Quit Complaining and Just Have Fun | Personal Branding Photography

Pittsburgh Head Shot Personal Branding Photographer-40Yes, that’s right. I’m about to give you a dose of tough love, so just take it. Now that I’m doing personal branding photography, I can’t begin to tell how much fast-talking I have to do to convince women that are reaching out to ME that they need a session for their business.

Listen, I’m a business owner too. I get it that you LOVE certain parts of what you do, while scratching your eyes out at the thought of having to do other parts. I looooooooooooove shooting, but the administrative, tedious tasks I have to engage in to keep the machine rolling is enough to make me want to scream sometimes. So, I feel ya. But you know what? We do it. We perform those tasks and then reap the fruits of our labors and we do this because our business is our baby.

So, you and I both know how important it is to have a constant flow of up-to-date photographs ALL the time for our sites, blogs and most importantly, social media.

Stop right there. Yes, you. The one groaning, sitting all slumped in your chair calling me all kinds of fun expletives.

Quit complaining. If the worst thing you have to do is peruse Pinterest for fashion ideas, shop for outfits that look amazing on you, research a bit on your brand and the photography that will support it, come into my studio for a gorgeous makeover and be a model for a day, then….yes, you got it.

“I am SO un-photogenic!!!!” ” I HATE getting my photo taken!!!” “I would rather eat glass than be photographed!!!”

I’ve heard it all. Save it. I’ve been doing this for 12 years. If I sucked at it, I would’ve been out of business years ago. And I can’t even lie about my work! It’s ALL OVER THE INTERNET for you to see!

So let’s recap: You own your own business and want to be successful and maintain that success. In order to do that, you have to remain constant with, and even ahead of, the trends, stay relevant, be findable and stay ahead of your competition. In order to do that, you must be consistent with social media so that you are on everyone’s lips, while being interesting, unique and visually present. I am a photographer that is trained to help you do all of that, all of the time, and I don’t suck. Not only do I not suck, I’m actually good at what I do and specialize in pain and agony-free photography.

Your daily dose of Tough Love has been delivered. ‘Nuff said.Pittsburgh Head Shot Personal Branding Photographer-37Pittsburgh Head Shot Personal Branding Photographer-36Pittsburgh Head Shots-1Pittsburgh Head Shots-2Pittsburgh Head Shots-6Pittsburgh Head Shots-7Pittsburgh Head Shots-8Pittsburgh Head Shots-9Pittsburgh Head Shots-10Pittsburgh Head Shots-11Makeovers by At Home Beauty.

Is 2018 YOUR Year? | Personal Branding | Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Personal Branding Head Shot Photographer-5Wow have I gotten a lot of questions about personal branding since that ball dropped down. This is really exciting and here’s why: you’re all starting to realize the difference between head shots and actual, real branding for your businesses. Cuz, you know…there is a HUGE difference. Your brand isn’t just what you’re selling; your brand is an extension of who you are, what you stand for and believe in, your style, your aesthetic, your look and your feel. It’s all of you, in one glance.

And this is YOUR year to show 2018 who’s boss.Pittsburgh Personal Branding-3

If you are as excited as I am about the clean slate and promise of something new that New Year’s Eve brings, then you should be just as excited about amping up your brand, or even giving your brand an entire makeover. Ahem…and that’s where I come in….

Women are becoming entrepreneurs faster than any other time. This is both so incredible and so heavy. We are making history, ladies, and that just makes me want to dance a jig. But…this also means you have a lot of competition and you have to do whatever it is you have to do to make potential clients connect with you emotionally, and feel a sense of trust and comfort, with one glance at your site, blog, social media and your photographs. And you need to make this happen before it happens with your closest competitor. Nothing like a little pressure to get your day moving, right?Pittsburgh Personal Branding Head Shot Photographer-4

If this seems like a daunting task, it shouldn’t. Revamping your brand is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to reach your audience faster, more productively and with the most amount of bang for your buck. Wanna know why? Because it’s visual. You’ve been on those websites that are almost all words, right? With some teeny, tiny little photograph of either an older than dirt photo of the owner, or worse, a photo of some kind of cartoon of what they are selling. Raise your hand if you’re willing to dig through mounds and piles of wordy text to get the simple info you’re looking for: the service/product and price? *crickets* *crickets* Yep. That’s what I thought.Pittsburgh Personal Branding Head Shot Photographer-3

