For my own personal branding photoshoot, I wanted it to be…well, personal. In my opinion, high-quality photos are the bare minimum in order to stand out in the ever-growing digital world. If you’re running your own business you definitely need pictures for everything such as social media, website, emails… the list goes on! Personal branding should be a visual expression of who you and your business are.
After the flurry of quitting my corporate job and traveling all summer chilled out, it was time to hit the ground running with a new brand!
Pre-planning, or “pre-production” is important in order to have an efficient photoshoot day. When it comes to crafting a personal brand, you get to decide how you want people to see you and your reputation. Yes, your personal brand is about you, but it needs to be a tailored version to show the public. The goal should be to give people a positive knee-jerk reaction to your personal brand just by looking at your photos, which makes these images even more imperative. Prospective clients subconsciously look for trust and relatability when hiring someone. For me, I want to be known as someone who is witty, badass, and professional, yet approachable at the same time. I’m actually like that naturally too, with a touch of self-deprecation. If you follow my Instagram you’ll see it quite frequently when I show up on stories!
This question is the crux of the whole photoshoot. It will dictate everything from the wardrobe, makeup, vibe, and even location.
For instance, my background from college until August 2021 was entrenched in the corporate world. Even though I felt suffocated for years, it taught me a lot about how to be professional. I learned how to handle MANY different types of personalities in a diplomatic manner. That kind of experience can only be learned in a passive-aggressive conservative culture like the finance industry lol. You can’t just say whatever’s on your mind in the heat of the moment. It’s funny though, for years I refused to wear a blazer if I could avoid it, but the second I started planning my personal branding photoshoot I just had to wear one to pay homage to the last 10 years of my life.
Besides yourself, where are you drawing your inspiration from? For this particular photo shoot, since I wanted to express “my style” I drew inspiration from Julia Roberts in My Best Friends Wedding and popular New York photographer, Brandon Woelfel.
Back in the mid-’90s, even as a kid, I knew there was something badass about a woman wearing a pantsuit. Julia Roberts character aesthetic was tomboy-ish which was a stark contrast from Cameron Diaz’s high-maintenance and yuppy character.
Brandon Woelfel was the first photographer I drew a lot of my inspiration from when I first started getting serious about photography. If you’re not familiar with his style, he essentially defined the photography niche on Instagram back in 2018 and is famous for neon low light photography with a lot of bokeh from various light sources.
The number one criteria of a personal branding photoshoot is to think about where these images will be uploaded to. Will they be used on one or multiple platforms? What formats and aspect ratios should they be? These are the types of questions to ask yourself. I’m constantly repurposing the same assets on different platforms so I tend to have my pictures more wide-angle with negative space in order to crop them appropriately depending on the platform. For example, still images on Instagram should be 4:5 and 1080×1350 pixels to be most optimal. However, if I want to use those same images in short-form videos like reels and Tik Tok, they need to have enough space to fit 9:16 and 1080×1920 pixels.
Photoshoot day should be purely about execution. If you did proper pre-production with reference photos, the day should go much smoother than if you completely winged it. I’ll be honest, I tend to wing it more than plan, but I always have some sort of reference point in order to help articulate what I need.
In the end, these were the must-have assets I shared with my photographer friend so he knew what shots he had to help me take.
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