“I can totally do it myself!”
It was summer of 2022, and with two+ years having passed since my own brand photos were taken, it was time for an update.
But as we started talking about who would shoot them, I was really struggling with who (if anyone) to hire- I really like how I shoot brand photos, and after my 2019 self-portrait series, I thought, I’m familiar enough with taking photos of myself that I could take my own brand images.
Then I started thinking about how LONG some of those self-portraits took to execute.
And how FRUSTRATED I’d get when my phone wouldn’t connect to my camera.
And how annoying it was to have to get up from wherever I’d posed/situated myself to change the angle of the camera.
Eventually, I realized that if I was going to try and shoot my own photos, it was going to take me 3-4x as long as if I hired someone else to do it.
We ended up hiring my friend (and wildly talented photographer) Alisandra Photography, and she crushed it. I LOVE what she shot, and we’re still getting a ton of use out of these a year later! All the photos in this post? They’re from my shoot with Ali!
*Could* I have stretched my existing library of images for a bit longer?
Yes- there was nothing wrong with my last shoot, I still love those photos!
But we’d had some pretty significant changes to our business (introducing Brand Photography Academy, the Artisan CEO Podcast) and to our personal lives (we moved into my childhood dream house, and our sweet Teddy was born!), and I knew that a fresh batch of images could help to keep our audience engaged.
Wondering if it’s time for you to do the same?
1. Your business model changed- maybe you’ve added streams of revenue, or you’ve changed what it is you offer (from weddings → brand), when there’s a big change to WHAT you offer or HOW you offer it (i.e. becoming a course creator, podcaster), it could be time to update your brand visuals.
2. Your target audience changed- maybe you’re trying to reach a different bracket of clientele, or you’re changing your focus from working with real estate agents to homing in on small-scale artisans. Your brand photos shouldn’t just depict who YOU are, they should also reach out and speak to your target audience where THEY are.
3. You’ve grown your team– maybe you’re offering associate photographers or planners, or you’re a brokerage who’s added new agents. If there are new faces on your team, and especially if those are people your clients can expect to interact with IRL, that calls for AT LEAST updating your head shots and group photos.
4. You’re making a concerted effort to ramp up your marketing output- maybe you’ve started experimenting with paid ads, or you’re pitching yourself for podcast features, or you’ve started blogging more consistently- you’re likely going to find that you need more visuals to accompany those efforts. (Here a podcast episode on why you SHOULD diversify your marketing efforts!)
5. Your existing visuals are old and people have stopped paying attention- our brains are stimulated by new information, and bypass that which we’ve seen before (source). It’s why you’ll [typically] see less engagement when reposting visuals people have already been exposed to. People scroll past it because it’s, essentially, old news. And one of your brand photos’ primary jobs? To grab attention and get someone to take action as a result.
6. You’ve had a substantial change to your physical appearance and your photos don’t look like you anymore. This could be because you’ve dyed your hair rainbow unicorn colors, or you’ve had significant weight loss, or the last time you had photos taken was 2011 and you simply look different than you used to. The purpose of updating here isn’t vanity, it’s just to help ensure a consistent experience + presence across the brand as a whole- on your website, in person or on Zoom, in short form videos… etc.
7. Your life situation has shifted and you want to showcase the change- this one is for business owners running a more personal brand- maybe you bought a new house and your home office makes a frequent appearance in your brand assets. Maybe your family has grown, you’ve added kids or a spouse into the mix. If you’re consistently including them in any of the material you share on your business channels, it could be helpful to have professional photos in your library of brand imagery to pull from when the occasion arises.
8. You’ve never actually had professional brand photos taken, and you keep cobbling together a folder of increasingly mismatched images to pull from. If that’s you, trust me: you’ll be SO GLAD you did it when you get your gallery back! A talented brand photographer will think up photos you didn’t even know you needed, and your visuals will be SO much more consistent across all your platforms. You’ll spend less time scrubbing your archives for “that one image” you have in mind, and, dare it say it, you may actually find yourself EXCITED about creating new material because you’re not still pulling from the same tired collection of images!
TLDR: As your business grows and evolves, and as the demands of marketing in an online space shift, your visuals need to grow & shift, too.
Planning for a brand shoot isn’t a small thing (I was *this close* to re-carpeting my office before our shoot), but it has reverberating positive effects across your business. Refreshed visuals put a pep in your marketing step by giving you fresh content to pull from that re-engages your audience with new & novel stimuli, and help to make sure you’re aligned your intention for the brand with your audience’s perception.