There are many talented photographers in Bristol offering personal branding services, so how do you choose who’s the best fit for you?
Look at their portfolio
Can you guess what the person being photographed does for a living (roughly speaking)?
We all love a pretty picture of ourselves, but we need to reflect more than this with branding work. The purpose of your imagery is to tell your business story, so make sure they actually reflect your business and don’t look like everyone elses!
Does each client session look different from another?
In so many genres, having a particular style is helpful when choosing which photographer to work with, such as in my newborns and families work. There, my clients are drawn to my particular style and are comforted to know roughly what their finished images will look like. However this becomes a drawback when you need your photographer to show your unique PERSONAL brand in the session. The resulting images need to reflect your brand, not theirs!
If they pass that basic test, pick up the phone and ask them these questions
How will you represent my brand?
This takes a lot of planning and involves you answering lot of questions. It should include discussions about your business, your market place, your key marketing messages, brand colours, who your target clients are and what you want them to think and feel about you. This is a big piece of work and for the session to be successful, it’s vital. I have a background in sales and marketing and can talk business for days so use this knowledge to help give your brand the edge it needs to stand out.
How will you make my session different to my competitors/your other clients?
You’re looking for detail here and responsiveness to your particular situation. The reason this matters is because you want your images to speak directly to your target clients. They need to tell your story in a way that resonates so that they know you’re the solution to their problem. Your images need to be a unique representation of you to achieve this.
I’m uncomfortable in front of the camera, how will you help me look my best?
There is a current trend to have you sat in a coffee shop (type place) looking out of a window/out of the frame as if talking to another person (see sample above) and these are great for building the story of how you work.
If you are uncomfortable in front of the camera these feel safest as you won’t be looking at the camera. However, they won’t work on their own as they don’t allow your viewer to connect with you.
Make a connection
When we are engaged in a conversation we talk directly to that person, making eye contact, lean forward and mirror their body language. For the viewer of your images to feel that connection with you we need to replicate that, so you need to be facing the camera.
Most of us suddenly freeze and become hyper aware of every facial muscle and and limb when a camera is pointed at us, so having a photographer who’s trained in portrait work can help as they will have extensive experience of posing clients to create a beautiful result.
Posed doesn’t have to be stiff and formal, it can convey emotion or even ‘status’ (important if you want to have your images reflect your status as an in demand speaker/consultant or alternatively as an approachable therapist). Do not underestimate the power of a pose – body language experts have been telling us for years how important this is!! Reading why pose is your friend might be helpful too!
I know these are ‘real life’ images, but what about editing?
Every photographer is different here. The majority of personal branding photographers do not hand/detail edit images as there will be lots of them and they are likely to be ‘lifestyle’ in nature, which typically aren’t edited much. However, I edit all images whether they’re a personal or business portrait as most of us want to look our best in them as they are going to how our potential clients view us for the first time and unnecessary shine/redness/flyaway hairs/weirdly tucked in tops only distract from the overall image. A portrait is a portrait and it represents us, whether that be in our business or at leisure, so every image gets the same level of care and attention.
What format will my images be sent to me in and can I use them on social media?
Your images will usually be a high resolution JPEG file sent to you electronically. They are suitable for populating your website and printing large. They should not be used on social media as the files are too large so they will look ‘fuzzy’. Ask your photographer if they include duplicate social media files. I do this as standard as most people don’t have the time or the ability to resize their images. Being sent both sets saves you time and hassle further down the line.