Dr. Sarabeth Berk is the leading expert on hybrid professional identity, and a hybrid professional herself. She was featured in Forbes, and is a TEDx
How to get into personal branding photography
I get asked all the time how photographers can get started with personal branding photography, and it makes me so excited. See, I love personal branding photography (obviously) for so many reasons, and it’s one of those things that can completely transform a business, give a face to a brand, and add a boost of confidence to new and seasoned business owners. Branding is intensely personal, and being able to help people put their own face, their own style, and their own taste into their businesses and selves through personal branding is such an honor — and a joy.
However, I think it differs from other methods of photography in a lot of ways, and understanding those differences is key to creating a successful personal branding photography business. If you’re looking to get started in personal branding photography, here’s what you need to know.
First up… do you genuinely understand personal branding?
Photography is one thing, branding is one thing, and personal branding photography is another. If you’re looking to create a business dedicated to telling powerful stories of people’s personal brands through photography, it’s your job to dig deep into the science of branding, dive into the practice of photography itself, and do the research you need to effectively merge the two.
The key? Being able to generally understand personal branding photography — or, as I like to define it, the art and science of creating meaningful, inspiring, and compelling images that help people grow their businesses, define their brands, and succeed in their line of work and life. Personal branding photography is unique in that different clients need different stories told, and your ability as a personal branding photographer can give them the confidence they need to tell those stories themselves. When you have a visceral grasp on that concept, you can genuinely change people’s lives.
5 Steps for how to get into Personal Branding Photography
Just like with any business — and any area of photography — getting started as a personal branding photographer is going to involve a lot of trial and error, and that’s okay. Your first job? Remember that you have the really lucky task of blending marketing and art to create something really special. Your second job? Give yourself enough credit and discipline to do it well, starting with 5 of my own go-to tips:
Dot your I’s and cross your T’s: When it comes to personal branding photography, you’re being asked to provide a unique service — which means you’ll also need to provide unique deliverables. From offering commercial release options and shooting photos for a variety of platforms (like social and websites) to learning new and efficient ways to pose clients and creating tons of opportunities for content repurposing during your shoots, you have to pay attention to the details. Why? It sets you apart.
Create a fantastic client experience: As a personal branding photographer, you’re likely catering to fellow entrepreneurs — and you know firsthand how busy you both are. Create a streamlined (read: easy!) booking experience, define SOPs that you follow as a business owner, and conduct your shoots in an organized, efficient way. It makes your work easier, it levels up your client experience, and it creates so much more trust — on all levels.
Market yourself like the professional you are: Practicing what you preach can be kiiiinda hard sometimes (after all, you want to take pictures of OTHER people!), but it’s vital to building a successful business. You have to market yourself, you have to feel confident approaching potential clients, and you have to put just as much focus into your own website, images, and social media feeds as you do for those clients. While it is huge for helping you build your own business, it’s also huge for driving home your expertise.
Work towards your client goals: As a personal branding photographer, your job is to help your clients reach their own marketing and business goals — and to do that, you have to know what their goals actually are. You’re creating art that ties in with your clients’ marketing efforts, so take the time before every shoot to consult with your client and create shoot and photo plans that will help them get the results they’re looking for. (Psst… you can find the personal branding photography questionnaire that I use here.)
Practice the craft: Personal branding photography requires a lot of expertise behind the lens, so be sure you’re practicing and honing in on your own skill set as much as possible. Part of your job involves learning to shoot wide, give space, find approachable images, and get tons of variety out of each session — and it’s an art that takes time to learn and years to perfect. Take every chance you get to learn, to grow, and to work, because it really pays off.
And, because I know that starting a business is a LOT to handle, remember, and deal with, I wanted to leave you with a piece of encouragement. You’re being pulled towards the direction of personal branding photography for a reason, even if you’re not sure what that reason is yet – and I’d bet that if you made it to the bottom of this blog post, you’re meant to do it. Remember that, okay? You’re doing great, and I’m always here to answer any Q’s you may have.
In the meantime, snag my free checklist for newbie personal branding photographers — it has everything you need for starting out your biz with a bang.
Now that you understand how to get into personal branding photography, you can check out my the personal branding photography questionnaire that I use in my business to get everything I need from each client to help plan their personal brand session.
So much of booking new clients and scaling your business as a personal branding photographer comes from one thing, and one thing alone: getting people
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