5 Seemingly Minor Personal Branding Picture Mistakes That Will Send You To Invisiville

and

How To Easily Fix Them All

Visuals are powerful. Only a fool would argue with that. It is common knowledge that 80% of the information we process and evaluate in our brain is visual. Throw in “a picture is worth a thousand words” and your answer to your question “How important are personal branding pictures?’ becomes painfully irrelevant by the time you get to the question mark.

Photo Credit: Marc Louviere

In business, you don’t care about being judged for your imperfections by strangers because you are past that mindset. What you do care about, or at least you should, is how fast you can build trust.

 

Why?

 

Because you already know what the trust of one person can ignite.

 

We all want to see our branding pictures getting thousands of likes and hundreds of shares all over the internet. But it should not end there, no matter how good this feels. Building a nation of followers doesn’t guarantee any income from them. Fame, on the other hand, is a tool that gets you more work opportunities, better business deals, and your audience proliferates – the upward spiral of success.

 

This is the time when your personal branding pictures better be good. Really really good.

 

To avoid intergalactic embarrassment interwoven with regret of massive proportions for thinking small when you started, here are the most common personal branding pictures mistakes you can avoid when you rush to your phone to book your first or next photoshoot.

Mistake #1: Inconsistency

 

No consistency in the colour scheme, no base, no common elements, no ribbon through the entire visual presentation.

Solution: The easier way to create consistency is the use of colour. You can wear the same clothes, or the same type of clothing. There should be something, anything really that all your pictures have in common. Be it the type of setting or a background or a colour or an accessory, or your nail polish, a (type of) prop – just something that makes your branding pictures YOURS and no one else’s. Something that is easily recognizable as being yours. Something that you strongly identify with. Something that people will say after looking at your pictures just for a second or two – “Oh yeah, that’s so [Sandy] – on brand. That’s her style”.

Example: The quirky Queen of Persuasion, as her followers and clients call her, Bushra Azhar has built her multimillion dollar internet business in mere three years starting from subzero and being absolutely nobody on the internet. Her enviably punchy vacuum-cutting wordsmithing craft peppered with the heart-piercing, wallet-opening phrases accompanied by just as unorthodox personal branding pictures gained her popularity and trust.

Photo Credit: Monika Broz, global personal branding photographer

Mistake #2: No purpose and no story told with the pictures

 

Context is key. A picture of you jumping up is cliché, kitsch and it says nothing about your brand except that you are most likely childish, may seem immature and utterly uncreative. And so is your photographer, provided, it wasn’t you who insisted on jumping.

How can you convey trust with somebody when you jump up and down? …unless you sell trampolines.

Solution: Contextual pictures can be difficult to find among the millions of stock pictures so creating your own is probably best. Take various pictures that capture the topic of your content. It can be you in different positions.

Example: Chris Winfield is your best friend in New York City. He runs a Super Connector Media and he has been featured in, well… everything. Chris is the founder of The Unfair Advantage Live and he is a go-to PR expert for online entrepreneurs.

Photo Credit: Monika Broz, global personal branding photographer

Example: Max Eicke designs modern furniture. “The shot of Max in the middle of the street with his “T table” (aka tea table) required us to shoot at 7 AM to get the light going the right direction,” explains Tanya Malott, personal branding photographer and the phenomenal visual storyteller. “I wanted to give him something that would showcase him as a local designer. He was just getting started, but I could see his talent and vision and knew he would go far. I wanted to give him editorial style photos that did him justice and would help him step up to that next level. His work was so beautiful and professional, but his photos were still quite amateur looking. After one shoot he started getting a lot more attention. I gave him photos that he was able to get published in local magazines and later the New York Times. After another shoot he built a new website that immediately won awards. The snowball effect created by having great photos was real. Each little piece of publicity led to more,” concludes Tanya.

Do you still have any doubts that a memorable personal branding photography can be that trigger that will set you up for success faster than anything else? Of course you have to have a solid offer but publicity without pictures is like a chicken soup without chicken.

