How are you presenting your business online? A beautiful website, stellar copy & slick branding can be rendered totally useless by a careless photo of you, especially when you are your brand. In many cases your headshot is your prospective clients first impression of you so your picture needs to be in tune with your branding message and help convince total strangers that you are the person they can trust & want to work with.

Which leads to the big question – what exactly makes an effective photo that will draw business to you? There are lots of things to consider so we plan to nail most of them at the end of this article when a few of our expert colleagues will give you their best tips & tricks to help you prepare for your branded photo shoots.

Some things you might consider when planning your business photos are

  • the image you want to convey
  • how & where you’ll use the images
  • how many images you will need
  • determine your budget
  • choose the perfect photographer
  • preparing for the shoot

How are you presenting your business online? A beautiful website, stellar copy & careful branding work can be rendered totally useless by a lousy photo of you, especially when you are your brand. In many cases your photography is your prospective clients first impression of you so your picture needs to be in tune with your branding messages and help convince total strangers that you are the person they want to work with.

This leads to the big question – what exactly makes an effective photo that will draw business to you? There are loads of things to consider so we planning to nail most of them but at the bottom of this article a few of our expert colleagues are giving you their best tips & tricks to help you prepare for your branded photo shoots.

Some things you should consider when planning your business photos are

  • the image you want to convey
  • how & where you’ll use the images
  • how many images you will need
  • determine your budget
  • choosing the perfect photographer
  • location, location, location
  • preparing for the shoot

what image do you want to convey?

There are many ways you can convey an message through photographs. Visual marketing is big business, especially for design and marketing professionals and photographers. It’s important when you’re having your brand photography shot, that your photos look the way your customers would expect, based on your marketing messages. A photo of an accountant reclining in luxury on their yacht in the middle of the Bahama’s may not give the best impression to potential small business clients. It may cause them to wonder if they’re being overcharged or if they’ll be able to afford the rates. Similarly, a copywriter who specialises in working with business owners who are rebels in their field of expertise, who break the mold or go against the traditional grain, might do well to wear ripped jeans and band tees instead of formal business attire in their photographs. This way potential clients will get the impression they’ll be working with a kindred spirit.

Think carefully about what type of image you’d like to portray, and then make it happen.

how & where you will use the images & how many will you need?

Where will you use the images? Print & digital, or just digital? This will guide what you need to ask for in your package. You’ll more than likely need a few head-shots, but what else? If you want to use photos for Facebook advertisements or banners, you may want to take a few photos where you’re pointing or gesturing to empty space so you can insert details about offers, service or programs you’re advertising. Consider what poses might compliment the message you’re wanting to convey. What values are important to your brand? A good stylist or photographer may have some thoughts, but also do your own research & see what’s working for others in your industry.

Also think about your social profiles. Each platform has it’s own flavour so you may decide to use different photos on each. For instance LinkedIn profile shots are most effective when they are full face close ups. A fun little tool for analysing your LinkedIn photo is Snappr.

Following is an example of Snappr at work …

what’s your budget?

It’s funny, bride-to-be solo-preneurs spend hours searching for the perfect photographer to capture their special day & happily pay thousands of dollars for the service, yet when it comes to brand shots, there is often no budget!

Really, you need to have at least a ‘from – to’  figure so you know know who you can afford. Photographers packages range from a few hundred dollars to thousands. When setting your budget, consider the value the photos will add to your business. I have a professional shoot done each year – it’s a part of my marketing budget.

choosing the perfect photographer

The most important decision, beyond any of the others, is who you feel good working with. Choosing a photographer can change the look & feel of your images more than anything else.   Every photographers has their own distinctive style so look through lots of portfolios & find the look & feel that will suit you & your brand . Choose a photographer whose work will compliment your brand & intrigue your client base.

While I highly recommend hiring a professional photographer sometimes that’s just not feasible. Don’t let that stop you. It is possible to DIY.  There are dozens of resources online for taking high quality photographs with mobile phones or point and shoot cameras. Recruit a friend or colleague, do your research, and do your best! If you a photographing indoors, if your room that is naturally lit with soft subtle light the photos will appear to have an innocent feel. A directional side light can add mystery to your photographs & reveal details that add drama and give a sense that the you are in subtle shadow.

location, location, location!

Where & when you plan your shoot  is another consideration. As a general rule, it is more cost effective to go to a studio – most photographers will have a selection of backdrops or little self-contained scenes set up. If you are going to a studio, ask if you can look at their set-up before you book.

Alternately you can choose to have the photographer come to your studio or a local cafe. What ever you choose, make sure it fits with your branding. (You do have branding – don’t you!)

preparing for the shoot

Spend some time researching. Setup a special board on pinterest & pin photos that you think work & make notes of what you think makes each photo effective. Practice your poses in the mirror, choose a number of outfits (consult a stylist if you get stuck), have your hair & make up professionally styled or practice your hair & make-up before hand (take selfies & tweek the look).

WARDROBE TIPS: when selecting your outfits consider fabric textures which will add depth to your images – emphasising light & shadow. Play with colour to make your images pop.  For high contrast, combine colours from the opposite end of the colour wheel or for a softer palette put together different shades of a neutral colour.  A touch of red will add pop to any photo.

HATE LOOKING INTO THE LENSE? pack a box of props. If your iPhone, iPad or laptop iare a part of your work, use pose with them. A florist may pack ribbons, shears & wire or an author may pack a notepad, pens, an old typewriter or a stack of books.

LIGHTING: Lighting will make a lot of difference especially if you are having studio shots done so make sure you take your test photos at the time of day & in the same environment as your photoshoot.

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