Is it time for your *first* real photo shoot?

110415_edit_indiefoundry_portfolio_043.jpg

Hello friends! 

I've been coaching a lot of folks recently about photo shoots and shaping their authentic brand personality to the world so I thought I'd share a bit about that with you all. Maybe you're about to build your first website, or you've decided it's time to begin posting on social media or maybe you're ready to release your very first product (yay!). While we can get away with our iPhones for our own personal instagram (unless you're selling your own personal brand) you will probably need to step up your game with photography if you're looking to create a compelling vision for your customers. 

First, why are photos important?
Photos tell a story that words just can't. They teach people what it will FEEL like to work with you or engage with you. They show people how to see your work in their homes or in their personal style. They inspire you to understand yourself a little bit more because you can see yourself from someone else's vantage point. Photos show you how the world sees you. Photos tell the story of your brand or your business or your products. Also, the world is a visually-rich place and if your website or social media can't compete, then you're not doing yourself any favors if you actually want to succeed.

How much should your first set of photos cost?
I'd say that your first photo shoot should be around $500. Do not have a friend do your first photos. Really hire someone legit, because spending money (investing) builds a ton of confidence and starts to teach you how to pay for things as a business owner. You must learn this sooner or later.

What is easier when you have better photos?
Selling to customers. Building a website. Consistently posting on social media. Getting media or collaborators to pay attention to you. The thing is, business is so much more fun when you have cool photos of yourself or your work. You'll be able to do a lot of the work you should be doing with much more fun and ease if you have kickass photos to use.

What sort of shoots should I be planning?
Well, we do a few types of shoots at Indie Foundry / Cleveland Flea depending on what we're planning to do with them. For your overall website you'll want a Brand Story Photo Shoot + Product/Service photos. Brand Story photos tell people who you are, and how you're different than others in your niche. It helps people decide if you're for them. Product / Service photos document more specifically the products and services you sell are all about. They show more specific detail about your products and services than your brand story photos would show. They tell about pieces, parts, processes, etc involved in your product / service. For products, it's super important that you do both detail shots in studio (great lighting and lots of angles) as well as Styled Shoots that show your ideal customer wearing your products. That's super effective at getting people to say YES to your brand. You'll also want some great headshots of you / your team, studio shots, process and photos that are of your actual ideal clients. 

How do you find the right photographer?
First, begin a pinterest board of photos that you love. Find websites and other brands that you like a lot. And then start looking for photographers on instagram that you really feel inspired by. Don't just have your cousin or uncle or stepsister take your photos to save money UNLESS they are also someone you'd hire for money. If you're just hiring them because they have a camera, it's not worth it. You want these photos to do work for you, so you want to make sure you've got the right photographer. Show them your style, and the pinterest board you've created. They'll probably ask a lot of questions and then provide you with a quote. You can tell them your ideal budget and take it from there.