Personal Brand Photography- Basic Questions
What is personal brand photography/branding photography/lifestyle photography?
Just FYI- I use the terms brand photography, personal brand photography, and branding photography, interchangeably. Personal brands are people like coaches, bloggers and influencers. Personal brand photography is just specific to these types of businesses. I like to use the words “brand photography” to include other small businesses and entrepreneurs. Brand photography is photography that aims to create strategic, custom images that will benefit your brand and reflect how you market your brand to your audiences.
Will brand photography actually benefit my business/brand?
If you aren’t planning on using images on social media, your website, or other various digital platforms, brand photography probably won’t do much to benefit your business. Brand photography is mainly focused on digital, although using photos for printing brochures, pamphlets, etc. is not uncommon. I will gladly answer any questions about whether brand photography is right for you, or how it could benefit you! I will not take you as a client if I feel that you are wasting your money.
How does brand photography benefit my business?
Brand photography is extremely beneficial in creating cohesive marketing imagery for your business or brand. If you’re using social media (and I mean, who isn’t these days?), especially image-dominant platforms like Instagram and Facebook, great images are practically required in order to stick out. It is no secret that people want to see nice pictures- but pictures that tell an immediate story? Even better!
I have a new or fairly new business, is brand photography right for me?
Brand photography is an investment; therefore, I would not suggest doing a full-on brand photo session if you haven’t yet established some of the details of your brand/business. However, I definitely think that anyone using social media would benefit from having great photos from the start. This may not include my full Story Session brand photography options- but some beautiful headshots or a mini session (I call them “Short Story Sessions”) could greatly benefit you and your business.
At what point in my business is the best time for me to take these types of photos?
I suggest that you have figured out your marketing and branding basics before you have a Story Session. This could vary, depending on the business- but you should have established your target audience/customer avatar, general idea of color palettes you’ll be using and other visual branding elements, your mission/values, etc. You should definitely know who you plan on serving, because your brand stories are about those you serve, not actually about you!
Personal Brand Photography- The Westward Way Photography Approach
What are Story Sessions?
Story sessions are strategic photo sessions that are planned by you and the photographer based on 3 (or more) of your brand stories. Some people might call these “lifestyle” sessions, where you are more immersed in a realistic scene, rather than posing in front of the camera and smiling. The end-product includes 3 months of digital photos (around 60-90 images, depends) that you can post to social media/website/etc. A story session might be split into 3 locations/wardrobes/sessions, or we can do all 3 stories at once- but we will need to add some variety. It all depends on you and what you’re looking for!
What kind of planning is done for a Story Session?
After filling out an initial questionnaire, we will schedule an hour-long brainstorming session. For Austin locals, this can be done in person or we can do a Zoom chat. After our brainstorming session, I will email you a recap of what we discussed. We may or may not need an additional meeting. Part of our planning can include a shared Pinterest board, Trello boards or Google docs in order to both have a good handle on what you need.
How do Story Sessions differ from headshots?
With headshots, you only get a handful of images- and they tend to be more portrait-style (meaning you’ll be smiling at the camera, posing, your face is the main focus, it’s all about your gorgeous smile and personality that shines through your smile) and I usually spend a little extra time editing them (to take out skin imperfections, etc.- but only if you want me to). Headshots, at least in the way that I tend to offer them, are created more for social media profiles and email signatures, things of that sort. Story Sessions are about brand storytelling and, together, we work out what stories we will be told. Headshot sessions are usually much shorter sessions and we probably only need one 30-minute meeting to discuss the details of your photos. Story Sessions include much more detailed planning and can include headshots as well!
How often should I do a Story Session?
I designed the Story Session to be 3 months of content, so by design they should be done quarterly. Does it have to be this way for everyone? Of Course not! You might use the 3 months of photos in 6 months or 2 months or a year! Getting them done quarterly means you can adjust for the seasons, your quarterly goals, keep them recent and relevant to your other content.
What locations are best for a Story Session?
The most important aspect of photography is lighting, so lighting is the absolute most important thing to consider when deciding on a location, especially because I’m a natural light photographer (meaning I don’t really work with studio lighting). If it is outside, shaded areas are a great area for taking photos. if it is inside, a place with lots of windows is ideal! Also, consider what kind of traffic is in the area. If it’s outside and during a lunch rush in downtown Austin, we will have to work around people and extra cars. If it’s is your house, you should think about how the lighting and furniture is arranged in your house and consider optimal layouts for a great session.