When a potential client clicks on your site or social media, most of what they should see are photographs. Photographs of you, what you’re selling, details of your brand. These photographs should have a consistent and lovely look with a clean and consistent palette that represents your brand and personality. These photos and visuals should make your potential clients want to see more. Just type in “social media styling” and you will see that there are entire businesses dedicated to styling just your social media! There is a reason for this, folks. It’s because we’re starting to learn how important visual aesthetics are in terms of selling. I can’t tell you how many times I clicked on a site and right back off because it was messy, cluttered, too wordy and just not visually appealing. That one look tells me if you’ve got style, a bit about your personality, if you’re focused, and most importantly, if I connect with you and trust that you know whatever it is you’re selling better than the next gal, and you know what you’re talking about. That’s just one glance.Pittsburgh Personal Branding Head Shot Photographer-1

So, 2018 is here. It has just begun, and with alllllll the excitement and promises of a new beginning. This is your chance to really make this year your year. If you’re thinking to yourself, “I have enough gorgeous and awesome photographs of myself and my products/services to display on my completely up-to-date and current website.” Then move on. You don’t need me. If that statement does not describe your current branding situation, and you’re still questioning whether you need a personal branding session, I have one question for you: How’s that working out for you?

When you’re ready, I’m right here.
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Why Do You Need Personal Branding?

Pittsburgh Personal Branding Headshots Photographer-10That’s a great question that I find myself answering to potential clients all the time. Most the of the time, clients come to me thinking they only need a head shot or maybe 2 at the most. However, I love helping my clients have a few of those “lightbulb moments” when considering their professional photos and I thought I’d share a few with you.

What is the difference between head shots and personal branding? Easy. Head shots are exactly what you think they are: very simple, uncluttered professional photos of the subject, approximately from the belly button up to the head, sometimes just a shoulder-to-head shot. Do I do this? Yes, but I do it my way and it definitely does not look like your mom’s corporate photo. Personal branding, on the other hand, is just that: personal. It also aligns with the brand you are trying to attach to yourself. For Jennifer Lopez, it’s sexy, musical, fashion and cool. For Martha Stewart it’s cooking, baking and home and hearth. When you think of those 2 names you have an instant “personality” that comes to mind. That’s their personal brand. If you’re an entrepreneur, that’s an incredibly important element to have in your daily messages and visuals.

Personal branding helps potential clients connect with you emotionally before they even meet you. That’s dollars in the bank, my friend.

Yes, I do this. In fact, I do this about 95% of the time over head shots. I have clients that come in once, some that come in one time a year and others that hire me to be their personal branding photographer all year long. That last type of client is the smartest, by the way. They get it. They know you have to stay current and relevant and in order to do that, you have to keep up with your visuals. It’s do or die.

I really only need one head shot for my site. What am I supposed to do with all of these other photos?? OK–come closer to me. Closer….clooooooooser….*slap*! That’s me giving you a cyber slap on your head. Number one, you can never have too many photos of yourself when it comes to your business. No, you don’t just need a photo for your website. You need to change that photo out regularly. You need to have several photos of yourself doing different things relating to what you’re selling throughout your website so people think they are getting to know you. You need to have photos for your blog, Facebook page, Instagram and all the other social media sites you connect your business to like Linkedin. Do you send out newsletters? Holiday newsletters? Do you have digital or hardcopy brochures? Do you send out holiday cards? Are you placing an ad digitally or in hard copy format? Do you have events that you host during the year? If you answered yes to even 3 of these things then you need a variety of photos of yourself in a personal way to get your clients to connect with you. Period.

Have you ever changed your Facebook profile photo? What happens when you do that? For me, I get inundated with comments and “likes”. So, every once in a while when my engagement is starting to dip, I change my profile photo and instantly I’m famous. Try it. You’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. And this is just one example of what you should be doing to keep yourself relevant and on everyone’s lips.

How do I know what my brand is? You think about what you’re trying to sell and if you were your own client, what would you want the person selling that product or service to you to be like or look like? What personality or character traits would you want that person to have? What hobbies would that person have and what would her business and personal life look like? Nine times out of 10 that’s going to be your personality and character traits anyway. I mean, if you love building cars you are likely not going to open a bakery. Get what I’m saying? So it’s not nearly as confusing as you think to figure out your brand.

