As you build your online business, you want to make the right impression, right?
Those first moments on your website are critical to keeping people there to continue looking.
The images on your website are gold for letting people know if they are in the right place or not in those first critical seconds.
As you’ve started to build your online brand, you’ve probably heard people say to invest in a personal brand photoshoot.
But what is personal branding photography?
And how do you know if this is something that should be high on your todo list for the year?
I’ve answered some common questions to help you decide if personal branding photography is something you should look into and what to expect!
First, what is a personal brand?
Before we even go over what personal branding photography is all about, you may be wondering what this personal brand business is all about and why you should pay attention right?
Your personal brand is what people say about you and your business when they are talking to their friends, and giving recommendations. Your personal brand is what makes people choose to work with you vs your competitor.
With big business, it’s just a brand. With online businesses where you are learning from the one who is running the business, you are connecting with their personal brand which is a little different.
You want to do business with that person because you like them as a human as well as what they can offer as a business. This is why it’s a personal brand vs just a straight-up brand.
Regular brand: Adidas. You care about the perception of the brand but probably don’t know who the CEO is.
Personal brand: Rachel Hollis. You feel like you know her personally and love what she is about. You love her approach and you will buy anything she promotes because it feels trusted and you value her opinion.
Other great personal brands:
Dax Shepard (and any celebrity really!)
Back in the day (pre-Insta and Facebook), a brand wasn’t critical to having a great business. Brands were left to the mega-corporations who had the deep pockets to be able to be in your face with their message all day every day.
Then came social.
Businesses can now easily and cheaply market to literally anyone in the world.
But it also has made the number of marketing messages folks see grow 100x. Now everyone put on blinders to marketing messages. It’s harder to put your product or service out there and expect people to come running. Unless they feel connected to you in some way.
The people who do the absolute best are those who connect as humans first, and as business people last.
You trust them and what they say because of their personal brand.
So, What is Personal Branding Photography?
The term branding photography is new(ish). It’s gained popularity in the past 3-4 years, but the premise is not new.
Remember how branding was left to those mega-corporations with the deep pockets? The ones that hired commercial and advertising photographers?
Well, now that the technology has made photography more easily done, and the crazy growth of sites like Instagram, having great images skyrocketed in importance.
The sheer amount of images you need as a personal brand to stay on top of your social media and website’s needs helped necessitate the growth of personal branding photography
Now you can get these beautiful, on-brand, photos of your biz without having to spend 5 figures on photos.
You can invest in a branding photographer and spend a couple hundred to a couple of thousand dollars. You can even learn how to use your smartphone and capture images yourself until you are are the point of being able to hire a brand photographer!
What is certain, is that in 2020, building a brand is the way to grow your business, revenue, and authority. Especially in the online space.
Investing in brand images for your business is no longer seen as a perk, but is now a must-do in the online space for 2020
How can personal branding photos help my business?
Perception is everything for online businesses.
How people perceive you and connect with you directly relates to the health of your business.
And, since you are not meeting people in person and connecting that way, the images you share and the stories you tell in your messaging is doing that work for you
By showing your face again and again on your website, in your social feed and on your marketing materials, it makes you feel familiar to people.
Familiarity breeds trust, and as long as they feel comfortable in your online presence, and they get value from what you are sharing, they will pick you over the next website every time. Even if you have a higher price tag.
Because they value you as a person and trust that you will take care of them.
When you opt-out of images, or use bland or overused stock photos, it makes you generic and easy to pass on by. There is no relationship if the images they see on your site and social are the exact same as your competitors!
Where can I use my brand photos?
Now you are wondering just where you may be using these brand images once you have them right?
Here is a simple list of places that you can elevate your brand and the professionalism of your online presence through your brand photos.
- Website update
- Social media feeds (especially Instagram!)
- for speaker/writer/guest post bios
- Sales pages
- Pinterest Pins
- Email signature
- Any and all marketing
Is personal branding photography the right move for my business?
Yes. In an online world, your web presence will make your business sink or fly.
And while the design and copy are also very important, the images you show instantly tell the viewer if what you offer fits within what their needs or aesthetics are.
Relying on stock images makes you look like everyone else.
When you rely on selfies that look like you took ½ a second to think about the image before uploading, then you look unprofessional.
But, when you have on-brand, strategic and beautiful brand images then your business is perceived as “the real thing” and people are more likely to stick around to learn more.
What questions I should ask before hiring a personal brand photographer?
This will depend on where you are and who your photographer is, but here are some guidelines.
- Make sure your photographer has done branding photos before. A branding photo shoot is to create strategic images, not just pretty ones.
- Create a list of the types of images you need, and get specific. If you know exactly the type of image you need and where you will have them on your website or in an ebook etc it will help them create the perfect image for you.
- Ensure they know that you will need a variety of images. Like, headshots, detail shots, images w/ room for text, and off-centered images.
- See how many photos you get with the session. If you are looking for a full branding shoot, you will have a need for a large variety of images. So you want to make sure that you are not paying for a session where you only get 5 images. Keep in mind that the more time and the more images the photographer delivers, the larger the investment will be. Also, keep in mind that you are investing in your business and this is a tax write off!
- Do they have a studio you can use, or will you shoot in your home office? What do they recommend?
- How many outfit changes can you have? Creating nearly the same image, just with a different top on will extend the life and value of the image as you use it in your biz and social feeds.
- How much time do you get with the photographer? Is it one location or many?
How do I find a personal brand photographer?
To start, if you are in the greater Seattle / PNW area and are looking for a personal brand photographer, you can stop here 🙂 As Seattle is my stomping ground, and I’d love to chat more about your photo needs. You can email me to find out all the details and schedule a free discovery call! Email me at email@example.com or if you’d like to see more of my work: Personal Brand Photography Portfolio
If you are not in the Seattle area, then here are some options below:
The term “personal branding photographer” is relatively new and it’s currently gaining momentum. Especially if you are in the online services and course creator world. As we all have realized that having great images of us (even if we hate the idea of having photos taken!) is critical and only becoming more so, this niche has started to grow.
Since this is a newer niche, depending on your local, it could be tricky to find the perfect photographer.
Here are my suggestions:
- Use google as your friend and type in “personal brand photographer [your city name]” and see what comes up.
- If nothing shows up, then hit up your local FB business group and post there asking for recommendations.
- You can even use the search bar in that FB group with the term “brand photographer”, see what comes up!
- If you are still fighting to find someone, you can use the term “business photographer” or “commercial photographer” on Google. Finding a photographer who may not be using the term “personal brand” will understand the business and strategic nature of the images you want, to help you build your own brand.
How much should I expect to invest?
The cost of your personal brand photoshoot will depend on quite a few things such as:
- how long the shoot is
- how many locations you visit
- how many images you get in the end
- where you are located
But as a starting point, plan on investing a minimum of $500 for a starter branding shoot. These are usually limited in time and number of delivered images. An investment of $2000 will usually get you more time for clothing changes, location changes and a more robust gallery of final images.
It will depend on the quality and expertise of the photographer you choose.
I hope you now understand how valuable personal brand photos can be in your business. It can be a game-changer for your coaching, consulting, course, or service-based business.
Please reach out to schedule a consult call for your branding shoot and learn more here: Personal Brand Photography Portfolio