1. Strategize your brand.
As you know, my job is to help "design your future."
Take a moment to write down where you are (present) and where you want to be (future).
The job of your legit media (and subsequent web presence) is to show and tell/sell this ideal, future version of you—to actually make that dream come true.
Beyond honestly brainstorming your brand/business/career through the lenses of present and future, I want you to brainstorm a list of your role models.
Make a list of 5-10 people whose lives, careers or businesses you admire.
2. Research for inspiration.
Now, I want you to search Google for each role model. Visit their websites and social media for how they're officially representing themselves today. Be sure to also visit Google Images for other photos of them. Save or screenshot a collection of images for each role model on your list.
When you've completed the list of role models, take a moment to visit your photographer's website, too. What work of theirs do you like? Save those images to your desktop, too!
3. Organize shot list/vision board
Now, it's time to look for similarities or trends.
You should be able to group many of these images and plan out a structure for your photo shoot—to show your team what you're looking for and exactly why you picked this photographer.
Get more than headshots. Aim for a portfolio. Literally, you're going to need...
- Profile Picture (Headshot)
- Cover Photos (Lifestyle Images)
- Social Posts (Lifestyle, Outtakes and Behind-the-Scenes)
Aim to have strategic indoor and/or outdoor looks, and go after photos with your future goals in mind.
4. Seek styling support.
All of the work on your brand/media/web presence is really about dressing for the job (or future) that you want.
As such, your appearance is important!
I recommend professional help with your wardrobe, hair and makeup. Show your team the images you've gathered as inspiration... but let them riff on these concepts and create something uniquely suited for you.
If you do style your own shoot, I'd recommend you trick your mind by pretending as if you're the professional shopping and styling your role models' next shoot—not your own.
Do make sure that you keep the tags/receipts from clothes that you purchase. (This way, you can return them... but you didn't learn that from me.)
5. Improv and have fun.
Remember this is a blueprint to help you get maximum results—a portfolio with a purpose.
Many people (including yours truly) have some phobias about getting in front of the camera. As such, don't be afraid to bring a friend, your own music playlist, take a shot of tequila... whatever it takes for you to "drop in" and just be yourself.
Do all of this preparation so that you can literally just have fun during your shoot! We want your unique light to shine through—genuine looks and smiles at the camera.
Who's your favorite photographer? Comment below!
Tony Howell is a digital strategist dedicated to helping you design your future—creating offline success from your online presence.