Heera’s 3 Big No-No’s For Personal Branding Shoots

Written by: Heera Ananda | Posted on:

Being able to present yourself in a way that will amplify your brand is really valuable. This is value most people leave on the table. It's not done deliberately, but for many the idea of a branding photo shoot - think crazy good headshot - can feel quite baffling and daunting.

For those of you who might be nodding your head when I say that, I thought I’d share with you three big “no-no’s” for branding headshot shoots, to prevent you from making some of the biggest mistakes I see with this kind of shoot. Even if you love a branding shoot, these are tips that will help you.

1. Thinking you have to look like a corporate professional

‘Oh, a bit of lighting, hair and make up and done! Just needs to look professional. Right?!’ Wrong! So many branding shoots borrow from the corporate headshot model and unless you want to look like a real estate agent, it’s unlikely to be the right strategy for you, even if it feels the safest.

So what are you aiming for anyway? Every single thing your customers see, hear, read tells volumes about your business. Fact. Your headshot is in many ways the flag ship and often the most used branding asset. Do you want to say bland/nondescript/nothing to see here? It sells you short in so many ways.

2. Copy the latest craze

Last year I came across a branding photographer who, though taking really lovely shots, also took the same shots for all her clients. She spoke about the “3 personal branding photographs every business owner should have” which covered the latest craze in style, things like throwing confetti in the air while smiling, photos of you at a laptop and similar. While for some businesses these could be perfect images, I am sure that at least half of you cringed at the thought of confetti in your headshot, and probably rightly so.

Same shots for all is OK if you ARE all the same and run exactly the same business….yep, you got it - you DON’T!

Don’t get lured into the latest craze or a proforma list from a photographer, no matter how popular they are.

3. Tone things down

This is similar to #1 but is worth its own mention. A lot of branding headshot shoots seem to favour the neutral look. Many, many businesses have decided that white and pastel pink is the way to win over Instagram algorithms and appeal to a female audience. Please don’t think that you need to tone things down or fit a mould in order to reach your audience. Your brand needs to highlight your point of difference in a compelling way.

When your clients encounter your brand, it needs to speak to them on an emotional and psychological level so the last thing you should do is the same thing everyone else is - tone down equals blend in. I call that unbranding!

So how do you know what the right approach is? Visual branding always needs to follow a really clear articulation of what you do. Don’t even think about branding photography until you have nailed your message.

Ready to do that? You can start now, and for free HERE

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