Personal Branding • More Than Just a Headshot

 

We’ve all had our photo taken at some point. Maybe it was just a simple school portrait, a family photo from your cousin’s wedding, a quick iPhone snap by a friend, an old Headshot taken at that office job you had 5 years ago - whatever it is, it’s a portrait of you that you’ve been using to apply to jobs, to submit to agencies & editors, or to stick on your “About” page & call it good. Something is better than nothing, right? If you have a recent Headshot taken by a professional, you’re a step further than most - but did you know that a Headshot is only one part of your visual narrative? With a traditional Headshot, the focus is simply you, usually shot from the waist up. In a Personal Branding session, you delve deep into not just who you are visually, but into telling the story of what you do and why you do it via detail shots, lifestyle shots, photos of you in action, you with your products, etc. No matter your field, the possibilities are endless.

Let’s back up for a moment: here you are, with an amazing service or product to offer the world. Maybe you’ve dreamed up an innovative new venture, or maybe you’ve been in business for a while - but either way, you’re ready to create a new & fresh brand identity. So you sit down to review that business plan, solidify your goals & values, & start brainstorming ways to get yourself out there & to create some excitement around your product...awesome. Now what?

 

We’ve all been there - a re-branding effort often comes with a new website, a blank Instagram profile, & big plans to implement a marketing campaign…multiple empty pages full of endless opportunity stare you in the face. You can create whatever you want, & it’s both exciting & unexpectedly overwhelming.

When it comes to establishing or refreshing your online presence & marketing material, most of us start out by spending time stalking our competitor’s websites for ideas, exploring hashtags, & making Pinterest boards full of design inspiration - all with the intent of creating content that will attract potential customers & motivate them to trust you, work with you, & buy your product. There are endless blogs, articles, & other resources available that provide lists of marketing strategies & branding ideas, & most of them say relatively the same thing: The face that you present to potential customers via your online presence & visual marketing must inspire them to read more, search for products, browse your galleries, & to ultimately be driven to purchase a product or contact you for a service. Easier said than done, right?

We live in the information age - a time where not only do we have shorter & shorter attention spans, but where our customers expect to get their answers & solutions instantly & easily. If you don’t have a visual presence that catches a potential customer’s attention within the first few seconds, your customer will click away from you in their search for something more compelling that fills whatever need it is that they have. So how do we keep a potential customer’s interest without over or underwhelming them?

A simple solution to said challenge is this: Personalized Visual Storytelling, aka a series of images that instantly presents your brand concept or story to your viewer. A visual narrative (or visual storytelling) is a story told primarily through the use of visual media.

 

The story may be told using photography, graphics, or video, or a mixture of all three. The human brain processes visuals much faster than text, and savvy advertisers know that telling a visual story with their marketing & branding is the most effective way to quickly relay information & catch & retain the attention of their customers. Recent studies show that potential clients & customers actually prefer to get their information visually, & they’d rather watch a video or see a set of images that tell a visual story than take the time to read a long block of text, no matter how well written.

And thus, Personal Branding Photography was born. It checks all the boxes. A cohesive set of images unique to your brand is invaluable - it provides you with content that can fill out your website, with headshots of you & your team, styled product &/or lifestyle photos for your marketing campaigns & social media pages...it’s your very own visual narrative. People are attracted to beauty, order, & personality - & they want to interact with people & products that make them feel & look better. The most effective media tells your potential customer a story that illustrates how their lives will change for the better by engaging with you and your product.

So how do you get started? Creating a full roster of cohesive images that tells your customer a story is an involved process, & a Personal Branding session differs from a traditional Headshot or portrait session in several ways: As stated before, with headshots, the focus is simply you & your face - but if you take it a step further, you delve deeply into not just who you are visually, but into telling the story of what you do and why you do it via detail shots, lifestyle shots, photos of you in action, you with your products, etc.

Since these sessions are far more customized than a Headshot session, there are multiple factors to consider including the location(s), outfits, branding colors, your brand messaging, etc. - all things that are planned out beforehand down to specific shots, clothing changes, props, & the smallest details. The possibilities are endless and each session is customized to best reflect the type of business you run and the message you wish to convey about your brand through images.

All us of have been told at some point or another “Hey, people buy YOU just as much or even more so than your exact services & goods.” If you’re rebranding, want to build a loyal following, have new inventory/designs, have a blog/social media, or need specific cohesive visual content that attracts your target audience, you need imagery that will showcase your unique offerings. Personal Branding Photography is a truly invaluable resource when you’re looking to find a simple way to help you & your business grow to the next level & attract your ideal clients & customers.

Has implementing Personal Branding imagery significantly helped you and your business?
Leave a comment below to share your experience or ask a question!

 
 

 
 

Images from a Personal Branding Session with Erin of The Overgrowth