One of my favorite recent commercial photography jobs was for a new Portland hair salon Concrete Treehouse. Capturing the unique and eclectic vibe of Concrete Treehouse Salon on camera was such a passion project for me. All of the stylists are friendly, welcoming and each bring a unique style to their stations, looks, and services. The vibe of the salon is maximalist, colorful, and bold which was a perfect fit for my own creative photography style.
Commercial photography and small business branding shoots are very different than a traditional headshot or portrait session. If you're planning to do a personal branding or commercial photoshoot, there are several factors that you should consider to ensure the shoot is successful and aligned with your brand. Here are some things to keep in mind before you hire a photographer for a personal branding shoot:
Your brand should be defined: Or at least starting to become defined, fleshed out, etc. Before you do a photoshoot, you should have a clear understanding of what your personal brand is - what you want it to look and feel like through imagery, products, messaging, and more. This means identifying your unique selling points, values, and personality traits that set you apart from others in your industry. Unsure of where to start? Talk to a small business branding consultant or creative studio that specializes in working with individuals and small businesses to develop and hone their brand identity.
Hire a photographer who specializes in personal branding photography: It's important to hire a professional photographer who has experience in personal branding photography or commercial photography. They will be able to capture your brand and personality in the best possible way.
Unlike traditional portrait photographers who focus on capturing generic headshots, personal branding photographers work closely with their clients to understand their brand, values, and target audience. They aim to create a visual narrative that aligns with the individual's personal brand and conveys their unique personality, expertise, and story.
The role of a personal branding photographer extends beyond simply taking photographs. They collaborate with their clients to conceptualize and plan the photo shoots, selecting appropriate locations, props, and styling that reflect the client's brand image. They also guide their subjects during the shoot, helping them pose and express themselves naturally to capture authentic and compelling images.
When I do a personal branding photoshoot like this I like to kick off with mood boards. It’s important to align with the client right off the bat about what they’re going for with the look and feel of their personal branding images. Of course every person and brand is unique with a unique set of photo needs and creating some mood boards is the first step in hashing out the details of what a client is looking for.
For Concrete Treehouse, the owners Jimmy and Carrie wanted to capture a lot of candid behind-the-scenes style imagery of stylists in their natural elements at their stations working with clients. When doing a personal branding photoshoot, there are a few key elements to ensuring you get photos you absolutely love. Work with your photographer to help determine the following factors:
Choose a location: The location of your photoshoot can say a lot about your brand. It's important to choose a location that aligns with your brand and conveys the message you want to communicate. For example, if you're a fitness coach, you might choose a gym or a park for your photoshoot. In this case, it made sense to do the photos in the salon where the owners have put countless hours of care and love into the decor.
Plan your poses and shots: Plan your poses and shots in advance to ensure that you get the best possible images. Consider the angles and poses that will highlight your best features and represent your brand. Have fun with it - branding shoots aren't just for traditional headshots. Remember to get those action shots as well when you're in your element.
Use props and accessories: Using props and accessories can help to convey your brand message and personality. For example, if you're a writer, you might include a stack of books in your photoshoot.
Select the right outfit: Your outfit can also play a significant role in communicating your personal brand. You should choose an outfit that represents your brand and makes you feel confident and comfortable.
Personal branding photography often requires adapting to different locations, environments, and shooting conditions. The photographer must be flexible and prepared to work in various settings, from outdoor locations to indoor studios or even clients' workplaces.
The biggest challenge with this project was working with five different stylists with five very distinct personalities and services. When I’m working with clients I aim to make them feel as comfortable as possible in front of the camera. I know firsthand how awkward it can feel with a lens in front of your face but j make it my mission for you to feel as good in front of my camera as you look on the screen. I’ll help you through different poses and positions, guide you on where to look and crack some jokes to get you loose and laughing.
I love to find creative portrait shoot locations within a clients natural environment. In this case it was a fun challenge to take five unique sets of portraits in a small salon. Thankfully Concrete Treehouse Salon is impeccably decorated with fun wallpaper and backdrops everywhere you turn. I photographed the hair stylists standing and sitting at their stations, with both natural and artificial lights. I also focused on shooting details from around the salon to capture the overall concrete treehouse vibe.
When I’m taking creative headshots, I have a few specific goals in mind:
Reflect your brand identity: Creative headshots can reflect your brand identity and values. By incorporating elements that represent your brand, such as color schemes or props, you can create images that are consistent with your brand and help you connect with your target audience.
Make a memorable impression: I want you to be like, hot damn. Literally. Creative headshots can leave a lasting impression on potential clients, customers, or employers. By showcasing your personality and style, you can create images that are more memorable and engaging than traditional headshots, increasing the chances of making a positive impression.
Boost your confidence: My job as a photographer is part hair fluffer, part cheerleader. Taking your photo is only part of the process and a lot of the rest of that process is pumping you up to make you feel like the best version of yourself. This is why creative headshots can also help boost your confidence and self-esteem. By seeing yourself in a positive and creative light, you can feel more confident in your abilities and more motivated to pursue your goals.
I finished this personal branding photography project off with some high quality product photography images. The salon owner is an educator in a specific brand of hair products so it was important to him to have that line of hair products represented in the photography. I used flash and natural light to capture creative and elevated commercial product photography for the business owners to use for marketing and social.
Branding photography isn’t only about you - it’s also about your product or service. Sometimes that’s a more physical good, like in the case of a line of hair products, but other times it’s a service like a cut itself. When planning a small business shoot it’s important to consider those services and products on the shot list and what kind of style of imagery best represents your brand. Is it a clean background with a soft natural light? Or a colorful setting with a lot of contrast? In today's digital age, product photography plays a crucial role in the success of any business. High-quality product photography can attract potential customers, increase sales, and help build brand credibility.
If you’ve been rockin’ an at-home photo setup that’s been giving you subpar results, it’s time to hire a professional. Professional product photography can be a game-changer for your business, whether you're an e-commerce store, a small business, or a large corporation. Here are some reasons why you should consider having your products professionally photographed:
Increase sales: Professional product photography can help increase sales by showcasing your products in the best possible light. High-quality images can help potential customers see the details, textures, and features of your products, which can lead to increased interest and sales.
Build trust: When customers see high-quality images of your products, it can help build trust in your brand. It shows that you're invested in your products and that you're serious about presenting them in the best possible way.
Stand out from competitors: Professional product photography can help your products stand out from the competition. When your products look better than your competitors' products, you're more likely to attract customers and make sales.
Consistency: Professional product photography ensures that all of your product images are consistent in terms of lighting, color, and style. This helps create a cohesive and professional look across your website, social media channels, and other marketing materials.
Save time and money: While it may seem like an added expense, hiring a professional photographer can actually save you time and money in the long run. A professional photographer has the experience and equipment needed to create high-quality images efficiently. Plus, by having professional images, you can avoid the need to constantly update and retake product photos.
Looking for a Portland product photography specialist to capture your brand or products with a unique and bold point of view? Reach out for a consultation today with a Portland photographer specializing in personal branding photography and commercial photography for small businesses. I love collaborating with clients to bring their visions to life. Don't hesitate to reach out - let's make some magic together.