“If your stories are all about your products and services, that’s not storytelling. It’s a brochure. Give yourself permission to make the story bigger.”
Your Personal Brand Portraits Tell a Story
I bet you’re a business owner or a creative professional reading this and thinking to yourself “Jesi, I don’t have a personal brand. And even if I did, I wouldn’t have any idea how to express it in photos.” Well listen here! I have one very important thing to tell you.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
The vast majority of my clients do not come to me with a fully realized vision of their personal brand. In fact, most come to me asking for headshots or promo photos because they don’t even know they NEED personal brand portraits.
You run a business, or make something special, or provide a unique service. There’s a story there.
Personal brand portraits do not have to be difficult, complicated, or scary. They should never be any of those things, actually! I’ve learned a few tricks to help make the whole process easier.
#1. Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of the Good Funny
First, admit it. If you’re reading this and considering working with me, chances are, you’re kinda weird. And goofy. And you don’t take yourself too seriously. You’re my people.
Your personal brand portraits should reflect your personality – and if you’re funny, then dangit, your photos can be funny, too! There’s no rule that says you can’t have fun with these photos. In fact, there is a rule that says you legally HAVE to have fun when you book a session with me!
Don’t get so wrapped up in looking cool and being gorgeous that you forget to act like the silly goose I know you really are.
#2. Environment is Everything
So…my place or yours?
No really! You’re biggest choice is bound to be where to have your brand portraits created: my studio or elsewhere.
Environmental portraits are great for getting a ton of posing variety, capturing natural interactions with the scene, and showcasing you in your element. We could use your home, your workplace, your favorite coffee shop, or a local attraction.
Studio portraits are perfect for having full control over the lighting and temperature (and I basically don’t even shoot outside during Florida summers because I love myself too much). It’s also great for when you want a clean background with no distractions so you can add logos and text to your photos.
#3. Do Not Try to DIY Your Look
Nothing will boost your confidence more than having a fresh look for your branding portraits. You want to still look like you, but the well-rested, cleaning-up-nice, new-outfit-strutting version of you!
My three most popular session types all include professional hair and makeup and wardrobe suggestions. However, those who don’t need hair and makeup can choose instead to have professional styling done to select clothing perfect for your brand image.
Why do I insist on this? Above all, it’s to save you from stress. Most of my clients aren’t makeup gurus. Like me, ya’ll usually aren’t great at DIY blowouts. And the chronically indecisive and fashion impaired among us are suffering in silence! So instead of stressing over that stuff, it’s all included in the session fee.
#4. Bring Something (or Someone) to Play With
Truthfully, there are only so many photos I can take of your face, or you standing over there, or sitting over here. And no one wants their personal brand portraits to feel like school picture day!
Incorporating items that make sense for your brand will give you something to do rather than just stare down the lens of my camera. My job is to direct you and make you comfortable so you can naturally interact with things and tell your brand story.
Bringing the tools of your trade, items that represent your interests, or just quirky elements that show the weird inner YOU will make this whole thing easier.
Sometimes what we really need is a friend! Co-workers, clients, spouses, kids, even pets can make great “extras” in your branding photos.
#5. Include Your Brand Colors
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of colors in marketing and branding. Colors are powerful tools that send quick messages and stir emotions subconciously.
Colors are like cheat codes! You can say so much with the right colors without being heavy-handed. Think about the colors that will best tell your story and send the message you want to convey, then mix those into your branding photography session.
Either wear the colors, use them in your background, or create a neutral palette so that your brand colors can be used in the text you pair with the images.
#6. Get Inspired
Finally, you should look around for visual inspiration. Looking to paintings, sculptors, videographers and filmmakers, graphic arists, and iconic photographs for inspiration can help take some of the creative burden off of your shoulders. Sharing inspiration media with me can also help me better understand what aesthetic you like!
When folks book me for their personal brand portraits, I set them up with a secret, collaborative Pinterest board where we can share ideas and look at images that help us convey our combined visions.
From there, we create a shotlist so that on the day of the session, we know exactly what photos we’ll be creating. No stress, no mess.
So now you know the tips – and you’ve got nothing to be scared of! What’s your brand story going to look like?