ABCs of Personal Brand Photography for Photographers - Part 2 of 5 (F-J)
Breaking down all aspects of personal brand photography letter by letter...because it's so much more than just headshots.
After telling countless clients during their planning chats that they know so much more than they think they do, I decided to put this to the test myself, using the same method I suggest to them: write down each letter of the alphabet and start filling in words related to their industry, then little by little expand on them with your explanations. Before long they'll have dozens of potential captions and shot list ideas.
When I took decided to do this for myself, after months of compiling, I had nearly two hundred so I thought what better thing to do than use those words to educate others in the industry?!
If you're inspired and finding these helpful, head down below to download your free packet of all of them when it's ready!
A - E | F | G | H | I | J | K - O | P - T | U - Z
Focus - making sure you’re nailing your focus is so important in branding photography. Most often the eyes will be your focus point but sometimes that won’t be the case depending on the shot goals. Have a look through your camera’s focus settings to make sure you’ve got the full control you need.
Feel - talk to your clients about how they want their images to feel. What do they want their clients to feel when they see them? This will help brainstorm shoot locations and build your shoot plan so make sure you’re discussing this early on.
Filler - remember to catch the in-between moments and the details. These filler images make for great backdrops and banners while helping tell your client’s story.
Flowers - encourage your clients to pick up a bouquet of fresh or dried flowers to add their brand colors, life, and texture to their shoot.
Free Shoots - the idea of giving away your work for free probably feels a bit uncomfortable and that feeling is fully justified - your skills, your gear, and your experience are worth being paid for. That said, there are times (when you deem it beneficial to you) when it’s ok to shoot for free but you must weigh the benefits before deciding. You’ll want to make sure it’s useful to your portfolio, your exposure, etc. You don’t have to make it a full-sized package but you do need to be clear about what it is you want out of it. If you’re going to give away a shoot, have a hand in choosing locations or splurging for hair and make-up, that way at least you have polished additions to your portfolio.
Freebie - spend some time brainstorming a value-packed resource or kit of resources that potential clients will find essential and irresistible. This will grow your email list, where you can continue to share educational tips and value, building trust with your audience until the day they’re ready to book you!
Fun - yes, your shoot together is a work day for both of you, but what's the point of having our own businesses if they don't light us up? Do what you can to spice up the experience and inject fun into your day where ever you can!
Gallery - receiving their gallery is a SUPER exciting experience for your clients so make sure you’re using a program that streamlines the process and makes it as easy and accessible for them as possible! You’ll want to deliver the gallery so that your clients can download both social media, and high-resolution sized files (remind them to save them with labeled folders), and make sure to password protect and give them a download PIN to keep their images safe.
Genuine - just as you’re encouraging your clients to be genuine in their photos and marketing, it’s important for you to stay that way as well. Avoid shifting your ways to fit the mold of others. Be the genuine you in order to attract the right clients.
GIFs - these are a really fun way to add a little motion to your clients’ marketing! They work well for actions like popping prosecco or pouring coffee. If you’re going to add these moments into your shoot, let your client know you’re going to use a Continuous Shutter so they just need to follow through with whatever action they’re doing and not pause. Or keep it a surprise and overdeliver with some after your shoot!
Gifts - gift giving is one of my love languages and you have a 1 in 5 shot of it being one of your clients’ as well! Depending on the price of your services you may want to curate both a thanks for booking gift, and a post-shoot gift. They don’t have to be crazy expensive, just thoughtful and well-intentioned. You may even want to give them a little gift when you meet for your shoot!
Glitter - this is a really beautiful way to add fun and color to your clients’ shoot while attracting attention and is great for free spirits, artists, or anyone else wanting to show off their sparkle! Make sure it’s eco-friendly and biodegradable (and bring a little broom and dustpan to clean up as much as you can). I’d recommend the bigger pieces and definitely make sure you have great lighting for it to catch nicely on camera.
Golden Hour - if your client wants to shoot outside, especially in nature, see if you can guide them to stretch the shoot into golden hour so you can capture them in the best light. Make sure to factor in obstacles on the horizon that will impact the timing such as tall buildings and mountains.
