Yikes, that’s a big question right?
And one I asked myself at the beginning of my very own entrepreneurial journey.
As a branding designer, I knew the importance of having my own branded photos done BUT the fear of stepping into my own brand and people seeing me, scared the pants off me!
It really did.
When you start up in business you will have probably seen a ton of stock photos being used, the same ones over and over again. Mulling over how the heck you are ever going to stand out from your competition.
And the rise of styled stock has gone overboard.
What’s styled stock you ask? Well, its photos that are ‘styled’ to make a rather – normally white – desk look phenomenal. It’s clean, slick, and specifically targeted at the aspirational female entrepreneurs market. Featuring gold and rose gold perfectly positioned items.
For me it doesn’t work as it does not represent my day to day untidy oak coloured desk.
The reality is, on my desk right now are my miss-matched pens, my Happy Planner, some books, a children’s highlighter set, neon post-it notes, sunglasses, the Christmas mug of tea (in June), stacks of tarot and angel card decks, calligraphy pens tubs, vitamins, my Tesco Clubcard vouchers and a layer of dust sitting on the base of my screen monitor – keeping it real people, keeping it real! (Forgive me, but we are in the middle of a house move!)
For me, branded photographs, was the ONLY solution to really being me in my brand – to portray the realness.
As a branding stylist I talk about this stuff all the time; being visible, stepping into your brand, being you… so whilst I was nervous about ‘coming out’ so to speak, I knew what the difference a great set of branded photos would make to engage and connect with my customers and help me stand out. That was my mission. Connection and standing out.
And in steps the super talented Gerri Campbell who has helped carry out my mission.
How do I use my branded photographs?
Well, Gerri came to my house, it was important to photograph me in-situ and in my surroundings.
Gerri asked me where I carry out my desk work, where do I sit whilst planning or creating new ideas. It, therefore, made sense to capture me at my desk and at my dining table planning out my ideas.
We also captured my son AJ in the thick of it, because when AJ comes in from school, it’s snack time at my desk, where he then draws for around 20 mins before I finish up for the day.
We were all about keeping it real and being genuine in my own surroundings. Being the real me and showing where I work in my wee house with my trinkets and belongings around me!
Here is how I showcase my branded photoshoot:
- Social sites – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter – my profile photos are the same, consistency and familiarity, as well as my business page banners and about me sections
- Work with me social posts – helping me stand out in the busy newsfeed
- Website About Me Page – sprinkled throughout are photos of myself and ones with AJ too
- Website Homepage – I use the same photo from my social sites – keeping up with the consistency
- Website Contact Me – me holding my iPhone in my home office
- Blog Posts – sprinkled throughout are photos of me, my desk, my own collectables, pens, books and things around my office – I can use both to tie in relevant blog posts
- Guest Blog Posts – I always pop the same photo from my social profile photo – again building in consistency and familiarity
- Social posts – I overlay text on most of my social posts; asking questions, popping quotes I have said, overlay quotes from others or sometimes I’ll just pop one of the photos Gerri took of me or my office shots with my logo overlaid on top – you can do that in programs like Canva or the WordSwag App
- Slack and other membership channels – I use the same photo across all platforms so that anyone looking me up knows it’s me
- Within webinars and masterclasses – when I record my screen, I use my branded photoshoot on my about me intro
The benefits of my branded photoshoot:
- Makes pulling my imagery so much easier
- Saves me time because I have a folder full of go-to imagery that I don’t have to spend hours searching for
- Use them across all my social sites and website – and beyond – I can use them on and offline
- They reflect me
- They have helped me build my know, like and trust factor
- Built familiarity
- They aren’t forced or overly staged, so I felt comfortable and my photos reflect that
- They look and feel like me and my brand: I wear pink, my brand is pink – it’s a natural extension of my visual branding
- They allow me to blend stock photos in with my own – 80 per cent I use are from my branded photoshoot.
Investing in branded photos, with someone like Gerri, makes good business sense to me.
It’s allowed me to be me, stand out, build my confidence and showcase me within my brand.
There are no limits to how you use your branded photos and I hope that me showing you how I use my branded photographs has given you some great ideas on how you can use yours too.
Vicki is a branding, graphics and marketing girl – she’s way more than a designer. She brands and delivers. And helps you find that inner unique youness in your brand.
Vicki works from her home office in Scotland, Fife where she spends her days designing, connecting and having some of the best laughs with simply fabulous online entrepreneurs from all over the world. When Vicki isn’t shopping for yet another slogan, sparkly jumper or floral patterned shirt, she’s spending her days with her son AJ and hubby, Paul, building copious amounts of Lego kits.