Unless you have done it numerous times it can be so stressful. Believe me I know. I had one recently done myself and the feeling of wanting to run was definitely there. Even those who do them often can feel anxious each time.
There are some ways that can help you on that day to make it go much smoother and it involves planning. I know planning...more planning. 'If I have to plan one more thing' I can hear you saying it. However, it will make it much easier. No planning equals not getting the pictures you actually will want and your day much longer than it has to be.
1. Ask yourself why you want the pictures done. I'm sure your thinking what do I mean but really we need to be asking ourselves this. What is the purpose and use of the images. Do you want to connect deeper with our audience? Do you want just a pretty picture of yourself? What story do you want to tell? Do you want to show what it would be like to work with you or behind the scenes? Do you want your images to help your audience to know and trust your which will convert to sales? All of this needs to be thought about.
2. How will your images be used. Where and how will you use them? Do you need an updated profile picture? A banner for your Facebook or web site? Images for your other social media outlets. Where and how will they be used is really important.
3. What outfits do you want to wear. Is this during the holiday seasons so you need a holiday theme with clothes fit the weather like fall colors or sweaters during the winter? A dress vs jeans can tell a different story. Do you want to add your branding color in your clothing theme somehow? If you are doing more than one theme during the session you can do multiple looks as well.
4. Hair and Make-up. I love this part. The fun part. Do you want the more natural look or more glam up. This really is a personal decision and based on how you want your audience to view you. Again, if doing multiple themes you can do both if your make-up artist is with you throughout the shoot. Definitely you do not wait for that to be the first day your work with your make-up artist. Just like for a wedding try them out before hand.
5. Location Location Location....do you want your shoot where you might do most of your work. A home office or coffee shop? The downtown streets in the nearest big city? A beach where you might spend some time relaxing. Maybe you like to go hiking. Remember a branding shoot is all about who you are and connecting with your audience.
6. Do you want anyone in the session with you? Family, pets, clients, or friends. Again, this is to reflect what your brand is so you can become relateable to those who don't already know you. Show them a bit about your life.
7. My personal favorite: connect with your photographer. Meet him or her in person, or through Zoom, if not local. You can get a feel for each other and on the day of the shoot it will help you feel more comfortable with the whole process. Depending on what you two plan your photographer can help you with the six previous steps as well if you want them to. Explain what you like or don't like about certain images of you so they can make note of that as well.
Most of all enjoy the day. Have fun. Laugh and take it light. With the proper planning that is possible. What your feeling will show through your photos so you don't want to be upset or annoyed.
I could have added more to this list but really this is the nuts and bolts of it. You can take these and have an an amazing session.
At its basic core a Story Session is a photo session. However, its way more than that. The main goal of a Story Session is to create authentic images that show the emotion in the story that your audience can bond to. The emotions are what connects and bonds the viewer to the picture and person.
The Story Session questionnaire is filled out and during our consultation we will go over it in detail. We will discuss and identify what some of your rituals and activities or routines are. From this we will put together 3-5 themes that make up your Story Session. We will convey emotion. Fit in your branding colors. Highlight routines you may have.
During the Story Session the rituals and routines will be acted out as lifestyle or in a real-life situation, and myself as the photographer, is there to capture the moment in a lifestyle format.
Maybe your ritual in the morning is to get up and have a cup of coffee reading your favorite book with your most comfy pajamas on. (COME ON! You can't tell me that doesn't sound nice right now!) Maybe every Saturday you and your children make breakfast. Maybe just before bed you have a routine of writing in your journal. Maybe every Thursday you and a few friends play a game of pick up basketball. Maybe you have a moment of transparency as a parent with the chaos around of dirty dishes and a pile of clothes to put away. These are all the type of story telling rituals we want to show so your audience, so they can connect and see you as a real person to be liked and trusted. The most powerful images are of those that draw an emotion or feeling out of the viewer. The more real, open, and honest the more of a bond will be formed.
So, although a Story Session is a photo shoot our goal is to go much deeper than that. It’s not about the perfect pose and head shot but about reinforcing your brand identity and what you are about through custom tailored images.
