No-No's when photographing Personal Branding or Corporate Headshots
A a couple months ago, I added my Personal Branding Photoshop Template to my online store.
The idea to create the template, came after I did an interview with Sue Bryce, and we spoke about how I market & sell corporate headshots (a.k.a personal branding shoots).
This led me to writing today’s article - to share with you all the things I wish photographers knew before shooting corporate headshots/personal branding.
All the things I wasted a lot of time learning - the hard way!
Here we go...
1. You shouldn’t...
shoot before having a consultation
Because every client and every business is unique and needs to stand out from the competition, it's imperative you chat (in-person, or on the phone) with your personal branding clients before photographing them.
“Every day we are selling our most important asset: ourselves.” - Fredrick Eklund
Use your consultation time to do two important things:
Ask specific questions about your client, her business and where she wants to use her photos.
Suggest new ideas of where she can use her photos (i.e social media, magazine features, etc)
Be sure to take notes and use those notes to plan out your photo shoot (see #5). (Having trouble making suggestions on new places where your client can use their photos? Check out the Photoshop Price-list Template for ideas).
Your consultation will:
tell you what your client wants
suggest new places/strategies your client can use her photos
help you collect information on how to approach her shoot
“The personal branding consultation is both a gathering of information and a creator used to fulfill your client’s photography needs and elevate her success.” - Heike Delmore
2. You shouldn’t...
consult with your client before doing your research
Similar to point number one, do your leg work before the consultation.
Why you ask? Because it’s important you be specific and take a personal interest in your client.
With personal branding one size does not fit all. If you have a consultation before doing any initial research, you won’t be prepared and your suggestions, if any, will sound very generic. Show your client that you're taking an interest in them personally.
When researching your client you are looking for the following:
1. Is she currently using any personal branding photos?
2. If yes, where is she currently using her photos?
3. Where might she be looking to update them?
4. Where could she be using them - but is currently not?
5. Think of completely new strategies she could impliment
3. You shouldn’t...
have an inconsistent price-list
What's an inconsistent price-list?
An inconsistent price-list is a price-list where the same product is priced differently across different genres.
Let’s say you sell 7x10s. And you price a 7x10 for family portraits higher than a 7x10 for corporate headshots. Why are they priced differently? Is one 7x10 better than the other?
This is why consistency is important: let me tell you a story where this became a big problem for me.
When I started out in this genre, I was charging really low prices for my corporate headshots. Lower than my glamour portraits. I told myself I was getting clients in the door. The problem arose when my headshot clients would bring in a couple of gowns to shoot at the end of the session... "just for fun". The photos with the gowns would usually qualify as a portrait or glamour photo. When the client came in to select and purchase their photos, it seemed ridiculous to charge one amount for the corporate headshots and another for the glammed up photos. Having a consistent price-list across the board solved this problem.
Using a consistent price-list will streamline your business
Repeat clients will not longer be confused (and you’ll feel clearer - trust me)
Now, I’m not saying have 1 generic pricing brochure for all genres. No! Absolutely design them differently target each market you shoot. But keep your pricing the same.
4. You shouldn’t...
shoot personal branding without a checklist
What kind of checklist you ask?
If you’ve you’ve done your pre-consultation research and had your in-person or telephone consultation, you can easily put together a shooting checklist.
Your checklist should consist of:
Shots your client says they want or need
It should also indicate the photographic style
Where your client plans on using the images
Where your client may try using their photos in the future based on your suggestions.
For example, if you client is going to open a Facebook business page, you check off vertical/square profile image and horizontal image for the cover image. And shoot to fulfill those requirements.
5. You shouldn’t...
shoot to fit IN
Many of us were taught that to be in business we nee to fit a certain look or mold.
When shooting personal branding photos, I suggest getting a few safe photos at the beginning.
But be sure to branch out and capture your client’s authentic self. From your pre-consultation to your in-person or telephone consultation, you should have a good idea who your client is and what they’re trying to express to the world.
Aim to capture all of this your shoot.
“You are your brand. Failure to share yourself in an open, honest way is a costly miscalculation. Who doesn’t want to be around someone who’s comfy in their own skin? On the contrary, who likes hanging around phonies?... Who were you as a carefree six year old, before the world taught you to play it safe and blend in with everyone else? Find yourself; be yourself; sell yourself.”
- Fredrik Eklund
I hope you found this helpful. Leave me a comment below.
With love and gratitude and wishing you all the happiness and success,