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!
In a previous post, we showed you three examples of professionals (engineers, wedding & event designers, and conservationists) who incorporated their jobs into their environmental business portraits. Here are three more examples from other industries as food for thought. What do you think? Would incorporating your job into your business portraits make sense for you?
This Washington DC nutritionist was embarking on a new business venture for cognitive health and needed professional business portraits for the new website. The kitchen of our Maryland photography studio was the perfect venue. Read more about this nutritionist's business portrait session here.
Other location ideas for nutritionists:
Jesse Allen Smith of J Allen Smith Design/Build in Ijamsville, MD chose to use a kitchen they were in the process of remodeling in Silver Spring (top left, bottom right below), as well as the office he had designed (top right below) as the backdrop for his and his team's environmental business portraits. In the bottom left image, also created at their office, we featured an architectural drawing on the computer screen to show off one of their award-winning kitchen designs. Read more about this business portrait session here.
Another idea for home remodelers:
Stuart Skok, Matrimonial & Family Law Attorney, of Rockville, MD needed new business portraits both for her new website and social media accounts, as well as for a feature and magazine cover in Attorney at Law Magazine. We created her business portraits at the beautifully designed Howard University Law Library in Washington DC. Read more about Stuart's law library magazine cover session here.
Other location ideas for attorneys:
Need a brainstorming partner to help you with ideas for your own creative business portraits?
"Hi Irene, I am opening a new interior decorating business and am in need of professional headshots/photos of me for website, business cards, print and online advertisements. I will need high resolution files to use for the above in color and B/W. I have no idea what would make a good background - hoping for some good advice... Thanks for any info. Donna"
That was the e-mail that popped into my inbox, and when we spoke on the phone, Donna went into more detail abut the type of business headshot series she was looking for, as well as her past experience with professional photographers.
"I need a business headshot series for my website, Facebook, Houzz, social media, grand opening flyers, ongoing seminars, and business cards. It's fine for the headshots to be done in a photography studio, as long as they have a feel of a home...
I really liked your website and professional headshots. In terms of the style, I liked your environmental business headshots. I don't have to have a crisp image behind me, but I want that feel... I want to look approachable but professional.
The last professional photographer I worked with was for engagement photography and wedding photography. The engagement photos looked great, but a couple of them were over-retouched. While my mother loved it, my nose looked so different. Sure, I want blemishes to be removed, but I still want these professional headshots to look like me."
In the end, Donna and I had a great time working together, and the end result of her business headshots shows exactly that! Many, many thanks to Donna as well for the awesome recommendation of our business headshot services that she so kindly wrote on NextDoor!
"I found you doing a Google search for 'professional headshots dc,' and then I Yelped you and saw all the good reviews you have. The headshot section of your website is impressive, and I saw the headshot reviews you have there too. Right now, I'm looking for professional headshots for a podcast website on fraud and anti-money laundering compliance that I'm building, as well as for use on LinkedIn. I do have a headshot that I'm currently using, but it's outdated - plus, I got it at a conference that offered professional headshots, and there was no preparation on my part to be photographed."
As we continued to chat, Davreen mentioned that she is picky about how she looks and that the partnership aspect of how we work was very "refreshing." And so after a few calls, we planned for Davreen's outdoor professional headshots at Rockville Town Center in Rockville, Maryland. Enjoy some of my favorites below, as well as the 5-star headshot photographer review that Davreen wrote on Google about her professional headshots experience!