”If you’ve never had some branded lifestyle headshots taken before, don’t worry. There will be a lot of other business owners out there in the exact same position. Having professional lifestyle headshots are really important when it comes to branding you and and your business and if you’ve never done it before, the idea can seem really nerve-wracking.
I bet the following thoughts will be running through your head: what should I wear, how should I do my make up, could I get a make up artist or just do it myself. Should I wear something smart or something I’m more comfortable in. I don’t want it to look too casual. I need to lose weight! How should I sit. Ahhh I’ve never done this before…
You get the gist!
I am here to tell you to take a deep breath, relax and it will all be fine.
As a freelance graphic designer, I absolutely LOVE working with professional photographs. They can do so much for you and your business. Stock photos are great, but they’ll never exude your brand the way you want them too. However, with professional photographs you can do just that – get everything about you and your brand across that is unique to you within a series of images.
I recently worked with a client of mine to do just that and I have some top tips to share with you before you get any branded lifestyle headshots taken. Preparation is key!
” Preparation is key!”
The first thing you need to do is to sit and really think about your brand and what it’s all about. Think about the visual aspects of your brand in terms of colours. How can you get these into the headshots in a subtle way? Could it be through what you wear, any props or accessories like jewellery, your bag etc. Or could it be through your make up and nail polish. There’s so many ways in which you can inject your brand colours into photos.
Create a Theme
You also need to think about your brand values and how you want people to feel about you and your brand. If you want your brand to look and feel friendly, quirky and approachable then that needs to come across in your headshots. The same if you want your brand to look and feel professional, loyal and sincere. This in turn will help you create a theme for your photoshoot and this will also really help the photographer too.
Research & Moodboard
This is my favourite part of preparing for a photoshoot. Headshots means you need to relax and also be in a comfortable pose at the same time, but if you don’t know how to hold yourself and you end up feeling awkward in front of the camera – this is going to show! Trust me.
”have a look for inspiration
and create a moodboard that way”
Doing some research before your headshot is vital and also a great way of generating ideas. So now you are clear on your brand colours and also the theme for your photoshoot and how you’d like your brand to look and feel through the photos, you need to visualise this. This will not only help you, but this will really help the photographer too. There’s two ways in which you can do this… First of all you could buy some of your favourite magazines and have a look in those for inspiration and create a moodboard that way.
Alternatively, why not create a secret Pinterest board and start pinning with your colours and theme in mind. This can be a massive help. You can search for almost anything on Pinterest and there’s loads of headshots inspiration on there too. This will help you think about what you’d like, the types of photos you’d want to get from the photoshoot and in terms of how to hold yourself too. You’ll feel a lot less awkward and being relaxed will come across on the photos in such a lovely way.
Once you’re done pinning, share the secret board with your photographer. The more they know about what you’re after in terms of the look and feel, the better for them too and it’ll make their lives a lot easier. You will both be on the same page and you’ll both get the most out of the photoshoot at the same time. I’d recommend doing this 1-2 weeks before the photoshoot so you’re fully prepared and have a clear idea as to what you’d like.
Then all those other questions swimming around in your head will be answered and you’ll feel more confident knowing you’ve hit the ground running.
Discuss your Pinterest Board
Make sure you discuss your Pinterest board with your photographer too, not just share it with them. They need to know what you’re thinking and they will be able to bounce ideas off you too which you may not have thought of.
This is the exact process I went through recently with a client of mine and the photos from the photoshoot are amazing. They are exactly how we envisaged them and having prepared everything beforehand helped massively.
If you have any questions at all about branding, please don’t hesitate in contacting me. Hollie
Hollie Ellis Design
I’m a freelance graphic designer in Newcastle upon Tyne with clients all over the UK and further afield, ranging from sole traders to large corporations. I specialise in branding, logo deign and print design and with 10 years experience within the design industry I know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to branding businesses.
To find out more, please visit www.hollie-ellis.co.uk or contact me via email: hollie@hollie- ellis.co.uk
If you want to get your very own branded lifestyle headshots click here to find out more
That quote by Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos is often used in discussions about brand. I think it’s a useful one because it points to a truth that can often be missed when thinking about your business brand.
Brand isn’t about logo, or colours, or messages and straplines. It’s about inspiring human connections and emotions. How do people feel about doing business with you?
Don’t believe me? Let me try an experiment with you…
What do you think of if I say ‘Ryanair’? What associations come to mind?
How about if I say ‘Virgin Airlines?
Both companies offer the same service (flying people from A to B), but chances are you’ll think of those two brands very differently, even if you’ve never flown with them.
Try another pairing. How about Disney and Looney Tunes? Again, two companies that produce family entertainment, but two subtly different brands.
You may be thinking it’s all very well for big companies who can afford to spend a fortune on marketing to ensure that their brand is at the forefront of your mind, but what about me and my small business?
Small businesses do have an advantage over some of the big brands because we know our business relies on us as people doing business with other people. And because we can control what we say and do to reflect our own business brand.
Think about how and where your business brand appears. Chances are you’ll have a website. You may have a shop or regularly appear at events and conferences. You may have a presence in social media platforms.
When you’re in the same room as other businesses and prospective customers, you give off lots of clues about the kind of business you represent. At networking and other events, it comes through in the way that you dress, whether you’re approachable or aloof, how you speak and interact with people, as well as what you say in person and through your marketing materials.
Now think about your regular everyday business. How do you communicate with your customers? Through your website, social media, telephone, email or newsletters?
