I'll be honest, I should have had professional photos taken back when I incorporated my business, but well, budgets were tight - being a service lead business, I didn't need a lot of financial investment, so my cash pool was pretty dry. 12 months in as my business was starting to boom, I began to be asked for my "headshot", and all I had was a (really nice) holiday photo, that didn't exactly scream "professional"!
Now, you might be thinking - that's great Sam but I don't do guest blog posts, so I don't need a professional headshot. Well, yes you do! If you're a business owner, you need a professional photo of you, preferably doing what you do. You only get one chance to make a first impression and living in a digital age; you may only ever "meet" your clients and customers, online. There are so many places you can (and will) use your new photo, plus, and I'm no narcissist, but I cannot stop looking at mine and thinking how fab I look; my mum printed a few of them and had them framed! *insert embarrassed emoji here*
Places You Can Use Your New Professional Photos:
- Social Media Avatars. Unless you're a well-known brand easily recognised by your logo - I would highly recommend you make this a photo of you! If you own a shop, why not make this a photo of you outside your shop front?
- Website. About pages are often one of the most popular pages on a businesses website, mine certainly is. So this needs to build an instant connection with the viewer. Did you know that smiling is contagious? When someone smiles at us we unconsciously smile back - it might not be a big beamer that spreads across your face, but part of your brain "lights up". Smiling builds relationships and that's all part of getting a future customer to buy from you.
- Instagram (and other social media platforms). Yes, your face should appear on your brand's Instagram! At least once in every nine photos. For the same reasons as above, this helps to build relationships. Join in my hashtag #thefaceofme on Instagram sharing a photo of you, face to camera, smiling with confidence and pride as the face of your brilliant business. Say Cheese!
"Professional photography can help build relationships with your customers - say cheese!" @socialmouthsam http://bit.ly/2vVuzyL
Picking a Photographer
Ok so you've now realised you need a professional photographer, the next step is picking someone. Just like you wouldn't hire someone who "likes spreadsheets" to file your EOY accounts, a hobbyist will not cut the mustard. Read more here about hiring an expert to help with your business. When it comes to picking a photographer for your professional image, leave it to a professional! To find my photographer, I took straight to Instagram and looked at some of the accounts I admired and whether there was a credit for the photographer. I knew that my brand is light, bright, clear and joyful and I needed a photographer who could bring that as I would not only be using the photos on my website but my Instagram as well, and the style had to fit with my photography style.
Preparing for the Day
Katie (and I am sure other photographers do as well) spent time ahead of our shoot getting to know me, my business, my business goals and what I wanted to achieve from my photos beyond them just being gorgeous photos (I wanted to attract more of my dream clients). If your photographer doesn't take this time, you might want to be forthcoming with the info so that you can ensure you get out of the shoot suitable images. For example, if you need landscape photos with lots of negative space so you can add in text for headers - tell them this! One of my prerequisites was that I wanted photos of Monty and me as he is a huge part of my life and my business and Katie made sure to capture these shots.
You may want to think about where you want your photo shoot to take place, initially, I was hesitant about having them in my home office; but after a bit of tarting up (thank you Pinterest) and some creative angle work by Katie, my office worked perfectly! Plus it saved me hiring somewhere for an extra cost.
In Addition to the Above:
You are investing in your business, and a decent photographer won't be cheap (you're looking between £200 and a £1000 depending on how many hours you're booking them for and how many photographs you want), so you'll want to look your best. Ladies, you may want to have your roots recoloured and a trim (now is not the time for a drastic change; I know you've been thinking about that pixie crop - but wait until after you've had your photos taken!) also you may want to book a blow dry for the morning of the shoot and even hire a professional make-up artist. I had my hair cut and coloured ahead of the day but I didn't book anyone to do my hair/makeup on the day, mainly because one of my guilty pleasures is makeup, and I'm a dab hand with a contour brush!
I did, however, buy new outfits. Check with your photographer if they are happy for you to have a few outfits changes, I made sure to pick colours that fit with my brand and clothes that I felt comfy in and truly reflected me and how I dress for work. If you don't wear a suit every day and wouldn't meet clients in a suit; probably best to give that pinstripe a miss! If you're not sure what direction your brand is going in, or perhaps you're heeding this advice at the beginning of your business journey, or maybe you're rebranding, I recommend Fiona Humberstone's Brand Brilliance book for helping you discover your seasonal personality and associated colours.
You'll also want to make sure you get an early night; beauty sleep really can't be overrated and maybe even pop a couple of teaspoons in the fridge before bed so that in the morning you can pop them under your peepers to ensure no puffiness! Make sure you eat in the morning as it could be a long day ahead, but don't overstuff yourself as you won't want to be bloated and feeling uncomfortable. I'll stop being your Mum now.
Finally, try to relax and have fun! It's rare we get to take part in a photo shoot, and it's loads of fun feeling like a celebrity for the day, plus when you get your photos back, you'll realise just how photogenic you actually are and will stop telling people you look terrible in photos (trust me a professional will make you look a million bucks).
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