Jeff Bezos of Amazon famously defined your personal brand as:
“What people say about you when you are not in the room.”
And in his “Fast Company” article, “The Brand Called You,” Tom Peters wrote:
“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
In today’s world, everything is visual… Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, your website… And yet, you must have noticed as you’ve visited business websites over the past month that so many companies – especially small businesses - are overusing bland stock photographs or have neglected to include images of the people behind the company. The good thing about this is that if YOU nurture your personal brand, including with unique, personality-filled personal brand photography, then you’ll easily stand out among the sea of your competition.
Your personal brand is the brand of you. You have a personality, and it’s critical that your personal brand photography portray that. Now, a headshot is just that – a shot of your head. A headshot could help to elevate your brand, but not every headshot falls into the category of personal branding. In order for a headshot to support your personal brand, it needs to be creative and authentic. So an authentic, creative professional headshot can be one type of personal branding photo, but at the same time, you’ll need more than a headshot to completely represent your personal brand. Personal brand photography can also include full body lifestyle portraits, action shots, and detail images that tell you and your business’s story.
Your personal branding photo collection will have a plethora of uses, including in social media, print marketing materials, your website, magazine features, publications, and more! Your personal branding photos – if done right - will be priceless!
In order for your professional photographer to create images that truly represent your personal brand the way you want them to, you’ll have to put some thought into what it is that you want your brand to communicate… what you want it to convey… as well as how and where you might like to use your personal brand photography. Here are a few questions to think about as you undertake this journey.
• Where do you want to use your personal branding photos RIGHT NOW? How many finished photographs will you be using RIGHT NOW?
• What opportunities do you forsee in the future that you would need photography for that you wish to plan for now? How many personal branding photos do you need NOW for use in the FUTURE?
(As you count, think about your website - homepage, banners, the about and contact pages ; social media platforms - Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter; print marketing pieces - brochures, flyers, advertisements, business cards; publications - book covers, articles you write, features from others… even your dating profile! And by the way, about business cards - see our article here on "What's On Your Business Card & How to Network Like a Pro.")
• What is or what do you want your brand’s personality to be? Name five adjectives.
• What is your brand’s mission? (Check out this article on Entrepreneur.com on “4 Techniques for Crafting a Mission Statement Worth Remembering.”)
• Gather samples of your current brand materials electronically to share with your professional photographer.
• Pin images you like to a private board on Pinterest. Make sure you start by browsing your professional photographer’s portfolio and pinning headshots and personal brand photography you like to the Pinterest board, then expand outward by browsing and pinning other photographs that you find elsewhere or on Pinterest.
Don't lose yet another opportunity. Don't waste yet another moment.
Elevate your personal brand today.
How important is networking to your business? I recently came across an article about networking by Vanessa Van Edwards, a body language and human behavior expert who teaches how to succeed in life and business by understanding people.
I'm currently watching one of her 3-day video courses on body language (which is awesome by the way), and into my e-mail popped a teaser for her article on "How to Network at a Conference: 10 Ways to Make Contacts Like a Pro."
Well, this entire article is terrific, but of course, as a professional business portrait photographer, one of her prime tips that spoke to me was her strong recommendation to include one of your headshots on your business card. Specifically, here is what she says:
"[Bring] Your Business Card: Hopefully this is obvious, but bring a TON of cards–more than you ever think you will need. Don’t be that person who runs out and needs to use a napkin instead.
One other big thing to think about with your business card as an asset. Be honest: Is your business card boring? Conference pros have interesting, conversation-sparking, memorable business cards because they are getting so many at once. If you can, I highly recommend having your picture [headshot] on your business card, so people remember who you are when looking at it later."
That got me to thinking about some of our long-term commercial clients who have used the professional headshots we created for them on their business cards, and I thought I'd share some from Scott Team International of Rockville, MD with you as food for thought.
We've photographed Scott Team International associates on several occasions, the most recent time for the Top Agents issue of Washingtonian Magazine. Here are the new business cards for their entire team below!
It was the Art Director of Golfdom Magazine who e-mailed about their 2019 "Underdogs of Turf" pet photography calendar. They had just selected their dog (Darby) for the calendar cover and needed a pet photographer to travel to the Westpark Golf Club in Leesburg, Virginia to photograph her.
Darby is the superintendent's dog, and he and his family were just so very excited that Darby had been chosen to grace this year's calendar. Enjoy some of the outtakes from our Leesburg pet photography session with Darby, as well as the finished calendar cover artwork!
Carlos is a realtor out of the North Potomac/Gaithersburg office of RE/MAX. He had been searching for headshot photographers online and had come across some of our blog posts with professional headshots of other realtors, and wanted something similar.
When I asked about his past experiences with professional headshot photographers, he told me that, sadly, his past experiences were mediocre. Five or so years ago, his office had brought in a headshot photographer. The results didn't wow him. They were fine, but this time, he was looking for something more. And so sometime later, we met up at Rockville Town Center in Montgomery County, Maryland and created a personal branding portfolio for him sure to WOW any prospective client!
Build your personal brand, build your business.
Don't miss another opportunity to make a great first impression.
I first met Stuart at a headshot photography event this past November that we had held in partnership with the Bar Foundation of Montgomery County, MD. In addition to a studio professional headshot on a grey backdrop, Stuart also wanted a series of environmental business headshots for her new website. In addition, she was going to be featured on the cover of the January/February 2018 edition of Attorney at Law Magazine, and the magazine needed a selection of business portraits for the editor to choose from.
Stuart wanted to do her second business portrait session in a library and sent me a link to the website of the Howard University Law Library in Washington DC. Of course, as a business portrait photographer, I immediately fell in love with the gorgeous, expansive architecture of the library, which I immediately knew would make for a stunning backdrop. Plus, the director of the law library was wonderfully gracious and accommodating of our business portrait session. What more could a headshot photographer ask for?!
Check out the fantastic magazine cover and profile story here!
And here are some more of Stuart's business portrait picks for her new website.
And many thanks to Stuart for writing an awesome 5-star review of our business portrait photography services on Yelp!