When you’re not physically face-to-face in the room with your customers, communication loses some of those extra nuances.
Speaking on the phone, people can’t see whether you’re in your pyjamas or wearing a suit and tie, but they will judge from your tone of voice and what you say whether or not they feel you’re dealing with them in a professional manner.
When it comes to communications that are largely written, such as emails, newsletters and social media posts, customers can’t hear your tone.
”Do you want people to think
of your business as professional?”
How many times have you read a text or message and thought it was a bit off-hand? They might have thought it was funny or sarcastic, but without the clues in their voice, it’s easily misinterpreted.
That’s why, when it comes to written communications for your brand, your words have to work really hard. Without all those outside influences to back them up, you have to make sure your brand message is clear and consistent.
How do I do make sure my brand message is clear?
Here’s a quick exercise to help you think about how you represent your brand when you’re not there in person.
Think about what you would like your ideal customers to say about your business. What kind of words would you like them to use?
Do you want people to think of your business as professional? How about friendly? Approachable? Quirky? Stylish? Exclusive? Kid-friendly? Value for money? Or something else?
Write down the top 3 or 4 adjectives that you think best sum up your business brand from a customers’ point of view.
Now ask some of your customers to describe your business brand in 3 or 4 words.
Score 2 points for any words that exactly match the adjectives you chose. Score 1 for any that are similar. Score -2 for any that are the exact opposite.
Add up your scores. A positive result shows that you’re on the right track. A negative one indicates that you have work to do.
Taking time to think about how the words you use on your website, in social media and throughout the whole of your marketing mix can give you a good insight into how you present your business brand.”
If you need some help finding the right words to represent your brand and attract customers, then a copywriter, like Michelle Nicol, can help you.
Michelle is a copywriter, trainer and brand storyteller who helps businesses tell their story through words that attract attention. A former BBC journalist, she loves nosing out a great story and sharing her writing expertise through training and workshops. www.word-struck.com @I_am_word_struck www.linkedin.com/in/michellejnicol/
…she really makes you feel at ease and brilliant with the children.
…the results are absolutely stunning, capturing the characters of the children amazingly
Fantastic with children, very patient. Can’t recommend Rachel enough
Absolutely adore the photos we got from our session
The session was fun, relaxed and the resulting photos were stunning!
Great photo shoot session with our 10 month old twins!
I asked my good friend Anna from Blue Tongue Design to share some of her knowledge.
”As businesses we should be building relationships, connections, listening to our customers, taking actions and always living up to the promises we make.
When you’re considering purchasing something from a company there’s always one very important factor that plays a big role here and that’s ‘TRUST’. You can like the look of the company, you may even love the product, BUT if you don’t trust the brand you’re not going to buy from it.
“A brand is a persons gut feeling about a product, service or company, you can’t control this process but you can influence it”
(The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier)
Brand has become more important now than ever before because of how today’s society has moved on, choices have increased so considerably and the average consumer is now exposed to 1000’s of advertisements, messages and images, and with google at their finger tips, it’s so overwhelming that having an emotional connection is more important now that it ever has been. If a company is able to connect with their consumers they have a genuine advantage over their competitors. Because once a person trusts a brand they can buy it now and worry about the rest later. It’s the trust element they feel towards a product, over its features and benefits, that can determine whether they buy one product over another.
This is why creating an emotional connection to your customer is so important, because in the end a company doesn’t define a brand, a brand is defined by individual people. Each person creates his or her own perception of it, and……..
“When enough individuals arrive at the same gut feeling, a company can be said to have a brand. In other words, it’s not what YOU say it is. It’s what THEY say it is”
(The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier)
Coca-Cola, Apple, Ikea, Virgin, google, Sony, these business’s are all about what they stand for, not what they sell, which is why they’ve become household names.
There are lots of different elements that define a brand, which can influence your brand such as the customer experience, product/service, visibility etc. You can influence your brand by communicating the qualities that make you stand out, but gaining ‘trust’ should be at the top of your list.
So you can’t control your brand but you can influence it, for example by improving your products/services, marketing, being consistent with your message and visual identity. Ensuring your visuals are clear and consistently applied across all communications reinforces your identity and drives trust. Consistent use of your logo, making sure you stick to your style guide, colour palette, typeface, correct use of spacing of your logo etc is all very important as this will help to strengthen your brand identity.
It’s worth investing in a good, strong brand identity as first impressions will count!”
Anna is the founder of Blue Tongue Design and helps all kind of businesses with their brand design. The business has grown organically by word of mouth and referrals from clients who love Anna’s clean, simple, pared down approach to design. Anna’s modus operandi is to meet new clients and listen to them talk about their business while she sketches their words. She then goes away, conducts more research and distils all of this to the brand’s essence and that informs her design. An active, interested and analytical listener, she is exceptionally talented at this process producing insightful and sensitive expressions of the brand and indeed to developing clients’ thinking about their own brand identity.
Her work is characterised by a clean, elegant, honed down style. Its interest is in ease of use and communication. Of course communicating complexity in a simple manner is no small task, but she is skilled at finding the brand essence and making it visible.
Her work has been recognised by Logoloungue in 2015 and again in 2017 and has defined award winning community groups.
To find out more visit www.bluetonguedesign.co.uk
Rachel has managed to produce a portfolio of shots that exceeded our expectations.
Rachel always delivers the type of hi quality images and shots we need