How to decide which style is right for your photos

 

You want to have a consistent brand so you can be recognized the minute your photos pop in someone’s news feed.

But you just can’t decide what style is right for your brand.

How do you choose when there are so many possibilities?

In today’s video I’ll show you 4 ways you can use to choose TODAY  the right style for your brand- and make your brand instantly recognizable, without the headache.

 

 

Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript

You’re here because you’re one smart business lady, and smart business ladies make conscious decisions about every aspect of their business. Especially so when it comes to your branding- and your images are part of your branding.

So how do you choose a style that works well for you? A style that’s easy to differentiate and  with which you’re sufficiently comfortable with to be able to keep using it for years to come?

 

Here are 4 simple ways you can do so:

1) Color

The simplest way of all. Color is very memorable and produces instant reactions in our viewers. Colors increase brand recognition by 80%, which is why brands like Tiffanys have their own trademark pantone color.

Two famous entrepreneurs who have used colors brilliantly to be recognized are Bushra Azhar and Denise Duffield-Thomas.

Denise picked up Turquoise, her favorite color, and even though she re-branded and redesigned several times, she remained consistent in her colors. The tonality and shade of turquoise changed very subtly over the years, but the main color stayed. And, for those who know her, turquoise is DENISE.

Bushra chose by default her brand colors: they were the default colors of her wordpress theme, and orange is her favorite color. But she used them in everything: her website: the clothes she wore on her professional portraits, even decals she pasted on her wall to use as background for her videos. After a few months whenever people saw orange, they thought of Bushra. A fan even sent her a photo from Ikea, sitting on top of Bushra’s Orange circle rugs.

THAT is the power of color.

So how do you choose the right colors for you? You may begin by selected colors you love, but if you want the full science behind colors in branding, I recommend Brand Color Breakthrough by Karolina Chic.  Karolina is a color expert and in only two hours she can guide you to make the best decision.

https://colourbreakthrough.com/branding-join/

 

2) Seasons

I discovered this method when reading the books How to Style Your Brand and Brand Brilliance by Fionna Humberstone (both books I absolutely recommend).

This system takes the color system above to the next level. It is based on color psychology and uses the seasons in nature, and the emotions conveyed by them to create a cohesive look that transmits to your customers what you want to transmit.

The beauty of this system is that, with it, you won’t only know what colors to use, but also what type of photos are good  for you, what fonts correlate great with your brand season, what graphics fit your brand style and what effect all that will have on your customers.

Fionna has three  wonderful free resources in her blog to understand the seasons, including sample seasonal color palettes.  You can check them  out here:

They are:

The essentials of color psychology

Seasonal Personality color psychology worksheet:

Seasonal Color palettes

She also has a course on Color Psychology for Creatives, if you want to dig deeper into this method:

3) Astrology

Wait what?! Astrology?!

Yes, you heard correctly. This system is for the woos out there.

My client, Luisa Silva, from LuisaBazi.com uses Chinese Astrology, and the energetic patterns of your birth chart in order to see which colors, style and even content medium is better for you, which elements should be present in your photos and which ones shouldn’t,  and the best dates to start projects, launch products and overall do anything that matters.

4) Archetypes

My system of choice and the principal one I use with my clients. Why? Because it involves two of my passions: psychology, mythology and the world of symbols, and it’s the system used by big brands like Coca Cola.

This system is based on the work of psychologist Carl Jung, who believed (as I do) that there exists a collective unconscious, a series of symbols and meaning shared by all of humanity, and that within this collective unconscious, existed archetypes, which were universal images and patterns that define how we see, feel and approach the world around us.

In the 1960s, Jung Archetypes were translated into branding, and the main 12 branding archetypes were born. These define, not just the colors we use, but more importantly, our mission, our strengths and weaknesses and all our communication.

They define the ESSENCE of your brand – and its soul.

They make it relatable and understandable, because they tap into things we have intuitively known all our lives. They give it meaning , and, because of it, they  make it powerful.

And they do so because they relate to the fulfillment of 4 basic human desired and motivations:

Stability, Mastery, Independence and Belonging.

The 12 branding archetypes are:

The Innocent, The Explorer, The Sage yearn for – and promise- paradise and independence

The Magician, The Hero, The Outlaw, look to leave their mark in the world through self mastery

The Lover, the Regular Guy and the Jester look for and promise belonging.

The Caregiver, The Creator and the Ruler searched for and provide stability.

You have seen them at work in the powerful tales of our time.

The Hero lives in Luke Skywalker’s journey to free the galaxy from the Oppressive Empire and in Frodo’s quest to destroy the One Ring. It lives in Rey, whose innate command of The Force and her big heart and love for her friends, sets her on her own heroine journey.

