ABCs of Personal Brand Photography for Photographers - Part 5 of 5 (U-Z)
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 - J | K - O | P - T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Understand your Brand - if clients are unclear of their brand values, identity, ideal clients, and vision, planning a shoot that helps their business grow, will be very difficult. Encourage them to take some time to get to know their brand before booking. Perhaps point them to a business coach or brand designer. You can even include questions in your questionnaire that will guide them to figure out key aspects of their brand as they’re planning their shoot with you.
Usage - make sure your clients’ usage rights are clear on your contract and that you can verbalize what they entail during your discovery call.
Use the Photos - some of my clients have had blocks when it comes to actually using their images. Perhaps there's a bit of imposter syndrome going on, or a behind-the-scenes revamp on their end. If this is happening and you feel comfortable asking them about it reach out, otherwise, find clever ways to educate them on how to properly use the images so they get out there in the world to help your clients attract their ideal clients!
Variety - wide, close-ups, headshots, details, mockups, wardrobe change, location shift, mug switch, taking a phone call, working on laptop, vertical, horizontal, you get the point. You need to get your clients loads of variety in shots so they can spread them far and wide for all their marketing purposes.
Vertical - portrait images are great for reel covers and headshots, book features, etc. As much as possible, aim to shoot most scenes both horizontally and vertically.
Video - despite what we’ve heard about video taking over social media algorithms, photos are NOT dead! Here are loads of ways to use your images. Video can’t replace everything but there are ways to incorporate it into your branding shoot (although I wouldn’t recommend hybrid shooting unless you are really good at it). Since video is such a different skill than photography in terms of settings, lighting, and processing (and gear), I would suggest you be careful when it comes to overpromising delivering both photos and videos. I film BTS on my phone and often shoot continuous shutter to create GIFS but it may be worth connecting with a talented professional videographer who you can recommend to your client, and it may be worth recommending you shoot on separate days so you don’t get in the way of each other.
Visibility - we preach this to our clients as an important part of their marketing but are you doing it as well? Are you getting out there and showcasing your face in your own marketing? How can you share your skills and be more visible to build trust?
Visualize - any time your clients feel overwhelmed or even stressed out about getting in front of the camera, remind them that the mind is a powerful tool. Encourage them to visualize happy clients who’ve found them from their new gorgeous images - people whose struggles they can solve and goals they can help reach. Remind them to take that joy and bring it to the front of their mind to help them stay high vibe throughout the shoot. If it helps, have them visualize their favorite person there having a great time and making them laugh.
Wardrobe - now this is a big topic that I am very UNqualified to offer professional advice with!! BUT I can say that wardrobe is an important factor when it comes to branding shoots as it helps your client stand out and sends a message to their audience, but most importantly, it contributes to how they FEEL! And you want them to feel (and of course look) freakin' STUNNING. Encourage them to dive into different looks that represent them and their brand and if possible, connect them with a stylist who can help them elevate.
Wages - you as an entrepreneur and CEO need to make sure you are paying yourself. I know how hard this can be when starting but it needs to become a priority. If you’re not able to pay yourself every two weeks, you need to revisit your pricing and process. When I was first familiarizing myself with the idea of paying myself consistently (rather than never, or only when it felt good) I created a really useful pay spreadsheet to share with other business owners and I would be lost without it! Pop a reminder into your calendar so you never go without making money from your business. You can check out my pay spreadsheet on Etsy.
Watermark - I would think this was obvious but in case it’s new information, please don’t watermark your final delivered images. Your client pays a lot for your services and they should not have to share your name along with every image. If like me you deliver proofs for them to choose from, that is absolutely a good example of when to watermark as they are unfinished and not ready to be shared.
Wrinkles - wrinkled clothing is terrible for shoots so remind clients to store their outfits in a way that best keeps them wrinkle-free. This is another bonus to renting a space - outlets for a steamer! You may want to grab a small one to include in your shoot-day kit in case your client forgets to iron.
Weather - the weather is a huge reason I would recommend renting a shooting space to at least start at, although amazing photos can come out of a cloudy or drizzly day, especially if you’re prepared for it. Ultimately as the photographer you’ll decide about rescheduling based on the severity of the weather, your availability to reschedule, and whether the shoot aesthetic and gear will be okay. That said, remind clients that if they want to book spring or summer shoots to reduce the rain-out risk, get on the calendar early as those tend to be highly sought-after seasons for brand shoots. Make sure that your weather policy is clearly recorded in your contract and it may even be something you want to address in your planning call if the shoot aligns with a poor weather season.
Website - when building your website, think of the client journey. It’s supposed to be beautiful, functional, educational, and walk them through a clear story of what it’s like to work with you, as well as the benefits, transformations, FAQs, and processes. Think about what services you want to highlight and whether or not you want them visible on your site or as separate pages that you direct people to only when you want to. Remember that your website could be what makes people book you or pushes them to search for someone else. If you’re not sure what layout to employ, have a look at templates on Etsy or look into a web designer who can help build it with you. Bonus if they specialize in service industries or even better - photographers!
Wide - it can be so easy to abandon wide shots but you’ll want to make sure they’re included in shoot day so your client has some options for potential website banners.
Workshops - this may sound scary at first but you have so much unique knowledge. What do you know that you can teach others? This is a great way to spread your skills, meet new people, and get your name out there. Unsure of how much you know? Start by writing out the ABCs and fill in a word (or loads) for each letter - you’ll be shocked by how much you know! That was how this entire series (and future course) was born!
Xmas - since we want our clients’ brand photos to last them a good while, you may want to suggest they take a photo or two in anticipation of the holidays. Maybe throw a Santa hat into your kit so you’ve got it covered and they have photos ready to announce their holiday hours when the time is right.
Xtra Photos - if, like my package, you limit the number of included photos, you’ll want to have a few options for your clients to purchase more. Include this in your FAQs and final gallery email, as well as in your contract.
Yes - although some things you suggest may seem a bit silly to your clients at the time of the shoot, remind them that it’s ok to say yes and be a little silly or out of the box for them to get their point across and stand out. Encourage them to say yes to the silly, to the pamper sessions, to the entire experience!
Youtube - how can you use the free tool of youtube to get your name out there more? Consider making slideshows and embedding them to your site to help with SEO. Maybe you want to share tutorials or film your FAQs to put on your site. It’s a great tool that is easy to overlook if you’re not a videographer but it may be worth setting up to see if it can help you share your knowledge and attract more aligned clients.
Zen - remind your clients to allow themselves zen in the lead-up to your shoot. Give them some suggestions for activities that will put them in a calm, relaxed headspace that will translate nicely on camera! Think as well about how you introduce zen at the start of your shoot.
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