If you are an entrepreneur, a solopreneur, you are your own brand. The tone of your messages, the clothes you wear, the images you put out on social media all communicate to the world about your brand.
Personal branding photography is images that market YOU and show to your potential clients what it feels like to work with you. A consistent personal brand image that speaks to your ideal customer builds trust and is a foundation of a successful online marketing campaign. Personal branding photogrpahy is more than just a headshot, it goes beyond that, and shows off the various facets of your personality in different settings, not just traditional “work” environment.
If you have not yet explored personal branding, there are a lot of resources out there to help you get started. I have put together a questionnaire/worksheet that helps my clients and me to hammer out the details of what would be the most important images before we even start photographing. A personal branding photoshoot requires a lot of preparation, but once it is done, the images your create together with your photographer will serve you and your brand for months and give your marketing strategy a clear direction.
Here are some things to take into consideration before and during your personal branding photoshoot. I will use the example of personal branding photoshoot for Lourdes Starshower, a South Florida tantra practitioner.
“I desperately need to update my headshots”, Lourdes texted me and we scheduled her personal branding photoshoot for a Friday golden-hour, a couple of hours before the sunset.
Here are a few things to consider when preparing for a personal branding photoshoot.
Choose a perfect location for your shoot. Lourdes wanted to be photographed on the beach. Though the beach provides a non-distracting background, I used to find it boring, but when I saw how the elements interact with each other at the location that Lourdes suggested - Boynton Beach inlet - I think I now have a new favorite ocean-front shooting location. When choosing on the location of your personal branding photoshoot, think about not only in which environment you work, but also where you like to spend time when you are not working, where you meet clients. Lourdes feels most alive, in her element, when she is connected to nature, sunlight, on the beach. In order to diversify the types of images you create, it is good to have a variety of backdrops within walking distance. In our case, we had the ocean and the rocks on one side, and then intracoastal and tall vegetation on the other, which produced two distinctly different feels of images.
Choose your outfits in accordance with what message you want to send to your audience. Lourdes chose red as color of one of her dresses, an emotionally intense color that is associated with passion, desire and love. Her second outfit was a leopard-print off the shoulder sexy outfit that we photographed in the after-glow of the sun that had already set. A wild print, suggestive of connection to your wild nature, and both outfits being dresses, embodying the divine feminine power that Lourdes teaches her female students to embrace when awakening their sexuality.
Do your research. Pinterest is your best friend! Save photos that speak to you and that are similar to what you want to evoke in your final images. Lourdes saw striking personal branding images of a woman in a red dress on a white couch and wanted to re-create that kind of feeling in her photos, but instead of the couch, she would be sitting or lying on giant rocks.
Communicate clearly with your photographer about how you want to be photographed. Your photographer might have a different vision of how to photograph you at a certain location. “I want to be sitting or lying on rocks”, Lourdes said to me when we arrived at the location. But also remain open and flexible! I asked Lourdes to walk on the beach because I wanted to get some natural shots of her, without her looking too posey and so that she would have a chance to relax, because from my experience I know that people tend to be a little stiff in the beginning of the shoot. Just like with physical exercise, a warm up is a good way to start a photoshoot.
Make a list of shots you need. You might need some shots for your website, for social media announcements, they might need to be vertical or horizontal shots, or images with lots of negative space to allow for text to be added. Your photographer will definitely create headshots for you, but it is also important to include lifestyle portraits, photos of you working and some photos of props that you can later use for your social media and blog posts.
Personal branding photography is something that best be trusted to an intuitive professional who can portray your true essence, capture that sparkle that you bring to the world. The feedback that Lourdes received on the photos from her photoshoot was "this is so you" and "this captures your exuberance" and this is the best compliment that I, as a photographer, can receive. Please contact me if you need to update your personal branding photos so you can meet the new year well equipped with an arsenal of beautiful images to promote your services and your business.
Please reach out to me if you would like to receive a Personal Branding Questionnaire/Worsheet that will help you determine what kind of images will best represent your brand - there is no obligation to book!.