If you search social media for images on personal branding photography, you’ll likely see a bunch of photos with a person in a white brick room, working on their computer, smiling off-camera, with their company products placed in frame.
But what should really be your goal when taking photos, with the idea of “personal branding”?
What does it even mean? The term originated around 1997. One current definition is this: “The intentional effort to create and influence public perception of yourself by positioning yourself as an authority in your industry, elevating your credibility, and differentiating yourself from the competition. The goal is to advance your career, increase your circle of influence, and have a larger impact.”
Your professional photo is your true static avatar. Someone googles you or checks your LinkedIn – what are they going to see? Does the photo that pops up portray you as an authority in your industry? Show that you are unique from your competition? Project that “this is a person of influence; I want to know this person.”
Not sure where to begin for a personal branding photo session? You can start simple: a head & shoulders photo (which is what a Headshot photo technically is) on a solid background.
Then comsider a three-quarters shot, showing more of you and your style. It can give more variety of use, such as websites or feature articles. And then from there…. It’s all about the clothes. Different clothes say different things. If your brand is edging towards the Renaissance Person, then a variety of outfits can show your range of interests and personality. Keeping all of these in a simple studio setting, makes the highlight of the photo what it is intended to be: you.
Building from there, consider on-location shoots showing you at your work, or in action. Are you a property developer? Arranging for a shoot outside a beautiful finished property, or a construction project… photos with a “working team” feel.
Is it starting to sound like you’re running an advertising campaign on yourself? This all is about marketing yourself, to get where you want to be. Regardless if you work for a company and want to move upward, or if you want to start your own business.
What should you look for when hiring a personal branding photographer? Someone who listens to you, tries your ideas, and respects what you are trying to create. And they’ll be your partner through the process, responsive to your ideas, and while giving suggestions and insights to make the shoot even better.