Investing in personal brand photography

Personal branding. It’s such a hot topic right now, one I thought only reserved for social media influencers and YouTube sensations. I mean, I’m 44 years old. Does anyone really care about the person behind my business? Do I really need to brand myself this late in the game?

The answer, as the influencers say, was a resounding, “Yasssssss, queen!”

Committed to becoming much more intentional with my graphic design business, I jumped in head first to reshaping my business last year. Facebook groups. Webinars. “Get my freebie!” Opt-ins. Newsletters. Courses. Videos. E-books. Free trainings. Zoom calls.

What quickly became clear was that I was hitting the unsubscribe button just as fast as I had signed up. Scattered messaging, unclear mission or values, not really connecting with (or ever seeing) the person behind the computer—this was not how I wanted to present myself to potential clients. I am such a visual person. I run a visual business. I realized that investing in a brand photography session would not be about me—it would be about my clients.

What do they need to see in me to build trust? What parts of my personal life can they connect with? How can I capture my professional side without appearing stuffy?

I met with Sarah Waters of Waters Photographs on a blustery day at her studio in Northeast Portland. My goal was to capture several sides of my personality in hopes to build trust, connect with clients and stand out in a sea of other graphic designers. Sarah’s artful eye, flexibility and quiet confidence helped bring me out of my shell. (That, and the fan blowing on me. Tyra would be proud).

I am thrilled to begin using these images in marketing collateral, on social media and in my communications to clients. Because I work virtually with national clients, I will pitch with more confidence since they’ll see (and hopefully connect with) the woman on the other side of the computer. I can show them through photographs my confidence, my professionalism, my silliness and my approachability.

Branding photography: it turned out to not only be necessary, but it also turned out to be an investment in my confidence.

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