The Magician lives in Yoda, and Merlin who guide Hero and Ruler to discover their power- starting from within.  

The Ruler lives in King Arthur who unified the tribes and provided stability to the Kingdom. It lives

Now come closer, because I have a gift for you.

A 5 minute quiz that will help you discover your main branding archetype and start harnessing its power. And it’s free 

You can take it going to marcelamacias.com/quiz 

When I found my archetypes (The Magician and The Innocent) it was like finding the key to my soul. Go take the quiz, and then come back and tell which are yours!

If you liked this video and want more like it, subscribe to my channel and share it with your friends. Remember to download the checklist of questions that comes with this post on the link below, so you can go through all this before your next photo shoot.

Have a lovely day and I’ll see you soon with more videos to help you grow your business beyond your wildest dreams

PINK M

DISCOVER THE SOUL OF YOUR BRAND

Take the quiz to find your Branding Archetype

 

How to know exactly how many photos your brand needs

You’re about to plan a photo shoot,  and are ready to call a photographer o get your first brand photos. Or maybe you’ve set your eyes on a premium stock collection.

But will the photos you have asked be enough?

What should you ask your photographer to photograph?

How many photos will you need before you need a  new shoot or a new purchase?

How can you make sure you’re maximizing your investment, and won’t end up wishing you had asked for something different a month from now?

In today’s  video I’ll show you the system I use with my photography clients to make sure all their image needs are met- for at least a year.

Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:

 

Images follow words, my friends. And they follow your projects, your goals and your business objectives.

In order to determine which photos you will need, here are the questions you need to ask yourself:

 

  1. Will I change my website? Re-brand? Upgrade my design? Create a video intro?

 

You need to know this in order to make sure that all your design needs are met. If you will be doing a major re-brand or re design, it’s a good idea to work with designer, brand stylist and photographer as a team, so each has the same vibe and feel.

Your design and branding, including branding collaterals and other printable material will also determine the size and resolution you will need, as well as the type of photos you require. As a minimum, you will need:

  • A great photo for your Header.
  • A great portrait for your about page
  • A variation of photos that you could use in your blog and to further illustrate other pages.

 

2. Am I at the center or my brand, or are my products? Do I  want to shift this?

Personal Brands are all the rage these days, but they’re not everybody’s piece of cake, or great for every business.

It is up to you to make your business based on YOU, to be the face of your business, or to make it more product/service based. I recently had a client, for example, who hired me because she was tired of having her face plastered everywhere on her site. She wanted to put the accent on her clients and what she could do for them instead. So we created a series of images with lifestyle scenes and flat lays showing her products and representing her services, and how her clients could use them. We photographed the printable worksheets of her lead magnet and those of her main offering, and created images with electronics where she could overlay blog posts, videos and other material, to keep her images up to date.  

3. What content will I create this year?

What topics will you write about? Where will you focus? How many blog posts, videos, social media posts are you planning to put out into the world?

The most effective photos speak the same language as your copy. So plan what you will be speaking about, so that you can find or commission photos that show the same topics and elicit the same feelings.

4. What free lead magnets will I create this year?

Again, think about topics, feelings and lifestyle, as well as practical issues such as design, and layout.

5. Which services do I want to promote? Has anything changed about my services that I want reflected in my photos?

Do you want to promote one to one services? Group programs? Live seminars? A conference? The type of photos you’ll need for each of these are different. If we want to convey personalized, one to one services, a photo of you leaning towards the viewer would be great, as would photos of hands in front of the computer, or working on your worksheets…whereas for group programs, seminars and conferences we would also need to convey the idea of community.

Same with your services. A change in the type and range of services you offer may require a re-evaluation of the photos used to represent the lifestyle and convey the feelings you want to elicit in your potential customers.

 

6. Which products will I be launching this year? With which frequency? Do these products have photos or do I need to take new updated ones? Are there new products? What is important for people to know at first glance about my products that I want the photos to reflect?

Knowing what you will be launching and when will allow you to make sure that you always have photos for your sales pages, social media and ads and that these images match the feeling of the products you’ll be launching.

And don’t worry if you haven’t finished creating those products. If you have an idea of what they will be about, and who they will target, I can photos photos for them.

Here’s how I did it with one of my clients, Andrea Hiltbrunner. We took a look at Andrea’s huge range of products, and her brand colors, and grouped them according to the chakra they helped activate. For example, some products helped her clients access their intuition, so we chose the colors of the third eye chakra, some products helped her customers feel empowered and make money, so we used to colors of the first and third chakra (red and gold). We divided products in the same way, using archetypal symbols.

