Why You Should Invest in Professional Photography (And How to Get Your Money’s Worth)Jun 27, 2023
Hot take—free imagery and iPhone pictures can only get you so far. There’s simply no substitute for high-quality photography. If you’re trying to decide if investing in a brand shoot is worth it, here’s my advice to you. Bite the bullet. Pay the money. You’ll be glad you did!
Several years ago, I started prioritizing professional photography, and I’ve never looked back. Awesome photos elevate the work I do. From social media assets and marketing collateral to my LinkedIn profile and website, there are so many ways I’m able to use and reuse my images. So, the investment just makes sense to me. Even though a full brand shoot can be expensive, I get every cent’s worth.
That said, I’ve learned how to prepare for shoots and use the time well so that I can maximize my investment. An experienced photographer, like one of my go-to pros Stacey Gardin, helps a lot! Whether you’re finally pulling the trigger on that team photoshoot or you’re just sitting for a professional headshot, follow these tips to make the most of your photography budget.
1. Plan ahead.
You wouldn’t walk into a speaking engagement with no idea what you’re going to say. The same should be true of your photoshoot. Treat it almost as you would a wedding or conference day. Know exactly what shots you need, where you plan to shoot, what outfits you’ll wear, and a timeline for the day. (Great photographers will guide you through these decisions, so it’s not all up to you!)
It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re clear on how your photographer works. For example, how long will it take for you to receive your gallery? Will you own the rights to the digital gallery? Is editing or retouching included in the price of your session? These are all important questions to have answered well before you show up on shoot day.
2. Account time for changing locations and outfits.
When you’re thinking through your timeline, make sure to include plenty of buffer time, especially if you’ll be shooting more than one location, person, or outfit. (See point 1!) Base your timeline on what you think is realistic, rather than the best-case scenario. More often than not, things take a little longer than you expect.
If you do plan to change outfits, be sure to consider seasonality. If you want your photos to be as timeless as possible, avoid wearing things like thick jackets, sweaters, and tank tops which all bring to mind a particular season. Also, think through how the colors and patterns of your team’s outfits will look together before your big day to make those quick wardrobe changes that much quicker.
3. Get lots of different team combinations.
Unless you plan to do a new photoshoot every time someone joins or leaves your team, always be sure to get shots of many different groups of people. For instance, you might get a couple of photos of just partners, a shot or two of each team unit, a whole group photo, and an individual headshot for each person. This variation will give you the flexibility to use your photos for all sorts of applications—from announcing someone’s promotion on LinkedIn to recruiting for a specific team within your company.
4. Consider the use case.
Make sure your photographer understands how you plan to use your new photos. Wanting to refresh your LinkedIn profile picture or website bio photo? Don’t forget to take a couple of headshots with light or neutral backgrounds. Also, consider the types of elements your photos might be paired with, like your logo. A bright orange background, for example, probably isn’t the best choice if your brand colors are muted cool tones.
Decide if it makes sense to get lots of wide shots, or if tighter shots are okay. I learned after my first big session that it was a good idea to ask my photographer to leave lots of white space around me in each shot. That way, my team and I have more flexibility for many different crops.
5. Don’t make a dramatic change.
This probably goes without saying, but remember that you want your photos to look like you. How do your clients, partners, or customers experience you in a normal workday? If you’re not a suit person, stick with your usual button-down or blouse. And remember, this is not the time for a daring hairstyle or funky makeup. Keep with what you know and save the bold fashion choices for another day.
There are endless ways to use your new photos. Think snazzy new email signature, professional business card, or polished website. If you’re not sure, start with a small shoot and notice how even a few fresh team shots can make your online presence feel more polished.
Visual imagery is one of the best ways to make your LinkedIn profile sparkle. If you plan to take your LinkedIn profile up a notch with professional photography, allow me to help. With The Profile Transformer™, I’ll take care of all the details you need to revamp your profile. I can even suggest which shots from your photoshoot would be best suited to LinkedIn. Together, we’ll make sure your profile conveys just how capable and personable you are in real life.