It’s not very often I get someone challenging me regarding the importance of personal branding. The fact of the matter is, you have a personal brand whether you do anything to intentionally manage it or not. But when it comes to professional branding photos, I often get questions on what the benefits of having custom, professional personal branding photos for your business would actually be.
I decided to make a list, and easily detailed 26 ways that investing in personal branding photos can help your business.
Increase your confidence
Have you ever washed your car, then detailed it, then waxed it? Or maybe just taken it through the car wash after a particularly grimy period of weather? For me, when I do that, two things happen. One, I feel better driving my car, and about being a responsible owner and maintaining my car just a little better. And second, I swear it feels like it runs better.
This is one of the largest benefits of personal branding photos – they can give you just a little extra confidence boost. A recent client of mine, who has multiple businesses, when she received her library of images she called them “career-changing” photos.
Bottom line: when you look good, and you know you look good – it gives you just a bit of a confidence boost. People can feel the difference. And most people want to work with confident people.
Control your image and reputation
Picture this: You meet two middle aged men on the street. One is dressed in a snazzy, medium blue suit, with a white shirt, nice shoes, and is well groomed. The other has on shorts, a faded t-shirt, flip-flops, and looks a little disheveled. Will you have the exact same opinion of both of them before you even say hello?
As I mentioned in the intro, you have a personal brand whether you know it or not. When you start becoming intentional about how people see your brand through photos, you can start taking steps to control your image and your reputation. Brand image is very important.
If you feel like you’re not attracting the right clientele, maybe you need to be a little more intentional with your brand imagery.
Set yourself apart.
When I first decided to “turn pro” as a photographer, one of the very first phrases I heard was “the market is so over-saturated.” I made me think more than twice about pursuing this line of work. But think about it: what can’t be considered “over-saturated”.
Think about how many restaurants, car dealerships, gas stations, grocery stores, clothing companies, shoe companies, books, etc… are available to us every day. Then I realized the real problem: these photographers likely weren’t doing anything exceptional.
“You” are the primary thing that makes your business unique. You are the thing that can’t be duplicated. And Studies show that websites that give some detail about the people who work in the business get more visitors to convert into leads or customers.
How many times have you read or heard someone telling you you need to be “authentic” with your business, your marketing, or your branding? Is it just me, or does it seem a little weird to have to figure out how to be authentic?
Well, one very easy way to be authentic is to actually have photos of you, your business, and your team as part of your image library. Screw stock images. I love creating custom images for you that have the same intent of stock photos, but are clearly branded just for you. It creates a consistent look and feel in all your visual images when your headshots, your behind the scenes, your branding, and your stock images are all done in a similar style.
So solving the riddle of “how to be more authentic” is one of the huge benefits of personal branding photos
First impressions count
Ever heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”? Well, unfortunately, most people do exactly that when they first have any sort of interaction with you or your brand. Often in fractions of a second, many opinions and decisions are being made about what they think you are like.
Sure, this is rooted in bias and their past experiences, but knowing how quickly people make initial judgements, isn’t it worth investing a little more in making sure that first impression is a great one?
And going back to the point on authenticity, this needs ot be done in a way that aligns with what they will experience as the relationship continues. No fake guru shots with rented Lambos.
But, for what it’s worth, I have rented Cadillacs, Mercedes, BMW’s and Corvettes as transportation for clients during their shoot. So if or when you see me with seemingly a different car, that’s the reason!
Increase your following on social media
Can you guess what my best performing posts are on social media? If you’ve done any research on the best things to post, you probably know the answer.
It’s photos of me.
Before you start making excuses about how no one wants to see photos of you, just stop right now. I used to think and say the same thing. “Who wants to see photos of a middle aged, slightly overweight, graying photographer?”
Surprisingly, more than I thought.
But think about it for a second. It’s called social media. Are you more likely to interact with a person or an idea? Growing your following and attracting potential future customers is one of the important benefits of personal branding photos.
Compete on quality, not price
In January 2014 I had the great fortune to be upgraded from Business Class to First Class on an Air France flight from New York to Paris. While the entire series of flights spoiled me just a bit and created some amazing memories, one of the most memorable things is the sight that greeted me in the First Class lounge at Charles DeGaulle. 33 different types of bottled water for my enjoyment!
What sets the various bottle of water apart and makes one cost multiples of another? A large part of the answer is branding.