Photo Credit: Tanya Malott, personal branding photographer

Mistake #3: No relevant background

 

Graphic designers call this mistake a colour crash. Rightly so. Nothing screams amateur more than completely irrelevant surroundings of an unrelated colour – nutrition specialist in a black studio, practically anything health related on a sulphur green (like mustard but greener that makes you reader think about puss, tumors and phlegm), life coaching or mindset related topics in a way too dark spaces.

Solution: If you are a soul healer or a yoga teacher or someone that has anything to do with nature, cosmos or inner peace, outdoor pictures in nature, on the beach, by the lake, in the forest, in the sun are contextually perfect. Serene environments will create the mood for your offer within a second or two. They set the tone without you needing to write about it.

Example: I am an image mentor (or a personal stylist / style consultant, if you will) so I take pictures mostly in urban areas with urban backgrounds. People want to dress with style mostly when they meet other people or simply walk among them; ergo they are seen by others. And others are typically in urban areas. There is no point taking pictures of me chasing squirrels deep in the woods while I want to drive my audience’s attention to the article about how to dress for job interviews, or black tie events, or for ‘How to dress to get that man’ type of blogposts.

Photo Credit: Marc Louviere

Example: Jill Sorensen is an interior designer. A mere look will make it blindingly clear that Jill is a creative individual who loves colours and that her work fulfills her. You have a feeling that you know her. This is what a powerful personal branding photography can do for your business create familiarity instantly. And we all know that familiarity breeds trust – the curtial ingredient of business.

Photo Credit: Tany Malott, personal branding photographer

Mistake #4: Too revealing outfits

 

 

This error ties closely with the context mentioned above (point 3), the lack of sartorial style below (point 5) and it does relate to both female and male branding pictures. Unless you sell surfing lessons, or swimwear, there is really no point of showing off your torso’s musculature or bubbling chest for no reason. It screams sub-standard or worse – desperation, if there is no context. Even though you will get noticed (skin always does have this effect, let’s face it), your pictures will not build instant trust. Perhaps, cross out ‘instant’.

Solution: Dress to show respect for your audience and for yourself. Be creative, classy, edgy… but dressed. Attention can be sensual, soft accentuating, and feminine without being sexual, exploiting, and unrefined. We all have assets and we can style them to make them look flattering without being vulgar. Or cheap.
While your audience undoubtedly respects that you love your bosom or your hard-earned six-pack, if you want to be taken seriously, do not make it the focus of the entire personal branding picture, unless you sell padded bras or fitness coaching.

Example: “Wilnor Tereau was a student and athlete who wanted to model, but because of his amazing body, photographers were always asking him to take his clothes off for the pictures. I wanted to give him a completely different look so that he could show his portfolio to Ralph Lauren and other designers and do more fashion work.” Tanya Malott sees miles ahead of a singularity of picture-taking. She genuinely cares about her clients, wants them to succeed and goes above and beyond to help them get there.

Photo Credit: Tanya Melott, personal branding photographer

Styling: Neta Gaye, Boston

This error ties closely with the context mentioned above (point 3), the lack of sartorial style below (point 5) and it does relate to both female and male branding pictures. Unless you sell surfing lessons, or swimwear, there is really no point of showing off your torso’s musculature or bubbling chest for no reason. It screams sub-standard or worse – desperation, if there is no context. Even though you will get noticed (skin always does have this effect, let’s face it), your pictures will not build instant trust. Perhaps, cross out ‘instant’.

Solution: Dress to show respect for your audience and for yourself. Be creative, classy, edgy… but dressed. Attention can be sensual, soft accentuating, and feminine without being sexual, exploiting, and unrefined. We all have assets and we can style them to make them look flattering without being vulgar. Or cheap.
While your audience undoubtedly respects that you love your bosom or your hard-earned six-pack, if you want to be taken seriously, do not make it the focus of the entire personal branding picture, unless you sell padded bras or fitness coaching.

