You know the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. The little phrase has never felt so true until just last week.
Recently, I’ve been working on rebranding my business. I love my logo, my pictures and everything that has lead me to where I am today. However, as we grow, we have to refine what we have.
Through all of the website changes, mood boards and copy that comes along with rebranding, there is one little culprit that has haunted me… HEADSHOTS!
I’m all about taking pictures of my kids and other people… maybe the occasional selfie with someone famous, but heaven help me when I need to have my picture taken. Not only do I have to face that I’m not behind the camera, now I’m going to plaster it on my website, in articles and any podcast that interviews me? Oh man…It’s a big freaking deal!
Last week, I made a trip out of state to meet with a brand photographer. I have a few take-aways from my experience that I hope will help you out when it’s your turn to smile for the camera!
Full disclosure, this was my second attempt at getting great photos. Much more money than I ever wanted to spend and lots of time and frustration later, I have finally arrived at images I’m proud to plaster all over the interwebs.
#1 Hire professionals. Real ones.
My first photo shoot was a disaster. I was trying to listen to “professionals” that told me what to wear, where I needed to be for the shoot to ensure a “global feel” for my business, and as a result I made poor choices out of alignment with who I am. I’m heavier than I’d like to be right now, and I was very timid about having photos taken. I relied on “pros” to ensure I’d end up with shots I was proud of, and well, the first go-round, that didn’t happen. The second time, I worked with true professionals in their craft, Annie Marie Photography and Branding Expert Kelly Lucente, of ReTool Marketing and came away with some sweet shots. A similar experience happened with our web design. (I’ll save the website debacle for another day, but let me tell you – it’s been painful – and expensive to learn that working with people who claim to be professional and have integrity, often don’t. Trust your gut. Always)
#2: Be You
There is only one you. Tell the world! I have a tattoo that is special to me. I don’t want to cover it up, I want it featured in some photos. It’s the baseline for all that I believe, so why not show it off?! What sets you apart? Funky hair, cool glasses, a piece of jewelry that’s special to you? Find out what it is and use it.
#3: Be comfortable
I should preface this by saying that in a few of my shots, I wore some AMAZING shoes. Normally, I’m not a high heel girl, but gosh, they’re pretty! While I did wear these gorgeous shoes for a short, short time, I also dressed comfortably. Branding isn’t about selling something that you aren’t. I’m a jeans and comfy shirt kind of gal. So, what did I wear? Jeans and some super cute sweaters. While it’s important to look nice, be comfortable. It makes the long photo session much easier! I was talked into believing I had to wear bright colors, and be flashy. I’m not flashy. I’m down to earth and really the kind of gal that wants to sit across a table and have coffee with you while we talk business and sales funnels!
#4: Change is good
This whole time, I’ve been nervous to share this new look with the world. I love to scuba dive. Give me the ocean and I’ll stay there for days. Give me a new logo and I’m petrified to share it! Just the other night, I was sent a sample of my site. Can I tell you something? It’s beautiful! Every hesitation that I had over colors, logos and everything in between was washed away. (See how I’m building anticipation for my new site… clever, eh!)
#5: Get a support system
It’s important to have people in your corner that will give you good and thoughtful advice. I don’t want a bunch of “yes” people. I want people on my team that will tell me what needs to change. I was told that the logo I wanted was “too safe”. I was hesitant, but trusted my team and went for it. Looking back, I’m so glad I listened to someone else. I had to put down the fears I had about going in a disruptive direction to my market, and after I saw it all coming together, wholy moly, it’s lovely.
What your website, logos and headshots say about you can be incredibly valuable. It truly does say a thousand words before a visitor has read a word.
Above all else, be sure that your brand reflects you. Not the version of you that you think the world wants to see, but the authentic you. If you’ve got horror stories to share, let me know! (I felt quite alone during this mess) and, be bold and share the successes too. Small wins help those of us who are in the thick right now know there is light at the end of the tunnel!