What makes a great personal branding photo shoot?
The fundamentals for me are ‘truthful, natural, information (interesting personal content) and charismatic (engaging).more
‘Truthful’ (both in business photos and personal branding photos) however is key because without it we mislead, misinform and cause mistrust and confusion around your business and brand. Confusion leads to question, then leads to ‘find someone else’ and you have lost the sale before you held an opportunity to even quote for it.
‘Truthful’ is making photos that reflect you and your business as you are right NOW. Your photos should look like someone walking into a room, holding up a big mirror and reflected back to you exactly the content of reflection . That is what your photos should look like, online; website, your social media and everything. A consistent visual message. Your photos should always be current unless you are writing retrospectively.
A good brand means one message, that is unvarying throughout. Photos should play a large role in establishing its status. Because 70% of us are visually driven in that we make spilt seconds about you and your business, subconsciously before we have even read a word of text, your photo messages have to be accurate.
Natural is a way of photographing. My style is documentary whereby I observe you in a scenario and take shots when you may not be considering the camera at all. This makes for great ‘natural’.
Information and charismatic content follow a good preplanned shoot list between the client and personal branding photographer.
Personal branding photo shoot
So why and when should we use a personal branding image?
Personal branding images pertain naturally to sole traders, owner managed business leaders or businesses where one key player is prominent and uses their own personal stories (and personality, usually online) to promote their brand. We like to buy from people we trust and ‘know’, showing something personal through photos alongside compelling and interesting text helps richen the understanding of who we are.
For me, I use a personal branding image maybe once a week as part of my social media. I’ll tell a story from my personal life which then overlaps into commercial considerations. This for me I feel is more powerful because I am connecting the personal and business leader into one.
Just like a business branding shoot we carefully decide what we will illustrate on the personal side and how.
Vicki has an obsession for vinyl; a super-stacked collection and record deck. She indulges in music regularly. It is a strong personal factor of who she is. The family dog, Rockie, plays an important role in the home office and environment. These are elements that we link into a personal and business shoot. We combine by adding these personal factors into a business environment.
3-4 hours with Vicki in her home office and Rockie just relaxes and forgets me. As a result he is amazingly natural in photos because he has accepted my intrusion. He has decided I am ok and plays out his natural home role.
Vicki commissioned two photo shoots with me. She now holds two portfolios of images that can interlace. Two shoots that twine together with slightly different visual narratives but both strictly on brand/message. Twice the amount of variety to draw upon. She can interchange both personal shots with business shots to richen and build her brand on social media.
Photographer: Suzanne Fells
Client: Vicki Lovegrove
Date: April 2021
Location: Stapenhill, Staffordshire.