You’re a business owner, and maybe you feel the time is looming for a new portrait.
Maybe you’re thinking it’s professional photography so it must be done in a studio with a white background.
But the studio look is too corporate, too bland and you’ll just blend in to your industry crowd. It doesn’t say anything about you.
And, hey, unless it’s done really, really well, white backgrounds are so 1990’s!
So you put off photography, all the while carrying on with pre-existing smart phone pictures or something that was taken three years ago, (accidentally) undermining your credibility.
Did you know your photography can be done on location?
- but maybe you don’t know which location would suit you
- and risk the generic park bench with greenery just because it looks ‘nice’
There are four ways you can get awesome portraits done on location:
The pictures here were all taken of business owners during a single day in Melbourne called The Real You Business Portrait Day.
For logistical reasons each person could pick a location that was no more than five minutes walking distance from our CBD central location.
What I find fascinating is how different their location choices turned out to be and also how accurate they were for their respective businesses.
To prepare they each completed eight brand questions in a checklist.
Their answers to these questions then helped us formulate the best location idea that would work for them, their personal brand and their business.
#1 How do you connect?
When it comes to your customers, the people that buy from you, how do you connect with them?
Tim Salisbury, CEO of My Local Foodie, runs helps food businesses, like restaurants and cafes, ‘become more profitable by reducing buying costs and providing tools and services for accurate menu and recipe costing.’
As a starter Tim described the way they connect with their clients through their physical offices located in South Melbourne.
It’s got bare brick walls, a huge graffiti mural with industrial style. It’s urban and relaxed and a bit grungy, just enough to feel grounded in what can be the pretentious world of food without losing professionalism.
Their client base is vast in terms of their type of food business and their clientele. So at My Local Foodie they take an inside-out approach to how they connect with their clients.
You’d sooner see Tim on a milk crate out the back chatting to the chef with his sleeves rolled up before you’d see him inside wearing his finest suit and tie at front of house.
We opted for a lane-way that had the same red-brick walls, and this killer mural that Tim LOVED. #awesome.
What about you? How do you connect with your clients and how might that show up in a physical location?
#2 How do you describe yourself?
If you could sum yourself up in ten adjectives, what would they be?
Let’s look at Helen Dean from Helen Dean Design. Helen has a graphic design, communication and marketing background.
Helen ‘helps business owners and their company executives to prepare professional business proposals to pitch their companies services in competitive business environments.’
When asked this question, Helen offered: – people driven – mindful – creative – expressive – collaborative – inspired – a medium – inclusive – responsive – holistic.
Some words you use to describe yourself will be hard to translate into a physical location. For example ‘collaborate’, ‘inclusive’ and ‘responsive’ are tricky to translate. But we can see ‘creative’ and ‘inspired’ turn up in the physical world because you can describe a place as possessing these qualities.
We needed a creatively built environment for Helen that felt inspired to be in. Helen found a fantastic location in the Melbourne CBD, the lobby to a corporate building, that contained curvy, round lounge-chairs, glass on one wall, and a colour palette that matched her style.
How do you describe yourself in ten adjectives? Which of those words can you see turning up in the physical world? Maybe they are the clue you need.
#3 What’s your vision?
Your vision statement is an indication of where you are going into the future. If you could look into a crystal ball 5-10 years from now, how will you have changed the world/made it a better place?
How this could possibly link to choosing a physical location for a portrait session?
Warren Otter of Otter and Associates ‘assists owners of mid sized private business, who are struggling with profit, growth and life balance find a step change solution, by strategically developing and assisting with business acquisitions, from start to integration.’
In other words, Warren’s vision is to see these businesses succeed by successfully acquiring other businesses.
When asked what legacy are you creating? Warren said ‘I would like to assist and educate as many businesses owners as possible on how to have a life and their business whilst creating their own legacy for multiple generations of their family.’
Conceptually Warren is all about looking to the future, the big picture, hope, excitement, growth, prosperity, sky-ward looking.
So we picked a location that carried those ideals through. A modern and built environment that has a sense of life and energy to it. Now we have those portraits of Warren in that space, when he marries that with this language, it all slides together on his website.
And you? What’s your vision?
#4 Can you go there?
It’s all well and good to have found the perfect location.
Worse case scenario is you’re well underway shooting and security runs out from somewhere and tells you to delete the photos and leave.
It’s important to take stock of your chosen location. Is it indoors, or outdoors? Is it public, or private?
Is it out on the street in a public place, or inside where security may be involved?
Is it a restaurant or a shopping mall? Will you need to speak to building management to seek permission? Go onto their website and make an enquiry. Tell them what you want to do, the name of your photographer, how the photos will be taken and what they will be used for.
Make a connection, learn the relevant names, be specific with dates, times, number of people, equipment, be polite (they don’t have to say yes). If you’re not sure, then ask your photographer to do this for you.
Get written permission (email is fine) that replies to your request, stating permission. Keep a printout with you on the day so if you are approached, you can show that document.
Iain Enticott leads Technology for Accountants ‘a consulting business that provides IT Services and support exclusively to accountants.’ The key thing about Iain is his casual yet professional style – he said if he could meet with clients at the local pub he would, rather than in their office.
Shooting in a pub would take it too far because he is still in a corporate space doing professional things. We toed the line and worked with a modern and buzzing precinct that contained businesses and shops because his clients are active, busy people themselves.
It gave a sense of activity and life that reflected back in what Iain does for people. There’s just no need to literally capture him in his office – so the next best thing was to place him in an environment that made sense for his audience to see, but also allowed him to breathe and not be so ‘corporate’.
If you’d like to figure out the best location for your photography, let’s thrash a few ideas around with me, book your free 20 minutes call here.