Mistakes Personal Branding Photographers Make

1. TREATING A PERSONAL BRAND SHOOT LIKE A GLORIFIED HEADSHOT SESSION OR PORTRAIT SESSION.

A personal branding shoot is not the same as a portrait session. Yes, they need great headshots, but you also need to create a story that is cohesive with their brand, something that’s going to intrigue their audience. Purposeful candid shots are key. Get them laughing, and talking about something they’re really into, whether that’s their favorite restaurant or TV show. Your job is to show their audience they’re fun and personable. Find locations that make sense to their brand, and guide them with their outfit selections. 

2.  NOT EDUCATING YOUR HEADSHOT CLIENTS WHAT PERSONAL BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY IS.

Many people have never even heard of brand photography - most of them are still looking for a headshot or corporate photographer. Your job is to educate them from the minute they land on your website. You need to activate their brand power, capture their inside story, and define their true essence. ;)

3.  NOT GIVING CLIENTS “RIGHTS TO USE” their IMAGES.

They are hiring you to create images for their site. They shouldn’t be treated like corporate clients and insisting on charging them for each use. Your client is a personal chef or spa owner - not Nike. If it annoys you to see your clients use their images, then you aren’t charging enough on the front end! You should be thrilled and excited to see clients using the images you shot! If your client posts one of your images, continue to love and share on YOUR social media channels thanking them for their trust and support in you! Create a community, not competition. Resenting clients is creating bad juju, and we can’t be having that when they are the life source of your business!

4.  TRYING TO SELL clients “PRODUCTS” OR “WALL ART” THEY DON’T NEED.

Branding clients are using their images for their website - therefore they need digital images not giant canvases for their walls. Should they ask for prints, then have your pricing near-by and ready, but prints are not in high demand in this market.

The last thing you need is for clients to feel like they’re spending way more than they anticipated because you’re “selling” to them. Your work will speak for itself. You are there to enhance their brand,  no need to get salesy. 

Take it from my experience and know that you truly can learn from other’s mistakes. We all make mistakes, it’s only natural, but also be kind to yourself when you do mess up.  When starting your business you’ll often have your ego take over your consciousness. It’s important to remember that there is room for everybody to be great and reach success and that you get what you put out- stay consistent, work hard, and hold yourself accountable. 

Heidi Hapanowicz

Heidi Hapanowicz is a personal branding photographer and visual marketing expert for online entrepreneurs.