You may have seen that I recently unveiled a brand-new website. (Still doing my happy dance on that accomplishment!)
One of my goals was to give people an experience when they visit the website that reflects the experience you get when you work with me.
I wanted it to be warm, inviting, safe, creative, inspired, grounded, smart, slightly rebellious, successful, and expansive.
(To see my photo experience – go check out my website).
There’s a lot that goes into creating a website experience: copy, website layout, fonts, graphics, calls to action, navigation, colors, functionality, and of course, photos.
I had a wonderful and highly successful branding photography experience – you can tell from the stunning photos that are sprinkled throughout the whole website! It’s more than capturing a good bio photo – they are part of the brand experience.
These amazing photos didn’t happen by accident.
Yes, it helps to have good genes – thanks mom & dad.
The deeper truth is that it’s really about being authentic and real. You want your brand photos to match the experience people get with you.
It’s SO much more than just looking good… and you can have this kind of experience too.
First, you have to find the right photographer. I wanted someone who understood energy. That’s right, energy – a photographer who gets that the energy of the environment communicates volumes. Who knows that there is an energy exchange between me, the photographer, the photos, and the viewer on the website.
I got recommendations. I dug into their portfolios. I looked at my previous photos and got clear about what I liked and what I wanted to change. I really wanted a warmer feel to the photos, and I wanted someone who could bring that warmth alive.
I also talked to their referrals, asked about the experience, and saw their results.
Once I found Katya, at AtlantaBrandingPhotographer.com, I was wowed! She gets the importance of energy and creativity, she was excited about my work and message, AND she has a process.
We went through and identified a shot list. I needed photos for the new website, specific pages, opt in pages (which needed a horizontal shot), ones for my bio page, fun and creative ones, and professional shots for the speaker page.
We identified my colors and style.
She had a beautiful all-white studio we could shoot in, but my brand is much more colorful and creative.
So, I went to work.
I pulled outfits together for different types of shots – including jewelry, accessories, and even shoes. (You might not see the shoes in the final product, but I love the put-together feeling that comes with be fully accessorized!) I even brought some fun pieces with lots of personality like my favorite peach-colored cowboy beach hat.
Here’s where it gets magical! Picture this… I’m driving down from Virginia to Atlanta with my car full of outfits, accessories, AND my office. I brought my computer, phone, video stand, books, card decks, products, markers, and even my favorite pens. I made the all-white office warm, inviting, creative, colorful – just like my Joyful Business home office!
It didn’t stop there!
I went to a big home store and bought artificial green plants and colorful pink flowers to warm up the room. I bought cool, creative wall hangings, pillows and blankets, and candles that reinforced the essence of femininity – waves, circles, warmth, openness, creativity and flow.
I also asked a client friend to come along. She helped me with changing outfits and keeping things organized, and she kept me laughing the entire time! (I so appreciate you, Susie!! xo) She even filled in as a model when she posed as a client. (You can see the back of her head in one of the photos!)
Weeks before the shoot I kept imagining my Future Self at this photo shoot. I kept nurturing that image of my best self who projects confidence, laughter, assuredness, excitement, groundedness, calmness and inspiration.
In a branding session, you aren’t just trying to get a good photo of yourself. You are projecting your best, most successful, authentic self.
And, of course, that is who showed up for the photo shoot! (Wink!)
My mini meltdown! Just so you know, the photo shoot wasn’t all peaches and cream. I had my makeup and hair done before the photo shoot. Photo makeup is all about contouring. Not just a little more makeup than usual (like at a wedding). I’ve never been contoured.
I freaked out!
The face I saw in the mirror looked scary to me. So overdone that I started to wash it off to tone it down.
Trust. My photographer was so great. She said, “Before you wash it all off – Why don’t we just try a couple of shots and see what you think.” Of course, I could see the digital shots right away, and they were looking great.
Here’s another trust moment. We were outside and the photographer said the sun was setting beautifully behind me. She wanted me to wear my peach cowboy hat and turn around with my back to her. Then do this whole move where I turn around… anyway, it felt really corny. I pushed back. I threw a little tantrum and didn’t want some cheesy shot with me in a hat pulling it down. She finally got me to just trust and try it.
It turned out to be one of the best shots in the whole portfolio!
I hope this is a helpful look behind the curtain of a beautiful website. There’s a lot of work, intention, people, decisions, and commitment that goes into it. AND… you have to be courageous and vulnerable enough to let your most amazing self shine through!
I shared more behind the scenes along with strategies for creating a new website on my last TV show. You can watch episode #27 of my TV Show at Joyful Business TV!