How do I know how to bring out my brand in my personal branding photography? You may have terrific ideas on how to do that, you may not. If you do, we collaborate and come up with a brilliant plan that works for you. If you don’t, I work that out with you and we go from there. Either way, I’m on your team and I know how to nail this stuff down, and I’m good at it. I got your back.

How do I find out more information or set up a session with you? You can contact me at elizabethcraig@me.com and we will make magic.

Personal Branding is what they say about you when you leave the room. What will they say about you?Pittsburgh Personal Branding Headshots Photographer-2Pittsburgh Personal Branding Headshots Photographer-11Pittsburgh Personal Branding Headshots Photographer-6Pittsburgh Personal Branding Headshots Photographer-5Pittsburgh Personal Branding Headshots Photographer-3Pittsburgh Personal Branding Headshots Photographer-4Pittsburgh Personal Branding Headshots Photographer-8Pittsburgh Personal Branding Headshots Photographer-7Makeover by At Home Beauty.

Branding Yourself in a Personal Way – Pittsburgh Personal Branding Photographer

Personal Branding Head Shots Pittsburgh-6Long gone are the head shots of the past. Well, ok…they’re still around but let’s ignore them enough that they’re shamed into disappearing forever. Who’s with me?

I have said before that we women are storytellers at heart and that’s how we reach each other (that and starting a phone chain when there’s a good sale at Nordstrom). We bond by becoming personal with one another. Ever have that “friend” that you just can’t break that barrier with? They don’t share, they don’t let their guard down and they just won’t let you past their cozy exterior, simply brick-walling you from ever getting to know them, truly. On the other side of that, ever been out doing something and strike up a random conversation with a random woman and before you know it, you’re sitting at a coffee shop trading tears about something you have in common that you just had to share with each other? You’ve been there, I know it. And maybe not this story exactly, but some version of it.

It’s because we crave personal, intimate, deep conversation about one another. Why? Because inherently we women want to know we are not alone. Our struggles are completely different than men’s and that’s why, even if your husband is your absolute most bestestestestest friend, he can’t be everyone and everything to you…hence your gal pals.

This goes for purchasing material goods, vacations, experiences…you name it. Women are more likely to buy something or an experience if there is a story they can relate to when searching for that purchase. We want to feel something, and that is a really really good thing…it’s what makes us women.

So, it’s no surprise that “head shots” have now morphed into what we now know as “personal branding”. Did you notice I didn’t call it “professional branding”? We know that’s what it really is, but “personal” is the key term here. If you read any of what I wrote above, you know exactly why.

And you know what? I’m good at it. I’m really good at bringing a personal touch to my photography. Funny, happy, sultry, powerful, seductive. For personal branding, it’s a matter of catching someone’s true personality and (hopefully) emanating a sense of trust when you see the person in the photo.

Even if you don’t know this woman in these photos, she looks fun, down to earth, professional yet personable. She looks like you and me, and that makes her real to you. If you’re trying to sell something or trying to get people to buy whatever experience you’re offering, this is so important.

And can I tell you, I love this. When I buy a major purchase (or even little purchases at times) or an experience, I want to know the person on the other end not only understands me, but is going to care about my purchase from them and take care of me.

I’d like to think when women come to me, this is how they feel about me. It’s a little easier for me to get this across to women because my job is visual and, for my blog, written. For most folks, you get one shot when someone sees your photograph and is deciding on whether to choose you or the woman/guy in the photo next to you.

Wanna leave that to your iPhone selfie? I think not…Personal Branding Head Shots Pittsburgh-2Personal Branding Head Shots Pittsburgh-5Personal Branding Head Shots Pittsburgh-1Personal Branding Head Shots Pittsburgh-4Personal Branding Head Shots Pittsburgh-3Makeover by At Home Beauty.

Wood + Soul | Personal Branding Session | Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Personal Branding Sessions | Head Shots | Elizabeth Craig Photography-1Does wood have a soul? That was a question that John asked our subject on this day: John Malecki, owner of JM Custom Builds. I think you’re really going to like his answer, which you can listen to in the film below. Just in case you didn’t know, John used to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but now spends his time designing, creating and building custom furniture….you have to see his work; it’s truly phenomenal.

Our day with John was pretty cool. We started at his shop getting some action in both still photography and film, then headed over to our studio to capture a few more. All in all it was a fantastic way to spend a day!

If you’re looking to update your branding, we do that. Contact us for more information on our Personal Branding packages. elizabethcraig@me.com

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