What I have learnt during my personal branding journey
Like a lot of things in life, I think the key to a successful headshot session is to find the right balance: the right balance between proper research and following that gut feeling. The right balance between rational and emotional. The right balance between planning ahead and having fun at the moment. Suddenly things start moving faster and faster with my business and I realized I needed a professional image to represent my values.
I had a PR opportunity knocking at my door, a few new projects on my head and a huge desire to put all these ideas together in a nice way. I needed an image that would help me tell the story I was desperate to tell.
So, I started doing my research. In a few days, I had a list of potential photographers to work with. I asked for recommendations and I kept my eyes opened for anything related to professional headshots both on LinkedIn and on Instagram.
I found Carin Thakar on Instagram, but I discovered that LinkedIn is also an excellent platform for this kind of research. Because on LinkedIn you have the opportunity to know more about the professional background of the photographer. And YES, I love LinkedIn and the power the platform has to help you make the right connections for your business. (But I should probably tell you more about this in a future post).
After the initial research:
After having done my research and visited and revisited different examples of each photographers’ work, I was still in doubt. I liked them all, and they all would fit my budget. That was the moment I decided then to trust my gut feeling. I scheduled a call with Carin and explained the different projects I was working on and the ideas I had in my head. She listened carefully, and she was super flexible and offered me the possibility of having a larger number of photos after the session if I thought that would suit me better. I would pay more, but I didn’t have to make this decision right now, I could decide later. And being a freelancer myself, I knew that this option showed how much Carin trusted her work. I liked it. So, I decided to take the plunge.
Because I had this PR opportunity, we worked fast and scheduled the shot for the following week. This is not recommended, and I know that, but I was willing to make it work. And Carin, as well.
On the same night, I created a board on Pinterest with images I like (full of portraits that I love). Carin sent me the questionnaire and a link to a blog she wrote about how to get ready for a personal branding session.
I decided to take a few days to complete this task. I thought about the questions for a good amount of hours before sitting down to write the answers. There I detailed how and where I was planning to use the photos.
We have already talked about it over the phone and decided for example that we would add my kids to the session. Because they are my Why for creating Social River. And because I needed a nice picture with them for the book I will be launching in September.
It was the time to think then about the outfits and this part, to be honest, was one of the most difficult for me. Those who know me, have clear that I am quite relaxed and practical. I use jeans a lot and I like comfortable clothes, but I was afraid that this wouldn’t look professional enough if you know what I mean. So, I started with clothes that would look nice in a magazine but weren’t reflecting my style. Again, it took me a few days to get to the right balance. In the end, the outfits were reflecting me and my values. (as you can see here)
Remember to have fun:
And finally, the day has come and I followed Carin advice, to not worry and just have fun. And it was a lovely session. The weather was brilliant and we walked to different locations having time to know a lit bit more about each other journeys as entrepreneurs. No rush, no stress and I believe you can see this good vibe in the final result.