If you follow me on Insta, you probably already know that this girl got her first legit BRANDING PHOTO SHOOT recently. Woot-Woot!!
As a business owner, either you’ve already had a branding photo shoot or you are thinking about it. Either way I have some juicy insight for you from my own experience. If you have ever had questions about Brand Photography that you need answered by someone who is not trying to sell you Brand Photography, then keep reading….
Btw, this Blog is written Q&A style so you can totally skip to the parts that are relevant to you. Ready? All right, hold on to your panties, here we go….
Q1: Do I Need A Brand Photography Session?
At the start of my business, I got some really good advice that I took very seriously. My friend and successful entrepreneur, Li, said to me in her zen way “You don’t need a website, logo or a thousand dollar headshot to start your business, you need clients!”
That is how I run my business. Every time I come across a shiny object, I ask myself “will it help me get clients?” If yes, I do it. If no, I move on.
This is why I didn’t invest top dollar in a branded photography session until now. In fact my first set of headshot, they are still there on my website (but not for long) was done as barter with my good friend. I needed headshots, she needed copywriting. I am not even a copywriter…..so I definitely got the better end of the bargain.
So when a couple months ago, a photographer joked with me saying “you need a new headshot!”. I was like “I’ve made this far without a proper one!”
And, I don’t like to toot my own horn but can I for a second? I am in my second year of business, I make consistent 15-16k every month and I am well on my way to making 6 figures this year! Without a proper headshot and a proper branding photo shoot.
So NO, you don’t need a Branding photo shoot to start your business, to get clients and even to consistently start making 4-5 figures a month!
But my photographer friend was so right. I did need new photos because I was no more in the first phase of my business.
Very simply put, I had outgrown my old photos and my old branding and I needed an Uplevel.
Every business has phases. In my opinion this is roughly how it goes:
- Learning – PHASE 1 (Year 0 -1)
- Earning – PHASE 2 (Year 2 – 4ish)
- Expanding – PHASE 3 (YEAR 3 +)
I definitely see myself in Phase 2. I now know what it takes to create a consistent stream of clients and consistent revenue every month.
So before you invest a lot of money in a Branding Photo shoot, ask yourself “what phase of business am I in? “Would this be the best use of time and money right now to generate more clients and cash?” if not, WAIT! I swear, it will pay off!
Q2: I Am In Phase 2. How Do I Choose A Brand Photographer?
First, make a wish list of what you actually want your photos to look like? Do you want outdoor pics or indoor? Do you just want pics of yourself or other people or you with props? Put down everything.
Now you can start the process of finding someone.
I LOVE a good referral. If someone I know and trust have used them and they shout their praise from the rooftops, I am convinced!
BUT, here’s the trick – take a referral from someone in the same industry/niche
if you are a health coach for teens, taking a referral from a Parent Coach might not be in your best interest.
Second, do your research. Visit their portfolio. Do you like what you see? Every photographer has a unique style of photography and even though they might be wonderful, they might just not be a good fit for you!
For example, I came across a brand photographer who takes slightly blurry photographs. Her work is beautiful and very artistic but it was not a good fit for my brand.
Make a list of what are the things you actually love about their work. Does any of it matches with what’s on your wish list? All of it? Most of it? None of it? You will know instantly if it’s a match!
But, don’t just stop there. Contact them, get on a call with them. Ask questions. Then make a decision.
(I would like to point out here that Branding Photographers can cost anywhere from between $1500-$7000+, so it is nice to have a budget in mind before you reach out.)
Q3: Perfect, I Found A Branding Photographer. Now What?
Get excited Buttercup! You are in for a beautiful, luxurious and pampering experience!
Depending on the time you have between you book a photographer and the actual photo shoot, you will have plenty of Pre-Shoot prep to do! These are some of the things I would recommend:
– Have a conversation with your photographer on things like, style of pics, location scouting, props, where are you going to change outfits, where will you get ready (if the photoshoot is not at your home).
Make sure you are crystal clear on who is going to do what. Is she gonna scout locations or you? What kind of props should you be bringing? And, keep your photographer in loop about your outfits. How many changes, what colors etc. It will help him/her plan the shoot better.
– Hire Experts! if you are in Phase 2 of your business, it is likely that you don’t have a lot of time and energy to plan outfits, accessories, etc. I am a strong believer in HIRING AN EXPERT. LEAVE THE REIGNS. SAVE TIME!
