Episode #278: the importance of branding photography for your business
TAYLOR BRADFORD: You are listening to episode number 278 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. Today I’m chatting about the importance of brand photography for your business. On to the episode.
Today’s episode is sponsored by my Inner Circle communities. So if you guys haven’t been paying attention, or maybe you have, and you just forgot – FYI, the Boss Girl Creative regular Facebook group is officially archived. It no longer exists. I have put my focus into the Inner Circle community, which is where the magic is happening. And if you want a part of that magic for as little as $10 a month, you can gain access to that. There are three different levels of membership with lots of different perks at each level. You don’t want to miss out. You want to get yourself in there because, again, that’s where the magic is happening. And if you want my eyeballs on your stuff, and to help you move your business forward, because that’s my secret sauce, you need to get in there. bossgirlcreative.com/InnerCircle. What are you waiting on?
Hey, welcome to episode number 278 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. I’m your host, Taylor Bradford. Thank you so much for tuning in to today’s episode, which is all about the importance of branding photography for your business, for your blog, for your side hustle. It’s all-important. And just real quick before we dive in, some really fabulous books about branding, and the importance of branding and how it is conveyed to your ideal customer, aka your blue person. First up is Brand Brilliance by Fiona Humberstone. Second up is How to Style Your Brand, again by Fiona Humberstone. And third, Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller. All three incredible books you need to add to your TBR list, and I will link them in today’s show notes. You can always find the show notes attached to each episode by going to bossgirlcreative.com/episode-guide. And there’s a transcript also, so if you want to skim through each episode, all the way back to Episode 211, there are transcripts available for your convenience.
All right, so what is brand photography? What is branding photography? It is more than just headshots. And the whole reason I’m talking about this is because this is how you keep your content relative and fresh and fabulous to be able to attract your ideal customer. And you know I’m going to talk about my S.O.C.I.A.L. Subscription, which I will dive into a little bit further into this episode because it is one of my brand new offshoots and businesses that I’ve launched since COVID. It’s important. That’s why we’re talking about brand photography today. So let’s get back to what is brand photography. So yes, it’s more than just headshots because headshots are the way you look in a single moment. And then they’re not effective because it’s just the way you look in a single moment. Brand photography sessions allow you to create consistent content that will aid you in attracting the perfect client because it goes beyond the headshot. It goes beyond the smiling face.
So why is brand photography or branding photography important? Because it helps to create a relationship with your audience. You cannot effectively sell to somebody if there is not a relationship. You have to build that like know and trust factor. You want your audience to get to know you how do you do that through a branding photography session. You want them to get to know you, to trust you, to hire you, to buy your service, to buy your product. It doesn’t matter what your job is. Whether or not you’re a blogger, a small business owner, a side-hustler, an influencer, you have to be able to reach across the digital footprint and speak to your audience and build a relationship with them through your photos. You need to be able to build a bridge from them to you via your photographs. Because your photographs will tell your brand story, your photographs will build the relationship for you. And the only way to effectively do this in a visually-driven society – because let’s be real, we are super, super visual people – the only way to effectively do this in a visually-driven society is to create brand content that showcases who you are and how you can help your audience. You got to be relatable. You got to build that relationship. Being relatable and building relationships doesn’t happen through a headshot. To stay relatable, you need to constantly change the material that you’re creating and putting out there so that your client feels like they are part of your life and your story, and your business. They’re going to grow with you. That’s how a relationship works. It’s not enough in this digitally-driven society to have a few headshots. You’ve got to have fabulous and fresh content that stays relatable and keeps your brand moving forward consistently because the goal is to build that relationship. That’s where my S.O.C.I.A.L. Subscription is stepping into the game. It is so that you can consistently build that and create that fabulous and fresh content. Go to studio.SugarCreekEventRentals.com/socialsubscription to find out more.
