Tuesday's Together Talk: Branding and Your Headshot | The Virginian in Lynchburg, VA | Lynchburg Photographer

Hey friends! I hope you're having a flippin awesome day! I was recently asked to do a talk on branding and your headshot for an amazing group of creatives. There were a lot of people who were able to make it but I wanted to do a blog covering some of the points of my talk for those of you who couldn't make it and for anyone else who is interested in listening to me ramble. haha I was asked to do headshots for the group as well along with the talented Meridith De Avila Khan

Before I get started I first want to thank Katie from A Little Party Events for inviting me to present to the group and to do headshots! I'm super thankful to have a group like Tuesday's Together to be a part of. I've met some incredibly kind and generous people that have welcomed me into the community. And of course a huge thank you to The Rising Tide Society for creating spaces like this for community and friendship to flourish. 

It was so great to share some of my thoughts on branding and what that looks like when it comes to your headshot. Sometimes we can all have very different ideas of what "branding" means. So I started my talk by defining the term so that we're all on the same page. The American Marketing Association branding is defined as “A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”

If the purpose of your brand is to set yourself apart from the crowd then how do you do that with a headshot? I've got a few areas that I think you can be intentional about setting yourself apart while keeping to your own brand. Of course this isn't an exhaustive list but just a few general areas I think you can focus on. Also, I know that some of these will seem super obvious but some of the most profound realizations I've had in life and business weren't complex ideas. They were simple and straight forward and right in front of me the whole time. These ideas might be simple but meaningful when put into practice. 

First up is, dress!

All aspects of your brand should be communicating the same things and to the same (right) people. In the same way your dress should be as well. Especially in your headshot. There's a local baker in the area who in their headshot is wearing a super nice apron with their name and logo on it. It's pretty legit and a great way to incorporate what they do in their headshot! But, pay attention to what everyone else in your area and field are doing. If the purpose of your brand is to set yourself apart then be intentional about not just going with the crowd. Even when it comes to your headshot. 


Again, this may seem obvious but hear me out. Your expression in your headshot is more important than you might think. The way you look in an image will often times affect peoples initial impression of you. Do you look approachable? Do you look like you'd be great to be around? Are you giving an accurate impression of who you really are? I think sometimes for those of us in the wedding industry rather than creating a brand that’s a reflection of ourselves we create a brand based on what we perceive people’s expectations of someone in the wedding industry to be like. For example, as a photographer, sometimes you feel like if you’re not super bubbly and have heart eye emojis in every one of your posts then people just won’t think you’re friendly and won’t relate to you. Personally, I'm a pretty easy going and relaxed kind of guy. I'm not super bubbly or outgoing but I'm friendly and could pass for an extroverted kind of person. It wouldn't make much sense for me to present myself in a way that made me seem suuuuuper outgoing. Don't feel like your headshot needs to present yourself in a way that just doesn't represent yourself well. 


Location. Location. Location. The location of your headshot should again reflect your brand and in some ways reflect your work. Maybe have your headshot be of you at work and show off what you do and how you do it? Be sure to create something that's unique to you and your brand. Don't settle for the "easy" ideas of that everyone else is doing. 


Something that I think get's looked over is the style of photographer you have do your headshot. If you're not a photographer you probably wouldn't even think about such a thing. Why would you? You'll probably just contact the people you've worked with before and had great interactions with. It's important to choose a photographer who's style will compliment your brand well. My style tends to be more dramatic, moody, and darker in appearance. So if you're brand is full of pastels and bright designs then I may not be your guy when it comes to taking your headshot. If the work of the photographer you choose doesn't line up or fit with your branding then your headshot won't either. It won't be cohesive and will send mixed signals to people about who you are and what your brand represents. 


Lastly, YOU. You are the only you in existence! And selling you will always always work for you. Obviously you can’t convey the complexities of someone’s personality, character, interests, and dislikes in one photo. It’s up to you to do that consistently over time. But you can express some of those things in the areas I mentioned. Your expression, your dress, and the location of your portrait. If you’re not bubbly don’t feel like you have to be perceived as bubbly in your headshot. Be true to yourself and be honest in how you represent yourself. 


Welp, that's all I got guys! I hope that some of that was helpful and practical and will give you some ideas and things to consider when you have headshots taken again! Below are a few of the headshots I took in the library of The Virginian in downtown Lynchburg, VA! If you haven't had a chance to check it out yet you totally should!