If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are personal brand photos worth? A lot more than words. They are often your first impression when someone hears your name, as they quickly jump on their phone and search for you on Google or social media. For this reason, it’s more important than ever to think about your personal brand photos, and be sure that they are reflecting on yourself the way that you hope.
Here are 10 Tips for creating personal brand photos, so that your images are saying what you want them to. It’s important to have photos online that show your personality, and what it’s like to work with you. In a world where everyone looks each other up online, having photos that represent who you are is the best marketing investment you can make.
Personal brand photos are becoming more and more important, as our identities become more and more online. While your personal brand offline might be based on where you work, who you spend time with, and where you volunteer, online profiles require images to help show who you are, and to craft that personal brand.
1. Utilize the right kind of photographer.
Start with a professional photographer, who specializes in personal brand photos. Not a landscape photographer, not a wedding photographer, not a friend who has a fancy camera. You want to hire a professional who can make you look your best, who understands lighting, and who has done this before.
2. Know what image you want to portray!
It’s important to determine before your photoshoot whether you want to be seen as playful and fun, serious and professional, or somewhere in between. Determine what key words and feelings you want your final photos to exude, as that will help decide a lot of your photoshoot details.
3. Get in the mood!!
The camera can read whatever your feelings are, really. If you are feeling nervous, we can tell. If you are exhausted from being out late the night before, we can tell. So, think happy thoughts, put on some good music, and get in the mood. This is another good reason to choose a professional photographer that has experience in getting the best expressions from their subjects.
4. Choose your location.
Having your photo done in an upscale restaurant will lend a different feel than having it done outside in the park. Which is more authentic to your personal brand? Choose that. Another great idea is to consider where you can find your brand colors, or the colors that you use in your website and logos. A bold painted wall in your colors always makes for a fun location. Choose 2-3 different locations within a walking distance to get a variety of looks from one photoshoot.
5. Clear the clutter.
Make sure whether you are indoors in your home office, or outdoors in the downtown area, that your shot doesn’t have a lot of ‘other’ in it. You want the focus to be on you, and your expression, so clear anything that’s distracting. This can be the clutter on your desk, or just waiting for passersby to clear before taking the shot. Think about the final image and plan accordingly.
6. Choose your wardrobe carefully.
Wear something that you feel confident in, but not like you’re pretending to be someone else. Well-fitted clothing photographs better than loose, and solid colors tend to look better than busy patterns. If you’re not someone who wears suits every day, then skip that for a tailored shirt and jeans. On the flipside, avoid wearing super trendy clothing to appear younger, if you’re someone who genuinely dresses up for work each day.
7. Don’t be afraid to accessorize.
If you’re choosing a neutral top, then adding a bit of your personality through jewelry or scarves is totally appropriate. Your photos will send a different message about your personal brand if you’re choosing leopard print versus dainty gold pieces. For men, a luxury watch sends a different message than an athletic one.
8. Opt for professional hair and makeup.
Get your haircut a week prior to your personal branding photos. Shave the morning of your session, gentlemen. Opting for professional makeup for your session can mean the difference between looking like the best version of you, or looking like you have white shiny spots on your skin. A makeup artist that is trained for photoshoots will know how to accentuate your best features, hide any under eye circles or skin blemishes, and will not make you look like you’re wearing too much makeup. Even men can benefit from a bit of shine reducing powder in photos.
9. Be yourself!
Enjoy your session and be willing to step outside your comfort zone to get great shots. Laugh, smile naturally, and keep moving. Your photographer should guide you in poses, but it’s best to take a variety of standing, sitting, and leaning photos.
10. Use your photos everywhere.
Once you have created your personal brand photos, don’t let them sit on your hard drive doing nothing. Put them to use! Update your Linkedin, your Facebook, your Instagram and all other social media platforms. Using a consistent headshot across your accounts elevates your brand, as it makes you instantly recognizable. Of course, you want to also update any About Me pages, or websites where your photo is listed with your bio.
A Necessity in Modern Times
Having personal brand photos was once considered a luxury, but as our businesses move more and more online, it’s understood that professionals need these images. When you invest in branding photos, you’re establishing yourself as a leader in your industry, who takes themselves seriously and is ready to be seen.
No one wants to put themselves out there when they have lackluster, or worse, unflattering headshots on their websites. Gorgeous personal branding photos give you the confidence to apply for media spots, submit for speaking engagements, and reach out to your dream clients. In the digital era, headshots are the new handshake, and yours should be something you’re extremely proud of.
If you need examples of great personal brand photos, be sure to check out ISOrepublic.com.