How to Become a Personal Branding Photographer

How did I become a personal branding photographer? A question I get asked a LOT!

I didn’t grow up thinking "I want to be a branding photographer one day…"  

I wanted to be (in no particular order) an architect, a stockbroker, a real-estate agent, Mrs. Richie Sambora, and a truck-driving hairdresser traveling around the country helping people look beautiful - interestingly, this one may be the closest to my current occupation.   Go figure! 

I started my photography journey shooting boudoir.   In an effort to grow my own business, I dug deeper and deeper into the online marketing world and quickly became obsessed. Over a period of about 3 years I took close to 100 online classes (you read that right) on everything from web-design to branding to Facebook ads (with an occasional "How to Read Your Own Astrology Chart" thrown in for good measure).

For the first time in my life I felt like I had found my "tribe" of people. I started traveling to events, signed up for masterminds, and cultivated a circle of business besties across the globe.

I made a natural transition away from boudoir to brand photography in 2014 & I haven't looked back.  

At the time, there were only a handful of branding photographers and, unlike boudoir, family and wedding photographers, there was NO ONE out there teaching you HOW to grow your business in this market. 

But that didn’t stop me. I was determined to succeed. I also had two teenage daughters still at home counting on me so failure was NEVER an option.

While I made some mistakes along the way, I quickly grew a business that allowed me to work while my daughters were in school and get paid to travel while they were on summer break or at their dads....

I seriously could NOT have imagined I'd have a business like this, with so much freedom, in my wildest dreams....

If you're reading this you too are probably intrigued by this fabulous new market!  You still love photography, but are burnt out with weddings taking up your weekends, cringe at in-person sales, or have grown tired of competing with low-end shoot and burn photographers. 

Guess what? I haven't done an in-person sales session since 2013, I rarely photograph clients on the weekends, and I really don't believe in "competition". I believe we should all work together supporting and encouraging each other to succeed! There is enough business for ALL OF US!

I know, for a fact, that there is a HUGE untapped market out there just waiting for you to take it over.  It's not about to slow down….instead it's JUST getting started.

Online business owners NEED photographs.  They are READY, WILLING & ABLE to pay top-dollar for a photographer (you don’t have to convince them - they recognize the ROI it will give their business) but they can’t find photographers in their area who understand what they need! 

This is ONE area in the photography world where I believe there is actually more demand than there are qualified photographers to meet that demand. 

I’ve worked, played, masterminded, surveyed, interviewed, networked, traveled (and drank endless amounts of wine in about a dozen countries) along side your dream clients for the past 5 years. I KNOW what they want from you. 

And, it’s NOT what most photographers out there are giving them. 

A few years ago, I created my first course on Brand Photography. Now, I'm opening up the doors for more photographers like YOU!

In my course "The Business of Branding Photography LIVE" I share exactly what your dream clients DO want, how to attract them, and exactly how to plan your shoots so you can grow the business of YOUR dreams! 

Check out the details here.

5 Myths About Personal Branding Photoshoots

5 Myths About Personal Branding Photoshoots

Drool-worthy personal branding photos are not as unattainable as you might think. If you tell yourself that you don’t need photos of you on your website because your words speak for themselves, or if you think that you can attract the clients of your dreams with that headshot taken back in 2008 at your corporate job (or worse, the one you put up after you cropped out an old boyfriend), I’ve got some news.

Bottom line? Your ideal clients want to get to know, like, and trust you—and they can’t do that if they can’t see your face. I’m here to bust the top five myths I come across as a personal branding photographer. Here goes:

You Need to Be Photogenic

This must be the number-one myth perpetuated about personal branding photography. When you see branding photos of people who look as though they were meant to be in front of the camera, most of the time it’s more about how the photographer has made the subject feel than any innate ability of the person to look good on camera. A good brand photographer will know how to make you FEEL comfortable—and LOOK comfortable. Pinky swear.

I adore the process of getting to know my clients and helping them to loosen up during our shoot. You might be surprised to learn that almost EVERYONE is uncomfortable in front of the camera, no matter how many times they’ve done it. But with a few good tips and some laughs, even the most awkward among us can find her inner RAWR.

You Need to Spend a LOT of Money

If you think you need to spend a fortune scouting the perfect location for your photoshoot, splurging on a high-end wardrobe, and hiring an entourage to keep you looking your best all day—not to mention the bucks it takes to pay the photographer—you’re mistaken.

Sure, you’ll want to hire a GOOD photographer (and not just your cousin’s friend who “takes photos on the side”), but that should be the bulk of your expenses. You don’t need to jetset off to Paris to be in the “perfect” location. You don’t need to wear Prada and Louboutins. And you don’t need five people following you around all day to make sure your collar is never out of place.

Your photographer will handle most of the details. Get a good pedicure and manicure. Have your hair and makeup done (this might be included). Maybe get a spray tan if you like how it looks. Don’t spend an arm and a leg on clothing. No one will know what brand you are wearing. Cheap clothing looks just as good as expensive clothing on camera.

And don’t worry about a fancy location. Talk to your photographer about what look you’re going for. They may have the perfect location in mind. The simplest of places can make an image look amazing through the lens. Don’t stress that you can’t do your photoshoot in Italy. You don’t need to. (But if you’re already going to be in Italy, well, go for it!)

You’re Too Old/Shy/Fat/Boring/Weird to Be the Face of Your Brand

Imposter syndrome anyone? Does it seem like everything has already been done? When you scroll through Instagram, does your life feel SO BORING? Darling, EVERYONE’s life is packed with mundane, pajama-clad moments, one after the other. And EVERYONE can find simple moments that can be made to look fabulous.

You have a fire within you. You just need permission to find it. What are you passionate about? What infuriates you about your industry? What are you trying to change? Channel that energy, and I promise you, you will be JUST as interesting as those lives you scroll past on social media.

Personal Branding Is for Extroverts

If your favorite place to be on Friday night is curled up with a book, catching up with your favorite blogs, working on your brand, or out with a close girlfriend or two for wine and tapas to talk it up, you might be an introvert—and the idea of plastering your face across your website might make you feel nauseated. Honey, you might not believe this, but I am just like you. And SO MANY of my clients are too.

But you know what? When you hide your face from potential clients, they don’t get a chance to get to know you. People process photos 60,000 times faster than they do words. 60,000 times! And they will connect with your words so much better if they can see who is behind them. Your people want to see you. So get out from behind-the-scenes. It’s time to shine.

Product-Based Businesses Don’t Need a Personal Brand

“I don’t want to distract my customers from my products by putting my face on my brand.” I hear this a lot, and it makes me cringe. People don’t interact with brands. They interact with people. Even the most automated brands are run by people who make decisions on a daily basis that affect their customers. The more you can step in front of your customers and get to know them, the more they will trust your products.

After busting these myths with me, how do you feel? Now you have no excuse to step into the limelight. It’s your time, I just know it.