Today’s Guest Post is by my pal Britney Gardner, a Visual Brand Strategist & Personal Brand Photographer. Before you schedule your next headshot appointment, make sure to read this!
At networking events, at conferences, in the elevator… we all need a succinct statement of what we do. For me I introduce myself as a personal branding strategist and photographer. In some circles, I receive a sea of nods and knowing smiles. In others, it’s more a collection of perplexed faces.
I could call myself a headshot photographer. I’d find myself with far more nods and much less confusion, but that wouldn’t be accurate. Why not? I don’t agree with the concept of “the headshot” when it comes to most small businesses. Definitely not for online entrepreneurs!
First of all, the word headshot implies a single photograph. More on that later, but for now, let’s go back to the origin of headshots. Remember, this is how a casting director chose people for auditions – it’s how they narrowed 200 down to ten. Casting for a particular part is driven first on looks, later on other things. And in the acting world, that works. But in the business world, we all hope to be considered first on skill, talent, personality… and concede they throw our looks into the pot later.
The myth of the headshot goes beyond just that, though. I haven’t met a single person for whom a single photograph would encompass all that they are. A person, like a business, is a multi-faceted thing. Even for an entrepreneur with the most narrow of niches, they need more than a single photo. My average client needs a photo for a horizontal banner on their website, an image for a poster, photos for online ads, blog posts, a cover photo for social media, and—yes—a photo that takes place of the traditional headshot for their social medial profile pictures. And for some of these categories, they need many options!
I like a headshot-like photo for my twitter profile, my Facebook profile. When I comment in groups, it’s a recognizable force as I move from place to place on Facebook. Beyond that, though, a variety of photos is the next big hurdle in the visual branding world. For some photo needs, a traditional headshot layout just won’t fit. Have you noticed how wide and short most website photos are? A square or vertical headshot has no place there. The wide photos are a cinematic space and perfect to show more of what it feels like to work with you.
A collection of personal branding photos can build trust between you and the viewer. It can also turn them away. Marketing experts talk about building a tribe of people that follow you, people for whom shared interests are only a start. How can you do that with a single photo? When you show more of the real you in your business, you’ll be well on your way to attracting clients who get you. You’ll gain clients who want to see you succeed and are willing to invest in you.
Finding just one head and shoulders photograph to do all that? It’s impossible from a formatting point of view and difficult from an emotional or benefit realm. Instead of searching for the perfect photo, claim the perfect photo for a situation. Hire a photographer for a collection of photos that support your brand. Use a variety of photos across your online space. Become the expert, the first person people think of in your field, by employing a strategy with your branding.
Have you already seen a level of success in your business but know you’re ready to level up and need a little boost? I offer a Boost Your Brand strategy session to assess your current branding and plan the next steps for your business. I invite you to invest a small slice of time and photograph the business you want tomorrow, today.