If you have a business, you need to be on the internet. And if you’re on the internet, you need photos. It’s as simple as that.
From Sunday morning selfies in the park to our wedding pictures, in any photos, we naturally want to look our best. But when it comes to the images we put out for our personal and business brand, there’s much more at stake.
It’s a well-known fact that people make judgements the second they see you, so when you’re doing business in person, making the right first impression is vital. And this is exactly the same when you’re doing business online – except that the impression you put out there is permanent and available for all to see.
For many women, stepping in front of the camera is not one of their favorite things to do, and the thought of a professional photoshoot is way outside of their comfort zone. Let’s face it, until very recently, only celebrities and models had photoshoots, and the closest we ever got was our annual school photo!!
In order to look your best in your day-to-day life, you have to feel good about yourself (for more on this, see my blog HERE, but that’s much easier when you’re not “in the spotlight”, as you will be at a photoshoot.
Let me just say this: Every single woman in the world - from Oprah Winfrey to Marie Forleo, from Gigi Hadid to Joan Smalls, from Taylor Swift to J-Lo, from Emma Stone to Jennifer Lawrence - has at least one hang-up about the way they look. Whether it’s their weight, nose, skin, butt, boobs, arms, or chin, there’s something they don’t like. And you know what? Every woman judges herself a lot more harshly than anybody else does.
Are you really going to let the fact that you don’t like the shape of your bum stop you from taking your business to the next level (and, I assure you, by investing in a photoshoot you are taking your business to the next level)?
I know it’s easier said than done, but do you want to look back and wish that you had made the most of growing your business? It can be hard to gather together the confidence to go out of your comfort zone and organize a photoshoot, but it’s also hard to not realize your dreams and reach your potential. Choose your hard.
Your Personal Branding Photoshoot
So, you’ve made the decision – you’re going to have a personal branding photoshoot. What’s next?
To hire a photographer for a day or even a few hours is quite an investment, so you want to make the most of it. As a Style Coach and Image Consultant, not only have I had several photoshoots myself, but I’ve also worked on many for my clients.
Read on to discover my tips and advice on how to look and feel your very best – and get photos that you can’t wait to use!
Book an appointment with your favorite hairdresser and have a blow-dry done on the day of the shoot. Unless you have short hair, ask for soft curls, and make sure to get styled with stronger holding/styling/volumizing products than you’d usually use for an everyday blow-dry.
Opt for a natural style that’s flattering, authentic, and makes you feel like “you” (no rigid prom up-dos or anything that’s too “done”), yet shows your face the best way possible. Your aim is to look put together. Wearing hair down comes across as more effortless and relaxed while looking grown up and feminine. If you’d prefer to style your hair at home, make sure to follow the same rules. My personal advice is to pamper yourself and go to the salon, no matter how great you could do it yourself!
An important note on hair - don’t change your hair color or haircut right before the shoot! Maintain your everyday look so that people recognize you in the pictures.
I like to do my makeup myself because I find that it looks more natural. However, if you’re not used to doing your own makeup, this is the time to turn to the professionals. Most drugstores/department stores offer free makeup services if you purchase some products, but you can also go to a beauty salon.
While in everyday life you can easily get along with “barely there” makeup (or no makeup at all), when it comes to photos you want to cover the flaws and accentuate the details more. If you have a signature look (smokey eye, for instance), you can repeat the same look but with a little more depth. Remember, you’re not going to a party, so it doesn’t need to be darker or more smokey, you just want to make sure that your eyes are highlighted, as that’s the feature that people connect to.
You need to ensure that your face is shown off in the best light, so you’ll probably need a little more than usual of your blush and/or bronzer, and a longer lasting lipstick. The aim is to look fresh and vibrant, but natural and approachable (no duck lips, please, or harsh lipliner!)
Even if you don’t want to look “made up”, here are the absolutely indispensable must-have products that you’ll need:
perfectly color-matched, high-coverage, non-cakey foundation
bronzer and/or blush
Besides these basics, feel free to use as many products as you wish (I certainly do – but steer clear of too much highlighter if you want to avoid looking shiny), as long as your look remains natural.
