Today we’re following up on last week’s episode and diving into YOUR questions about branding photo shoots. We’re talking about nerves in front of the camera, how to add more personality to your images, when and where to share them and so much more. Ready to get incredible images for your business? This episode is for YOU!
Be sure to LISTEN to the audio version of this wherever you get your podcasts for all the questions and answers!
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE NOW:
QUESTION 1: “I hate being photographed and don’t feel confident enough for this. How do I fix that?”
I don’t think anyone is comfortable when they first start being photographed! It can feel weird and vulnerable, especially these solo branding photo shoots. For example, when I’ve done a shoot with my husband, it has a lightness to it that a solo shoot doesn’t. Being solo feels more “awkward” because you’re kinda being a model. And if you don’t feel like you know how to be a model, it’s gonna feel awkward.
Here are some tips for feeling more confident in front of the camera:
- Choose a photographer whose personality you LIKE — not just skills, but personality. Do they seem like someone who can help you feel comfortable? Do other people talk about their personality and how they helped them feel comfortable in the reviews? You want someone who could also be a friend!
- Do the work I talk about on the last episode and PLAN AHEAD. Know the shots you want to get. Bring your props. Try on clothes in advance and plan your outfits. Planning will help you relax more in the moment.
- Get professional hair and makeup done. I talked on the last episode about how I just happened to plan getting my haircut on the same day as my last shoot. But, after the fact, I was like “I should do this every time!” My hair was fresh and styled, which gave me more confidence. So, consider… can you plan for some self care beauty things before a shoot? Maybe haircut/styling, professional makeup, a manicure, or maybe just a really good skin care routine the night before! All of that will help you feel more ready to go.
- Wear clothes that you feel “put together” in. Don’t wear clothes that you need to tug at and worry about. Wear something that makes you feel confident and YOU.
- Pick locations where you’ll feel “at home”. I’ve done shoots in crowded coffee shops, and to be real, it was not fun for me. I felt like everyone was looking at me, and I felt in the way! After that shoot, I decided I didn’t want to do that again because it messed with my confidence, even though my photographer was used to that kinda thing. So, if you’re choosing somewhere that might be crowded, consider going at an “off time” or just somewhere else completely that will be less crowded and more home-y.
- Try to be as natural as possible. It will help to be ACTIVE during the shoot. So, not really posing but moving and taking cues from your photographer to help it be more natural. You want to get images that feel like you were caught in a moment! Don’t do every shot looking into the camera, play and move.
- Be honest with your photographer. Tell them what you’re needing, what you want, and how you’re feeling. Ask them for help when you need more direction!
QUESTION 2: “What’s the one shot most people WISH they had captured (but didn’t think of in the moment) after walking away from the shoot and creating their website?” - Elizabeth Evans
Ok, I loved this question! There are 3 shots I feel like people often wish they had gotten after a shoot. First, people often wish they had is some images that FEEL like a stock photo, but are customized to your brand. So, things like your hands typing on a computer, an overview of your work space, a phone in your hand, writing in a notebook, etc. Your photographer might not be thinking about those shots because YOU are the subject/model. But, it’s good to get some images without you in it too!
I also think people often wish they had more variety in the direction of the shoot. Make sure you get a good variety of horizontal and vertical images. This will be really important for your website’s design!
People often wish they got more “action” images and less “smiling at the camera” images. So often our instinct is pose and smile! But, the images that are going to be most useful are the ones where you’re doing something and the shot is like you were captured in action. For example, walking with a yoga mat bag not looking at camera, typing on computer looking at screen, preparing a cup of coffee, etc.
So, those are three things to make SURE you get — more images without you in them, a variety of horizontal and vertical, and “action” shots.
QUESTION 3: “Is it possible to work with a photographer who will guide me through planning the shoot instead of doing it myself?”
YES, 100%! If you work with a photographer who is a BRAND photographer specifically they will often have a process they are guiding you through as their client! Which is awesome! It’s still good for you to be able to come at it from a strategy perspective and be informed as well though. I personally haven’t worked with someone who really helps me plan things, but I know there are photographers who do this because I personally KNOW many who do!
QUESTION 4: “How do I decide how many photos of myself to post [on Instagram] versus stock “desk photos” or words/quotes?” - Molly Norris
So basically we’re talking about how much of your feed should be YOU versus other images? I don’t think there’s a straight answer here. Sorry!