For some core online products that were ready to be launched, we printed their worksheets, but for those that were still in development, we focused on the feeling we wanted to portray, where they landed in our chakra color chart, and used electronics and blank pages where Andrea’s designer could later overlay the worksheets and video snapshots of her course.

If you are planning to create a different range of products, talk to your photographer about them so she can shoot images you can later use to illustrate them, and don’t need to run around stock sites looking for extra images.

7. Where do I promote my business? Will I be adding new channels?

Which social media platform do you use? Which one gets you the most and best clients? Are you planning to add a new social media platform or simply deepen and grow your presence in the one you’re already mastering. How many times a day do I post on each?
Do you also advertise? Where? Facebook ads? Google ads? Blogs? Print media?

This is important for three reasons:

a- First, because you will need photos that can look great in the sizes and resolutions of each medium,

b- Second, because each social media platform has different audiences and what works in one, may not work in the other. Instagram audiences, for example, prefer more curated feeds, whereas “realness” and humor work very well on facebook.

c- Third, because the number of posts and the sizes you require will determine how many times you can repurpose a photo with crops, and color overlays.  One of my flat lays can be cropped into 30 different square images. With color blocks in two different brand colors and two different shapes,each image can shield 150 instagram posts. If you consider that with my Grow Plan, you get 15 high resolution images and 30 tutorials on how to repurpose your images,  what you are actually getting are  2250 social media posts, which allows you to post 6 times a day for a full year on social media, and not repeat visuals. Or 3 times a day for two years. Without counting photos you make take with your phone, or portraits or even graphics.

15 photos, then,  are not 15 photos. Well planned, they’re two years of peace of mind.

 

8- What do I want my clients to know about me?

 

The answer to this question will determine the type of photos we take. Whether we focus more on lifestyle images, corporate style ones, or on your products.

 

Here’s what you need to do: Choose 5 qualities you want to convey with your photos. The ones that make you different from others in your same field. Give these words to your photographer or use them as keywords during stock photography search.

9- What feelings do I want to convey with my photos?

What do you want your future customers and your fans to FEEL when they see your images? What do you want them to think?

Joy?

Relief?

Peace and Calm?

Intellectual stimulation?

Inspiration?

Creativity?

 

Choose 3 core desired feelings that you want your brand to convey and list them down.

 

Now let’s put all this together.

Let’s say in the next year you will:

Redesign your website

Start vlogging

Launch, twice,  2 existing products which have outdated photos (one is coaching/mentorship, the other is a group program at a medium price range)

Create a new product (a high end retreat or a conference/ a high priced group program)

You have 5 different lead magnets that use a combination of printables and video.

You will publish 52 blog posts, of which half will be video.

You want to show: leadership, excellence, approachability, spirituality, warmth

You want people to feel relaxed, empowered, and joyful when they see your photos.

You will post on instagram and facebook 3 times a day. You will also start using linkedin and need images for your youtube video thumbnails. You will promote using facebook and linkedin ads, and want photos that are printable because you are looking to get featured in the printed press.

Here’s how this translates into images:

You will need,at a minimum:

  • 3 o 5 different portraits. You will want a portrait for your about page and social media profile photos (make it the same), and a variety of other photos for other parts of your website (eg, contact page), and for media publications, as well as social media. These should include a photo of you leaning forward to represent listening to a coaching client, and a photo of you speaking on stage (to promote a retreat, or conference)

 

  • 5 different portrait orientation product/lifestyle photos that you can use for your lead magnets, social media and website illustration.

 

  • 10 flat lays that you can use for your website, and that you can crop for social media and to promote your content. 10x150=1150 /365= 4 photos a day. The Flat Lays will show  your different products (2 with the style of each of your products, and 4 in the general style of your brand, more towards the higher end style, with electronics, . They can also act as Header and floating backgrounds for your website.

 

  • Ideally, you would also add 3 to 10 lifestyle photos showing groups of people working together, listening (to you speaking) and detail shots of beautiful objects included in your brand (such as brand collaterals, gift packages etc, if you have a fully designed brand. If you don’t, you don’t need this).

 

  • GRAND TOTAL: 15 -25 product, flat lay & lifestyle images, + 5 portraits. 20 to 30 high quality, personalized, high resolution images can solve all your photography needs for a full year.

 

You can always add more images, and I would absolutely recommend getting professional retreat  or conference photos, as well as professional book photos, if you’re a published author. You can also, depending on your budget, shoot individual collections for each product. But with 20 to 30 great images, you are set. All the rest is the cherry on top.

 

If you liked this video and want more like it, subscribe to my channel and share it with your friends. Remember to download the checklist of questions that comes with this post on the link below, so you can go through all this before your next photoshoot.

 

If you’d like to work with me, book a free call over at marcelamacias.com/book-now so we discuss what all your needs.

