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  • Writer's pictureSarah Tulej

Five things to think about when taking photos for your work, brand or business

Updated: Nov 14, 2021

While many of us can manage a decent selfie (well, just about in my case), when it comes to our professional lives, a quality set of images to represent you or your business is a must.

Showing photos of yourself, be it on Instagram, LinkedIn or your company website, is a shortcut to increasing your professional visibility. If you offer a service or product, more than ever before, people want to know WHO they are going to be working with and buying from. A high quality portrait of yourself is a great way to help people understand what you are like.

I work with freelancers, small business owners and creative types in Rotterdam who know how important it is to have high quality portraits of themselves that both look professional and convey what they’re like as a person. They come to me because they might be relying on an out of date photo for their LinkedIn, or they have launched a new business and want some killer photos of themselves that get across their brand values.

However, to get really great professional portraits, there are a few things to think about before whipping out the camera. Here are my top five tips on getting great photos for your work, brand or business:

1. Consider how you will use the photos

If you’re going to invest in having your portrait taken, make sure that the set of images can work hard for you and fulfil multiple purposes. For example, a set of photos could be used for:

- Your social media profile photo

- The ‘about’ section of yours or your company website

- Conference or panel discussion headshots

- Your blog

- Being visible on your Instagram grid

- Press & media (e.g. if you write or feature in an article)

I’m sure you can come up with more…

If you simply want a headshot for your company website or LinkedIn for example, then you’ll definitely want a head and shoulders portrait, taken in both landscape and portrait. You may want to have both a colour and black and white version. If you are launching a business, you may want a broader range of photos, for example showing you at work (e.g. working in a cafe, speaking at an event, or showing the tools of your trade in the photo), and a combination of headshots, half body and even full length portraits (bonus).

2. Think about how you want to come across

This is about how you can convey aspects of your personality or your values through your portrait. For example, do you want to look friendly and approachable, focused and authoritative, calm and trustworthy? Who is your target audience - do you want to come across as creative-minded, business-savvy, down to earth? Thinking these things through can help you get ideas for things like how you want to pose and your expression, the location (i.e. what’s in the background) for your photos, what you wear, and more. It’s essential that your photographer knows these things so they can help bring out your personality in your photos.

3. Look for great locations

In a portrait, you are star of the show, but the other important ‘character’ is what can be seen around you - your environment. A clean white background can work in many situations and ensure you really stand out, however I have to say that one of my favourite parts of photographing people is finding interesting and creative locations to shoot in which can be found right on our doorsteps. From shiny blue tiles, to aged stone covered with ivy, to a vibrant street, to a meadow of flowers. Changing up the background means you can get a variety of images without having to get changed 3 times in a shoot!

4. Find a good photographer

The next part of the puzzle is to find someone who is going to be able to get the photos you have in mind. This could even be a friend with a good camera phone, or - to get the best results - a professional portrait photographer. The key is to find someone that can put you at ease and is willing to work with you to come up ideas and feedback as you go to create photos you’re really happy with. If you are investing in a professional photographer, look for someone whose work you like the look and feel of, and that comes across as down to earth and friendly especially if, like me, you are not naturally at ease having your photos taken.

5. Help yourself to feel confident

How you feel will come through in your photos, and feeling confident is 100% guaranteed to make a better photo. After all, we want to inspire confidence and trust in others for whatever it is we offer through our work, and that needs to come from within.

Before you have your photos taken, think about what will make you feel on top form on the day. Maybe a haircut or clothes you really feel good in, doing some breathing exercises beforehand, or taking some time with your photographer beforehand to grab a cuppa and break the ice. A good photographer will schedule in enough time so you can start to relax in front of the camera, and that’s when the best photos come through.

So, there you have it - my 5 top tips:

1. Consider how you will use the photos

2. Think about how you want to come across

3. Look for great locations

4. Find a good photographer

5. Help yourself to feel confident

If you have more questions, check out my article The Ultimate Guide to Personal Branding Photography for even more info. For inspiration for your brand photos, head on over to my Pinterest page where I am always saving great images.

And, if you’ve decided it’s time to invest in some professional portraits of your own, I’d love to have an informal chat to understand what you need to boost your visibility. Just drop me a message here.

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