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How to use Professional Photographs: The "Who I am" Photo

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How do I use my photographs? How do I match what I want to say to the images I want to use? I have all these great professional photographs, what do I do with them?

 

If these are questions you’ve ever asked yourself, continue reading! 

One of my frustrations as a brand photographer is the sales pitch that photography will solve all of your problems. It won’t. Hiring an amazing photographer and sitting with a folder of images on a cloud somewhere will not increase your visibility. A photographer - no matter how brilliant cannot make you stand out. 

 

Only you have the power to make yourself do that. 

 

A professional photographer can help you and a really great one will take you through creative scenarios before a camera comes anywhere near you; they’ll be able to suggest ideas and setups your clients will be attracted to, ones which present you in the way you want to be seen by others and (if you’ve nailed your brand) showcases your authentic and true self. But to do that, your photographer has to be creative. They have to be able to think outside of the box. They have to be able to visualise what you want and have the skills to bring what you see internally to life. 

 

And while all this can help you get amazing photographs, amazing photographs are pretty useless if you don’t really know what to do with them. So, what can you do with them?

 

You can do so much with amazing photographs - like so much - and this series of blogs will go through a shoot I’ve done for Daisy and Dragon and suggest ways the images can be used in social media content. 

This blog starts with: Who I am

Ok, so this one doesn’t sound very engaging or exciting but it’s an important post and one which should be easy to do after any brand shoot. It’s the post that sells you - it could also sell what you do, but social media is starting to be over that. 

 

Ask yourself: Who am I? Who do I want to be? Who do I want people to see I am? (I like to cover this before doing a shoot with a client, if you’re doing it retrospectively it might not tie in quite as well.)

 

Then go back through your photographs: Which images do you have that showcases this person?

Kirsten is the founder of Daisy and Dragon. Her dream of having her own space has just been realised and now she holds children’s classes in RoGArt Campus in Glasgow. She is her brand but in order to be appealing to her clients, Kirsten has to showcase more than just her vivacious personality. 

 

Let’s analyse these photographs:

Photo 1

This is a lovely but fairly standard headshot. Kirsten looks warm and friendly, she’s wearing bold colours and a fun print which instantly suggests she’s outgoing. She’s laughing and so we connect to her positive energy. If you were looking for a class to send your toddler to, you’d definitely be keen to find out more.

Social Media Post Ideas

Kirsten could tell us how she came up with the idea for Daisy and Dragon, talk about the growth of the company, tell us all about her first edition Harry Potter book. She could connect this to the story of the relationship she has with her daughter and the importance she places on family. Or she could talk about her plans for the future of the business and where she next plans to take Daisy and Dragon.

Photo 2

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In this image we see more of her dress and as well as bold colour and print, it’s a contemporary shape and shows she’s confident in her fashion decisions, suggesting self confidence and belief. She’s relaxed which adds to her aura of confidence. The wicker chair and toy chest in the background add ‘mummy’ vibes to this and it’s no surprise to learn that Kirsten is mummy to a pre-schooler. The bold colour shapes painted on the wall enhance this, along with the cushion and definitely make us think of a child friendly or oriented place. Kirsten’s classes are for toddlers - preschoolers, so being able to combine this in a photograph of her is actually really important.

Social Media Post Ideas

This could do everything the last one did but she could also add more detail about the classes to this one - what they are, how they work, where they are, the price. This moves the image outside of simply being in ‘Who am I?’ category.

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This headshot is a bit more fun, more cute and playful. The pose and the background really gives this a different feel from the last two we looked at: the bright, daisy mural instantly draws our attention but because of the slight lens blur and Kirsten’s bright dress, she really stands out in front of it. Once again, her smile is warm and natural which really invites us into her world and she oozes positive energy and confidence.

Social Media Post Ideas

Again, it could do everything that picture 1 does but could also tell us more about Kirsten. What does she like to do? Where does she like to go? What inspires her? This image is more playful which lends itself well to something more personal and potentially totally disconnected from her role as founder. 

Photo 3

To truly share her story though, Kirsten needs to show that she can engage with children. Even though her classes are for children, she has to prove herself to their parents; they’ll be the ones booking and the ones she needs to reassure.

 

Lovely headshots won’t always achieve this, so for Kirsten it was important to capture photographs of her engaging with children and action shots where her interactions can be seen.

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Photo 4

Here Kirsten is being silly, wearing a foam step and showing the girl she’s with it’s ok to play in this way. Visually, this presents her as someone willing to be playful and fun - she’s not worrying about how she comes across to others; she’s comfortable play acting.

Social Media Post Ideas

This is a great one to talk about the ethos and the vibe parents can expect to find in the classes. How formal is it? What should their children wear? Do parents drop off and go or stay? While the photograph suggests playfulness, reminding potential customers what to expect helps to remove barriers and blocks. Another way this could be used is to explore the positive impact of play, make-believe, imagination… it’s a great photo to give information or educate clients.

How committed are you to overcoming procrastination?
 

If you’re determined to formulate a new habit and forever rid yourself of procrastination, then block out some proper time to do this task. If not, come back to it when you are.

Photo 6

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In this final image showing who she is, Kirsten is about to start reading. Her classes are all structured around a storybook and she begins each class by reading a story. In this image, her enthusiasm for books and reading is obvious - she’s excited and eagerly projecting that excitement onto the toddlers in her class. Again, she shows herself comfortable in her own skin, confident with expressions and gestures and the exact type of person who can bring stories to life.

Social Media Post Ideas

This is perfect for drawing attention to the purpose of the classes, explaining how the stories feed into the rest of the class, looking at statistics associated with being exposed to books from a young age, how stories develop imagination, build connections, the bonds which can be created by reading to young children. This could also link back to the starting topic, ‘Who am I?’ with a discussion around favourite children’s books, Kirsten’s favourite books, recommended reads.

Photo 5

In this one, she’s interacting, engaging with a toddler; listening, smiling, responding - doing all the things she needs to do to make sure the children she’s with feel safe and secure, and have fun.

Social Media Post Ideas

A great photograph to use to talk about how fun the classes are, how they’re good for building social skills, developing skills in imaginative play. Kirsten could also talk about how she builds relationships or how she helps to settle new starts in.

It’s not normal that we look at a photograph and go into so much detail - there’s no need. By the time you see a photo as you’re scrolling on social media, all of those things are inherent. You don’t actively see all those things, rather your knowledge about the world and the associations you make between one thing and another cause you to feel a certain way and this in turn leads you to take an action. 

 

If a photographer has done their job properly and thought about all the things that might be suggested, discussed this and then - with you, of course - decided on the aspects relevant to you and your brand, your ideal clients will be drawn towards you because all of the associations and connections will be the right ones. You’ll stand out because your photographs will have the elements which represent all the gold nuggets your clients (probably) didn’t know they were looking for.

 

When they see you, they’ll know.

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