 

Have a lovely day and I’ll see you soon with more videos to help you grow your business beyond your wildest dreams

 

PINK M

DISCOVER THE SOUL OF YOUR BRAND

Take the quiz to find your Branding Archetype

 

8 Mistakes you should avoid when creating a Flat Lay

 

 

Have you ever started creating a flat lay for your business, only to discover that you can’t manage to make them look like you had in mind- but you don’t really know what you’re doing wrong?

Today is your lucky day, because in today’s video I will show you the mistakes you need to avoid when creating a flat lay for your business- and what to do instead.

 

 

Check Margalida’s video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqr1HrAj-FA

 

Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:

This video is a collaboration with landscape architect Margalida Nadal, who will show you how to arrange flowers in a flat lay so they look their very best.  Margalida has an amazing youtube channel with plenty of tips for your garden – so if you speak Spanish, go check it out after this video.

Let’s begin!

So, what is a flat lay? A flat lay is a photo of a desk or any collection of objects taken with a bird’s eye view- or in other words, from above. Flat, because that’s how all objects look from that view (there’s nothing tri-dimensional  no objects out of focus, no background other than the one where the objects lay. They’re very popular on Instagram because they’re relatively easy to take with a phone camera and you don’t need funny lenses to do so.

They look easy- but if you’ve tried to take one yourself you may have realized they’re not so much so. So, to help you out, I’ve compiled the most common mistakes I’ve seen online-so you can avoid them, and simple easy solutions you can put in practice today.

 

Mistake Number 1: You don’t have a strategy behind your flat lay

This is the number one mistake most people make. Having a strategy means: you know in advance where you want people’s eye to go, what you want them to focus on, what feeling you want to provoke in them when they see your photo and how and where you will be using the photo.

You are a smart ladyboss, you make sure you know this before you begin:

  1. What do you want to showcase: A product? Lifestyle? Some object you want people to identify with you.
  2. What feeling do you want to evoke: Fun? Ease? Aspiration? Comfort? Cozyness? Joy?
  3. How will you use the image ? Will you add text? Will you crop it in several different images? Will you overlay blocks of color?
  4. What objects that you have around your house speak about you, about who you are, about your values, about what matters to you? Could you add these to your photos?

 

Taking a few minutes to answer these questions will help you create faster and with ease photos that enchant your customers and grow your business.

 

Mistake Number 2: You don’t have a clear focal point or you’re not using it correctly.

The biggest mistake. This is when it’s not clear in the photo what you should focus on, or the most important objects are away from the places where the eye is naturally drawn.

You need to decide what you want people to notice FIRST when they see your photo, and place that object in the right place for that to happen.

What’s the right place? Here are a few examples:

Center: The easier one, where the rest of the objects frame the object in question and direct the eye to it. 

Rule of thirds: draw two horizontal lines and two vertical imaginary lines in your background and place important objects in the intersection between two lines. Movies and series do this all the time (show framing of Outlander). 

ONE NOTE: If you are creating a flat lay with negative or white space where you are planning to add text, consider text your focal point and style accordingly.

 

Mistake Number 3: There are too many objects distracting from the focal point

I love props. I adore them. Scouting them, buying them, styling with them. But the key with props is to use them STRATEGICALLY, to direct the view and to say things that you can’t say with words. Objects denote luxury, coziness, spirituality, fun, child-like joy, or your heritage..and pretty much anything you want to say, and, as such, are powerful assistants.

But when they clutter the image, they detract from your focal point (and remember, the focal point is what brings sales!) . Cluttered images are overwhelming…and an overwhelmed person won’t buy.

Allow the eyes to rest….and when in doubt, remove until what stays feels  just right.

 

Mistake Number 4: The lines in your flat lay take the eye away from your focal point

Remember those foam hands with pointed fingers that were everywhere in 50’s adds? Or those images of a woman pointing at text?

The objects in your flat lay need to act like those fingers, they need to be like arrows pointing at your focal point.

So here’s what you need to do:

1) Take a look at the shape of the objects you’re planning to include in your flat lay and make sure that they’re directing the eye where you want them to. Example: pen, post its, erasers, spoons.

2): Use hands to draw attention to the most important objects by holding them or framing them

 

Mistake Number 5: The composition is not balanced

You either have too many objects on one side or none at all. Remember: The Human eye likes symmetry, so unless you’re creating a flat lat to act as a frame or partial border, make sure there’s balance in the number, position and height of your objects…

Which brings me to the next point…

 

Mistake Number 6: Some objects are out of focus

In a flat lay all objects should look crisp and sharp. You should be able to quickly visualize everything in them- which is why they’re so great to photograph with your phone camera

But in order for all objects to be in focus, you need to take care of two very important things:

1) Have the right camera settings. If you’re shooting with a DSLR, make that your aperture is higher than 4. I shoot flat lays at 7 or above (depending on the lens, the sharpest aperture varies). Lower numbers are great for close ups because they blur the background, but terrible for flat lays.

