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  • Writer's pictureEmily Marcella

The 3 Elements You Need in Your Personal Brand Photos

Tale as old as time...well, as old as the internet and Google.

You're in the market for a service and are vetting someone to hire. Google helps you find a handful of companies that have decent reviews so you dig a little deeper into their websites.

One website looks like it's from the 90's...oh hey, the visitor counter says you're #33,598 - they're out of the running. Second website has great reviews but it's all stock photos and you can't really tell who you'd be working with.

And then... you find it.

The third website looks professional, you see personable photos of the owner on the about page and throughout the website, and bonus, you see photos of the service in action with the owner in them, hands-on working. Impressed with the effort they put into their brand presence, you inquire for their services.

Someone who puts this much effort into their brand must be just as great to work with.

This search sounds very familiar, huh? Because we all do it. Including those who are visiting your website right now.

Are you presenting yourself and your brand well in your potential client's eyes?

Brand photography is there to capture the attention of those website visitors coming through and vetting services.

Allow me to share the three fundamental components you'll need in your brand photos to create an excellent first impression and begin to develop that connection with your ideal clients.

Brand Photos that Show Who You Are - version 1.0

We're going to kick this blog post off in the simplest form: your brand photos should show who you are.

Not peeling back the layers into your personality or those quirky elements that make up who you are - quite yet. Keep it super duper simple to start.

Your brand photos should show you, you the person running the business.

Why so simple? Because we've all been there - looking to hire a service and we cannot for the life of us actually identify who runs the business. Or we see one small 'headshot' photo used over and over.

Hang in there with me. That may have sounded harsh, however, I want the best for you and the business you're building.

By simply taking photos of yourself - and using them in your marketing - you will see increased engagement. Audiences love and want to connect with you; you, the service provider.

As I was building my business, before brand photography, I was taking in a lot of information through courses. One piece of advice really stood out to me - show up in your top nine Instagram posts. There should be a picture of you in those first posts a viewer would see when they discover you on Instagram.

Truly the same advice could go for any marketing effort you create:

  1. Website - Show up on every page of your website so your potential clients builds a familiarity.

  2. Printed Materials - Have at least one high-quality polished photo of yourself on there. Small pieces need one photo, large pieces should have multiple.

  3. Online Profiles - whether it's social media, an account avatar, your email account, use a photo of yourself!

  4. Social Media - actually incorporate yourself into the content you share.

One thing you should stop doing is only using your logo! The more times a potential client sees your likeness the more likely they are to remember you!

Keep reading because we dive into version 2.0 of how your brand photos should show who you are later in the post.

Brand Photos that Show What You Do

You may have read that and thought 'wow, that's obvious!' and yes, you're right. That's obvious to you and I who are thinking about branding and small business all the time. However, is it obvious to your ideal client?

We need to view your brand and branding photos through your ideal client's eyes. Once they identify a problem they can't solve themselves, they'll need to hire someone to solve it for them.

Without research in hand, we can both agree that when you and I are searching for new service providers, we're likely to do one of two things. Ask around for a referral or skim through search results until we find a few service providers that appeal to us. Either way we'll be discerning in our efforts. Evaluating those service providers to see if they know what they're doing based on how they show up in their brand and the written information they share.

Are you now saying 'wow, that's judgmental!'? Call it what you want but your client is doing the same thing. They're discovering your online presence and making immediate judgements. Not mean ones, just quickly sifting through an influx of information and processing it all.

Let's be real - you did the same thing when you arrived on my website. Whether someone referred me, you found me through Google, or you saw something on Pinterest and wanted to click through - your judgement has brought you to this point.

Hopefully, and I agree I could be better about this, you've seen a few photos of me that establish that I'm a brand photographer. I'm probably holding my camera, working on a planning document, maybe in front of my computer with my camera, etc. Just want to give the context that I am, in fact, a photographer, and not a prolifically average judgmental blog writer.

Let's think about the images you share online. Can the viewer identify WHO you are and WHAT you do?

If you hesitated to say yes to either part of that question, then it's time to schedule a brand photography session. Let's connect >

Personal branding photos should absolutely show what you do. That is, what service, product, or solution you offer as a small business owner.

Brand Photos that Show How You Do It

Now that we've established that your brand photos should identify you as the business owner and visually identify what it is you do as a business, it's important to show how you do what you do.

How do we bring the how in your brand photos? I recommend illustrating the client's experience through your process. To figure this out, look at how you would interact with a client from when they've indicated that they want to work with you through the conclusion of your services with them. Each step of the way is something to illustrate.

Examples of illustrating how you provide your services may look like taking photos of you talking on the phone and taking notes in a discovery process, assembling on-boarding materials for a new client, preparing your equipment to work with a client, and wrapping up with any post-service steps.

Why is it important to show how you do what you do? These are the images that will reinforce the message within your written content. You're painting the illustration while telling the story. As your audience continues to see how you provide your services, you'll earn their trust.

Brand Photos that Show Who You Are - version 2.0

Your audience connected with your brand because your service likely solves a problem that they have, however, they've likely continued to follow you because they connect with you - you, the person behind the brand - in some way.

Let's show them more of you! Brand photos are the perfect opportunity to connect with your audience. These polished images showcase who you are all while standing out in a sea of content.

How do we go about showcasing who you are and building that coveted connection?

One way we begin to build a connection ties into one of my favorite questions to ask in the brand planning call. How do you want your client to feel when they see your photos? Reflect those emotions back to them in your personal brand photos.

Brand experience is largely shaped by how you make your clients feel. If you want your clients to feel relaxed and confident in their decision to hire you, utilize inviting emotions and approachable posing. Want your clients fired up and ready to dive in working with you? Bursting smiles and open body language will get them revved up!

It's also fair to look at your raving reviews and figure out the emotions your clients felt during their time working with you. Turns out if they're happy and sharing that with the world, future clients will want to feel the same positive emotions, too!

Creating Your Gallery of Personal Branding Photos

There is no denying we're all looking to understand and connect with the person behind the small business when we're hiring. So don't you think we owe it to our potential clients to show up in our own brand?

As you're planning for your brand photos, always come back to the fundamental three elements - show who you are, what you do, and how you do it. From there you'll be able to authentically market your business with intention.

The authenticity will foster connection with your ideal audience. They'll easily be able to see themselves working with you and feeling the emotions you want them to experience.

Ready to ditch the assortment of generic stock photos you've gathered over the years and showcase the real you? Let's get to work because I'm ready to bring out your best self!

About the Brand Photos in this Post

Introducing The Karuna Life, energy healing services to help you live a heart-centered life. Gina Kitzmiller is the beautiful soul behind the brand. She offers distance reiki, Akashic record reading, and Trimatri services. Working with Gina as a both a photographer and a recipient of her services was such a wonderful and comforting experience. I highly recommend learning more about her through her website, Instagram, and YouTube.


About Emily Marcella for Creative Brands Emily Marcella is a Northern Virginia Branding Photographer serving personal brands and creative small businesses. Emily has a three-part approach to brand photography - together we plan strategically in order to shoot creatively and generate images that allow you to market intentionally.


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