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How Brand Photography Can Elevate Your Small Business

How Brand Photography Can Elevate Your Small Business

If you have an online presence, no matter if you’re a life coach, a dog trainer, a yoga instructor, or maybe you teach online-marketing strategies like I do, having professional, branded, and lifestyle photos can massively up-level your business, especially when you know when and where to use them.

Amy Porterfield

Podcast 281

Are you a life coach or a yoga instructor?

Maybe you’re an artist, a coffee shop owner or a craft beer brewer.  

Perhaps you are a chiropractor or a real estate agent. 

Do you know what all of them, and all of us have in common? We are all entrepreneurs. We are all small business owners, and we are all trying to reach our ideal clients. 

So how do we do that? We show up. We show up on-line and we stop the scroll to grab their attention. We build a know-like-trust factor, so one day they will transition from follower to customer. 

Brand photography is an investment in our business.

It gets us away from stock photos so we are showcasing our products or services.

A lifestyle brand photography session gives you creative images in your environment. That may be the neighbourhood coffee shop where you write your blog. Your home office or clinic. Your kitchen or . . .   

 

Where can you use brand photography images?

Anywhere your business could use an updated look and a little (of may be lot) of personalization? How about:

  • your social media profile pictures
  • your social media posts
  • your custom graphics
  • your website home page
  • your website About page
  • your e-commerce site
  • your business card
  • your freebie offer
  • your newsletter
  • your thank you page
  • your blog
  • LinkedIn articles
  • your podcast graphic
  • your workshop presentations
  • the Facebook ads for your workshop
  • the headshot you submit as a guest on someone else’s blog, workshop or podcast

 

How do you know if you should update your brand photography?

Is your current headshot as a beach blond or a flaming red head but you let your natural hair colour grow out over Covid19?

Is your headshot cropped out of a group picture with phantom shoulders alongside?

Were the staff photos on your website taken under office fluorescent lights and have a colourcast?

Has your office changed from downtown to down the hall with a change in workspace?

Have you recently transitioned from a corporate day job to an at home entrepreneur with a change in life-style?

You need a change!

What are you waiting for?

I waited years for my first photo shoot. I like to be behind the camera, not in front of it. But I’ll be real, I am glad I did it. I didn’t wait to lose 10 pounds; or pretend I’d one day look 5 years younger! I got a gallery of maybe 2 dozen photos, 3 or 4 of them I use on a regular basis.

So are ready for yours?

I have 3 packages from a mini refresh, to the seasonal retainer, and that one  in the middle that could be just right! I talked more in depth about them in “How Brand Photography Can Boost Your Small Business Online.”

When you’re ready, Let’s chat! Book a free consultation.

A special shout out to my featured clients, Nicole Osmond & Kathy Colaiacovo

Thank you, Allison, for the amazing experience I had doing my first ever professional photoshoot. It has been one of the best investments I have made into my business, and my personal brand. As a self employed professional I needed current and authentic images that captured the real me. Thanks to your guidance and skill, I now have a collection of images I use for a variety of purposes for my business. And I no longer cringe when I have to share a head shot because I have current images that I’m proud of. Hooray!!! Thank you!

Nicole Osmond

Customer Success Coach, Nicole Osmond Consulting

Allison did a brand photography shoot for me and my business and OMG! It was the best! I now have a slew of photos I can use on my website, in social media, even ads for my business. I will be rebooking for a spring shoot too in order to get more pics to use – especially in the social media arena. The images I post on Instagram always get more reach, reaction and traction than my standard memes and pics. She made the shoot so easy and was able to accomadate some of my thoughts and ideas to give me a portfolio of images that really reflect me and my brand.

Kathy Colaiacovo

Online Marketing Strategist, PepperIt Marketing

Is Your Customer Avatar Best Representing Your Business?

Is Your Customer Avatar Best Representing Your Business?

“In marketing, an avatar is a little fiction that helps us understand who our ideal customers are so can more easily find them”. DeVries, H. Forbes, Sept, 2019

Have you identified your Ideal Customer Avatar?

Over the course of world events that hit us in 2020, there has been a shift in this avatar. Previously we spent a lot of time and energy trying to define that one person we want to speak to. Our voice addressed the 1 ideal customer (IC) that would resonate with all others that filled our niche. Our I.C. should recognize themselves or their pain points in our messaging.

For instance, my ideal client was Cindy. She has a little bit of gypsy in her, travelling whenever she can. A GenX small business owner with teenagers just entering college, but she is not quite an empty nester. She understands the importance of a social media presence for her business, and fresh photos to continually support it, but does not want to deal with it herself. She would much rather spend her weekends kayaking or going to a music festival then planning a content calendar. 

I had never given Cindy any specific appearance. She was neither a red head nor a brunette. She was neither black nor white. She was just Cindy. 

Then social injustice finally had a voice in America that screamed from the roof tops and took over the streets. This shift has affected attitudes and outlooks even here, north of the border. 

So I ask you this one question about your marketing avatar.

What is your I.C?