Example: Merel Kriegsman is a business mentor with a refined taste. Coming from an artistic European family, Merel can put together a cohesive colour coordinated eye-pleasing outfit in no time just as she can sharpen her creative brain and write your the copy that will sell your high-end products like hot buns in nanoseconds. A mere look at her pictures will tell you that Merel is classy with that unique ‘Merel’ twist and the antonym of boring.

Photo Credit: Monika Broz, global personal branding photographer

Mistake #5: No sartorial style

 

 

When you don’t dress your best in the personal branding pictures you are not leveraging your fullness. Unflattering clothes evoke sloppiness and create distrust. Too many accessories make (visual) noise and tend to overwhelm. Being cheap makes you look incompetent, pretending, and disconnected with abundance beliefs.

Solution: You want to present yourself as the expert you are so consulting a professional personal stylist (NOT a fashion stylist) is no vanity. It is an investment with a major ROI, although less obvious at first glance. Only seasoned professionals and ahead-thinkers hire personal stylists before their branding photoshoots. When you invest in hiring a brand photographer put some thought into selecting your outfit(s) that will not only look appealing on a photograph but they will predominantly suit you, fit you, and help you with the visual element of your story.
A well-dressed woman and a well-dressed man make us feel respected, inspired, and we are prone to trust them more and faster than ego-centrically dressed individuals wearing frilly off-shoulder bright yellow tops on the top of a mountain near the resort of their last vacation.

To be a well-dressed doesn’t mean to wear a three pieces suit and a pair of Oxfords. No. This is only one of the myriads of solutions. Your sartorial choices on your branding pictures should represent your personality. Style preference is less relevant than taste and refinement in personal branding. Your personal branding pictures should be a one-second reflection of you – showing that you are knowledgeable, cultured, and confident, regardless of your style preferences.

Example: Joe Illidge was a senior editor for Lion Forge Comics at the time these personal branding pictures were taken by talented photographer Monika Broz. Perfectly fitting clothes, carefully curated outfit in colours that make Joe stand our yet show his high level of sophistication literally invite us to read what he is reading. Aren’t you curious?

Photo Credit: Monika Broz, global personal branding photographer

Example: Jennifer Kem, brand futurist, and business strategist simply cannot hide her energy. Her bold colour choices and her sartorial style make you feel the warmth she radiates. Unapologetically dramatic yet approachable outfits will assure you that the future of your business is in good hands because your brand will stand the remarkability test. 

Photo Credit: Monika Broz, global personal branding photographer

My advice to you:

  1. Find your context and be contextual
  2. Set the mood with every picture
  3. Show taste, style, and your personality without restrains
  4. Stay on brand
  5. Be genuine

 

 

Karolina Chic

mentor for image and branding for personal and business success

Special thanks to 

Bushra Azhar www.thepersuasionrevolution.com

Chris Winfield www.chriswinfield.com

Max Eicke www.maxidny.net

Jill Sorenses www.knockoutabusewest.org

Wilnor Tereau

Merel Kriegsman www.merelkriegsman.com

Joe Illidge www.awbw.com

Jennifer Kem www.jenniferkem.com

Monika Broz www.monikabroz.com

Tanya Malott www.tanyamalott.com

 

 

Getting ready for your (first) photoshoot and pre-panicking on a massive scale?

 

Photoshoots can be a logistic nightmare esp. if you have never done anything of the sort before
or
when you first experience was as chaotic as mine was
or 
when you want to try a DIY version with your boyfriend / partner / husband
and none of you are pros – just like we weren’t 

 

Don’t let your worry be in the way of sharing your genius with the world.
 
Based on my own experiences with about 56 photoshoots of various professional level with improving results I put together 

 

Phenomenal Photoshoot Checklist

 

that will prepare you for everything that could possibly happen like nothing else and save your sanity – on repeat. And that’s the best part.

 

It literally & truly takes you from having no idea what exactly you need to being 100% prepared and present for your photoshoot day in no time and without the need to hire a team of assistants.

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