Doing It Right: What Happens When the Photographer Goes In Front of the Lens!
Left: 2010 Photo by Jeffrey Prehn Middle: 2012 Photo by Inoisell Miranda Right: 2014 Photo by Ali Smith
As a business owner in 2014, running a company and establishing yourself in your industry, not having any sort of picture of yourself is no longer an option. Prospects and contacts are constantly looking you up, wanting to know more about you and deciding if you’re the right person for the job! Your public image matters.
But its not just about having any old picture, but a current image that reflects who you are and who will be showing up to the meeting. The power (and pain) of an image is that it can capture you in an instant but last beyond a lifetime. And since that moment lives out in the world on you behalf, for now and future generations, it's a lot of pressure to always put your your best face forward. To illustrate my point, I've included some of my own portraits to show how much I’ve changed over the years!
I've come to realize that a big reason of why I do what I do, and how I've chosen to help my clients, really comes from my own experience of being in front of the camera. I find it very valuable to know exactly how my clients feel and to figure out what works and what doesn't. It can be a stressful experience even for the most seasoned professional and for someone who hates having their picture taken (like me) it can be torture if you don't do it right!
Though the first two photos are 'nice' I'm not crazy about them and I certainly didn't enjoy taking them....
The usual procedure for working with a photographer is to book a session date, show up to the studio, stand in front of the camera for 30 minutes, pray that you get something good and walk away with a disk of unprocessed images and figure out the next step on your own.
This is all fine and good for a professional model who knows how to prepare and work a camera and has an agency who will manage the images.
But for a ‘regular person’, this way of doing things generally results in disaster - you’re left feeling unprepared when you show up for your session, awkward posing in front of the camera with no guidance or plan, and disappointed when you take your disk home only to discover you might have only one or two ‘useable’ pictures, but no favorites and no winners. It can feel like a waste of time AND money, which is why most people shy away from doing it.
This is how my signature seven-step process came to be. I knew there had to be a better way!
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to be my own photographer, so I had to turn to a talented colleague of mine, Ali Smith to help me out. Ali is a great photographer, but doesn’t specialize in working with Entrepreneurs, so it was a unique challenge to use her skill set to achieve my objectives.
For this new portrait, I put myself through my own process to determine if it really works - I filled out my assessment to discover my goals, identify my target audience, define the keywords I use to describe my branding voice, and declare my personal style as it relates to where I want to be. I did the Vision Board exercise to discover those images that inspired me and were consistent with the ideas I had rolling around in my head. And finally, I set up a pre-session consultation with Ali to share with her all the results of my process, so that she was clear on what I was looking to create and we could design a plan of action for the day of my session.
Had I not taken the time to go through my process, Ali may have just shown up to my studio the day of the session and asked me what I wanted to do.... I would have said "a nice picture to use for my business," put on something cute and let her do her thing. Hoping for the best when she handed me the disk of images....
And, since I’m a person who hates having my picture taken.... No matter how skilled a photographer Ali is, I know I would have not been happy with the results because I would have felt insecure, unprepared and unguided.
On the photographer's side of the whole experience - Working with camera-shy people is no easy feat! What most people may not realize, is there is a lot of pressure for us too - having to manage expectations and insecurities and come up with something we think will work based on what we know about the person... Lastly, dealing with the fear of disappointing our clients is big.... Which is a sure result if you just have them just show up and 'smile.'
However, because both Ali and were clear ahead of time on my objectives, my adjectives, my look and what inspires me visually, we were able to create exactly the images I wanted, which was incredibly empowering for both of us!
Now I have images I love! A studio experience I enjoyed! New portraits that I’m excited to share across multiple platforms because they really convey ME! Finally!
The biggest realization I had as I was going through it, is that ultimately, my signature process itself has less to do with guiding the photographer, (though its incredibly helpful to know exactly what my clients want), as it does with helping my client's feel more empowered throughout the experience by being able to contribute their own ideas and vision. The result is them feeling really prepared and confident in front of the camera and us collaborating to produce images we are both proud of and are excited to share.
As business owners, we already have so much to worry about as we grow our businesses, how to get a great portrait shouldn't be one of them.
Schedule a complimentary "Breakthrough Call"! An absolutely amazing and fun experience! Amber makes you feel beautiful and at ease. Everything is well organized, the time, makeup, hair, and location. Amber's pre-session consultation puts you at ease and gets you clear on your vision.
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Keywords: A. De Vos Photo, Ali Smith, Amber De Vos, experience, images, love my picture, next level, photographer, portrait, professional, self confidence, studio
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