You’re the differentiating factor!
The cherry on top! The je ne sais quoi. The raison d’être. Well, that’s enough French for now, but just know that people love you and they buy BECAUSE of you. You are the face of the company and should be out in the open, well…as much as you’re comfortable with. You’re like the Beyoncé of brands! Without the Bey, you just have oncé. And that doesn’t really make sense. Adding personality, real moments, behind the scenes, and personal touches will make the difference!
Let’s discuss a little more about what kinds of photos with personality look like and pinpoint some of the challenges being a “differentiating factor” will bring!
So, we know that you’re going to be in a lottttttt of the photos promoting your business, but what exactly does that look like? What should you be taking photos of? And why??
It’s important to remember the ‘why’ when you’re taking your photos and posting them. First and foremost, do they make sense? Is there a purpose for this photo? Is there variety? This is a challenge when you’re selling a service and you are the face of the business. We don’t want to post 30 photos of us doing something similar in each photo. That gets boring, and your audience wants more.
And lastly, are we oversharing?? This is important. Getting likes and engagement on your page is an amazing feeling…addictive even. Personal, vulnerable, heartfelt posts are always going to get more engagement, but are we sharing very personal news that deserves a little more privacy just for the sake of a “like.” Don’t get me wrong; sharing those moments is not wrong! But if it’s not aligned with your core values and your brand and doesn’t really help your target market in their journey, it will drain you emotionally to give the “Internet Land” vulnerable information that they may treat indifferently. While there really is no limit to what you can share online, just remember who you are and why you’re posting. And if it’s not something we would say into a microphone in front of 10,000 people (or however many followers we have), then maybe that’s not something we should share.
So how do we determine which photos will best represent us and why??
Here’s a guideline for the best types of photos you’ll need for your business as a differentiating factor!
We are probably most familiar with a headshot. It’s a photo where are you are looking at the camera, probably smiling, and it’s pretty staged. It can be on a background/ solid color, or it can be in a pretty area (outside or a cool spot), OR it can be in a place relevant to where you work. Headshots are a great way to introduce yourself. They are ideal for any sort of profile photo (Linkedin, other social medias, Intro post, etc.)
2. Me living my best life.
Me living my best life is what I consider you to be doing random daily activities, but staged and put in the best light. Maybe you don’t work on your computer in the living room but actually in your dark and beige colored basement. But if it’s light and airy up there (and that fits your brand mood) you better believe we’re bringing a laptop up to the living room instead. It doesn’t have to be 100% real. It has to look good, be inviting, and show that you’re an approachable person in a nice space. These are different from headshots because you’re actually doing an activity of some sort, which gives you something to do with your hands. Examples of these would be to sit with a cup of coffee, type a little something on your laptop, have a glass of wine, play with your glasses. Your activity will depend on your industry, business, and target market. I often tell my clients that it’s like you’re writing a little note (or whatever your activity is) and just look up like “oh you caught me doing something fun and productive.” 🙂 These are ideal for instagram posts, email headers, blog posts, product promos. They are perfect for the online business owners.
3. Behind the Scenes / Action shots. Doing your thang.
Behind the scenes and action shots are different from the “living your best life” photos because they are a little more candid. These are especially great for creatives who actually make a product with their hands. Imagine a chef and all of the potential for the action shots (process shots) of preparing a dish. For me as a photographer, it would be photos of me holding a camera, directing clients, setting up lights, and taking photos. It can be a little more gritty and real. These shots are the down and dirty of how you make something that you sell. If you have an online business, this would be a lot more similar to “me in my best life” since you would be working on your computer, writing notes, and making calls. But the idea here is to show your process and how you’ve made what you’ve made. You’ll also want to add in great captions to describe your process. I love these photos for about pages and social media, especially Instagram.
4. Personal. Family pics. You with your dog.
People want to know more about you. And more about you includes: your significant other, your family, your pet, your home. Now, I’m not saying make every post one of you and your boo. But those personalized photos should be sprinkled in throughout your feed. People like to know that you’re a real person with real problems, including #momstruggles #womancrushwednesday and #furbaby to name a few. Personal posts are a great way to let people see you…in a controlled setting. You get to choose what you share. People don’t like to see a perfect instagram feed ALL THE TIME. They want some authenticity in there too, ESPECIALLY if your target market was you at one point. They want to connect with you and your journey, and authentic personal posts like these keep the result you are selling within reach for your customer. For these posts, I like to keep them sweet or funny. Pick what works for your brand, but those are my go-to styles. Personal photos are great for about pages and random social posts.
5. Location. Whether that’s your office, creative space, location you service your clients, OR a city you live in.
These types of photos have a couple of different purposes. First off, they’re informational. If you have a brick and mortar store, it gives people an idea of what to expect when they come visit you. You can tell a lot about a business by these kinds of photos, and so if you have a storefront where people will be coming to you, I really wouldn’t get too fancy here. Just make it straightforward. (This being said, if you’re working from home, you don’t need to take a photo of your home office unless it’s particularly cute/stylish.) If your city influences your work, post random photos of the city and talk about it. That’s also a great workaround for anyone with an online business who spends most days working from their couch. Photos of the city can also ground you a little so you become a real person from Tennessee instead of a digital person from the vast “Internet Land” that people can’t really envision.
After informational, we get into the fun and creative detail shots, which often times will double as stock photos as well. Do you have a particularly cute corner in your office that you really love? Take photos of that! They’re interesting and have the potential to be Pinterest-worthy. Do you have a special place that gets your creative juices flowing? Take a photo! These types of photos can be artistic, straightforward, fun, emotional…whatever you want. With location photos, you can make them as personal or passive as you want. Just change the captions! Location photos are great for about pages, contact pages, blog posts, random posts on Instagram/social medias, and yelp pages (directory listings).
6. Candids. Something to show quirkiness and personality.
So I know we have action shots and “living my best life” photos, but candids are different (at least in my mind). Here’s why. Action shots are of you doing your craft, providing your service, making your product. It’s a behind the scenes of your workday. Candids are photos of you living…not your best life…just your actual life. Remember the hashtag #messyhairdontcare? The first two are curated while candids are just quick snapshots of fun moments in time. Laughing with your person. Making goofy faces during the work day. Doing a weird hobby that you love and has nothing to do with your business. It’s probably taken with your phone because, let’s be real, who carries around a professional camera with them at all times for these quick little moments? The idea of candids are to let people in and show them a real (or as real as you want to make it) side of you. Yes, candids and personal photos can be really similar, if not the same, just depending on how you use it. Candids are GREAT for social media. If you want something low-pressure to post, try using these in Stories on Instagram since they will go away in a day.
7. VIP access.
(That time I started selling Femstrong tshirts from my blog. And that other time I was a nurse extra for a photoshoot…)
VIP access is giving your followers special access to what you’re up to…right now! They are the sneak peeks and hints/clues of your business. What are you doing right now? What new thing is about to hit the market? What new project are you working on? What is something a follower gets special access to just for following you? Usually these are phone photos. They are fun, low maintenance, and little happies to spread with your people. VIP access photos go great in Instagram stories or promo posts!
PHEW! I know that was a TON of information about what kinds of photos to take. But don’t worry. Taking photos will get easier, and you’ll be a master in no time! If you want more information about how to take better photos for your business (not to mention family pics and vacation photos), click HERE to learn more about my Photography for Business Owners course!
295 E Speer Blvd
Denver, CO 80203