Austin is no small town anymore. If you’re an entrepreneur in Austin looking for success in this city where innovation and creativity intersect, then it’s time to book your personal branding shoot. It’s a fundamental aspect of professional success. As individuals navigate the competitive landscape of industries ranging from tech startups to creative agencies, it’s important to distinguish yourself, your message, and your brand.  This is where personal branding photography steps in, serving as a powerful tool to convey not just what you do, but who you are.

Never fear, I’m here to be your Austin personal branding photography guide – I’ve got all the dos and don’ts that can make or break your visual representation in the local market. From defining your brand identity to selecting the perfect backdrop, I can assure you that with me at the helm you will always have actionable strategies to ensure your personal brand shines bright, bold, and with lots of color.

Not sure what a personal branding shoot is?  It’s basically just a fancy term for lifestyle headshots that are carefully crafted and planned to showcase the faces on your team, the individuality of what you do, and the types of services you offer people. Branding photos builds a foundation that builds trust and credibility with your audience and targets potential clients. For example, I recently photographed a personal brand shoot for Reno-based SendCutSend, who also has offices in Austin, TX and Paris, KY, which does online ordering of laser cut materials that are made in the USA and shipped directly to the consumer – fast.  They are, in fact, so fast that many times clients do not believe they are a USA company. They wanted to showcase their team, what they do, and the volume of orders they fulfill on a daily basis.

Much like SendCutSend, personal branding photos can set you apart from your competitors and position you as a trustworthy authority in your field.

Austin Personal branding Photography
Austin Personal Branding Session

Regardless of where you do business, personal branding photography offers a wealth of benifits outside of setting yourself apart from your competiton. It also arms you with a suite of custom imagery for marketing, new releases, press requests, and, if you are a large enough company, internal marketing. Images that showcase what makes your company great to work for and your vibrant company culture is a wonderful asset to have in your arsenal.

Consider the lifestyle images I did for the Austin office of Sensory Interactive, who wanted team headshots that represented their personality and lifestyle images in their office to use for recruitment purposes.  By authentically showcasing their distinct aesthetic and perspective, they attract clients who appreciated their creativity and vision, setting them apart as a sought-after talent in the industry.

Austin Custom Brand Photographer
Austin lifestyle Photographer

A strong personal brand has the power to elevate individuals from mere professionals to recognized authorities and thought leaders in their field. Through consistent storytelling, valuable content, and strategic positioning, personal branding enables individuals to showcase their expertise and insights.  SendCutSend owner Jim Belosic said he chose me as his personal branding photographer because I was the only photographer he came across that talked about sales, marketing, and branding. Don’t hire just anyone to do your Austin personal branding photography session – hire someone who understands the business goals you have in mind, the message you want to convey, and the end use of your images.  This will help ensure that your photoshoot is tailored to your needs, specific and effecient, and, ultimately, provides you with images that are effective. If you want to propel to the forefront of your field, you need a plan.

Lesley Aluffi, a skin care technician and salon owner, had no images that conveyed her services or herself.  She started with a basic 2 hour session to get a handle on her basic needs for a website redesign.  We managed to take head shots of her, along with photos of her services, her space, models utilizing her waiting area and shopping, as well as products in a 2 hour period that are going to build a solid foundation on which to determine what other images would be useful for her marketing message.

The Dos of Austin Personal Branding Photography

  1. Define Your Brand Identity

Before stepping in front of my camera, it’s essential that you have a clear understanding of your brand identity. This goes beyond just knowing what you do; it’s about defining the essence of who you are and what sets you apart. Take the time to reflect on your values, passions, and unique selling points. By articulating your brand message and values, you’ll be able to provide me with a solid foundation for your personal branding photoshoot.

  1. Choose the Right Location

In a city as vibrant and diverse as Austin, the backdrop you choose can speak volumes about your brand personality. Whether it’s the sleek urban skyline, the lush greenery of Zilker Park, the grittiness of the east side, or the eclectic charm of South First Street, selecting a location that aligns with your brand aesthetic is key. Regardless of your intentions, I can help you find a location for you that will resonate with your target audience and gel with your personality. Looking for a bright, clean, airy aesthetic?  Renting a space on Peerspace is the way to go!

