If a picture tells a thousand words – what do you want your profile photo to say about you? Portrait photographer paula brennan shows how to build your personal brand using professional imagery and ultimately elevate your business overnight

In today’s society, where people form an impression of you from your photo in one tenth of a second, it’s critical you craft the perfect personal brand. Whatever stage of business you are in – from jobseeker to start-up to CEO, the right photos can help you elevate your personal brand. Personal brand photography helps people to relate to you, connect with you and trust you, which means they are going to be more motivated to take action – to hire you, buy your product or listen to you. This is why it’s important to enlist the services of a high-quality professional photographer to capture your images. After all, you want to attract the right kind of clients for your business and ultimately lead to more quality inquiries to generate more profit.

Brands don’t sell things, people do

Presenting yourself as credible, authentic and personable through your branding portraits means you have the best chance of creating the ideal first impression, maintaining a high reputation and staying top of mind. “It makes you feel professional in a marketplace, particularly if you’re a service-based industry, which is all about the personality of the people behind the brand. We’re moving away from big and impersonal corporate branding, especially in a place like the Sunshine Coast, which is built on personality and service, rather than execution in a robotic market,” Paula says.

More than a headshot

Having professional imagery, that is succinct with your brand, catapults your business to the top of the marketplace. But you need more than a couple of headshots, you need a series of photos in keeping with your brand to bring out your personality and communicate your message clearly and concisely. “Before a shoot, I meet with my clients to get an idea of their personality and application, as well as their goals moving forward. Having the right images is like a mood board and road map in one – they can elevate you to where you want to be instantly.”

Keep your brand looking fresh

Personal branding photography can encompass anything from corporate head shots to a full day shoot exploring and encapsulating the different facets of your personality.
Paula says the latter works particularly well for solopreneurs – “because you don’t know what side of your personality is going to attract your market”. “A lot of people feel they need to look a certain way in the marketplace, but often it’s the more authentic and connected photographs, which can be laughing into yourself or having fun on the beach, which work the best for your business. For me, a lot of my personal branding is from a photoshoot I had done with my daughter – I use that because I want people to know, this is who I am, I’m a mum in business.”

How often should I update my imagery?

  • If you’re in the fi rst two years of your business, have one good photo shoot when you launch your brand.
  • If you have been in business for more than fi ve years, it’s important to update your images at least every 18 months. This includes product shots and photos of team members. You need that cohesion so everyone looks like they’re working as a team.
  • If you are a medium-sized business, you need to update with the same photographer to keep the same style, and as staff are coming and going, the photos need to be updated on your website.
  • If you’re a solopreneur or you’re working in a smaller business, a new shoot every couple of years is more than enough.
  • Running a business in a social media-dominated world means you need to have fresh content and fresh imagery constantly flowing to have that engagement with your audience.

Having the right images is like a mood board and road map in one – they can elevate you to where you want to be instantly.

Paula Brennan, Photographer

Paula grew up watching her father in his photography studio, and learnt the ropes as his protegé.

“I grew up in a photography house, we had a studio downstairs and I grew up stamping photos and framing and making albums.

“But it wasn’t my passion, it was when the Photoshop element came in, when digital photography started and I could do the artistic side of things, that’s what really got me into photography.

“I transitioned fairly quickly from loving being behind a computer to loving being behind a camera – that’s where my gift is, I’m good with people.”

Paula went on to become a successful wedding photographer in Sydney and when she reached the top of her game sought a challenge and moved to the Sunshine Coast and re-launched her business. Over the last two years, Paula has found a niche in the market, empowering business women through personal imagery and elevating their brand.

PHONE: (07) 5326 1668

Personal branding portraiture – what you need to know.

  1. Know who you are. When you are in business for yourself, it is so important that you be yourself and your personal truths should permeate through all aspects of your business, especially your brand.
  2. Make it your truth. When you talk about branding, it is so easy to get caught up in what everyone else looks like, the logos, and pretty packaging, the look – the image. But the power of a brand is in the individual or team it represents, not the paper it was printed on. Branding is values, branding is service, branding is ethics, and core beliefs.
  3. Don’t be afraid to own it. When you come in for a portrait shoot, think about who you are, what client you want to attract, especially if you are the face, the life pulse and the brand of your business. This gives the photographer a clear idea of what is needed to create a visual personal profile to match the ideal client you want to attract.
  4. Brainstorming. Before your shoot, have a look at images of other people – what do you like about them? What don’t you like about them? Bring a selection of images to your photo shoot, this is a great way to make sure you get what you want.