 2) Make sure that all objects have similar heights.

Want to use flowers in your flat lay? Trim them! I cut the stems super tiny and put mine in a small glass of water (the tiny ones from Ikea). And always, always, always, set the focus on the most important object (your focal point).

 

Mistake Number 7: Whites are not white

This is the trickiest one, especially if you shoot with natural light, from a window that doesn’t reach the floor. Have you ever seen flat lays where objects that were supposed to be white look yellowish or blue?

This problem is called white balance. Some times, it’s easy to fix, sometimes it’s not.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Adjust white balance in your camera, and use custom white balance. The way this works is you shoot something very white first, so the camera can understand what constitutes pure white and adjusts automatically the color afterwards.
  2. Adjust white balance in post production. I correct minor color problems in camera raw, for example
  3. If all the above sound too complicated…choose backgrounds in another color. I promise you, there will be much less to adjust and you can add some personality to your flat lays.

Greys, blues, wood and pink and great options. Look at your brand colors and choose backgrounds that will make your products pop!

 

Number 8: Your flat lay lacks personality- or has a personality other than your own

 

You are a business woman, and as such, your flat lays (and all your photos) should promote your business and help you sell. The way to do this is for each and everyone of your photos to contribute to telling your brand story.

They should showcase your brand personality, remind people of who you are, start conversations.

Lots of people fall into the trap of the “luxe lifestyle” photo and end up choosing images that have nothing to do with them, their message or their target audience and end up alienating prospective buyers.

When you choose stock images or create your own, make sure your best friend would recognize YOU in them.

Think:

what do you talk about in your blog and social media posts?

What objects remind you of defining moments in your life and career?

What objects could act as anchors of your message and your personality?

What objects reproduce the shape of your logo?

 

Got it?

 

These were the mistakes you need to avoid when creating a flat lay and what to do instead.

If you liked this video, subscribe to my email list below because many more are coming!

See you soon, with more videos to help your business grow beyond your wildest dream

PINK M

DISCOVER THE SOUL OF YOUR BRAND

Take the quiz to find your Branding Archetype

 

How to create GIFs in just a few easy clicks

Have you ever scrolled down social media and seen one of those funny photos with moving parts or text and wondered how they’re created?

Have you ever wished you could create images like the the one below,  with animated parts that catch your attention the minute they appear on your news feed?

 

In today’s blog post I tell you why you may want to create gifs for your promotions (they’re catchy! they attract attention easily! they’re fun!) and, more importantly, I’ll show you step by step, how to create them. It’s fast and easy, I promise.

And the best part? I’ll show you how to create them with and without Photoshop, so there are no excuses.

Ready to get started? Click play to learn how to do it.

 

 

And if you’re wondering how you can use Gifs in your marketing, here are some ideas:

  • Create announcements (like the one I created above)
  • Advertise promotions
  • Show product variations (for example, different colors of a t-shirt)
  • Show different products, like a mini portfolio
  • Show all products included in a bundle
  • Show step by step photos of a DIY or tutorial
  • Show different steps of recipe making
  • Show what makes your service special (example: everything you include in your packages when wrapping your product and how it looks when finished).

The possibilities are endless- let your imagination fly!

 

Now it’s your turn! Tell me in the comments below what gifs are you planning to create first.

And if you liked this video, please share it!

 

WANT MORE VIDEOS LIKE THESE?

I created a series of video tutorials to help you maximize the power of your marketing images. If you have run out of ideas on how to promote your business with photos, or lack the technical know how on how to implement some of them, this course is for you!

Check the full list of videos (23 in total!) in the link below and start using your photos to their full potential!

Visibility and the great power of authentic photography

Visibility & Photography

A few weeks ago, I saw this article, and it got me thinking about something I’ve known since I started working as professional photographer, but had never written about, or communicated with anyone other than my own clients.

It got me thinking that photography is both affected by who we are, and affects our definition of self at the same time. 

Let me explain.

A good portrait captures the essence of who you are, and how you show up into the world.

It has your same energy, and is recognizable by those who know you. It says things about you that it would take paragraphs to express in words. It conveys who you are and how it feels to be in your presence.

A good portrait is authentic and because of that, it is powerful. It provides people with the most real and authentic vision of who you are, and it does so in seconds. It’s like a banner that says ” This is me, this is my energy, and this is what I bring to the World”.

A great portrait allows you to realize that the person you hope to be, is who you already are.