Guides - detailed-filled guides are such an important aspect of the client experience. They showcase your expertise, answer client questions, and affirm to your clients that they are in good hands. Invest time both into the design of these, and the included info - they are an excellent indication of what it’s like to work with you and a useful display of how organized you are. Just remember that some learning styles will always be skimmers so use headings to help them find the important information quickly.
Hair - even if you know nothing about hair, your clients may ask you for advice so it’s important to share information that will help them help themselves. Looking good has a knock-on effect on confidence, so when they’re looking good, they’re feeling good and the whole shoot goes down better. Encourage a blow-out if that’s within their budget (remind them to expense it) and encourage a look that is similar to their daily style. Suggest throwing it up in a loose pony toward the end of the day to mix it up.
Hands - your client will constantly be thinking about where they should put their hands (in addition to wondering where to look and if they should smile). Engaged hands look best on camera so always be directing them to do something with their hands. Download my What to do with your Hands freebie for guidance.
Headshots - as much as traditional headshots may be out of your style and comfort zone (they were for me), it is important to include some close crops for your clients to use in their social profiles. Redefine them by using a different name if that helps, but make sure to include some and embrace their personality so they stand out from others in their industry.
High Resolution - make sure that you are exporting your clients’ images as high-resolution files so that they look perfectly crisp and sharp when they share them.
Hobbies - when planning the shoot with your client and discussing ways for them to connect with their audience, encourage them to think up some hobbies they may want to shed light on. This opens up conversations and allows their followers a peek into your clients’ lives, building trust. For example, even if they’re not keen on being photographed crocheting on the couch, there’s the option to pop some yarn (in their brand colors of course) in the background, or a recently crocheted blanket folded over the couch.
Holidays - encourage your clients to go on a little journey into future holidays to see if any observances spark inspiration. Maybe that’s as simple as packing a Santa hat. There are so many days of the year that may inspire creative content (and shoot) planning. Download my Yearly Holiday List to help your clients hone in on observances relevant to their industry.
Hydration - don't be the victim of an energy dip due to dehydration! This is so important to both you and your client. Bring loads of water to keep you going throughout the day, and bring an extra bottle for them if you can.
Ideal Client - just like you should have a good understanding of who your ideal clients are, and what they need and want, it is important that your clients also have an idea of who their ideal clients are. Knowing who they are targeting will help in their goal of crafting effective and successful marketing images. Download my Brand Identity Guide if you’d like a few prompts to help your clients define not just their ideal clients, but also their values and mission.
Ideas - personal branding photoshoots breed creativity so encourage your clients to keep the ideas coming as long as you’re prioritizing the main shot goals of the session. Go wild and find ways to stand out from others in their industry.
Inner child - if there’s ever a point when your clients bring themselves down with negative self-talk, remind them to speak to themselves just as they would want the child versions of themselves spoken to - with love, kindness, and encouragement.
Insecurities - the majority of people you work with will likely feel insecure when the camera comes out so remember this and be sensitive to it, making sure to add in loads of praise, encouragement, and guidance so they feel supported throughout the whole process.
Intention - make sure to dive into your client’s intentions for the shoot. It’s an important part of the process because when they come to you with a need vs. want mindset, there's an energetic shift. The desire, presence, and dedication to creating impactful photos can be seen in the final product when they really commit to the intention and goal (ie. helping new clients, making more money, etc).
Investment - your clients are investing in your skills, expertise, and confidence so whenever possible, do the same by investing in yourself in the form of development, education, and upgrades to give them the best experience and ROI possible, and for you to feel pride in your service. Diving deeper into the ABCs of Brand Photography may serve to be a useful investment for you. Join my email list to be the first to know when this course comes together.
Jokes - in order to capture those natural laughing photos of your client, consider having a few cheesy jokes up your sleeve. They may not vibe with them and if that’s the case, encourage them to give you a big pity laugh anyway. Anything to get some natural giggles.
Journey - your client journey can make or break your entire client’s experience, especially when working with people who need organization and details. Because your clients are investing a lot of money in you and because being photographed is on the outskirts of most peoples' comfort zone, a positive journey is essential. Nurture your clients in a way that feels good with zoom calls, questionnaires, mood boards, and perhaps a sneaky gift or two in there as well to make sure they feel fully cared for, guided, and supported.
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