Once again, if you’re not used to doing your own makeup, hire a professional. It’s a good idea to steal an idea from brides-to-be here and have a trial makeup session done before the shoot so that you know you’re going to be happy with the look.
On-point grooming is essential, as every little detail shows on pictures. (Yes, there’s Photoshop, but you want to show the real you, so it’s best to opt for looking great by default!)
Eyebrows - one of your most important features. If you get them right, they can frame your face and accentuate your eyes beautifully. The time of the 90s super-thin Linda Evangelista brows are gone, these days thick, natural, and well-groomed brows are trending (such as Cara Delevingne’s signature brows), so I really would recommend having them done professionally. No one is born with perfect brows (well, very few, at least!), so a little grooming and soft coloring can do wonders. (Personally, I go to the Benefit station in Sephora because they are really amazing with brows!)
Waxing - no unwanted hair (legs, underarm, upper lip, etc.) should be seen on the pictures, so make sure to have your wax done in time (but not the day before!). Remember that close-ups might be taken too!
Mani-pedi - go with what feels right and authentic, so if you never use colorful nail polish than stick with a natural look. If you opt for colors, choose something that goes well with all your outfits and matches your personality. This is not the time to experiment, so go for the “well-established practice” - the signature colors and shades that you always use. I suggest visiting a salon to make sure that you came across well-groomed on the pictures, and if you opt for gel nails or acrylics, you can rest assured that you won’t need to touch up any last-minute chips!
My favorite part, and also the most important. You want to show yourself in the best light possible - looking put together, on-brand, and genuine - but you also want to feel great in your outfits.
This aspect requires thorough planning. There are several things you want to consider when planning out your outfits:
Location of the shoot
Color palette (and your flattering colors)
Your personal style
The purpose of the shoot
Once you got clear on these, you can move on to picking out your clothes based on:
Level of comfort
You want to opt for clothes that are flattering for your coloring, height, and body shape without making you feel like another person. You want to be YOU. In fact, your priority here is to find outfits that make you feel like the best version of yourself and give you the confidence to be relaxed in front of the camera. If you feel uptight or “fake” (not authentic, not you) then it’s not the right outfit.
Consider that you’ll need to change quite a few times during the photo session, so items that are easy to put and take off are ideal (not jumpsuits – unless they are part of your “signature look”, of course!). As far as fabrics go, everything that’s silky and flowy looks great on the pictures because it comes across as effortless and chic.
Regarding your message, you need to consider what you want to convey with your pictures. If you’re a small business selling natural/organic beauty products, then your core message is likely to be around healthy living, sustainability, organic farming etc. so you want to portray the same values in your images by using soft “nature” colors, natural fabrics, and relaxed ensembles.
Many photographers have their own props (especially if you’re shooting in a studio), but it always gives more of a personal touch to your photos if you use your own things. Depending on your purpose and business needs, here are a few things you could use:
Your favorite books, diary, and notebooks
Your laptop, phone, and any gadgets (especially if you have a unique “signature” phone cover etc.!)
Desk decorations: candles, stationery, crystals, pens
Plants and flowers
Your favorite accessories, jewellery, and trinkets
Your favorite handbag
Your stylish mug
In terms of location, discuss with the photographer beforehand, but your office/home office, co-working space, or a favorite place such as a café, restaurant, or park, always work well.
Be Your Best
Besides all of the practical preparations, it’s also important to prepare yourself mentally. You want to be in a very good head space - relaxed, happy and confident. So, if you’re sick, just got your period, or received bad news that’s going to distract you from being completely “there”, then it’s probably the time to cancel and postpone it to another day.
YOUR FREE GIFT!!
I completely understand how important Personal Branding Photoshoots are to your business, that’s why I’ve created this free checklist, just for you! You’ll find everything you need to know, do, and organize from one month before the photoshoot, right up to the very day. Get yours now!!
Veronika Nemeth is the Founder and Creative Director of The Stylish Female Society. She is a seasoned Image Consultant, Personal Branding Expert and Transformational (Life)Style Coach helping heart-centered women to find their soul-aligned style and create a magnetic presence online & offline by revealing their true essence and shining their inner beauty from inside and outside.
Her mission is to inspire women to step into their power, live their own truth and shine their authentic light through being the best version of them.