When you begin to set yourself apart from others with strong branding, you can elevate you’re business above the race to the bottom price wars. As your charge more, you can provide a better experience. You can provide that First Class VIP feeling. People pay for the experience as well as the product or service.
Tell your story
Five years after my Air France experience, I was doing a photo shoot for an author in Florida. Now, I am always happy to travel to Florida in January, and I was thrilled to do a photo shoot in a new location.
The author felt like St. Augustine and the beach told his brand story thorough images better than photos at his home.
And he was absolutely right.
I spend time with you to understand the feeling and the vibe of your brand. Even if you’re just starting out, we work together to identify what the aspiration is for your brand image.
And then we can start identifying the ideas on how we can communicate your story through your brand photos. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Make sure they’re the right words.
Create a connection with your clients
Seth Godin wrote in his book This Is Marketing “People like us do things like this.” That phrase has really stuck with me, because when I started my photography business, my intent was to only work with people I enjoy spending time with and would be proud to introduce to other people.
In order for me to find clients that feel like friends ( and often become friends) I’ve got to give them a chance to feel what it might be like to work with me. When you can get people to feel something, you’re starting to make an emotional connection. This is one of the often overlooked benefits of personal branding photos: creating that emotional connection.
I’m happy to say I have been able to achieve my goal is only working with people I enjoy being with so far. One reason is I spend time to get to know you before we book a photo shoot.
And it’s a big part of why I created my Brand Hero Subscription. I started finding that many of my clients kept coming back for more shoots throughout the year. So the Brand Hero package gives you four sessions any time over a twelve month period for one consistent monthly payment. It’s a great way for you to always have fresh, on-brand images without having the periodic should in expenses.
And for those clients, each shoot gets better and more fun, and the images become more and more authentic.
Presents a professional business image
When you think of a photographer, what do you picture them wearing?
While I don’t always wear a suit when I do your photos, it is not usually far from that “uniform”. It’s what I’m comfortable wearing, but there is some intentionality about being one of the best-dressed, most professional-looking photographers you will ever work with too.
So my branding images usually have me in a suit as well. What can you do to make your images scream “she’s a real professional!”?
Save time and money
If you’re posting consistently on social media, having a library of images will absolutely save you time. Selecting images of usually the shortest part of my posting.
If you have team members doing this work for you, saving them time also saves you money.
And, it absolutely sucks when you get a chance to be published or interviewed and they ask for photos and you either don’t have any you love, or they’re old and dated.
Level up your brand
Just think about how cool it will be to say “Let me check with personal photographer…”
I was recently in a shoot with a client and she was able to say ” I can’t today; I’m having photos done by my personal photographer. How about tomorrow?”.
How do you think her status was perceived by the client she was meeting?
Improve your brand recognition
When you start having professional brand photos done, you start getting a certain level of consistency in your photos.
But you also get the creativity to create potential “signature shots” like we did for Tonya recently. Her catch phrase is “Let’s make some magic”, so what better way than to create a memorable magic moment than to have her flying away with her bunch of balloons?
Inspiration can take many forms. Perhaps it’s sharing a little about exactly how you make an impact. Maybe it’s creating a brand style that other people are to emulate . Or maybe it’s simply having such great images that people copy your ideas!
So another of the benefits of personal branding photos is about helping others see and feel the transformation your business can help them achieve. It’s really about making an even bigger impact on the world.
Great-looking photography will give your personal brand another layer of trust and appeal.
Building upon the ideas of first impressions, professionalism, and authenticity, consistent use of great looking photos will increase the trust potential customers have in you.
Consistency is a very important component in trust, and trust in turn leads to confidence in making a purchase.
If you look like you invest in yourself, people are more likely to invest in you too.
The psychology of color
On a shoot in New York, I was doing photos for a media coach, and one of the key themes was to make sure we tried her photos into the Brand of the woman she works for.
I happen to be a fan of her boss, so I was very familiar with her recent publicity photos. When the boss saw the proofs, she was absolutely thrilled!
If you have specific brand colors, we can absolutely weave those into your brand. And you should!
Show your personality.
Part of what sets branding photos apart from traditional headshots is the incorporation of some of your personality. For me, that’s not only weaving in some spots of my camera, but of vinyl records, guitars, craft beer, and just me laughing.
Part of the planning process is identifying some of those personality traits and interests that we can incorporate into the theme and storylines of your shoot. Infusing personality into your photos also builds authenticity and trust.
