If you're a small business owner, entrepreneur, or just trying to build your personal brand having high quality photos is an absolute must. With the popularity of Instagram, Pinterest and other photo based social media platforms having stunning images is what will separate your news feed and timeline from amateurs. Additionally, although your selfie may be good enough for Instagram you want to have a professional high quality photo handy when asked to submit a bio and photo of yourself.
Personal branding is hot right now and making sure you have the right images that represent who you are is critical to developing a loyal following and fanbase. Everyone from make- up artists (i.e. Amrezy), to personal stylists (Ty Tryone) to entrepreneurs (Gary Vee) has a personal brand and the popularity of these individuals can be easily validated by simply looking at the number of followers they have. While I usually don't place too much value on follower counts it's hard to ignore the influence each of these individuals have. With one quick look at their Instagram accounts, one thing that is apparent is the consistency and authenticity of the images they post. Each image is a visual representation of what their brand represents.
What they all have in common is that they have learned how to leverage their popularity and brand image by curating a news feed and building a brand image that people connect with. Everything we do, say, and post has an impact on how others view us. Tomas Laurinavicius from thenextweb.com says "When it comes to forming an effective personal brand, there are many elements at play. To lay a strong foundation for our personal brand we need to tap into the genuine qualities from which our character and personality stem, such as our values and passions. When we have a clear grasp of the image we want to project to the world, we can start outlining our personal branding strategy and taking advantage of the artillery of tools available to us. The main elements of building a recognizable personal brand encompass creativity, credibility, professional visual representation (through photos, colors, design, email signature, etc.), a strong online presence, being memorable, and being consistent."
When I first began using social media I'll admit that building a personal brand was the farthest thing from my mind, but as I became clearer on my purpose and the work I was doing with women really started to take off I realized that my online image and presence became sort of my business card. I was creating a personal brand and didn't even know it. The human brain is a visual instrument and many of the decisions we make are based off of visual cues. Using photography to reinforce your personal brand is an excellent way to take advantage of the visual nature of the human brain. That's why I decided that if I was really going to start taking my business and my brand more seriously I needed to have professional photos. It was a difficult but necessary process. Difficult because I've always shied away from professional photos. There's so much pressure when it comes to taking professional photos and I was afraid I wouldn't measure up.
I'm not a professional model so I was afraid that I wouldn't know how to pose or find my angles. And to be honest I've had professional shoots in the past that left me feeling uncomfortable and not very pleased with the final product. However, all that changed when I worked with Marcus from Marcus Isaac Photography. Marcus was everything I needed and didn't have in the past. He was the consummate professional, personable, easy to talk to, and an EXCELLENT photographer. Not only does he know how to take really great photos he makes sure he captures your best angles and gives you directions.
For someone like me who has no clue how to model, he directed my body positioning, he told me the best way to pose to avoid that fatty double chin we all get when we smile, he was patient, and most of all he made the photo shoot fun!! I cannot tell you how much I laughed and how at ease he made me. He was everything I needed a photographer be. We first took some photos in his studio and when we finally hit the pavement and took the shoot outside that was where Marcus really worked his magic. He is great with finding the right lighting, exposure, and a host of other photography terms that are foreign to me. Some of my favorite shots where the ones he took outside. He has a magnificent way of bringing out the beauty in you. The photos were so good that even without any retouching or Photoshop the pictures were breathtaking.
I posted two of the photos from my shoot on my Instagram and I have to tell you that they have been the most liked photos on my timeline since I've had Instagram. That alone, was very indicative of how important high quality photos are. Within the last couple of days I've also increased my follower count by 125 and I can only attribute that to the photos because that's the only thing that has changed within the past two days. The same way brands obsess about logos, colors, and typography, a strong personal brand requires you to invest in professional head shots and appealing photography. It is by far the best investment you can make in taking your personal brand and image to the next level.