It allows you to see (actually see) that those qualities you dreamed of having are already inside of you. And by doing so, it helps you step into your power, and claim those qualities in your day to day life.

A great portrait helps you become more visible and lose fear because it shows you the light that is inside you.

I often tell my clients that my camera is my wand and its magic lies in its two mirrors: In one, it captures your idea of yourself, and with the other it reflects back at you who you really are, in all your greatness.

It’s not makeup, or pretty clothes -though those may help, for as long as you feel like you when you wear them.

It’s knowing, with all your heart, that who you are is enough.

This is particularly powerful when it comes to business portraits and business lifestyle photos. 

It’s virtually impossible to succeed at business when we don’t believe in what we do or in who we are. This is what you Sue Bryce calls  “The stink”: the energy of “I’m not good enough” that repels clients and customers away.

The truth is, most of us start feeling like a failure, and continue to struggle with these feelings every time we face a big upgrade.

Business, like life, is not linear and easy. We don’t get to a point where we can confidently say ” That’s it, I made it, now there’s no more struggle over anything”. Every time we master one aspect, a new challenge appears, and new phase we must move into, a new area where growth calls us to show up.

Business, to me, is the greatest journey of self discovery for exactly this reason: we never get it done, and in order to step up our game, and move to the next level, we need to go within and become the person we need to be to get there.

The thing is, sometimes we don’t realize we have it in us to move forward, until we see ourselves embodying those qualities in an image. 

The process of change and growth is, many times, a gradual one. We transform within, shedding old skin, but we’re so used to ourselves that we frequently don’t notice the transformation until the camera shows it to us.

The best part? It’s the same with product and business lifestyle photos. Great product and branding photos help you realize the greatness of your work- and show it to others with pride.

An amazing portrait helps you redefine your identity and those of other women who do what you do. 

What does a powerful woman look like? How does a leader look like in your eyes? When I say successful, what do you picture first? What do you think about when I say beautiful?

For centuries, success was defined by others. More precisely, by men. The yacht, the private plane, the big house with golden everything, the power suit, the power poses. Luxury and Power evoked very defined ideas in most of us, because that’s how power and luxury were portrayed in advertising, movies, and the photos of glossy magazines.

The more and more women enter the entrepreneurial world, the more these ideas start to be redefined.

Luxury, for some, is being able to retire their husband, travel the world, bring the kids to school. Crystals and not expensive handbags is what we buy with our money. The causes we help with our money, the conditions under which we employ people, the lifestyle we choose to have are not defined by Vogue or the Financial Times any longer.

Taking photos of yourself and your business in a way that portrays what success, business, power, luxury and aspiration look like to you is an act of courage, and even rebellion.

Your photos make a statement about  who you are, what you believe in, and also about what is possible. They help others like you feel less alone in wanting something different. It helps them see new possibilities that may seem closer to their hearts.

They help you define, by yourself, who you are.  Shatter stereotypes. Reclaim your truth.

And that is powerful. And revolutionary.

PINK M

DISCOVER THE SOUL OF YOUR BRAND

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When you should hire a professional photographer

When is the right time to hire a professional photographer (2)

A few weeks ago, I wrote a controversial article. I told you when NOT to hire a professional photographer.

For days after I wrote it, I received emails thanking me for it, from previously overwhelmed entrepreneurs who now felt they could relax and focus on what mattered.

Most of those emails also asked a question. I know when NOT to hire someone, they said. But how do I know when to do so?

Ah.  

The missing piece, of course.

The moment that tips the scale and lets us know that the time has come, and that a photo-shoot is,not only an investment but even a necessity.

When does it occur? And how can you know? 

Here’s my take on it.

I believe the right time is marked by certain business timelines. At some point, not upgrading your visuals risks stalling your growth.

Can you have a successful business without professional photos or professional web design? Absolutely. Can you grow indefinitely without them? I believe not.

In the years since I’ve worked as professional photographer, I’ve come across certain situations that make hiring a professional photographer a must do. These are the ones I’ve listed below, and they’re based both on my observations and on conversations I’ve had with my clients.

Here they are:

1. When your time is better spent doing something else.

When you’re just starting out, DIYing is normal, advisable even. With no money to spend, and uncertainty over whether your product or service will take off, it’s wise to fiddle with foam boards, spend nights on youtube watching white balance tutorials, and climb on the kitchen table to get the perfect shot. A selfie taken with your phone or the laptop’s camera will do, for now. We’ve all been there.

But, as your business grows, and you start making money, your time becomes more and more valuable. The two hours you spent shooting that perfect salad and the morning your spent trying to make your home-made organic eye-mask jar looking like an ad by Chanel suddenly are costing your business money.

How can it cost you money, you ask? 

Because the time you spend in your business either makes you money or costs you some. 

