this melting pot after COVID of like, “Which way is the world going to go?” We’re having riots. I’m not getting into political things or anything like staying branding, but we have massive shifts and changes that are happening on this planet. No one can deny that. It’s like, “What side of the revolution are you going to be on?”

There are many sides. You could love the rhinos or not. You could love whatever you want, but we all have passions, dreams, and desires for a purpose. Many people want to make a difference in their world, community, and all of the things. You have the power to do it if you want to. Show up for yourself and your knowing of your truth. Share your messaging because we need that right now. The fact that photos can help you do that, I’m honored to be able to show up in that space and help my client. The world shift. We can do it in a way that is playful, fun, and less serious. We can do it covered in glitter and disco balls if that’s your jam and that’s great. We don’t need to take this seriously.

Have fun and show up. I find it phenomenal that art is showing back up in the world in a totally different way. When the iPhone and phones got better cameras, at first, photographers were like, “People are not going to use us for their headshot anymore or for whatever it is.” Now it’s interesting that it’s shifted back to where people are realizing that the true artists are able to bring something out that you can’t with your standard selfie. You have your own personal feed. You’re taking pictures of your kids and all that stuff, but there’s a reason why people like to take pictures of their kids and then they go to a studio or to a photographer to get their family photos.

You capture something completely different. I love seeing how photographers are finding a whole new outlet and business that was starting to go away for a little bit. As we got into the service and digital economy, the better machines get. This is a totally separate conversation of where AI is. It’s going to put many people out of business. It is until we discover again that you can’t beat the human artist, mind, passion, and the connection that we bring to it, which falls back down to your God-given talent. You didn’t have to take all these classes to learn.

It was provided to you as a gift to share with the world. The more we appreciate and understand that, technology can feed us in a lot of different ways. It’s that authentic connection and knowing what your art, purpose, and gift are. It’s bringing that out and sharing it with the world, whether it is a vision, mission, and passion statement that you want to bring the collective energy up or to bring conscious awareness to a particular thing or you have a product. It doesn’t have to change the world but improve someone’s life in some way. Showing up authentically, being willing to put it out there, and putting yourself out is such a brave thing to do.

As I said earlier, I’m 43 years old so I’m not super comfortable with putting myself on social media and seeing all these people. Only the young in this space are all in because they grew up that way. They know how to do it and they’ve been showing up. As teenagers, they try to figure out who their authentic selves are and now they’re coming into it. It’s interesting to see how it is shifting and shaping our world.

If we allow social media to be a negative place with your negative newsfeed or whatever, then it can be. For me, it has become a very artistic and inspirational outlet. My friends and I share all the positive and funny things in the world. My friends are all over the world and we still get to continue to see each other grow, change, and share inspiration because that’s what we choose to share with the world.

If you subscribe to the idea that things are mirrors and what’s in it without, social media is the same thing. Whatever is on your feed, you follow and choose that. The Meta is all-knowing. They’re not targeting you with ads without things that aren’t already resonating with you. If your feeds are full of negative nonsense like a warning trigger, that’s probably because there’s negative nonsense going on within that you need to look at because my social media is full of great things, rainbows, glitter, and inspirational people.

MVP 13 | Branding Photographer

Branding Photographer: If your feeds are full of negative nonsense like a trigger warning, that’s because there’s negative nonsense going on within that you need to look at because of my social media.


I did go through a social media detox. I was following a total of 30 people at one time and I unfollowed everyone. I feel like we potentially feel obligated to follow that person we knew in fifth grade, but no. Maybe they will notice and message you, “Why don’t you follow me anymore?” That’s okay. Try to be as honest as you can but you are in full control of social media in a lot of ways. What are you filling your life and mind with? We all have heard we are the top five people that we hang out with. We can consume many other things through our phones, food, and whatever.

I would say the top five voices whether it’s what you’re watching on TV and what you’re consuming on through your phone, tablet, or whatever it is. We have to be careful of that with our kids as well. We are the top five energies and voices.

Also, to take ownership. You can either be a victim of that or you can take full ownership of that.

It’s like you can change your diet and input all the different things. We have to curate our digital community as well as the community that we interact with in our lives. Like everything else, we forget that we can change those things. Smoking used to be cool. Doctors did it.

Inside restaurants, we ate cheese sticks and smoked a cigarette at the same time.

We changed because we learned. We can curate our community and our voice and shift it at any point.

I believe that truly life is art. We had discussed something earlier that we’ll save for another show. Life is art and you are the painter. What do you want to paint? We all have that vision inside of us. I’ll speak for myself. I’ve known what I wanted since I was a seven-year-old girl. I remember saying and wanting the dream, and it’s still the same. I still desire the same exact things as that seven-year-old little girl did. To give yourself permission to paint that picture, like, “It’s okay if it’s against social norms,” or maybe it is the social norms. I want a white picket fence, go to church every Sunday, have a man, and do the whole picket fence life. I would love that.

