What is a personal branding shoot and who actually needs one?
Keep hearing about this personal brand photography thing and wondering if it’s actually something you need to know about or if it’s a total waste of money? I’m going to give you the full scope in this video, so stay tuned.
Hello and welcome back to the channel or if this is your very first time here, welcome. My name is Kat Elizabeth. I am an actor, online entrepreneur and video creator who is obsessed with all things personal branding.
Recently I have been doing quite a bit of personal branding photo shoots. I’ve been doing them for myself. I’ve been helping other people plan them. And I have certainly learned a lot about what is involved in them, why you actually need them and how to pull them off really well. So in this video I’m going to pretty much try and teach you everything I’ve learned about personal brand photo shoots so you can make up your own mind about whether they’re for you.
Make sure you stay right until the end because I also have a little bit of a freebie for you, but you’ll have to wait and hear about that soon.
Okay, so first things first. What even is a personal brand photo shoot? Now hopefully you’ve seen some of my other videos on personal branding, so you sort of get the concept of what a personal brand is all about. But one of the big questions is what’s the difference between a personal brand photo shoot and a headshot shoot?
Well, essentially a headshot shoot really only gives you one shot in the end. Maybe you’ll get a few different shots. But all you’re going to be doing is using those photos as a headshot, whether that’s on your website or as a profile photo. They’re pretty stock standard. So the crop tends to be about the same. You don’t get super creative with what you’re wearing. You don’t tend to show a ton of personality where people kind of freak out.
Whereas a personal brand photos shoot is where you get to express yourself so much more. It’s a way of showing off your personality, your fashion sense. It can even kind of demonstrate what you do because you’re telling more of a story through the photos. It has more of an editorial feel. You’ll generally get way more shots at the end of it because then you’re going to be using them in more places.
For instance, my personal brand photos tend to be shown off a lot on my social media feeds because it looks more like me. It’s a bit weird posting your headshot every couple of days. Although I have seen some people do that. It’s also great for things like header images, whether that’s on your website or your Facebook profile or YouTube channel. They can also look really nice if you have to create Facebook ads for something that you’ve done. It can look beautiful in eBooks. And any way you need some really professional looking imagery, but something that is more than just a photo of your mug.
Next question is who actually needs to do a personal brand shoot? The term “need”, obviously we’re not talking life or death here, but we are talking about the ability to sort of amplify your personal brand further. It’s going to give you more material to be able to use in your social media and anything else that is being designed for you. And so really I would say that if you know that you have a personal brand, which technically we all do, but you need yours to really help you move forward in your career, to grow your business, your side hustle, whatever it is that you’re doing, then a personal brand shoot is going to make it so much easier for you to do that.
What you might’ve noticed if you’re someone that’s on Instagram for instance, is that photos that have your face in them tend to get so much more engagement than things like the perfect flat [inaudible 00:03:21] of a pretty desk. People want to see the person that’s behind the business and they want to see that you’re real. And while we can do that with things like selfies and photos that other people took, often the quality is just not as high. And being able to have a professional photographer help you with that means the lighting is better, you have your best angle, it’s taken at a better location, you’ve got more white space in the photo. It just makes you look like a pro.
In my personal opinion, if you want to grow your personal brand, you really should do at least one personal branding photoshoot.
Question of the day: Have you ever done a personal brand photoshoot, and if not, are you considering one? Let me know in the comments below.
Speaking of things like websites and social media, let’s just talk a little bit about some other ideas of where your photos could live so that you can see just how much this investment could potentially pay off for you.
So you’ve got your cover photos as I mentioned. You’ve got the website imagery that isn’t just your about me photo, but the random ones throughout your website. They can also look really lovely as a background on a website page with a nice colored overlay. So it’s kind of faded out and subtle, but it’s still you, which means it’s more branded than if you used some random stock image.
They also look amazing on things like YouTube thumbnails. They look great in eBooks. Perfect in social media posts and stories, in advertising, anything that is visual and press releases. If you’re sending out a press release or someone sending one out for you, it generally looks more professional and interesting to have some editorial style images as opposed to just your headshot. And then those images are able to be used in the newspaper or magazine or online publication if the story goes ahead. So it’s already going to give you a leg up because media outlets much prefer you being able to provide your own images as opposed to them sending out their photographer to take photos of you.
And speaking of, I’ve had a few opportunities to be featured in some publications where they did send out the photographer. And the photos I ended up with were terrible. I didn’t get to look at them. I had no say in the finished product. They just snapped away. It was taken in my house. There wasn’t enough natural light. It was all my wrong angles. I felt uncomfortable. I looked uncomfortable. So again, this is you sort of taking back control of your public image and being able to hand that over to them and go, “These are all pre-approved.”
What is actually involved in a personal brand photo shoot? Fact is photo shoots require a huge amount of work. First of all, keep an eye out for my video on planning for a photo shoot. But for the time being, let me just give you the nutshell version.
You’re going to have to do your research and choose a photographer. You’re going to have to do more research and choose the right location or locations and decide whether you’re going in a studio versus having a lifestyle shoot versus having something that’s outdoors or a mix of all of the above. You’re going to have to create a mood board so that you know really what you’re aiming for with this shoot. You’re going to have to plan your wardrobe, your hair and your makeup. Figure out if you’re going to use any props and if so, which ones. You’re going to have to create a shot list for yourself so you know exactly what you need to achieve on the day.
And to get really specific, you need to also be planning where these images are going to live and in what format so that the photographer knows that, okay, so for this one you need it to look really good in a wide crop. So therefore you need to make sure that the right amount of your body is in that photo and then giving you all the white space you need. So it can get really nitty gritty. But this kind of planning means you really get your bang for buck. If you can walk away with 50, 100, even 200 photos that are just ready to go, then obviously, you’re just going to need to pack for the shoot, have everything ready, iron everything, have all your accessories ready to go. You’re going to get some good sleep. You’re going to go to the shoot on the day.
You’ll probably get sent a short list and you might narrow it down. Or some photographers have packages for social media where they don’t actually do the narrowing down and they don’t do a lot of editing; they just send you the Dropbox. That’s when you will actually just go through it and remove any that you don’t feel like represent you. And you might request a couple of higher resolution shots that you know are going to be featured in very large format.
That’s it. Then you just get to sit back and enjoy the fact that you’ve got this stock image library of yourself ready to go so you won’t be stuck for social media images or anything like that ever again.
I know that sounds like a lot, but as I said, I do have a little freebie for you. I’ve actually created a personal brand photo shoot planning guide so that you can actually go through and follow my checklist and make sure you do all the right research and you’ve thought of everything that you need to before you do your next shoot.
If you want a copy of that then just find the link in the description box below and you can download it.
Now, if you liked this video, please give it a thumbs up. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss out on future related videos. Share it with any friends who are thinking about having a photo shoot of their own. And if you found this helpful, please let me know in the comments below. Say something like, “I love photo shoots,” or, “Bring on the photo shoot,” just so I know I’m doing my job.
All right, well thanks as always for watching and I can’t wait to see you next time. Bye for now.
Kat is an actor and personal branding coach as well as the host of The Personal Branding Project Podcast and her self-titled YouTube channel. She started her career off by playing Marilyn at Warner Bros Movie World, went on to perform in the original Australian casts of Jersey Boys & Hairspray and eventually found herself writing/producing her own work before becoming a self-employed copywriter and marketing strategist. She now offers 1:1 Coaching and Online Courses for entrepreneurs, freelancers + multi-passionate creatives.