If you didn’t have to take photos and edit them in Photoshop, how many more products could you create? How many more clients could you book? How many more sales funnels could you write? How many more Facebook ads could you tweak? How many more guest posts could you pitch? How many more social media posts could you schedule? 

Spending one month photographing your cookbook may mean that you neglect blogging, or get to publishing time without a sales and promotion calendar. It may mean less coaching clients, or not launching that course you had in the back burner for years. It may mean less money, and it may mean less growth.

Spending a weekend  photographing and photo-shopping your products so they’re ready to be listed on Monday may mean no time with your family, and being over tired, and therefore less effective at work the rest of the week.

And that is the best case scenario, which assumes you can get the same results as a professional.

This was the case for my client Mayi Carles. She hired me because she realized that her money was better spent in activities that brought money in, the ones she couldn’t delegate, the ones that make her brand unmistakable. A couple of times a year, she emails her printable products and mails the physical ones for me to style and shoot on the other side of the world. While I style, shoot and edit, she creates, makes sure all parts of her business run like a well-oiled machine and takes time off.

Find out how much your hour of work costs. Find out which activities make you the most money, then do those as a priority and delegate the rest when you can.

2. When you’re losing opportunities

Let’s be honest here: Sub-par photos will only take you so far. Why? Because visuals affect trust. 

If you don’t believe me, read this real life story by Derek Halpern, where he explains why he spent $25,000 on web design and some amazing portrait photos. In that blog post, he talks about how he submitted an article for a major mainstream publication but, when they checked his website, they thought he was a scam.

You may say, well that’s just because they didn’t know who he was. If they had contacted him, or spent more time on his site they would have known that he wasn’t a scam.

And all that would be true.

But people make split seconds decisions.

And people on high powered places are extremely busy and under no circumstances want to risk their reputation with someone who may not be trustworthy. Over and over again, I receive emails from my clients telling me how better photos helped them land press coverage and other opportunities that were closed to them before.

So, if the time has come for you to play in the big leagues, if you want to get your products on magazines and your recipes on select publications, start thinking about upping your game with professional photos too.

Help people realize as soon as they land on your website that your business is as professional you say it is. Help doors open for you easily.

3. When your current photos- though maybe pretty- are not doing the trick

Great commercial photos are not simply great looking. They help you direct the viewer’s attention where you want to, paint the right picture about your products or services, establish an emotional connection with your audience, position your brand and, ultimately, help you sell more.

In order to do this, professional photographers, like me,  study elements of design, visual persuasion, composition rules and theory of color, among others. We know how much blur to add to the background, how to play with lights and shadows to send a different message, even the psychological effect different portrait poses have on the viewer.

This is the true power of professional photography.

So if your photos are not converting into sign ups and money- consider hiring someone who can: 1) pin point what’s not working and 2) Create images with the wow factor your work deserves, images that pull in the right customers effortlessly. Images that make people CRAVE your creations.

My clients tell me it’s worth the investment. And they’re not the only ones that believe so.

4- When you’re getting your business professionally branded.

When our businesses start, most of us DIY everything and, as a consequence, our websites and visual presence sometimes end up being a mismatch of different styles.

My first logo was a blue and grey pennant banner with french script font that I had created in PicMonkey following an online tutorial,. My website’s background was  light blue with white polka dots digital scrapbook paper I’d bought on etsy. My blog photos looked  all different, as I experimented with different backgrounds, textures and styles. One recipe was girly, pink and romantic, the next one dark and moody. There was no cohesive style anywhere.

Maybe you can relate?

DIY design and DIY photos are normal when we begin…but if you’re upgrading your design, you should upgrade your photos too, or your website and social media presence will still look scattered and unprofessional.

Great images convey everything your brand is about in seconds. Use their power. 

Does this mean that you need a massive photo shoot with hundreds of images? No, of course not.

I’m all for incremental upgrades and I believe that,when you’re first upgrading,15 personalized, stylish and versatile images are the perfect starting point. This is why my GROW package includes exactly this amount, together with video tutorials to make the most of your investment.

Start small, and build from there. As you reap the rewards of your new branded look, and your business grows, you can add more photos or update them later on.

5- When you want to enter a luxury market.

If you’re read my previous blog post, you’ll know I don’t recommend stressing about visuals when you’re just starting out.

But there’s a caveat to that, and it’s when you’re targeting a luxury market.

Luxury products and services require luxurious visuals. Period. 

Amateur images just won’t do in a market where everything is taking care of to a T.

True luxury is about refinement, craftsmanship and elegance.