Life is art, and you are the painter. Click To Tweet

To give yourself permission to be and do whatever you want to on whatever spectrum of the rainbow and glitter that you are, you’re allowed to do that. That is what is going to save this planet, help the planet, or change the world. Even if you have a product, say it’s toothpaste and it’s a great toothpaste, that’s going to shift the planet like you living your best life, whatever that looks like. There are no rules. If there were no rules, what would your best life look like? Know that that’s possible. It’s achievable and do that. I believe that we can do that through content. That has shifted my life. I have done extremely incredible things with my life because I have great content and community.

I have a great community. I am fueled by community. I feel blessed to have learned the importance of community at such a young age. I’m sure there are other things and other Cs people could add in that are impactful, but those are the two things that have shaped my life the most. I am tuning in to this show and I’m like, “Wherever this may land, know that it is fully possible and all the limitations we have in our mind are totally valid.” I’m not saying that the stories that we have of, “It’s hard to change our diet. I can’t unfollow my grandma.” All of these stories that we have are valid and true. Emotions are real but give yourself permission to change those.

I finished writing my memoir and I did it because it’s a wild and crazy story. I keep trying to figure out like, “What’s the lesson here? What am I trying to share?” One of the things that I learned is that there is no bottom and top to anything, but only the limitations that we place around ourselves. As I said earlier with the things that we know, sometimes you recognize a limitation and then you forget or you are afraid. It’s like, “This is truly my limitation. I am not smart enough.” Very few people say, “I’m not worthy of love and attention,” but we all feel it.

That fear holds us back from a lot of things, but it’s a curse that somebody put on us at some point. Everybody’s curses are different. Everybody’s limitations are different like the limits of top and bottom are different. For some people, having $40 in the bank, they’re like, “I can get a pack of smokes and a handle of whatever. Go have a good time. I can go to McDonald’s and get ten Happy Meals.”

For some people, $40 is a top and not a bottom. Even being homeless is not quite the bottom. It’s not the thing that’s going to turn their life around. For some people, the top is having the white picket fence and any husband at all. For some people, there is no top. They keep rising and rising. They’re like, “They’re in the clouds by now. How the heck do they keep going?” They don’t perceive a top, but that is a truth for every single one of us. That limitation is put on us by someone usually early on.

It could have been generational. It could have happened five lifetimes ago.

It’s something that we can overcome once we recognize it. The issue that I have is that you have to continue to recognize it again and again like when you are choosing your meals. If you want to cheat, then it’s totally cool. Know what the ramifications are. How does that affect you and your body or somebody else’s body? I think that it’s relevant in this case because you have seen yourself with these tops and bottoms that have shifted your life. These goals and pictures that you’re painting, you’re working for and you’re striving for.

I’ve only known you for one year but I’ve seen you rising into the clouds and I see that you always have a dream. It’s beautiful. I love it. You always have something that you are excited about and you’re moving forward with. It always includes sharing, giving, and shining a light on someone else. I honor that. I see so much beauty, not just in your craft and your art, but in everything that you provide back to the world. Thank you for sharing that with me, the world, and my audience. It’s absolutely beautiful. We talked about you being a photographer. Where can people find you?

My Instagram is @MarinaWanders. My website is You can email me at If you Google Marina Wanders, I’ll show up. Shout out to my senior in high school who decided that was going to be my Instagram name. Now it’s carried me on and it will carry me on for the rest of my life.

It’s such a phenomenal name.

I’m grateful because every time I try to come up with a new business, I always run into this roadblock of naming things. I’m grateful we got this out of the like thing. It’s Marina Wanders forever. We legally probably should change my name to Marina Wanders. Thank you so much for having me. I’m glad that we get to be friends and create and be in community here in Wimberley, Texas and beyond. Now we’re expanding to whoever is reading this. That’s great.

The photography sessions that you’re doing are not just in Wimberley. They’re in Fredericksburg and Round Rock. People can hire you directly without being in one of those bookings too.

If you stalk me on the internet, you’ll get a good read of what’s happening.

Thank you so much for joining me, sharing your story, and hearing my soapbox.

If you have any feedback about this show, make sure you share. We’re all very curious about how this is going to land, where we even go and where have we been. I’m not sure.

We did it all. We also want to thank our supporters, VINE Collective and Tower Commercial Real State. Thank you for reading. If you like it, tell your friends. Follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn. The mission of the show is to dig deep into the lives of true leaders and leadership that others can follow, knowing that the path isn’t always easy but the journey is worth it. Enjoy the day and live with passion.


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Meet Marina Wanders

MVP 13 | Branding Photographer