If you take pictures of other people, chances are you don’t have many pictures of yourself. Showing yourself on social media helps build client trust and familiarity. Be brave and stand on the other side of the camera. Capturing personal branded photography for your photography business is a strategy that pays off in many ways.
However, planning your content in advance can be difficult. How do you know what photos you need? With a little preparation, you can always have plenty of photos.
Planning for the personal brand assets you need
Batch generation of content saves a lot of time in your photography business. When I work with clients to plan content in advance, I go through her three steps.
Step 1: Create (or review) your business branding script
A brand script simplifies all communication with clients by articulating your message and unique proposition. It’s not a script in the sense of a movie script (that is, it’s not a line you have to memorize!), it’s a system based on old-school storytelling principles. Positioning you as a guide to the client’s “hero journey”.
If you don’t have a branding script, all you can say is ‘create one’. It’s an incredibly useful asset for your business. The concept came from Donald Miller, who created a great (and free!) online tool to use for scripting here.
I would need his book Building a Story Brand to fully explain how scripts can be used in marketing, websites, etc., but for our purposes, we will focus on the ‘Stories’ that lead to our ideal clients. would like to identify If the DIY approach isn’t for you, you can work with someone (like me) to create brand scripts for your creatives.
Think about what your customers want when they come to you. What problems does it solve? What worries does it alleviate? What story inspired you to empathize with your client’s predicament? and brainstorm ideas for topics that interest you.
Step 2: Plan your content calendar
Now that you know what to talk about, the next step is to plan where and how often to talk about it. Create all the lists you want content for.
- Social media
- blog post
- email marketing
- Print and Online Advertising
- online directory
- Google My Business
Calculate how often you post on each platform, how many images you need for each post, and block topic ideas from your brand script.
Plan to sprinkle your personal brand photography with content from client photo shoots. You can find the right mix for your ideal client, but you can also start with one personal brand post for every 3-4 client posts. Posts with client photos can (and should) still use brand script ideas.
There are online tools for planning your content calendar. My favorite is Trello. The Kanban board view is perfect for most purposes, and with a paid subscription you can explore other views to find what works best for you. Using Trello as your CRM makes it even easier to integrate your shared client work into your calendar. Trello’s integrations, automations, and buttons open up endless possibilities. A social media scheduler can also help by preloading posts.
Step 3: Split Everything into Photo Lists for Photo Shoots
Zoom out to see everything you’ve done in an eagle eye view. How can I block photos together into photo shoot sessions and locations? What key shots need to be captured and which topics offer more flexibility?
There’s no need to get too hung up on details or too prescriptive in this step. A list of 200 accurate photos is a complete painstaking task to capture for 10-20 must-haves and some common place/action/emotion ideas.
Once you know what you need, your next job is to organize it.
Organize exchange photo shoots with another photographer
Doing a swap shoot with another photographer is a great way to get both the assets you need for your business. We can do annual, semi-annual or quarterly photo shoots depending on your promotional needs.
The following points should be discussed when planning a swap chute:
- How long will the shoot take? For example, 1 hour, 2 hours, etc. Can I go to multiple locations?
- Shoot in RAW or JPG?
- Who will be editing the photo: you or your friend? Consider whether the editing will be branded for the end user. For example, if your signature edit is very stylized, you should edit your personal brand photo to match that style.
- Can I get unedited RAW or just edited photos?
- Are the photos culled or do you get the whole set? How many photos are you going to give each other?
there is no right or wrong. Agree in advance so everyone knows what to expect.
Buy personal branded photos for your photography business
If you don’t have a friend to work with on a mutually beneficial arrangement, booking a photographer to create the assets you need is a must.
The questions to ask when booking are similar to when planning a swap photo shoot with friends, but you are unlikely to be offered RAW photos without a substantial investment that reflects the value of these assets.
In general, we recommend asking for a natural and true color edit that is flexible and doesn’t look outdated. This ensures that your photos can be used for years to come, even if you change the look of your brand or pivot to a different business area.
Personal brand photographers may have their own systems to help plan shoots, but the work here puts you ahead of the game!