As Vincent Bastien put it: “Luxury is the expression of a taste, of a creative identity; luxury makes the bold statement “this is what I am,” not “that depends”– which is what positioning implies. It is identity that gives a brand that particularly powerful feeling of uniqueness, timelessness, and the necessary authenticity that helps give an impression of permanence. Chanel has an identity, but not a positioning. Identity is not divisible, it is not negotiable– it simply is. Luxury is superlative, and not comparative. It prefers to be faithful to an identity rather than be always worrying about where it stands in relation to a competitor.”

Photos of luxury products should reflect this identity, this uniqueness, this timelessness. They should FEEL like your brand, and they should certainly feel luxurious. They should create dreams, not merely show your product or services’s qualities.

If the photos you take can’t achieve this, it’s time to hire a professional.

6- When there’s a disconnect between your photos and your written voice.

This is a big one, and one that I see very often.

Have you taken the time to think about the way you sound, and be intentional about it? All great writers are very consistent in the qualities in their voice, but sometimes they forget that their photos speak too, and that what they say should match their words.

Is your voice funny? strategic? warm? perceptive? sharp? genuine? elitist?

What idea of yourself does someone get when they read your words? What idea do they get when they see your photos?

Someone who understands this very well is Denise Duffield-Thomas. She is very clear that her brand is fun, chill and summery. This is why she doesn’t whine, and she doesn’t complain about winter. She wants people who land on her website or on social media to get a chillionaire vibe, and she makes sure she’s consistent about it.

My brand, for example, is not funny or shocking, though I know very well they are great for calling attention. My brand is loving, warm, magical…posting images that shock would be immediately perceived as out of character and erode trust with my audience.

Sometimes it’s easy to find stock images, or create some that fully represent what you stand for. Some others, not so much.

If you’re at a point in your career where your written voice is defined but can’t find photos that match your uniqueness, it’s time to get custom photos. 

 

7- When you want the experience of your brand to be different

Visuals affect how others experience your brand. They convey emotions better than anything else and pull, powerfully, the right persons towards our work-or repel it.

Ramit Sethi speaks about the importance of providing your customers with an intentional brand experience in this video, where he explains why he regrets not taking care about it earlier. Watch from the minute 17 onwards).

Ask yourself: how do you want your customers to feel when they see your photos? Do your current photos match that experience?

If they don’t, it may be time get custom photos, designed with that purpose in mind.

8. When you want to push a product.

 

Do you want to promote one of your products above all others, and really make it the best seller it’s meant to be? Make sure you have great photos of it.

Ask Mark Hayes put it ” Good pictures answer questions and lead to more traffic and more sales”, but sometimes a full overhaul of all your images is not realistic.

This is when I advised my clients to focus on one product they want to make a best seller. If you can’t photograph your whole collection, photograph first a new product you want to launch with a bang, or in the one that people are already responding to the most, so you can promote them heavily, and they can convert as you desire. Then, move backwards, and photograph the rest.

This is what my clients, Panamanian company Life Blends did last year. They were launching a new line of clean eating meals and knew they needed great photos to promote it, because ” we eat with our eyes”, as they put it. Since it was a new venture and they didn’t know if it was going to take off, they started with 3 recipes.

The launch was so successful that they ran out of food to sell on the first day and, that month, they broke a sales record. That’s when they hired me to photograph the rest of the meals. You can read the rest of the case study here.

If you want a product or service to reach its full potential, get professionally taken custom images of it. Don’t be afraid to start slow, just make sure you get started.

 

9. When you hate doing it

I’m going to get all woo here and talk about how the energy of what we do affects its outcome. If you’ve been ready for a while you know I’m a hippie and this shouldn’t surprise you.If you’re new: welcome, I sage my studio before a shoot and play a singing bowl. Nice to meet you. 

Here’s the thing: If you hate taking photos for your business, and you hate editing and you hate the sub-par results you get, that energy of annoyance and frustration will permeate your images. This “deliberately introduces resistance into your experience” in the words of Abraham Hicks.

Either you find a way to start liking it, or you should delegate it to someone who adores shooting, editing and overall working on your photos, so that the energy of joy populates every part of your work.

If you’re in one of the above situations and would like to start upgrading your business images, here’s what I advise that you do:

1)Get a great portrait and a few lifestyle shots, so you have a wonderful photo of yourself to send to publications for guest posting, and with press releases. I am a big fan of  behind the scenes shots, that show your process and give people an insider’s pass into how you work.

2) Photograph your best sellers, or the products you most want to promote first. For example, if you’re launching a new line of earrings, make those photos your priority so they sell like hotcakes. If you provide services or info products, you could commission photos for a new course first, then move to making the rest of website and online presence stunning.

3) Photograph the rest of your collection so everything ties together.

Have you taken photos for your business before? How did the experience go? Tell me in the comments below! I’m listening.

PINK M

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