If you have a small business or a creative business, you know that having eye-catching brand photography images on your website and on your social media accounts is a good thing nowadays.
But you may be wondering what personal brand photography really is or how you can use it in your creative brand, to help you connect with your audience and ideal clients, so that’s what this post is about.
Grab your cup of coffee or your favorite beverage (I have my cup of coffee here ☕), and let’s start. Ready?
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You may not believe this, but there was a time in my life when I didn’t like photos… Like, at all. I felt like I was an ugly duck and I strongly disliked having any photos of me taken. For years.
You can blame love for changing my mind.
It started back in 2005. I met this guy, we started dating, we did a little weekend escapade two months later, took a couple of photos with a cell phone, and then we dared to go on vacation together for almost two weeks (two weeks!) after being together for… wait for it… just 4 months.
Everyone said we were crazy.
Do you know what I discovered on those vacations?
Yep, you guessed right. My love for photography.
It started with a new cell phone (nope, it wasn’t even a smartphone).
The next year, for the next vacations, I upgraded to an analog pocket camera (that I now use as a prop in my brand photos 🤷♀️🤷🏻♀️🤷🏽♀️🤷🏿♀️), and then to a digital pocket camera.
It was with that digital pocket camera that I became the official-non official photographer among my friends every time we went anywhere. A. Freaking. Pocket. Camera.
Nope, I didn’t know anything about brand photography. Nope, I didn’t know anything about styled stock images, or professional websites, or email lists, or anything business related.
I was just a girl who had been in love with writing stories since she was a little girl and who had discovered that she loved photography as much as she loved writing.
It wasn’t until 2013 when I finally upgraded my pocket camera for a bridge camera with manual settings. Annnd I finally decided to study photography.
And it wasn’t until 2016 when I bought an entry level DSLR camera (that I still happily use to take any brand photos for my business).
If anyone’s thinking:
Oh, the sacrilege, to take photos for a business with an entry level camera! How dare she?!
(I can see them gossiping about this. ‘Cause they got the cages, they got the boxes… 🎶 🎶 🎶)
Here’s my answer:
🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄
A couple of emojis wasn’t enough? Here’s the same answer in a different way:
*Massive eye roll.*
Why am I telling you this?
Because whatever you have right now at your disposal is enough to start taking your branding photos.
Do you have a smartphone? Start with that.
A pocket camera? Start with that.
A bridge camera or a DSLR camera? Don’t be afraid to learn manual settings and start with that.
Anything that you have right now is enough to start. You can always upgrade later.
Here’s the standard answer:
Brand photography is about telling a story: who you are, what you do, what makes you different, what your brand is about, and how you can help your audience and your ideal clients solve their problems.
And here’s what I think:
There’s no one else in the world like you. Why should your personal brand look like the gazillion other brands out there?
Give me one reason. Just one. I’ll wait.
⌚ ⌚ ⌚ ⌚ ⌚ ⌚ ⌚ ⌚ ⌚ ⌚
No answer? Good. You’re on the right track.
You don’t want to be like everyone else. And neither should your personal brand.
For example, I don’t like those boring stock photos that have all the freaking same white background and office supplies. Thank Heaven that nowadays there are many stock photo shops from different entrepreneurs that offer more creative photos (ahem, mine included). 😜
Your brand is a personal brand for a reason: you. So finding a brand photography style that represents your brand is the first step to figure out how to take your own brand photos.
Even if you’re thinking about hiring a brand photographer instead of DIYing, or buying stock photo bundles (which I have in my shop 😉), you should decide this first.
Well, this one is a little obvious, but it’s a must. For example, you can use brand images on your homepage (in the header), but also behind a call to action as a banner image.
Please, please, please, include your photo on your About page. I’ve seen some websites without a profile photo of the owner on the About page and it feels so impersonal. Would you hire someone if you don’t know who they are? Yes? No? Maybe it’s just me, but I wouldn’t.
Wait a minute.
So it turns out that I did hire a technician who had no photo on his about page (and a minimal website), but he had hundreds of positive reviews on Google, and he answered all my questions via Whatsapp, so there’s that.
BTW, my laptop works amazingly well now. New hard disk and I changed to Linux from… mmm… better not say the name, but I’ll give you a clue: it starts with “w”. 😅 😅 😅
Back to the post.
Your About page is one of the most visited pages on your website. Use it well.
Another page where you can use your profile picture is on your Contact page. People go to that page to connect with you. So having your photo there may help.
If you have landing pages for different free offerings, you could try having some of them with a profile picture and a little bio.
Another idea is to use some of your photos on your Resources page, where you can share your freebies, some of your products, and affiliate products and software.
Another way to use your brand photos is on your social media posts and profiles.
For consistency sake, please try to have the same profile image on all your social media accounts. Not your logo, in my opinion. But you’re the boss in your business, so do what you consider is best for you.
These are some examples of how you can include your brand photos on social media:
If you create content regularly for a podcast, blog, YouTube channel, webinars, freebies, workshops, and online products, you may use your brand photos to promote them, or to explain what you’re teaching with your photos (we’re visual learners, after all).
For example, I did some photo shoots at home (ten shots in 4 days, to be exact 🙃) specifically to include some photography props that I mentioned in my series of posts about what kind of props you can use in your brand photos, because I didn’t have photos with all the props that I was mentioning.
And I took some photos with a clock and a pocket watch with the whole purpose of using them when I have a promotion in my business.
If you offer free guides, workbooks, or cheat sheets on your website, please add something to remind people where they got that freebie. It could be a mini bio with your photo and a link to your website, or a copyright notice and a link to your website in the footer of your freebie.
Think about it. How many emails do you receive per day?
Scream with me:
😱 😱 😱 😱 😱 😱 😱 😱 😱 😱
And unless you’re pretty familiar with whoever is sending them, do you remember who they are if you never, ever see their photo in those emails?
I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s easier to remember who’s on the other side of those emails when I see their photo there.
A candid profile image and a mini bio will help remind your audience why they signed up in the first place, and also that there’s a human being on the other side.
Another option is to include a banner image with your photo at the beginning of the email. I do this in Flodesk, because it’s really easy to send pretty emails with beautiful images.
Didn’t I tell you? I don’t like code. Scratch that. I hate code. Oops! Sorry. Good girls shouldn’t use strong language but… I. Hate. Code. (Am I not a good girl anymore? Not like I really care.)
Imagine if I had to code my emails to make them look pretty, or to use mostly text-based emails.
ConvertKit, I’m looking at you. I tried more than once, I really did, but obviously we’re not made for each other. I’m sorry, but we’re not email mates…
Terrible joke, I know, but I’m so not deleting it. (And hey, Google Docs, I’m totally ignoring your suggestion to delete “so”, OK?)
Related: How to design an email banner in Canva for your small business (using your brand photos)
Related: Canva Email Banner Template | Dreamy
If you want to create a luxury brand vibe, you can include your brand photos in your brand collaterals.
For example, in your thank you notes, postcards, invoices, client welcome packets (I have a Canva template in my shop), notepads, tags, and packaging for your handmade products, etc.
I love this one. Maybe because I have a thing for pretty branding and anything stationery related.
If you ever want to see me ahhh-ing and ohhh-ing, give me pretty paper, metallic inks, and letterpress. Lots of letterpress. And printed translucent paper. What can I say? I’m a fan. (I’m weird. I know. And I’m proud of it.)
I hope you find this inspiring for your brand! How are you going to use your personal brand photos on your creative business? 😍
With all my love,
P.S. Wondering what happened with the guy I started dating in 2005? He’s right here with me, 17 years later.
You can blame love for that.