So let’s talk about Instagram because that is a super photo-driven space. Let’s talk about Pinterest, another super photo-driven space, even TicTok, with all its video content. It’s not enough just to have a couple of headshots because what is the shelf life on Instagram? Is it a couple days? I would actually argue it’s probably a couple of hours. Connection is key relationship building is key. Staying relatable is key. So now I’ve convinced you that you got to have relatable content that’s fresh and fabulous and is consistent and is constantly changing. Because we as people are constantly changing. I was just talking to a friend the other day and saying I need to have new headshots and new branding photos because my hair is no longer bright red. And if I share a photo of me with bright red hair, it is not me because then I’ll show up in stories and you’re gonna be like, wait, I thought she had red hair. We are constantly evolving. We’re constantly changing. We have to keep our content fresh and fabulous. So now that I’ve convinced you now, you’re like, Well, how do I go out and find a photographer? That’s a good fit for me? Well, first of all, if you’re in my market, I’m going to help you with that through the social subscription, because you’re going to be working with my personal branding photographer. She is an amazing human that can help you tell your brand story through photographs. It’s amazing what she’s capable of doing, which is why I’m pumped that she is the photographer for the social subscription. But it’s one thing to know how you want to present yourself. But it’s a whole ‘nother thing to think about balancing how your clients want to see you because it’s more than just the shortlist that you bring to a branding photoshoot.
And let me tell you, photographers aren’t all created equal. Wedding photographers are really really pro at wedding photography, portrait photographers, which is different than branding photographers, are pros at portrait photography. They are going to both if you hire them, you’re going to both provide you with brilliant, beautiful photographs. But they aren’t going to be able to help tell your brand’s story because that’s not their area of focus. That’s not their secret sauce. So while you’ll get beautiful photos, they’re not going to do your brand story any justice. So you’ve got to find somebody that understands lifestyle and brand photography. One other thing to note is when you are looking for a branding photographer that you ask about the usage of the photos, and you talk to them about how you will plan to use the photos and then also what kind of license they’re going to grant you to be able to use the photos for your branding for your business. So when you hire somebody, are you going to be using them for social media? Are you going to be using them in ad campaigns? Do you need them for billboards? Do you need them for print content like that will help the branding photographer understand the scope of the quality of photos they need to be producing for you? But I need the photographer to think beyond the portrait, and that is where a lot of wedding photographers or portrait photographers or sports photographers or newspaper photographers fall short. Because the prettiest portrait is not going to always convey your brand message, and you need that photographer to always also be thinking, what else can these photos be used for? Because it’s more than just the shot? How can these photos be used in your messaging? You want a photographer that’s able to take multiple images of the same type of setup, but in different ways, so that it’s a different message.
Okay, so let’s talk about preparing for an actual branding photoshoot. You do want to come to the table with your photographer with a visual shortlist. You want to be able to give them an idea of what is sitting in your head because just explaining it to them may not be enough. You want to be able to convey what it is that you’re trying to create so that they understand what you are trying to create. And you want to make sure that you get the shots that you want, so it’s important to have that conversation. You need to stay in control because they can’t get inside your brain. They don’t know that you want that particular shot for that particular reason, so you got to lay it out for them. You also need to explain who your ideal client is so that they understand what it is that you’re trying to accomplish.
When looking for a branding photographer, you want to look through the photographer’s portfolio to see what they do and how they do it and what they provide, but you also want to reach out to friends and family who have hired brand new photographers in the past and ask them about their experience, ask to see their full gallery, ask to give you feedback and advice on what they would do different or what they absolutely love with that photographer. It’s more than just taking a peek at a photographer’s gallery or portfolio because they’re only going to show you their best content. You want to see what does a full shoot experience feel like and look like because it is beyond just what they are trying to sell. It’s important to potentially – if you’re doing a long branding session – to have what people call a Sherpa or an assistant because you want to stay in front of the camera as much as possible, and you want somebody just providing you your props or moving things around for you so that there’s not a big delay in the actual photoshoot itself.
