Recently I had my fifth branding photoshoot up on the Gold Coast and I know many of you have had photoshoots done or planning to make one happen, so I thought I would share some insights.
I do recommend that you have a photoshoot as a life coach more frequently than every 2 years or so – but I’m using COVID as my excuse – that and the fact that I have put on some extra kilos and had taken out my gorge hair extensions for delaying a shoot this time.
I had my latest shoot with Michelle Swan at Eyes Of Love Photography and it was a fabulous experience. You can see many of the images here on my site.
I met her about 5 years ago at a retreat in Daylesford, and have been watching her beautiful shoots with friends, clients, and colleagues, and have wanted the infusion of her soft, feminine energy into my brand ever since.
And given that she is on the Gold Coast in Australia and I was headed near there to a retreat in Byron Bay, it was the perfect opportunity to book a shoot.
So if you’re considering a branding photoshoot as a life coach, I wanted to share some insights and recommendations to first know if the timing is right and to secondly get the most out of the experience.
When Should You Book A Photoshoot?
As a life coach, establishing and growing your own personal brand is essential to growing and engaging an audience of potential clients and that means sharing who you are on your website and on social media.
Now, you can totally get started with taking selfies on your phone with a great ring light or even hiring a new photographer who has great rates to get a few headshots done.
Anything but filling your website or socials with stock images or quote squares that avoid any presence of you whatsoever.
People want to do business with people, they want to know what you look like and get a sense of who you are and photos to do that so beautifully.
So, if you want to elevate your branding and create an air of quality and success, you will likely want to consider investing in a branding photoshoot.
I would recommend getting this done after you’ve been coaching for at least 6 months to a year, but I know many of you want to get this sorted early on as you want to put your best foot forward, and that’s fine.
I just want you to know it’s not completely necessary for brand new coaches – despite the fact your brain will be telling you it is!
It can also be useful to have your message to market and niche figured out before you invest in a branding photoshoot.
What Is The Average Investment?
Most quality branding photography shoots will set you back between $2K – $5K, so you want to be sure which direction you’re headed in before you dive in, and you also want to get the most mileage out of the imagery afterward.
Hopefully, you know who your target audience is and how you will be helping them solve their biggest problem.
(And if you don’t come and join my program Coach Co. where we get that all sorted out together).
Your marketing message will guide how you position yourself in the market, and this will need to be conveyed in the photos that get snapped.
It will not only cut across the creative elements of how the photos are taken but also in how you express yourself, what you wear, and the location of the shoots.
Think about the emotion you want to evoke in your audience, is it connected, is it authority, is it inspiration?
Use this as a direction to decide on the key themes of the shoot.
This is where the creative elements can really come in.
Will it be light and airy, or sculptural and modern?
Will you be dressed up or will you be casual?
Do you need to set up elements that reflect your coaching, like food or family?
Take time to think about what kind of props or settings you would need to convey who you are and how you help people.
How To Prepare For Your Photoshoot
Now, nobody expects you to be either a model or a magazine editor, but it is useful to be aware of some concepts before you go searching for a photographer, and also make sure you have a photographer who understands this.
Otherwise, you risk getting a set of images back that feel out of alignment with who you are and certainly who you want to be as a coach.
You need to be engaging and inspiring in your images, but most importantly you need to express your personality and look like you!
Try creating your own private Pinterest board for inspiration where you pin images you love and feel could work for what you are trying to achieve, and you can also share the link to your photographer beforehand so they get a better sense of what you’re after.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t get a little assistance in the hair and makeup department, and in fact, I encourage that you do (even natural lighting can make the makeup that you do yourself disappear, and even if you don’t wear makeup, you may still need to eliminate shine and elevate your appearance with some up-leveled grooming).
Make sure you book a hair and makeup professional and brief them on how you want to be seen to create the best result.
In thinking about the location, it’s tempting to think you’ll just get it done at home, but I really recommend getting out of your everyday location – even if you hire a home that represents your style for the day.
Hotels can also work well, and definitely factoring in inside and outside locations gives more depth to the photos you can use and create a more connected feel to your clients than a lit-up studio shoot can do.
But really, any open airy space that has good light – exposure to a lot of sky space any indoor space that has big windows that get good light or bright “bounced” light.
Ideally, you should find a photographer that communicates well and has the ability to loosen you up, as you will feel awkward and stiff, even if you love the spotlight.
So expect that you will need a little time to ease into it and set yourself up for the best expressions.
Here are some tips straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak:
They come from one of my favorite branding photographers, Caroline White, who is someone I’ve had two of my shoots with now and I would have booked her again if I had been in the US.
Trying to communicate something specific to your ideal client?
It is common to want to speak out loud to that imaginary person on your photoshoot, and that is totally okay – just be aware that while you are talking, 9 times out of ten it will NOT be a usable image.
If talking out loud makes you feel more in the zone then you can talk away – just know that the best images will be of you when you are not talking out loud – but in the moments after.
There is a way around this though…
You can put your words in your mind (and actually breathe through your nose if you can) and simply make noises – squeaks, hums, inflections that capture what you want to say using sounds, but without words.
This makes you naturally expressive, appear communicative and engaging, gives you something to put your attention on, and you can also do it so quietly that no one will hear – but just try it!
The Importance of Posture:
You may find your photographer correcting your posture – donʼt let this get you down.
Our current-day computer culture has taken over nearly everyoneʼs posture.
Posture is the best way to sculpt the body in camera and without photoshop.
There is an element to many photoshoots that is somewhat like yoga or finding the peace and comfort within the tension or so-called un-comfortability.
Consider trying one of these posture techniques, or perhaps several, or even all of them if you are feeling ambitious:
Try to imagine a string pulling you upwards, through the top of your head, making you long and tall.
- Engage and pull in your abdominals (this may also help relieve any facial tension).
- Pull your shoulders and shoulder blades back, and pushed down to give yourself a nice long neck, a look, and a feel of poise.
- If sitting, bending, or creasing at the hip, bring your face closer to the camera, but without collapsing your posture.
- Bring or slide your chin slightly forward for an especially flattering look that removes the double chin.
- Feel free to move and “shake it out” too – you donʼt have to be a statue.
Try and get as many possible locations and outfits as you can into the shoot, as you’d be surprised how quickly you feel like you only have a small number of images to choose from or you have used them all before.
Things that worked well for my latest shoot were:
– I had followed the photographer for a while on Insta and knew I liked her work, I was also familiar with how her work may need to be adapted to reflect my style.
– I started the process early so we could get all the location details and hair and makeup booked in as well as discuss how many setups and outfits I would need, so I had time to plan (and shop).
– I thought about how the images would look on my website and with my graphics and socials, what color palette I needed to stay within and what marketing elements I need the shots for.
– I had a fabulous hair and makeup artist, who just got it and enhanced what I have in a way that lasted for the entire day.
Things that didn’t work as well:
– It was hot and humid and that presented hair and makeup challenges as well as making it more difficult when I was doing lots of wardrobe changes.
– The house I hired didn’t look as much like what I had hoped, and I wish I’d been able to see it prior.
– The time allocated for the shoot also made it a bit of a rush to get all my outfit changes in, so it wasn’t as relaxed as I have had in the past.
But overall, I love having current images to share online and give people a sense of who I am and what I bring as a coach.
I hope you got some ideas for your first or next shoot, I’d love you to tag me on any of your posts on Instagram @iamvictoriagibson
If you’re looking for an amazing branding photographer, I can personally recommend the following (peeps in other locations, drop your details and recommendations in the comments).
Abby Grace Photography