  1. Work with a Professional Photographer

While smartphones may boast impressive camera capabilities, there’s no substitute for the expertise of a professional photographer. Investing in a skilled photographer not only guarantees professional-quality images but also brings a fresh perspective and creative vision to your branding journey. I mean, obviously this person should be me, but even if it’s not, don’t forget that a skilled photographer is adept at thinking about the ways you can boost sales and amplify your marketing messages with a variety of images, and often, ones that you didn’t consider you needed.

  1. Incorporate Authenticity

In the age of social media and curated feeds, authenticity has emerged as a prized commodity. Authenticity breeds trust and fosters genuine connections with your audience. When planning your Austin personal branding photoshoot, strive to capture moments that reflect the real you—the quirks, imperfections, and all. Avoid the temptation to portray a polished facade; instead, embrace the authenticity that makes you uniquely you. In the session, this manifests itself as lots of queues to get moving – dancing, laughing, twirling, etc.  Think of it like play – sometimes it’s the frames in between the start and the end that really show off your personality.

5. Showcase Your Personality

Your personal brand is an extension of your personality, so don’t be afraid to let it shine through in your photos. Inject elements of your interests, hobbies, and passions into the shoot if that’s relevant, infusing it with personality and charm. Whether it’s showcasing your love for music, outdoor adventures, or restaurants (or wine!), incorporating personal touches adds depth and authenticity to your brand narrative.

Austin Personal branding Photography
Austin Personal branding Photography

The Donts of Austin Personal Branding Photography

1. Avoid Overly Staged Poses

As a photographer, I’m consistently striving to make people comfortable and keep them from being stiff and overly posed.  I like to keep people moving, give them cues that help with this, and ultimately, help you get natural and relaxed expressions that capture the essence of who you are. Honestly, this process is completely different with every personality and part of what I think makes me exceptional with people is an ability to read personalities and adapt my strategies to fit your needs and desires and comfort level. I thank a decade of retail for this skill.

Tips for achieving relaxed and authentic poses:

    • Focus on fluid movements and genuine emotions rather than forced poses.
    • Engage in activities or interactions that evoke natural expressions and gestures.
    • Work with your photographer to capture candid moments that reflect your personality and brand identity
Austin Personal branding Photography

2. Steer Clear of Inconsistent Branding

Consistency is key to effective personal branding, both in messaging and visual presentation. Inconsistencies in branding elements, such as fonts, colors, and imagery, can confuse your audience and dilute the impact of your brand identity. Ensure that your personal branding photography aligns seamlessly with your overall brand aesthetic to convey a cohesive and unified image.

Example: I recently helped Austin based Baretto Bistro with a 2 hour Austin personal branding session where we captured their dishes, interiors, their owner and models enjoying the food.  Today, their marketing is looking far more consistent and attractive than it was 6 months ago and that’s a win-win.

3.  Avoid Distracting Backgrounds

Your choice of background can significantly impact the effectiveness of your personal branding photos. Distracting backgrounds, cluttered environments, or competing visual elements can detract attention from the primary subject – you!  Opt for backgrounds that complement your brand aesthetic and provide a cohesive backdrop for your personal branding imagery. While a great photographer can blur out those backgrounds, start with a location that fits your brand to begin with and your images are going to excel.  This also means cleaning and prepping your space if you’re going to use it to photograph in before your photo shoot – remove all clutter, anything with wires, and any elements in the room that aren’t needed for your message.

For midcentury modern furniture restorer Heidi Stanford of Modern Arc Midcentury, this meant moving objects out of her living spaces so that I could photograph furniture pieces for her website redesign.

Austin Personal branding Photography

Are you ready to level up in your business and stand out from the competition with your own Austin personal branding photography session? If so, contact me today!  I promise that by embracing authenticity, showing up across all your marketing channels with consistency, and some thoughtful execution and planning on our end, you can elevate their personal brand and reach your measurable and attainable goals. [Insert winky emoji here.]