What to avoid when shooting personal branding

My biggest no-no's when shooting photographing personal branding or headshots

Hey there!

Today I'm sharing with you the things I wasted a lot of time learning - the hard way. These are the things I wish I had known as a personal branding photographer before doing a photoshoot.



Because every client and every business is unique and needs to stand out from the competition, it's imperative you chat (in-person, or on the phone) with your personal branding clients before photographing them.

“Every day we are selling our most important asset: ourselves.” - Fredrick Eklund

Use your consultation to:

1. Ask specific questions about your client, her business and where she wants to use her photos.
2. Suggest new ideas of where she can use her photos (i.e social media, magazine features, etc.)

Be sure to take notes and use those notes to plan out your photoshoot (see #5). 


Your consultation will:

  • Inform you of your client needs/desires
  • Expand your client's vision by giving them additional examples of where they can use their photos

“The personal branding consultation is both a question and suggestion conversation aimed to elevate your client's visual brand.” - Heike Delmore

Not sure how to do a comprehensive personal branding consultation? Get the full guide here.



Similar to point number one, be sure to do your leg work before the consultation.

Preparation and knowledge of your client and her business is paramount.

With personal branding, one size does not fit all. If you jump into a consultation without researching first, you run the risk of falling short on suggestions and possibly sounding overly generic.

Do your research to show your clients you're invested in their success.

Here are some research guidelines:
1. Is she currently using personal branding photos?
2. If yes, where is she using them?
3. Where do her photos need updating?
4. Where could she be using them - but is currently isn't? (Make suggestions)
5. New strategies she could implement (Make suggestions)



Gather as much information on where your client is currently using her photos and note where she could use them in the future. This information will prepare you for a finely tailored consultation.


What's an inconsistent price-list?

An inconsistent price-list is one where the same product is priced differently across different genres.

Let’s say you sell digital photos. And you price a digital photo for family portraits higher than a digital photo for corporate headshots. Why are they priced differently? This is hard for clients to understand.

Consistency is important.

Let me share a personal story about when this became a big problem for me.

When I started out shooting headshots/personal branding, I was charging really low prices for my corporate headshots. Lower than my glamour portraits. I told myself I was getting clients in the door. The problem arose when my headshot clients would bring in a couple of gowns to be photographed in at the end of the branding session... "just for fun" they said. The photos with the gowns would usually qualify as portrait or glamour photos. Here's the problem: When the client came in to select and purchase their photos, it seemed ridiculous to charge one amount for the corporate headshots (lower) and another for the glammed up photos (higher). Having a consistent price-list across the board solved this problem.



  • Using a consistent price-list across all genres will streamline your business
  • Repeat clients wanting a different genre of photography won't be confused (and you’ll feel clearer - trust me)
  • Visually design your pricing PDFs differently to target each genre you shoot. But keep your pricing consistent between them.



What kind of checklist do you ask?

If you’ve done your pre-consultation research and had your in-person or telephone consultation, you can now put together the shooting checklist.

Your checklist should consist of:

  • Shots your client says they want or need
  • Indicate a photographic style they desire
  • Where your client plans on using the images (website, social media, business cards etc.)
  • Where your client wants to use their photos in the future based on your suggestions

For example, if your client has a Facebook business page, she'll need both a vertical image for the profile photo and a horizontal image for the cover image. 



Your checklist will act as a photoshoot planner to keep you focused on the day of the shoot.


What makes us unique is what makes us stand out.

Shoot your client to stand out rather than fit in.

From your research to your consultation, by now you should have a good idea of who your client is and what they’re trying to express to the world.

Aim to capture all of this in your shoot.

“You are your brand. Failure to share yourself in an open, honest way is a costly miscalculation. Who doesn’t want to be around someone who’s comfy in their own skin? On the contrary, who likes hanging around phonies?... Who were you as a carefree six-year-old, before the world taught you to play it safe and blend in with everyone else? Find yourself; be yourself; sell yourself.”
- Fredrik Eklund

I hope you found this helpful. 

With love and gratitude and wishing you happiness and success,



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