Plus hiring an expert like a personal stylist and a make up artist will help you make the best of your investment in Brand Photography.
But if you are unable to do that….I would start with a simple Pinterest Board. Then share it with your Brand Photographer.
– Okay, you have your outfits, accessories, shoes etc. and you have a make up artist booked. You aren’t done! Don’t forget to take care of that pretty face of yours! My friend and client, Lena who is an age reversal expert and a face yoga teacher has some fantastic tips to take care of your skin, especially before a Branding Photo Shoot.
Q4: It’s The Day Of My Shoot, Do I Need To Do Something Other Than Show Up?
Yippee!! The day is finally here. Honestly, if you ask me, I was super excited about my Photo Shoot. Even a bit nervous. I mean the last time I was gonna get this dolled up was almost 12 years ago for my wedding!
I definitely made a few minor blunders Day of my Shoot. So this would be my advice to you:
1) Go to bed early the night before so that you get a good sleep (I didn’t but Thank God, I had some eye masks to de-puff my eyes the next morning!)
2) Plan to reach the location before time (I should have booked my Uber to take me to New York City (where my photo shoot was) at least 30 mins early. I got stuck in traffic and reached right on time! I would have felt much more calmer if I had even 15-20 mins to spare)
3) Eat something or plan for food (I was starving by the time we started make-up which was around 1:30 pm. Thank God for my friend and stylist who swooped in and ordered some food.)
4) If you plan an Outdoor Photo Shoot, you will be walking around or be in and out of Cabs. And, if you planned for multiple outfit changes (which I strongly suggest you do), then you will have to carry a big bag of clothes, shoes, accessories, your stuff, props etc.).
I was sooooooo lucky to have my stylist and my photographer, who were more than willing to carry my stuff for me. But, I felt really bad! Next time, I will plan better and maybe even hire someone to take along with!
5) Last, but not the least – Prepare your Poses gals! I was so involved in everything else that I didn’t take time to actually think what kind of poses do I want? At the time of the shoot, I felt anxious, nervous and not at all relaxed! I would strongly suggest, PRACTICE YOUR POSES. In the mirror. In the shower. Discuss them with your photographer. Pin them on Pinterest!
“But Dee, that does not show in your photographs at all!”
Well that’s where the experience and the incredible work of my photographer, Monika Broz, comes in. But, If and when I have my next shoot, I will definitely be better prepared, have an open conversation of what kind of poses I want, practice them and feel more relaxed!
Q5: Eeeeek! I Have My Pics. Now What?
Congrats! It is very exciting to see your pics…. it really is! But the most important question is, what do you do with them?
You USE them duh! And I mean you really USE them! But keep this caveat in mind.
BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT MARKETING!
And don’t let any one tell you that once you have your gorgeous pics, clients will start rolling in! Sharing them on social media won’t be enough.
I shared 4 of my new pics the moment I got them on Facebook. I got hundreds of likes and comments. All of them gave me a dopamine hit. All of them!
Guess how many sales I made?
Yup. A BIG FAT ZERO.
Here’s the thing my lovely, your brand new luxurious pics are not going to do anything in your business unless you slap them on an offer, put them on your website and use them MARKET your business!!
You will get tons of “ooooohs” and “aaaaahs” and emojis like ❤️ or 👌 but you know which emoji do I like the best?
This 💵 and 💰…. That too in my bank!
Unless you use the pics to promote your services, you won’t be rolling in cheddah anytime soon.
Yes. Its important to to have a Brand that shows who you are as a Business and yes the pics, colors, etc can help you show that. But they do not work in silo.
Here are a few things you can do:
1) Update your website with your new pics and share it with your peeps. You can say something like this “Hey, I just got my new pics and updated my site. Check to see what’s new!” You can even share a specific page from your website like the About me page or your services one.
2) Put them on a landing page with either a lead magnet or your offers – with a “Book Me” button 😉
3) Share them on a Blog Post/ Social media post with a compelling or valuable piece of Content (Just like this one!)
Ask yourself, how can this help me reach my ideal Client? And then, watch your new branding pics do the work for you in your biz!
HAVE YOU HAD A BRANDING PHOTOSHOOT EXPERIENCE? SHARE IT WITH ME IN THE COMMENTS BELOW