Showing up “on brand” means being intentional about the visuals you put out into the world. Your professional images say a lot about your brand. The style of photography has a big role – including, but not limited to, what you are wearing.
If you learn one thing from working with me, it’s that I believe in defining, and leaning into, the “essence of your brand.” This requires a bit of thought, but it’s basically listing 3 words that describe your brand. They can be adjectives, or words that just feel right. If two people were talking about your business, what words would you want them to use to describe working with you?
Example: my brand essence words for Katie Soyka Photography are: positive, uplifting and beautiful.
This is how I want people to experience working with me, and this colors all of the messaging I put into my marketing channels.
Walking my clients through an exercise to define their brand essence helps plan a shoot to best represent YOU. It aids in location, posing and yes, wardrobe. A session that has the brand essence words “bold, vibrant, and fun” will be quite different from one that is “classic, traditional, and elegant”
During my most popular session: The Elevate Collection, we have two hours together which allows time for 3 outfits. My suggestion is always to start with your most formal look (blazer, blouse, suit, hair down), and move to your most casual (jeans, barefoot, with coffee or laptop, hair pulled up). Also, I recommend that at least one of these outfits be in your actual brand colors (or in the same palette. Definitely not clashing!) This ensures a consist feel among your website and social media images.
Consider dressing one level up from what you typically would for your job, or a client meeting. There is nothing wrong with going a little more formal or adding extra glam to put your best foot forward in your images. Even though I dress professionally when I photograph clients, I would never wear high heels in the actual running of my business. However, when I do brand photos of myself I sometimes slip them on. You want to stay in your brand essence while also dressing in a way that attracts your ideal clients.
Accessories and layers add visual interest to your images. I once learned that it takes 3 “pieces” to make an outfit – so instead of just having a top and a bottom, consider adding a belt, hat, jacket, vest, statement jewelry or fun shoes to get to the 3 pieces. Also, we can easily de-layer during the photography session. Personally, I love it when clients have some form of jacket for one of the looks. They are fun to move in, grab, and create flattering vertical lines. V-necks are also flattering to many body types (and preferred to high necks).
For my final tip, I offer a suggestion. Look up ideas on pinterest (simply search “lawyer brand photos”, etc) and create an inspirational board that speaks to you. This will give you ideas for shopping in your closet, shopping in your friends closets, heading to that boutique or resale shop.
This exercise also serves to gets you inspired and excited for your photoshoot, helping you see what is possible and getting you ready to put your own branding images out into the world. And, even though each session is unique and we don’t copy any other images, sharing that board with your photographer can give them a glimpse into the desired look and feel of your session.
I reached out to LeAnn of Conway Image Consulting for some advice on this topic. She works with clients to take their wardrobe from a sense of frustration to excitement.
LeAnn’s advice? “Dressing confidently isn’t about the latest trends; it’s about understanding what works for you, wearing what you love, and embracing your body.”
It’s important to understand what silhouettes flatter your shape. And, keep in mind that you have two body shapes, horizontal and vertical. Learning how to dress your body tells you:
Regardless of the size on the tag, wear clothing that fits your figure. You might need to go up or down a size to make it feel comfortable. If your clothes are too tight, it can highlight an area you don’t like. The same thing applies if they’re too loose. Wearing clothes that are too big can overwhelm your body or look like you’re frumpy. If one area needs some adjusting, such as the waist or the length, tailoring can be done. A tailor is your best friend. Trust me on this!
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