You want to get eight hours of sleep the night before, you want to drink a bottle of water the night before and a bottle of water the morning that you wake up for your photo shoot. You want to wake up at least three hours before you have any type of hair and makeup services. You want to avoid tight clothing patterns and small dots. Large scale patterns are good. Cinched clothing is better than oversize, especially if you’re wanting to showcase a slim waistline. Loose flowy tarp-style tops are not your real friend. If your arms are a struggle bus for you, then hide them. Turtlenecks are always a great idea. If you want your photos to last more than a season or at least a couple of years, you need to go timeless with your colors. Think black, gray, tan, cream, dark brown, hunter green, light brown, terracotta, light blue. You want to keep the logos completely out of your photos. You want to keep brands of your clothing out of your photos, potentially even your handbag or totes. You want to change into your outfit after you arrive because while seatbelts save lives, they wreck your clothes with wrinkles. If you are photographing in a studio with all white walls – which is The Studio at Sugar Creek, it is all white walls – do not wear solid white articles of clothing. If you show up in a white blouse or a white top, you definitely need a layer of color over that because of the white walls. Your fingernails should be a natural color or a nude color. And all in all, you want to have fun. This shouldn’t be a stressful experience for you. This should be you shining through the lens to effectively tell your brand story.
Now here’s some props or things to bring with you when you do a branding photoshoot, your laptop, your cell phone, headphones or earbuds, a clipboard, a pen, or a couple of pens or your favorite pens, a stack of books, one to two work items. So if you’re a book blogger, bring books. If you are a foodie, bring something related to food. Bring your planner or a journal, bring a beverage cup, bring glasses, bring a purse, or a bag that you can actually hold on to. And then bring any brand-related items that truly speak what it is that your brand is trying to sell or be.
So branding photography is so incredibly important, and hiring the right person is so incredibly important. So take these tips in order to help find a branding photographer that will be the right fit for you. When I first hired my very first branding photographer, I was looking for somebody that knew how to capture movement. I didn’t want the doctor pose; I didn’t want the lawyer pose; I didn’t want those type of headshots. I wanted somebody that was comfortable moving and comfortable photographing me moving. I wanted to show movement in my photographs, and that was important. And it took me a while to find that person the first go-around. And while I had a decent experience with those photos, once I got them back, I was really kind of disappointed in some of them because I felt like they were still overly-staged. And with a branding photographer, while there is some staging, you need to feel movement, you need to be able to speak movement through the lens, you need to be able to be actionable through your photos.
Now, if you’ve got product photography that you need to focus on, obviously, there’s not going to be movement there, but like, you need to be laughing. If you’re photographing laughing, you actually physically need to be laughing. Having a fan on location, wherever you’re shooting, if it’s possible to have some wind moving through your hair creates action, creates movement, takes away that stillness that just like, you know, stuffiness. Those elements are important, so when you are thinking about hiring somebody to do a branding photoshoot for you, make sure it’s really speaking to you and what your brand is all about. That’s important.
Again, if you are in my market and the Dallas Fort Worth area, I hope you do consider the S.O.C.I.A.L. Subscription. It is two photoshoots a month or four photoshoots a month. And it’s really special it is to help you create fab and fresh content on the regular so that your brand is constantly evolving and moving forward and speaking to the best possible versions of you. Plus, it allows you to keep your content from getting stagnant or relying on your quote-unquote Instagram husband or partner or spouse or BFF to constantly go out and photoshoot with you. Because we all know that that can be tiring on that person and we have to be evolving, that’s just part of growing a business online. We are in a digitally-driven world, and photographs can make or break you.
Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode. Again, shout out to today’s show sponsor, which is the Inner Circle membership. You need to get yourself in there go to bossgirlcreative.com/InnerCircle. Again, if you want to know more about the S.O.C.I.A.L. Subscription membership, you can pop over to studio.SugarCreekEventRentals.com/social-subscription or simply S.O.C.I.A.L. Subscription, whichever is easier for you. And until next time. I hope you have a great rest of your week.