Your image is a key part of your brand. You’re quite rightly investing in professional headshots as part of that and you want to get the most out of them. I’m going to walk you through some things you should consider for your next branded headshots session to make your branding much more powerful.
How to use your headshots to round out your brand
There are many parts to developing a personal brand and it’s best to think about how they all come together. You don’t want any of it to jar. Your headshots are part of your visual branding. You want this to be solid. Your brand needs a clear tone of voice, it needs to act a particular way and your personality needs to shine through.
Sharing your brand guidelines with your photographer will help them understand the following:
Who are you?
Where are you going?
Share your story through your images
You have a personal story. Why you started your business and what you hope to achieve are unique to you. Your branded headshots should reflect your story. Share it with your photographer so they can present you with a well-thought-out narrative. They say a picture tells a thousand words. Think about the messages you want your photos to get across to your clients.
Also, think about the impression of yourself you want to convey. Are you funny or serious? Laid back or always smart? If you have your photos taken dressed in your best and then people meet you and you’re in a t-shirt and jeans they might feel you’re not the person they thought you were.
Don’t ask your photographer to shoot you how you think you ought to be. Ask them to show your true self.
Create a narrative hook
In great branded headshots you need a narrative hook. Being memorable cuts through the noise and it makes you unique in your marketplace. Here are some examples:
Taking inspiration from a ginger dog
Hazel decided she’d had enough of moving and traveling for work and wanted to spend more time with her gorgeous ginger dog Juno. She’s the founder of organizational development practice Ginger Dog. She told her graphic designer all about Juno. He incorporated an essence of freedom into her brand along with the friendliness of her dog’s personality and some vibrant orangey ginger color pops to perfectly tell her story graphically.
We then created branded headshots with the same energy. I focused on natural friendliness and showing Hazel’s freedom. We also featured some gingery splashes of color.
The IT guy who loves comic books
Youpreneur Richard Tubb wanted to bring more personality into his blog and podcast. He
works in IT where brands usually blend into a sea of blue and chrome hues. While these colors are associated with that area, so there is a visual connection, it’s hard to stand out if you look the same as everyone else.
When I met with Richard I learned he loves comic books. We added this storyline to his branded headshots.
Now he stands out a mile from the sea of chrome. People are coming up to him at his speaking gigs talking about their favorite comic book character. It’s a personal connection that has nothing to do with IT. We can see that this authentic addition to Richard's brand is working for him powerfully.
Richard Tubb shot by Laura Pearman Photography.
Create a mood board to develop your brand image further
After reading about Hazel and Richard you might be looking around and wondering what visual cues you could be using to help your personal brand stand out. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I create mood boards ahead of each shoot.
Once I get to know what someone’s narrative is I create a composite of ideas and inspirations. I scour the internet, watch movies, visit galleries, and find textures (I have been known to spend far too long touching things in DIY stores) to see what I can pull that fits a client story.
For years I never shared this part of my work with clients. I felt it was scrappy and wouldn’t resonate with anyone. But gradually I started making use of them to brief make-up, style and hair suppliers. They could instantly see where my mind was going and I noticed a great improvement in the outcome of cohesive branded headshots.
The mood board was available on set, so the crew could refer back to it. More and more clients would tell me that they wanted a copy too. I now offer this as a standalone service to clients who don’t know how to put the visual side of their personal brand with their logo.
It helps people as they develop their brand, products, and services. The mood board gives creatives a wider reference point. Cartoonists or illustrators will see how the aesthetic of your brand has been realized. A product photographer can refer back to this document when planning your next product catalog shoot.
When you bring creatives into your business they can work more easily to achieve your goals because they can instantly see how your brand looks.Wondering how to get the most out of your professional headshots? @LPearmanPhotos shares her tips for using your professional headshots as a powerful personal brand marketing asset! #Youpreneur Click To Tweet
How are you making use of your professional headshots? What stories are you telling through them?
Make your branded headshots work for you.