A subscription plan for personal brand photos

Why in the world would anyone need a subscription for personal brand photos?  In this post I’m going to share how the Brand Hero Subscription came to be, how it works, and what some of clients have been saying about it so far.

If you’re a business owner who understands the importance of social media for growing your business, or you’ve simply struggled to post consistently and therefore haven’t really seen an impact from your social media efforts, keep reading!  I’ve been where you are.  Which is how this all started.

Once upon a coronavirus

The year was 2020.  It’s ironic that a year that is synonymous with perfect vision ended up being so hard to see what was going to affect your business next!  I had a trip planned every month of the year. Most of those were to be destination trips for personal branding photo shoots. So much for plans…

After 14 shoots were either cancelled or postponed, I was extremely grateful for the trips to do some work in Florida during January and February. But after the initial lockdown of the pandemic, some of my regular clients were already feeling the pinch of not having fresh photos to post on their feeds. 

In some ways this seems like a small inconvenience compared to the big picture, but consider the stress and angst that surrounds small local businesses that were struggling at the time. Many people were craving connection.  Longing for something that resembled normalcy. But it was hard to find at times when you’re surrounded by pandemic and political “information” on practically every traditional media outlet. 

Enter social media. You have in your hands the power to create your own media outlet. What you choose to share is completely up to you.

Some of my clients choose to share positive and informative content on a consistent basis. They use their personal brand as a respite from the stress and negativity of everyday life. They help their clients solve problems, not stress over them and feel worse about them. 

But after months of social distancing and physical isolation, their photo libraries of fresh images were dwindling. Maybe you felt the same way?  By June were you starting to feel less than inspired to post consistently on your various channels?  Did you find it hard to stay “on brand” and avoid looking like everyone else that was being pandemic-centric?

It’s okay if you did, because most of us were right there with you!  As a photographer, I get spoiled by always having client and travel photos in my library, but I too found myself running low – especially for photos of myself. 

The subscription idea is born

In one of my regular discussions with a client, she was describing the photos she needed for the second half of the year. We had three photo shoots identified.  Her struggle was that like many businesses revenue had been down.  But she really needed two photo shoots in the next two months.  She just didn’t know if she could afford it.  So she started thinking about which one was most important, and said she’d get back to me in a day or two. 

A few hours later, I couldn’t stop thinking about how important both of those shoots would be for her marketing.  And, it was likely even more important to offset the lockdown. So I started wondering what I could do to help her business thrive.

Ultimately that’s why I do personal brand photography: to help independent business owners and entrepreneurs grow their business and their impact. So if my client couldn’t do her marketing at the level she had planned, it might impact thousands of people who don’t get the benefit of her services.  That was too big of a risk to not come up with a plan!

Developing the model

When I looked back on my most active clients, it appeared that four photo shoots a year was about the maximum they needed. Including this client.  So I offered her the opportunity to spread the cost of those four shoots across a twelve month period. 

The idea was this: it would let her get both the shoots in she needed now, and still get the next two in in the coming year. One we had already discussed, and one that would likely be needed in the spring. 

When I presented the idea to her, she loved the solution. She also identified a few other positive impacts.

  • Leveling out her monthly marketing budget for her visuals, making it easier to plan the seasonal advertising expenses
  • It eliminated her time spent thinking about when to plan the next shoot
  • A subscription would ensure she actually got the photo shoots done that she believed would help her business consistently grow
  • She could get multiple sessions done in one season to support her peak marketing, spending time getting photos when business is slower, versus when she has more cash because she was already busy

Making it as easy as possible to get great photos

The next step was to make it easy to make that monthly payment. And honestly, the first month didn’t go as planned. But afterwards, it’s been completely hassle-free.  It’s an automated process that just happens “automagically”! She gets a noticed it will be paid, and then another that is was paid. She never has to think about it.

I also realized there was a benefit for me as well. So I asked myself “Self! If you had someone willing to pre-pay for sessions over the next year, would you be willing to give them a deal?”

Think about it.  If you buy almost anything, don’t you think about getting a bit of a deal?  For me the two biggest advantages were leveling out some of my income each month, but also it gets progressively easier to do a photo shoot for you the more we work together. I already know your brand.  I know your style, so my editing time is reduced. And I could eliminate 75% or more of the time spent “selling” a client for each shoot. 

This is why I offer a savings of 20% when you sign up for the Brand Hero Subscription. I’m just passing on my savings to you.  At my current rates, that’s a $2,400 savings. 

What’s included in a subscription?

If you’re getting four photo shoots a year, what exactly do you get? To start with, these are my VIP sessions. They include:

  • 75 final images per shoot.  Unlimited shooting for the day
  • The entire day is cleared for you. Some folks just take the afternoon and evening, but some go all day from dawn till after dark. And that’s cool. I love taking photos!
  • Luxury transportation between locations
  • Hair and makeup if you prefer
  • One “signature shot” per session. This is some sort of larger than life, maybe not 100% “real” photo.  See the photo below of Tonya Edinger with her balloons…
  • Full creative planning before the shoot
  • Location scouting
  • Wardrobe review as needed
Signature Shot - balloons in PNC Plaza

What’s the benefit of a subscription?

The 75 images per shoot are there to give you a photo per business day on social if you need it. They are a combo of photos to give you a bunch of different looks and options for marketing your brand. I also like to do fresh headshots in every session. I find headshots often simply help you relax.  Plus, you never know when you’ll need a fresh headshot!

As an added bonus, when I’m traveling and have available dates you can use one of your sessions as a destination shoot. Heck, you can use all four as destination shoots if you want!  As long as I can travel and I have dates available, as a Brand Hero subscriber you can get a destination shoot without paying for my travel. 

I normally charge a premium for destination shoots, so you save that way as well! Each destination shoot you use as a subscriber saves you at least another $1000 over my normal prices.

When you start having a library of images that are on brand for your business, it becomes so much easier to post consistently. It starts to save you time and even more money.  

But it helps you connect to your ideal clients in a very authentic way.  That connection ultimately leads to more sales. Because when the time comes for someone to make a buying decision, they will more likely choose you.

I would be honored to help you make a bigger impact and grow your business next year by helping you become the Hero of your brand.

How can you learn more?

This package has been popular with those I’ve offered it to this year, so for 2021 it will be the primary way for you to work with me as your brand photographer. I’ll still offer individual sessions until all the subscription spots are filled.   I’m currently only adding 15 more clients to the Brand Hero Subscription plan. 

If you want to talk about being one of those clients, you can learn more here. 

I’m offering a free branding assessment and a discovery call so we can see if this is a good fit for both of us. I like to work with people I enjoy hanging around, and likewise you need to work with a photographer who you are comfortable spending time with too.  That ensures you get great, natural looking and feeling photos for your brand. 

At the present time I don’t have a destination schedule planned. I’m hoping for a couple winter trips to Florida, maybe the Carolinas in the spring, Kentucky and Tennessee in the spring and fall, and hopefully Maine in the fall as well. But much of that is still out of my control.

Which means a lot of availability in Pittsburgh and the surrounding region!  

Schedule your call today. Let’s make 2021 tons of fun!  

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