When I first came across the concept that entrepreneurs, and on-line influencers, having needs for photography that might be different, I thought, why? They just need pictures. That, of course, is very true. How the images are used and what they are used for is quite different. I touched on it in my last post. Entrepreneurs don’t typically (although they can of course) get them printed to hang on their wall.
Their goal is to turn their fans or followers into clients. They need to build their brand, or reinforce their brand, visually. Entrepreneurs need to reach their ideal client and audience with their photos across multiple platforms. They need to post consistently on social media. They must use them throughout their web sites. They use them in press releases. They also provide images with their bio for speaking events. These are just to name a few.
Due to these specialized needs they need their photos to relay a message or tell their story in the images being taken. They need to have a fast turn around time. A high-level entrepreneur is at a point that TIME is more valuable than money. They need to be able to edit them according to THEIR personal brand and not the photographers. One of the main aspects is also being able to use the images commercially so a commercial license is needed. These are just a few as there are more.
I was able to watch a panel of high-level entrepreneurs who had a lot to say about how much the right images meant to them in their business and how they use them. Some of the things they had to say was:
Since purchasing is frequently an emotional one, Tanya Boggs in Huffpost says “your branding is about influencing the way consumers think about you and your business or product. As a result, personal branding photography can have a huge impact on your business and bottom line”.
Entrepreneurs; if you need a photographer make sure it is with a personal brand photographer who understands your needs. First and foremost someone who gets to know you and your brand.
When I tell people that I have now doing personal brand photography (PBP) I often get the look of ‘what is that”? There are some that have said “Oh why?!”. I also have been asked “isn’t a photographer just a photographer”? Well, yes but when you got married did you look for a family photographer or someone who specializes in wedding photography? When you look for a family portrait photographer do you look someone who photographs landscapes? I believe I can safely answer that as no. Many photographers do more than one type of photography but often they specialize in just one field.
Same goes for PBP! It’s completely different than photographing a wedding or a cute bundle of joy for newborn photography. Its also different than portrait photography. Entrepreneurs and influencers have needs that are different and specific to them. What they need the pictures for and how they will be used is different and if the photographer doesn’t understand it could be a set up for failure (I will go into this in a different post).
As a photographer I honestly like it all. Taking moments that are meaningful of a bride and groom or kids in their natural element. Capturing those images are priceless. However, when I stumbled upon this niche of photography I felt at ‘home’. It’s hard to explain but it’s a feeling of one where your spirit and soul rejoice. I already loved photography enough to want to grow it into a business but this re-awakened me. Like God was saying this is it!
Why do I love PBP so much??
First, I get to still do what I absolutely love and that’s taking photographs! Since families are still part of the entrepreneur’s life, and their story, I still get to photograph kids and other elements as well.
Second, I get to meet and connect with entrepreneurs who are passion driven to succeed. There is something that energizes me about being around others who are positive, goal driven, and who push to succeed. It just makes you want to do more as well.
Third, I get to know him or her in order to help create images that speak to who they are and vision. Listen to their story and find out where they come from. What road they traveled to get where they are now. The hurdles they had to climb. I get to tell their story visually.
Fourth, I help, in some sense, build their audience and be apart of the growth in their business.
Fifth, entrepreneurs understand investing in their business is a must and connecting with their audience is now more important than ever and needing a photographer is exactly that, a need!
Sixth, meeting extremely interesting people across the board. From the serious to the fun and quirky.
Seventh, the images are more about the moment and being authentic than taking the “perfectly posed picture”.
Eighth, the possibility of getting to see my work in numerous ways or platforms displayed. Entrepreneurs are using the images to grow their brand and business. The photos of them that I took could be displayed on their website, social media, or banners. That is extremely exciting and rewarding.
Ninth, it just flat out enjoyable and fun. Most want their personal brands to relay joy and happiness so that the environment is created during the session. When others smile, I smile. When others laugh, I tend to as well.
Finally, the tenth reason is it is still different and new for the most part. Learning from a high-level entrepreneur herself who, started off and still is a photographer, opened access to other entrepreneurs. She dug deep and passed on knowledge to what a business person and entrepreneur needs are concerning images, how they are used, and time.
Its opened up unlimited possibilities that I cannot wait to explore.
God Bless and never stop pursuing your goals!