First, people shouldn’t have to hunt down your whole IG page to FIND an image of you. Make it easy for them to see you! At least every 9 images should have an image of you or your team. Remember, these images don’t have to be you smiling at the camera, but can be “action” shots.
Also with Instagram, people don’t find you via your feed. When someone finds you, it’s typically through a single post. So, they aren’t going straight to your feed and seeing the whole thing. The whole “super curated” feed thing can go, because people aren’t really looking at your feed as a whole. They are looking at individual images and stories. So, I don’t think it’s something to obsess over when looking at the feed as a whole of how many images there are of you versus other things.
Overall though, variety is good! It’s not one size fits all though. For example, if you were a fashion blogger, you might want your whole feed to just be photos of you in the outfits you’re sharing. If you’re a life coach, you might want your feed to be lots of motivation quotes. If you’re a retailer selling a physical product, you might want your feed to be a lot about your product.
So, yes — every 9 images at least, but I think more is great! And if you do a photoshoot like we are talking about, you’ll feel like you have more great images to share that are varied in the style, so it’ll feel easier!
QUESTION 5: “How do I get the most use out of photos from a single shoot? I kind of just want to share them all on facebook after!”
So, don’t share them all on Facebook immediately! NOOOO!!! You want to spread them out! I totally get it that you’re excited when you get a ton of new images. So, ya know, update your profile pictures if you want. Post ONE to your feed with something exciting as the caption. Then, save them. Roll them out slowly, make them last!
QUESTION 6: “Would you use the same image from a shoot on Instagram spaced a part a few months?” - Olivia Mae Furnishings
YES, 100%. Using a photo on Instagram or Facebook isn’t a one and done thing. I reuse the exact same images all the time! Just not back to back. I also love having images where they are really similar but slightly different and using those to vary it a little. But yes, nothing wrong with using images even when they’ve been used before already! People notice these things less than you would think.
QUESTION 7: “I can’t afford a photographer right now. Alternatives?”
I would push back on this idea a little actually! I really believe that good photography will lead you to more sales. Your photos are telling a story about your brand, and when the photos are of low quality and unengaging, that’s the story you’re telling. Photography is worth investing in!
Even my first shoot where I did a service exchange (I talk about this on the last episode), I could have paid for it. I could have afforded my friend’s services, and it would have 100% been worth it.
Just like I believe your website is worth investing in, I also think photography is, and they really go hand in hand on your website.
QUESTION 8: “Is personal brand photography helpful for people who aren’t business owners?”
100% YES. YES. YES. You can still be building a personal brand while working in a traditional job. There will also always be spots where a gorgeous professional image of you will come in handy — like on your Linkedin profile and on social media! Nothing is worse than a poorly lit, unprofessional Linked in photo.
So, yes, I think everyone can benefit from this. If you’re in the non-business owning space then you might just need to do this less frequently.
QUESTION 9: “What if I don’t have branding yet, so I don’t have brand colors, then what do I wear?”
Great question! Still follow the rule of wearing things that are YOU and that make you feel put together and confident. As far as colors, do you have a preference for a color palette on your website? If so, go with colors that match THAT vibe.
For me as a designer, when choosing brand colors for my clients, I always start by asking them if they have color preferences. Then I of course chime in and help, but it’s you who gets to put the opinion forth if you have a strong one. I work with plenty of people who want me to choose completely, and I work with others who already have a general idea of what they want.
So, if you have a general idea, wear colors that go with that.
If you have ZERO idea, wear neutrals. Jeans and a white blouse is always a win! Wear black and white, light colors, and nothing too harsh. If your colors are more subtle they will work with any brand/website really well.
So, go with neutrals or what you think you want your colors to be.
QUESTION 10: “How do I put more personality into my photos? I feel like the ones I have are really boring!”
The key is to treat this like a LIFESTYLE photoshoot. We want to show people your actual life, not you sitting pretty looking at the camera. Think about things that are unique to you, and include those as props, poses or locations.
Here are some ideas of things you could include as props or poses:
- Your pets
- Your favorite drink
- A book you really love
- A quirky face you make
- You doing your actual job
- You cooking your favorite dessert or meal
These things will spice up the photoshoot and make you stand out from all the basic images. But, remember it comes with PLANNING and with choosing a photographer that will understand what you’re looking for.
Like this post? Listen to the podcast version on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Also, be sure to tune into last week’s episode where I dive into an EXACT blueprint for getting killer brand images for your business.