If you want a portrait session in a scenic outdoor location, it is worth waking up early or putting the kids to bed later in to capture the portraits during golden hour.Read More
Last month a friend invited me to speak about portraits with 2 of her photography classes at a private girls school on the Main Line. It ignited in me an old dream to be a teacher. Guiding them through my background, showing my portraits, sharing my take on portraits and demonstrating in their studio my process was exhilarating.Read More
If you have a business, or what to be known for something, it is essential that you show up in your social media feed and blogs. It is not enough to hide behind your product, quotes or your words. I used to do that, but I am slowly opening up myself to be known as the face of my business.
I am sure you have heard this before but it is true: “People buy from people they like and relate to” especially when there are literally thousands of other people doing the same thing you are doing. I was on a coach/reiki practitioner’s instagram feed just this week, and I scrolled through 2 years worth of posts and there was not one post featuring the coach. I even went on her website and found only one photo featuring her and it was a side backlit photo in which her son was more prominent than her and I left her site not knowing who she was. I realized then how important it was to me to be able to see you and determine if on “screen” I could relate to you.
Jenna Kutcher in THIS PODCAST related how she doubled her Instagram following & engagement in a short period of time by only posting photos of herself and none of her work.
My recommendation for branding shoots for soulful women (and men) like myself is to do mini sessions (30 mins) every few months versus long sessions of 2 hours or more in an attempt compile weeks of content in one shoot. A couple of reasons, your energy wanes past an hour and I prefer for you to be alert and excited. But the key reason is that you change and evolve. You may decide to cut your hair or want to change directions on the type of shots you show and you can easily pivot rather than feeling forced to use images you have in the queue that were taken 3 months ago.
Always ask yourself when thinking of a personal branding shoot, what setting/props reflects me, my personality, my values and what images would my clients /followers would appreciate or relate to. Do not do photos, just because influencers, others in your field etc are doing them (I am sure you have seen photos of women curled up on a sofa in a business suit and heels). Your photos should reflect you. I dare you to be different and do you.
Here are some of my Tips for Making your branding images reflect you:
Accessorize - Throw on your favorite jacket or hat in between shots. It will give you several looks in one shoot.
Include your kids, partner, dog, cat or pet snake.
Dress comfortably in something that you would wear. It’s fine to consult a stylist or friend to help you but make sure it is authentically you.
Great makeup is a must even if you don’t wear makeup. A great makeup artist can make you look natural while evening out your skin tone and highlighting your eyes, a slightly polished version of yourself.
My location suggestions:
Your home and in particular, your favorite place in your home! If you love spending hours reading in bed and you have great light in your bedroom, shoot there. Or curled up on the couch or on your favorite deck chair or in the kitchen cooking or in your camper.
Do a walking shoot around your favorite neighborhood and stop along way and shoot on a neighbor’s stoop or at a coffee shop or in front of murals.
If you love fruits & veggies and flowers or nutrition or health is your calling, shoot at a Farmers Market or Flower Shop.
In motion shots are dynamic such as images while working out (and you don’t have to be fitness coach to do this) or walking in park with your dog or walking on the beach.
List all your favorite places [and activity] and see if your photographer will shoot come and shoot you for a 30 mins and then afterwards you can continue on to enjoy the activity - for example Carnivals/Fair, Museums, Longwood Gardens, River, picnic in the park, Ikea or Camping.
In the winter months, try something different and do a studio shoot. This is a great opportunity to do take that inspiration photo you have on the wall and recreate it with the help of your photographer.
Have your photographer follow you around while you make your art or product. Take the photographer shopping with you if you are a stylist or to the seamstress making your dresses or have him/her in your studio while you paint or sculpt .
With a great photographer and a bit of introspection, you can create great authentic soulful images.
The most important part of making an image is great light and the best camera is the one you have with you.
Here are some great tips on finding great light:
If you are indoors, turn (or move your subject) towards the light coming in from a window. Below I took a photo of Ari with her back to the light and another with her facing the light (both unedited). You can see what a difference turning to the light makes.
Don't photograph in direct sun. It is harsh and create ugly shadows on the face. That is why most photographers will insist on taking portraits an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset when the light is so much softer.
If you are out in direct sun, look for the shadows, whether under the eave of a roof, just inside the doorway but have your subject face the light. If the sun is too bright, have them close their eyes and then open and you capture at the moment they open their eyes before the glare gets too much.
Shoot on a cloudy day. Best for even light.
Let know if these tips were helpful. I will continue the series next week.