  • Ideal Customer
  • Ideal Client
  • Ideal Community

There is no right or wrong, but have you recently stopped to considered which is best for you? An ideal customer (product based) or client (service based) is an individual focus. You create a persona of traits, habits, maybe even geography to target. The voice and images you use on your social media and website speak directly to a singular identity.

An ideal community is more diverse. More inclusive. When building my Ideal Community I thought of sitting at a networking lunch. I make the presumption that since we are all at such an event together, these are people with a common goal. If I narrow down this entire room to just the 5 other people at my table, what do I see?

Make this an exercise for yourself. Next time you are on a group zoom call, really pay attention to the community you are in. What are the difference you can visibly see?

  • Race
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Mobility

What are some differences you can’t always see? 

  • Marital Status
  • Religion
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Identity

While these are not typically topics we need to bring directly into the conversation (unless they fit our business plan), they are absolutely areas of consideration in the voice we use.

I won’t tell you how, I will just ask you to be considerate of it. To find diversity and inclusion as part of your message. If you struggle with this, let me know, I am sure I can refer you to someone with the experience and expertise beyond myself.

 

Social Media Calendar to Post with Purpose

Social Media Calendar to Post with Purpose

How to keep a social media content plan every month.

  

I struggled to keep a plan. I struggled to post with purpose. 

I don’t like spreadsheets.

Earlier this year when I was first staring out I wanted a calendar template that gave me a way to put my social media schedule down on paper. There were lots out there, but none really fit what I wanted for my business. So I made my own Social Media Calendar.

I wanted it to include;

  • Categories to customize talking points for my ideal customer
  • Canadian & social holidays
  • pre-plotted Days of the Year

 

This week I launched the sequel, and I am sharing it with you! This free download includes 12 curated months with instructions & tips, plus my actual December 2020 calendar as a sample.

sample social media content calendar

 

How to plan a month of social media in 1 hour

  1. Start with the ideas already plotted and determine which you can create content around.
  2. Create your 6 categories, and fill the remaining days
  3. Indicate topics of discussion
  4. Plan photos, graphics & captions
  5. Plan hashtags where appropriate
  6. Use a scheduling site to complete your posts and batch schedule multiple posts

 To pull together all your pre-planned content, use a document (or spreadsheet) to write out your complete story, note your accompanying images and any other relevant details such as hashtags or links.

 Remember:

  • This is a template. It is meant to be fluid, not set in stone.
  • It is not necessary to post every day or all content on every channel.
  • Be strategic about when & where you post, based on your audience of each channel.

Have a consistent plan. Reach your ideal customer. Post With Purpose

 

Download today!

 

I would love your feedback. How did this calendar work for you? How didn’t it? Do you have ideas, suggestions, questions. Let me know below, or contact me directly.

 

 

How Brand Photography Can Boost Your Small Business Online.

How Brand Photography Can Boost Your Small Business Online.

Is Your Brand Photography a Pink Shag Rug?

This is a prime time to roll out your new personal brand.

One day you walk into a room, give it a quick once over, and realize it is way out dated. Maybe it is the wallpaper, or the fixtures, or the pink shag rug.

When was the last time you took that same once over to your brand? With all the time we are working from home, learning to pivot, and trying new things, this is a perfect time for your small businesses digital marketing make-over.

So, how are you showing up online? Here are a few things to consider. Let’s start with the obvious.

 

1 Personal Brand Photography

Brand photography showcases you in your element. These pictures tend to go beyond the traditional headshot. Brand photography lets your customers get a sense of who you are, and what you do. It should give a hint of your personality, your style and who you want to attract to your business.

When was the last time you had a brand photography session? Does your profile picture on social media or your website really look like you still. Let’s not even get into weight or age.  If your current picture has you with short blonde hair, but now you are a long haired brunette, would a new customer recognize you?

 

2. Photography for Social Media

brand photography for service business

 

A brand photo shoot is the best way to show up on social media as yourself. Get away from stock photos and showcase elements of you and your business. Tell your story with behind the scenes details of what you do day-to-day.

A collection of photos can create a consistent social media presence so you are posting with purpose.

 

3 Photography of your staff and workplace

When there is more to your business then just you, everyone should represent your business with consistency. Do all the photos have a cohesive look, or are they a mishmash of submitted selfies.

Are the photos clear, sharp and professional? Are they colour balanced?

Has your staff had any turn-over? Are the new people represented on your website or social media sites.

Should you be making clients aware of the protocols you have in place to keep them safe and healthy.

 

4 Photography of your products or services

If you sell a product, feature YOUR product!

  • show the different options it comes in
  • how can it be used
  • how you made it!

For example, if you are a dresser maker, let’s have you

  • drawing your sketches
  • pinning fabric
  • sewing the design
  • hanging the dress in your shop

Tell it’s story

If you sell a service, DO that.

  • see the client
  • talk on the phone
  • sit at your computer
  • hold your camera
Branding photography for business coach

 

Maybe it is time to look into your next (or first!) brand photography shoot. Get rid of that pink shag rug, and bring in something clean, fresh and new. 

Not sure where to start? Dandelion Digital has a brand photography package that can work for every small business. As a professional photographer, I can create the photos to help bring your brand to today’s standards. As a social media consultant, I can give you the tips to make sure you are showing up to attract your ideal customer. 