Show your process
Another of the benefits of personal branding photos is that images can give prospective clients a good idea of what your process looks and feels like. Whatever that might be.
For a real estate agent, maybe that includes the preparations for selling a home, managing the various inspections and service providers, and ultimately the feeling of getting that check at closing when you sell a house for your client?
By focusing on what your process makes them feel, you help clients make a better purchasing decision.
Create a consistent brand images across social media platforms
Have you ever visited a website, liked what you saw, and then went to a social media platform to see more? Only to find that their social media doesn’t feel anything like their website?
I have, and it makes me question whether i want to work with that person or organization. For exactly this reason, I provide your with photos optimized in three different resolutions.
When you get branding photos, use them everywhere!
Grow your business
What?! It took until number 20 to get to this one!?
This is my ultimate goal for you: to grow your business. When I hear about a successful launch a client had using my photos, or that they’re opening a new office, that makes me so happy!
Growth is the end result of all of the other emotional impacts of personal branding, but sometimes the photos have a very direct link, such as with a book launch, a marketing campaign, or a new product rollout.
Nothing would make me happier than you making seven figures using my photos! Plus, you’ll probably need more photos too for the next big idea!
I believe this is the most important of all the benefits of personal brand photos. Because if you’re not able to grow your business, you can’t make the impact you ultimately should be making!
Build buzz around your achievements
Winning awards and crossing major milestones is a big deal.
It feels like an even bigger deal when you have photos that look as great as the achievement sounds!
And whenever you have an achievement, you should absolutely invest in making sure you can market the heck out of that!
By the way, have I mentioned my podcast, Your Personal Brand, has been ranked as a top-100 marketing podcast?
Shameless, I know…
Create more professional security
If you’ve ever worked as an employee and decided to go out on your own, maybe you had people say “Isn’t that sort of risky?”. They feel like giving up the perceived security of a job is bothering crazy, right?
But as you build a strong personal brand, you really start minimizing done of that risk.
For example, I expect in the near future to be at capacity for the number of branding clients I can take on. When that happens, what happens to my professional security?
I’ll tell you what happens:. It goes way up! Because I’ll then start building a waiting list for subscription slots for the following year.
Any one client will be missed on a personal level, but financially the security will be hard to beat!
Grow your professional network
When I was organizing the first Brand Hero Summit, I was introduced to Tamara Glick, the style expert from Toronto. Before I even talked to her, I knew I wanted to know her. How did I know that?
Her brand images are spectacular!
This idea of personal branding and how your photos speak to your brand is for more than potential customers; it opens up doors that may otherwise never be opened.
Do your photos make people want to get to know you and figure out how to collaborate and do business together?
Help you sell without selling
I’ve become known as a pretty good networker in many of my professional circles. It started with conferences and had since evolved into online networking as well. But I’m rarely working to pitch my services. I call my network marketing the “I know a guy” marketing plan.
People know me as The Personal Brand photog. I simply build relationships with and try to find ways to help out cool people. Then when they’re talking to someone who says they need photos, the invariably say “I know a guy.”
Then by the time someone check me out online, they’re either already sold it closer to it. All I do is make sure we’re a good fit to work together.
The right photographer becomes a trusted member of your team to capture your story
I mentioned the cool factor before of having your own personal brand photographer, but there is definitely power in having someone with a bit of a creative vision on how you can make your brand stand out.
Ok, so you’re probably not ready for that, but most of my client discussions now start with “Wouldn’t it be cool if….”
And then we find a way to capture that feeling in the next photo shoot.
Stay top of mind
This build upon growing your network. Because when you have a library of great branding images, you’re going to share them more frequently. That keeps you fresh in your network’s and your customers’ mind.
So when the moment arrives when they make a buying decision in your area of expertise it’s almost a no-brainer that they choose you!
So those are 26 benefits of personal branding photos that can help you and your business. Hopefully it’s clear that intentionally creating your personal brand isn’t a narcissistic, self-centered endeavor.
I see it as exactly the opposite. By building a strong personal brand, you are allowing the people who need the amazing things you do to connect with you on an emotional level; to become invested in you personally.
Which then allows you to help them get the benefit of the super powers you personally being to the world, therefore enriching their lives.
When you look at it that way, it’s possible the most selfish thing you can do is to NOT invest in building your personal brand.