Help other entrepreneurs build their business with personal branding photography

Personal branding photography is one of the fastest growing niches around.  Entrepreneurs and small business owners recognize the value of high-quality photography in their own marketing efforts.  Your skills can help others and both of you can achieve your business goals!

What is personal branding photography?

Personal branding photography is a private session for business owners.  These sessions may focus on the client, their products or a little bit of both!  These sessions are less formal than a headshot session.  They are more organic than a standard product photography session.  Personal branding sessions should focus on showing off the client’s personality and style!  I like to think of them as business lifestyle sessions!

Personal branding photography images may be used on social media.  They also could appear on a website, in advertisements or in marketing materials.  Any place the clients wants to market their business, they need a quality photograph!

Who needs personal branding photography?  Potential clients might include fitness experts, consultants, coaches, and models.  I’ve also shot for social media influences, small business owners, musicians, authors or food bloggers.  Almost any entrepreneur can benefit from a well-planned branding session with a skilled photographer.

photography and personal branding

Why is photography important for personal branding?

People crave connections with other people.  No longer are we content to simply give our money to the lowest priced competitor.  We want to know the person behind the products and services we invest in.  Savvy business owners recognize the power of connection in their marketing efforts and have turned to savvy photographers to help build their brand.

High-quality images for use on social media or in marketing efforts helps a business owner tell her unique story.  Personal branding images convey personality and warmth and help build a connection between the business owner and the audience.  Finally, imagery helps build a brand and position the business as authentic and honest.

Professional photographs also convey a sense of trust and investment in the business.  Honestly, how inclined would you be to trust someone who’s branding consists of phone pics of their cat eating tacos?  Quirky images and everyday cell snaps have a place.  But a high-level brand needs high-level photography!

questions to ask before a branding session

How do you plan a personal brand photoshoot?  What questions should I ask before a branding photo session?

A personal branding photography session usually begins with a questionnaire or a question and answer consultation between the photographer and business owner.  This can be done via e-mail or phone.  My preference is a face-to-face meeting.  I like to begin building camaraderie and trust right away.  I want to find out things like:

  • What style of images my client wants (candid versus more styled poses)
  • What “look” or editing style my client is drawn toward (do they light and airy but you shoot dark and moody?)
  • How the images will be used
  • What kinds of images my client is after…portraits, products, flat lays, landscapes, action, etc.
  • My client’s goals for the photoshoot
  • My client’s goals for her business
  • Personal details about the client…favorite activities, books, movies or music
  • My client’s why
  • Who is my client’s ideal client?
  • What inspires my client?  Who does she admire or look up to?
  • Details about the business…when did it start, what services does he offer, what services does he want to offer in the future, etc.
  • Does she have an inspiration board (if not, I encourage her to make one and share it with me!)

These pre-session interviews can also help draw out your client’s personality.  Is she warm and bubbly?  More serious and pensive?  Don’t just hear the answers she gives you, get to know her as a person, too.

Finally, you’re ready to nail down the details of the photoshoot.  You and your client should also discuss location, wardrobe, and props.  All of these will tie into the look of your session and help lend authenticity to her brand.

Looking for information on commercial photography?  We have you covered!

Personal branding sessions

How do I prepare for a personal branding session?

For photographers

As a photographer, I prepare for a personal branding session by reviewing my notes on the client and our goals for the session.  I plan my workflow and think through different poses to try.  I also review any existing material the client has like a website or catalog.  My camera and flash batteries get charged, memory cards get formatted and my gear gets a once over.  I also scout the location a day or two in advance to make sure there aren’t any surprises waiting for us, like construction or closures.

For the client

I encourage clients to prepare for their photoshoot by focusing on self-care and leave the portrait details to me.  I encourage them to do the following, at least those in keeping with their personality and brand.

  • Get a manicure or pedicure
  • Finalize their wardrobe, including ironing and locating accessories
  • Gathering any products or props they might want to use
  • Groom and/or exercise animals if they are to be incorporated into the session
  • Tidy the house or yard for home-based shoots
  • Get some rest
  • Drink lots of water
  • Practice run makeup and hairstyles or book styling appointments

Personal branding session pricing

How much should you charge for a personal branding session?  First, it depends on your skill, market and clientele.  Second, consider your pricing model.  Do you want to offer an all-inclusive package for one flat fee? Charge by the hour? By the final image purchased?  Remember that your client is probably more interested in licensing digital images than in purchasing prints or products.  If you plan to upsell, you’ll likely need to do it with digital images so build that into your pricing model.

Most personal brand photographers use a combination of session fee and per image usage price for their sessions.   What fits in with other photography services you offer?  Above all, your pricing structure should feel right for your business.

Copyright got you confused? Read our copyright tutorial!

Who are some personal branding success stories?

Need some inspiration on personal branding?  Explore these successful entrepreneurs and see how their imagery supports their personal brand.

  1. Oprah Winfrey
  2. Chip and Johanna Gaines
  3. Jenna Kutcher
  4. Rachel Hollis
  5. Richard Branson
  6. Ree Drummond
  7. Taylor Swift
  8. Beyonce
  9. Lebron James
  10. Seth Godin

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is quoted as saying, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”  High-quality imagery can support entrepreneurs’ business and personal goals.  It tells a story.  It differentiates a business from the competition.  Most importantly, authentic photography builds trust with clients.  Photographers who understand this and can help fellow business owners with branding goals will find themselves standing out from the crowd.

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