What is a personal brand?

“A brand is a story that resonates” according to branding expert David Brier. He continues “If you don’t give the market the story to talk about, they’ll define your brand’s story for you.” Brand awareness isn’t only for businesses though. Your personal brand works the same way.

Intentional personal branding is taking control of your reputation and telling your story in a ways that resonate. Prevent unwanted misunderstandings or assumptions about who you are. Help the market get your story right.

Calgary Photographer specializing in personal brand photography

Personal Brand Photography

Not all portraits are personal brand photography. “A brand is a story that resonates” so if the image doesn’t resonate it’s not doing work to build your brand. However, resonating is only one part of being intentional with your brand. If you’re not strategic your brand will resonate with your audience in ways you don’t want it to.

Unprofessional headshots on LinkedIn can tell your audience you’re unprofessional, and that the quality of work you do might be equivalent to the quality they’re seeing of you in that image. No image at all? That can tell your audience that you don’t see projects through, or maybe that you’re not tech savvy enough to figure out basic social platforms. Most people are not sitting around scrolling to intentionally attack strangers on social media (some are but not the ones we care about). However the human brain is always trying to subconsciously solve puzzles using clues.

Expression and mood in your image that connects will leave as lasting an impression as if you were to have a conversation with someone.

Categorizing is a strategy the brain uses to optimize memory. We’ve all seen this with the exercises of memorizing a list of words right? And how making the words relate to each other or form a story significantly improves the word recognition? This strategy of grouping also means if your image reminds them of someone else they may group you together. Or if it reminds them of a trait, they may associate you with that trait.

Personal brand photography can use this information to encourage your audience to group you with the traits you authentically feel and want to be known for.

Can this be used for evil?

I’m sure you can think of examples where people have tried. However, our goal is to help your real story be told, by exploring your passions and the change you hope to make in the world.

According to Seth Godin Familiarity is the laughing pad of trust. Your image is just one piece of your personal brand. It’s to connect you to find your people in the world, the people who care about the same things you do. But this only happens if it works to build trust and that only happens if it’s really you.

Should I copy the style of the people I admire?

Come on now, you already know the answer to this is no. Your life is like art. Be inspired by others, without trying to copy them. Greatness paves the way for others to continue the work, not replicate it. The first person to do something on TikTok might go viral. The 800th person who copies them will likely only have views from their friends.

The foundation of great personal brand photography isn’t gimmicky either though. It should be in subtleties that connect with your audience and make them feel something. Most often the connection in great personal brand portraits is in the eyes. Eyes that tell a story are achieved through skilled coaching that will make you forget that you’re in front of a camera. Instead of rehearsed or terrified eyes the passion of your purpose shines through.

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