Send me a quick email and let’s see if we can help you post with purpose through photography & social media. 

Strategies to Optimize Your Social Media Videos Using Your Smartphone

Strategies to Optimize Your Social Media Videos Using Your Smartphone

Many of us use our phones to take pictures and videos so that we can immediately upload to our favourite social media site, or even go live! Why is it important to create your smartphone video the right way?

Tips to use your Smartphone for Video

More than 75% of all video views come from mobile devices

The main thing to keep in mind is the dimension of the platform you are posting to.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube may have a variance in audiences, but they all have one thing in common. They are all primarily a horizontal, or landscape platform. Think of a movie screen! Photos and videos both fill the same space.

It has become the trend to hold our phone vertically. It tends to works best if we are talking on FaceTime, taking a selfie, or posting a Story. But be aware if that is the best format for your digital marketing.

Video for Social Media

Understanding the best practises of each platforms ensures your viewers are seeing the video you create as intended. If you are planning a video for a Facebook Story or an Instagram Story, Reel or IGTV, shoot vertically according to its format.

If you are posting a video within your feed, hold your phone horizontally so it can be seen in the posts. A great way to share your videos on social media is do it directly from YouTube.

YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google.

Create a YouTube account through Google.

  • upload your video
  • add a title, tags, and other information to help it be searchable.
  • Copy and share the link into your post on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
  • set to autoplay to help create the impulse to stop and watch, gaining more views

iPhone do's and don't for video

Optimize Your Videos on Social Media

This video on Twitter via @HockeyCanada can not be fully seen until you click on the video to play it. The thumbnail is cut because it is a vertical video on a horizontal platform.

For the casual user who is all about the selfies, and the Likes, being concerned with various sizes that best optimizes a picture may not matter. For those of us who look to social media to impact our business, or the business of a client, it is an important factor to understand.

Are you using the proper image size for the best results on your social media platforms? Need a hand making sure your photos or videos are optimized for your social media? Send me a quick email, and let’s chat about how you are showing up on social media.


Sources:

feature image Photo by alex bracken on Unsplash

quoted stats: Stancheva, T, TechJury (July, 2020) “24 Noteworthy Video Consumption Statistics [2020 Edition]” https://techjury.net/blog/video-consumption-statistics/#gref

screenshot: Twitter for iphone @HockeyCanada (2019, June 18) https://twitter.com/HockeyCanada/status/1141052646947577856

Photo Cheats for Social Media

Photo Cheats for Social Media

What are the best photo sizes for social media?

As a photographer, utilizing social media is a must. 

Must do. Must know how. 

Not all photographers use the same platforms. No one uses all the same social media platforms. As content creators we pick and choose the platform(s) that is best suited to our audience. For instance, a business such as a law firm may find LinkedIn and Twitter works best for them to connect with the corporate crowd. A daycare may prefer Facebook Pages and Instagram. An artist or caterer may prefer Instagram and Pinterest. A fundraiser may use Facebook to take advantage of their Events and Groups. 

Businesses, entrepreneurs, and events will all utilize social media to find their audience, through one, or several channels. The common denominator of social media is that it is visual. You may have written the best story ever, but chances are it will get passed by if the photo does not catch the eye and make someone stop scrolling and start reading. 

Size Does Matter

Each social media platform has its own formula for image sizes.

Photo size cheats for social media

For a quick visual, I put together a quick chart to display the optimized photo sizes for some of the most used social media platforms for business. You can see that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are very similar, and really could use the same size image without issue. However, even at a quick glance, you can see the difference with Instagram being a square format and Stories and Pinterest being vertical, or portrait mode.

Website sizes may be specific too. WordPress lists it’s feature photo size at 1200 x 628px, same as Facebook. If you use a theme though you may want to double check if they differ. This sites theme uses 1080×608 px so I had to set my chart with a custom size in order for it to display as intended.

DSRL or Smartphone?

I use my iPhone constantly for social media, but as a professional photographer I have a DSLR. That’s a digital single lens reflex camera body that allows for interchangeable lenses. To post on-line, whether it be a website gallery, on-line blog, or social media, I will need to resized for optimum display.

A full resolution image from a DSLR should never posted on-line. It is likely that it won’t even upload.

For instance, I recently took this photo at Hopewell Rocks. If I want to hang it on my living room wall, I would print it at full resolution. From my camera that is 7360 pixels. To post it on my Facebook I need to reduce that to 1200 pixels.

Using Adobe Photoshop I am able to change the pixel dimensions. That took the photo from over 100MB to 2.75 MB. You can not see the difference but look at the preview window. The first shows full res where only a tiny portion of the full image is visible, The second preview shows the full image, with space around it, but the picture itself is still crisp and clear.

For faster loading speed it is recommended images be uploaded at smaller that 1MB (1000kb) so I saved the photo at a quality of 10 (Maximum is 12) for a final photo size of 397kb. Perfect!

I would love to hear from you if you think Dandelion Digital can help you with optimizing your photos for social media. Send me a quick email