What props should I bring?
We will discuss this in further detail during a brainstorm session, but you should consider what props will work well for your brand. If you’re selling makeup or a makeup artist, you would probably want to bring those products with you, along with complimentary products (like say, a brush, etc.). Flowers are always a great prop to bring. Things that are the same, or compliment, your brand colors.
Do you provide props?
This is another thing that probably would depend on our conversation together. I can absolutely bring props if you think they’ll benefit your photos. During my beta testing/introductory pricing, however, I am not including props in the pricing. However, in my regularly-priced packages, I will include a prop budget of some kind.
What should I wear?
There is no right answer to this. The short answer is: wear whatever you feel fierce in!
I am no fashionista (my idea of fashion is yoga pants and a baggy t-shirt) so I wouldn’t trust my fashion advice too much. All joking aside, a general rule in portrait photography is to wear clothes that are neutral and don’t have distracting patterns. But, we’re not taking these pictures just for YOU, right? We are taking them for your audience for your brand story. What do you think your customer avatar will expect you to wear? Also, considering a Story Session will provide you will months of photos, you should think about seasonally appropriate clothing for when you’ll be posting the photos.
How can we incorporate my brand colors?
There are numerous ways we can make sure your brand colors are represented. You can bring props that are brand relevant, wear clothing or accessories that are in your brand color/style and try to find places that suit your brand palette. I can also edit use editing to change some of the colors in the photo, but I prefer to do most of the color incorporation during the photo session, not after! You will have time to change, so feel free to bring extra clothes so that you can fit in multiple color palettes.
What genre/style of photos should I expect?
This is something that we will definitely discuss- when people think about brand photography, they often think of lifestyle-type photos. While this may be true for many, if this doesn’t suit your brand, there are other styles of photography that we can discuss. A Story Session with me could include a variety of styles. For instance, you might need some great headshots for your new profile pictures, some lifestyle pictures for your social media and maybe some portraits with the family for your website.As far as editing- this is something we can discuss in further detail. I tend to just color-correct, smooth blemishes, etc. If there is a particular preset you use, you can either apply them yourself, I can use one I have that is similar or yours I can purchase the presets and apply them to the photos.
Do you do product photography?
My specialty is more with humans- but we can discuss what concepts you might have and go from there, especially if you have lifestyle product photos in mind! I would absolutely dabble in some product photography for you, girl!
Do you have a studio?
Sadly, I do not have a personal photography studio right now. However- we can discuss renting out a local studio or an AirBnb for our session together. I am a natural light photographer, so I do the majority of my work without studio lighting.
How many photos will I receive?
This depends on the package you choose. If you choose to do a quarterly Brand Story Session, you will receive 60 photos, 5 of which I can take into Photoshop and edit more in-depth if you wish (I edit all photos, but not all of them will require special attention like blemish fixes, etc). This amount would be enough for you to post to social media for 3 months!
What am I allowed to do with the photos? What are the usage rights?
I mean- pretty much whatever you please.
Digital and print use
Use them for your speaking engagements, book covers, social media feeds, website pages, advertisements, pamphlets, opt-ins, etc.
You may use filters and crop/edit the photos if you need to. These photos are for you and your brand and you need the option of being able to suit them to your aesthetics, I get it!
No crediting necessary!
You can totally credit me- but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. It is not required at all, but always appreciated.
Now, I still technically own the copyright of the photos because I am the creator (this is a standard for all photographers/artists, this is nothing new or unusual) so you can’t sell them outright as if you took them (unless you buy a special license to buy copyright off of me). If any of this confuses you, stress not, you beautiful lady. I will explain anything that needs clarifying!
What do I receive once our photo session is done?
After I’ve taken your photos, expect up to a 2 week turnaround for your photos (depending on your situation, could be more or less). I can provide you with “teaser” photos for your audience so you can show a little sneak before they are done.
When the photos are sent, you will receive the high resolution photos, web-friendly sized images and square cropped images. I do not provide RAW images (RAW is a file type of the original images I photograph) unless there are special circumstances.
I will edit the images how I would normally edit them for my own business (with the same presets), or I can do just the basic light/color correcting. This is another thing we will discuss in our initial consultation.
I will send you with links to the gallery of digital images that you will have access to for 3 months.
I will feature your photos on a blog post of mine, along with a little about you and your business.
Again, if you have questions about the files you will receive, I’d be glad to discuss, nothing is written in stone here.