So while we were all stuck in lockdown, and knowing I would be soon launching my Personal Brand Instagram page (and, you know, needing some for my own use too!) I decided to take my own Personal Brand Images. And I learnt a lot!
Now, obviously I will always recommend getting a photographer to do this for you. I have previously (a few times actually!) but during lockdown this was not possible. I had nothing recent, and as a personal brand photographer, clients expect to see me taking care of my own personal brand, with pictures that I have taken.
Well. That’s quite a job.
You see, taking pictures of yourself is not easy. Firstly, you’re not behind the camera concentrating on the image. You can’t see it in front of you and adjust settings, or see if you need to scooch this way or that way. You’re distracted by trying to do it all at the same time. The pose, the lighting, the composition, releasing the shutter, having the right expression, looking natural, telling the kids to bugger off, throwing the ball for the dog to get them out of the shot. All of that. At the same time. While trying to get a good picture.
It was a challenge.
But! I need personal brand pictures too, and as a photographer selling my services I need to be showing my own pics. So I did it. I took 700 pictures to get 5/10 usable ones. And here’s the top 3 things that I learnt.
Capturing a genuine ‘moment’ is virtually impossible.
We’ve all seen them. The natural, happy laughing pictures on someone’s website or Instagram feed. The pictures where they’re looking off out of frame, laughing at something looking approachable and friendly. Yes. Working with this person would be fun.
On your own? You’re fake laughing at a wall while trying to press the shutter button, or do it when the timer goes off. The laughter is not genuine and it looks like it. It’s not fun. It’s embarrassing and tedious.
Yes. Picture it now. The outakes are hilarious. This is why I took 700 pictures to get just a couple that were good. You have to keep trying to get something that looks genuine and right. Hard without someone the other side of the camera to bounce off, who knows how to get that shot.
(I know several friends who will be able to picture this vividly, who’ll be reading this laughing their heads off)
You’ve then wasted so much time with no guaranteed results and hating your appearance.
Again, 700 pictures to get a couple of good ones. Add to the complications above your own hang ups about yourself (whether you hate your lips, or think you need to lose a few lbs). Whatever your hang ups, you concentrate on those instead of what is a good image, and what images convey the message you want.
For me, it’s my body. Having a baby 6 months ago and being pretty sedentary while breastfeeding and recovering from a c-section has meant I’ve piled on the lbs. My size 10 figure is no more. And as it’s not what I’m used to seeing it is even harder to get past.
This took me forever. Checking the photos, trying again, checking again, still not right, doing them again, looking back through them... correcting this that and the other... trying again. Even longer because I was fending off kids and a dog while doing it. When I do the same shoot for someone else, this would have taken me half an hour. Much less time and they would have been better. Humph.
And the editing? Took 5 times as long because I had soooooo many pictures to sort through. Plus sorting through with my own body issues. Disaster.
I couldn’t include my bloody camera in the pictures.
Only a small issue that won’t be an issue for most people out there. More of a mild annoyance.
Naturally I wanted to use my camera to take the pictures. But as personal brand pictures should include elements of what you do, I needed a camera in the pictures. Bugger. Same goes for if you use your phone a lot for your business, or Instagram. You want pictures with your phone in them, but if you’re using the phone to take the pictures it can’t be in them.
Yes, you can borrow a phone, or camera to solve this issue. But you know, it just adds another thing you could do without thinking about.
Having done the pictures myself, and had someone else do them, I can highly recommend the latter (and not just because I want you to book me to do them, but from personal experience it is sooooo much easier). I’ve had to do a heavy edit job because of these issues, and I still don’t have enough to cover what I needed. Definitely not the same story as when I do it for other people! There are still a number of shots I didn’t get so I need to do this all over again. Which I really don’t have time to do. Sob.
Do yourself a favour. Book a pro. Use your time more efficiently and get yourself a 1-2 hour photoshoot and just wait for a lovely folder of images to be delivered to you, ready to use whenever you need them.