This post was written by Emma Jackson. With over 12 years' experience in Communications and Branding, Emma offers creative Branding Photography to female entrepreneurs and creatives across the Cotswolds.
Whether it's images to showcase your business on your website, content to connect with your dream clients on social media, or informal business headshots, she will help you present your best front and grow your business.
She has a variety of sessions available, from short and sweet headshot sessions, mini sessions held in beautiful locations, or full sessions designed entirely around you.
As part of our Gloucestershire Expertise series, we are giving leaders the opportunity to share their knowledge, experience, and personal stories to help other ambitious enterprises grow. If you would like to contribute to the series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When the Covid pandemic drove businesses around the world to close their doors in the spring of 2020, it triggered a shift towards an online, digital way of doing business.
Our collective gaze turning towards the online world presents both opportunities and challenges. In a year full of surprises, small businesses are finding themselves increasingly reliant on their online presence to continue to engage with their audiences, and are looking for ways to turn it to their advantage and help their business thrive.
But how can you make yourself seen and heard in a noisy online marketplace? How can you ensure you stand out to your dream clients and capture their attention long enough to make that sale? If customers are drawn to people and brands that they have a connection with, how do you go about creating that connection?
The answer is deceptively simple: by sharing more of you.
What is Personal Branding Photography?
You may be familiar with the term ‘Personal Branding Photography’, but what is it and how can it help you stand out online and grow your business?
Let’s start with branding. Your brand is more than just your logo or your website or your fonts and colour scheme. Your brand is your whole ethos. Your way of doing business. The way you make your customers feel.
"Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room" - Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon
As a small business or entrepreneur, your brand is most likely to be you. The impression you leave when you meet people, your reputation, your values.
Building a personal brand is about making genuine connections with the people you interact with online and in person, and making sure your messages are always inline with what you stand for. When someone buys from a small business, they buy from you because they like, trust and connect with you.
How can photography help strengthen your online presence?
Photography for your business isn’t just about creating an image, it’s about making a connection. And making a connection with your audience is a sure fire way of fostering trust and sense of community.
"When we empathize with our customers’ dilemma, we create a bond of trust. People trust those who understand them, and they trust brands that understand them too". - Donald Miller, Building a StoryBrand
A collection of polished and consistent personal branding photos will help bring your personality to life, highlight your passion for what you do and build your unique brand, showcasing what is at the heart of your business.
How will showing your face online help make you more money?
Clients come to us when they have a problem that needs solving. When we empathise with their concerns and demonstrate that we can help provide that solution we are creating the foundations for trust. Even if they have not met us in real life, if they feel that they know who we are and what we stand for, they can start to build those connections with us.
- People buy from people. When browsing a business’ profile online, don’t you feel more confident about who you’re investing in if you can see their face before you buy? As humans we are programmed to make connections. If you enable your audience to strike up a feeling of connection they can start to build trust in you.
- It builds brand recognition. In an increasingly visual world, showing your face helps you stand out from the competition.
- It makes you relatable. Share as much or as little of yourself and your life as you are comfortable with. Helping your customers to understand that you too are human will enable them to relate to you.
- Position yourself as the expert that you are. Because everyone wants to buy confidently from the person who knows exactly what they are doing!
- From personal experience, the images I share of myself on social media are without fail the ones with the highest levels of engagement! I expect I am not all that different to you - I’m camera shy and much prefer to be behind the lens, but I’ve learnt that being myself and sharing genuine images of who I am and what I do enables me to attract the right clients. Those who I will click with and who I will want to jump out of bed in the morning to work with! These are the clients who will rave about you and will come back to you again and again.
How does a Personal Branding Photography session work?
A branding photography session needn’t be daunting. Find a photographer you feel comfortable with and set about capturing some natural, relaxed images that tell the story of your brand. For me, this is how a session works:
- Branding Questionnaire - We start with an informal Zoom chat, which helps ensure we are the right fit for each other. Once you decide to book, I will send you a Branding Questionnaire for you to complete. This will help you to clarify what you want to get out of your session. It will also help me to get to know your business and brand, and understand your vision for the shoot. Every shoot is different, tailored to you and built around what you need.
- Inspiration Board- You create an inspiration board to share with me. Gather images which inspire you and that you relate to – the types of images you’d love to achieve in your session.
- Shot list - If there are any specific images you’d like to get, write them down in a shot list. For example you might want a few headshots, images of you at work, or in a pretend client meeting etc. This will help ensure we get a nice variety of images that you can use on your website or social media.
- Session Planning - Based on your questionnaire responses and your inspiration board, we will plan the session together around what you want to achieve.
- Shoot Day - On the day, we keep things relaxed. I may ask you to start doing what you ‘do’, and I will move around you capturing candid images, detail shots, flat lays, products and more. If you’re absorbed in your work you are less likely to notice the camera. As a creature who shies away from the camera myself, I understand how it feels to be in front of the lens. So I work really hard to put you at ease.
- Your Images Are Delivered - A couple of weeks later, I will email you a link to a secure online gallery of your fresh, bright and airy branding images. You can download your images immediately and start to refresh your website and plan your social media content straight away.
Becoming more visible in your business is a quick and easy way to start building genuine relationships based on trust and commonality. Developing your own meaningful personal brand is a powerful marketing tool that can help you attract more of the right clients to your door.
You might also be interested in my free guide to taking your own branding photos. I’ve put together the 4 key shots you can use in your business and I walk you through how to capture each one. Download the guide here.