Recently, to our portrait menu we have added an option for personal branding. “Personal what?” That’s right, personal branding. As a photographer I am quite aware of the impact of my craft however, many people pass over their branding with the hopes that it will take care of itself or, if they just get a quick and dirty head shot session in with any photographer they’ll be covered and will “deal with it later” and then, later comes.
I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to photograph Alicia Sisk-Morris. She was in need of updated head shots as she had recently re-branded her business website and she does regular speaking engagements on accounting and empowerment of small business owners throughout WNC.
For her consultation we discussed what exactly she needed her imagery to portray? Yes, she’s a CPA but so much of entrepreneurship is about being able to connect with your clients, potential or existing before they even pick up the phone. For Alicia, she of course needed them to portray her approachability but also that she is a professional and friendly and can carry her brand with her image. She is the face of Sisk-Morris CPA, LLC. Even in our western North Carolina town, that’s a big deal. She wants her clients to understand that not only does she have the experience, education and staying power that any CPA should have (I mean c’mon, they’re responsible for our taxes here) but also that she is a real person. In my experience, Alicia is funny and charismatic not to mention she knows her stuff!
She was a guest speaker for a women’s group that I chair about small business owners and taxes (I know, you are really wishing you were there aren’t you?) and she gave not only a well thought out presentation but each of us was able to connect with the information. I don’t know if you know many creatives but when it comes to money, numbers, and organization, that can be quite the feat. Alicia made it painless, easy to understand and was open to questions and gave comprehensive answers. That to me, is better than gold.
I am incredibly grateful to have photographed you Alicia. I am also thankful to know you. I love that you specialize in small business and in women owned businesses as well. Thank you, more than you know.
I’ve invited her to write a guest post about her experience with our studio. These are her words.
Personal Branding is a Sign of Leadership
As a female Certified Public Accountant (CPA) located in Asheville, NC, I work with a lot of self-employed individuals and small business entrepreneurs. I advise my clients that it is especially important to be mindful about how you are presenting yourself to your clients. The message you send should be consistent in both the written and visual form. A part of that imaging is creating a logo, website, and social media profiles that share a consistent message. Your message should include a solid professional head shot and a logo that matches your company vision. Many of us, myself included, are the faces of our business and we should always put our best face forward. If you are comfortable in doing your own branding then by all means, save yourself some money and do it yourself. But if you are like me, you may need some help in the design department.
According to a Forbes magazine article written by Glenn Llopis “Developing your personal brand is essential for the advancement of your career and development as a leader.” When you represent your company, you want to make sure that you are presenting yourself in the best possible light.
I recently upgraded my website design and felt I was in need of an updated head shot to accompany the refreshed text. I was fortunate enough to have met Cat Ford-Coates, owner of Studio 828 ,at a local networking group. Cat is a local photographer who specializes in photographing women. Having seen some of her work online, I felt Cat would photograph me in a professional light.
Cat’s process is, in my opinion, quite unique. She requested that I bring as many outfits as I would like along with jewelry and accessories. She took the time to go through my selections and chose the outfits that would photograph the best. She also hired a professional make-up and hair stylist to help prepare me for my shoot. We all know that make-up for camera lighting is often times quite different from we might wear for every day uses. I really appreciated their extra help. They both listen carefully to my styling requests and they gave me exactly what I wanted. I also have deep respect for Cat’s attention to detail while photographing me. She knew what poses would be most flattering to my body type while still being mindful of my branding goals. A head shot is so much more than just a photo of what you look like. It sends a message to your potential clients and you want to make sure that message fits within your personal brand. As Glenn Llopis stated “Your personal brand is an asset that must be managed with the intention of helping others benefit from having a relationship with you and / or by being associated with your work and the industry you serve.”
Thank you Cat for listening so well to my requests and giving me a head shot that I will proudly post on my website and use for upcoming literature and public speaking engagements.