How to Maximize Emotional Variety for Personal Brands - Erica + Jon Photography

How to Maximize Emotional Variety for Personal Brands

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We're professional photographers, Mr + Mrs and Mom + Dad. We like to share insights into our industry and empower other photographers to build their biz.



Working with personal brands, in some ways, is the closest thing we still have to working with lifestyle clients. Many of the posting techniques we use are directly translated over from what we used when we posed families, couples, and brides and grooms. But the similarities pretty much end there. Personal brand photos aren’t intended for capturing a few nice photos to use as wall hangers in the living room. Instead, they’re used to create content and variety – TONS of it! The keyword there is variety. We want our personal brand clients to have enough imagery  variety that people wonder to themselves, “How does so-and-so have a professional photographer follow them around everywhere!?!?” We’ve definitely developed some tricks along the way, so posing aside, we want to share our tips on How to Maximize Emotional Variety for Personal Brands. 

Utilize The Shot List

First and foremost – have a shot list and follow it!! Don’t have a shot list? Not sure what we’re talking about? Download our FREE resource, the Personal Brand Shot List v2.0 here and we’ll walk you through it. Having a shot list is the best way to keep you on track and make sure you are able to create the variety your client wants and that you planned for. Once you’re in a location, work through the shot list to make sure you capture the needed expressions and themes, and then move on! Sticking to the list helps you make sure that you not only capture every planned shot but also helps make sure that you don’t OVER shoot…something we may struggle with from time to time. (Tell us we aren’t the only ones??)

Which Side?

No, we’re not talking about French fries, mashed potatoes or salad here. We’re talking about which side of your clients FACE they might prefer. Most of us have a side that makes us feel most confident, so go ahead and just ask your client which side they prefer. If they bring one up, stick to it, and prioritize it. This will help them feel even more confident and allow them to open up more which leads to greater emotional expression. We’re all more ourselves when we’re comfortable, right!? 

Be A Mirror

Mirror, mirror on the wall…is Jon the fairest of them all?! Woah, caught myself daydreaming there. No, don’t be like a mirror in the sense that you paint yourself in reflective body paint and try to be incredibly thin. I don’t think that would work out well for anyone. 

Instead, be a mirror to your client by continually helping them feel confident by stopping and stepping in to perfect hair, wardrobe, etc and assure them that you have them covered! One additional tip here: just always ask for permission before touching your client first! We’ve never had anyone say, “NO! Don’t fix my hair for me!” But it’s always good etiquette to ask first and receive permission. 

Lead By Example

No doubt you’ve seen (or heard) Jon’s obnoxious laugh if you follow us on Instagram. We break out the over the top laugh when we need a client to really open up and start showing emotion. When Jon laughs ridiculously loud, the client either feels ok to be themselves and laugh too or just starts laughing at how goofy Jon is. Either way, we get a laugh!

Lead your clients by example. If you want them to laugh, create a joyful, laughter-filled environment. Laugh with them. If you need a more serious look, it’s probably not a great time to crack jokes. Bring your tone lower, allow room for quiet and stillness, and encourage the expression you are after by demonstrating it for your client. Simply put, don’t just tell them what you want them to do. Show them.

Dialogue Constantly

Erica loves going to the dentist. I think it’s because she’s only ever had one cavity and hasn’t been exposed to the mind-jarring pain of root canals and other torture dental procedures. I personally hate the dentist (apologies in advance if you are a dentist). 

There are two kinds of dentists in the world: those who do whatever they want in your mouth while you lay there vulnerable, mouth open, hoping nothing too painful is coming up and those who delicately work through their job, tell you what to expect each step of the way, and coddle you with the assurance that everything will be great! (I prefer the latter!)

Your client needs the same delicate touch! When you keep a constant dialogue going with your clients, they feel at ease, know what to expect, and aren’t left wondering what in the world is happening next or how they are doing. Talk through everything you’re doing. Give constant affirmations to assure them that they are doing great. Show them back-of-camera shots to build their confidence and prove to them that things are going just as planned.

Shoot Through ALL Moments

This last one is big and powerful. This is truly one area we see a lot of people miss but an area where we are able to capitalize on lost time to create even more content for our personal brands. You want to shoot through every moment. This includes when a client is off changing into a new look. Use that 3 minutes of downtime to shoot a flat lay or capture some filler content for their gallery.

Another area that is less obvious is shooting even when your client isn’t expecting it. Did they do something goofy and start laughing at themselves? Don’t drop the camera and instantly recompose them…shoot through that moment and capture the natural laugh! Everyone wants the ‘candid’ moments, so capture them!!

So there you have it, friend! Our tips for How to Maximize Emotional Variety for Personal Brands! If you missed it or don’t yet have it, be sure to download our FREE resource, the Personal Brand Shot List v2.0 to help you plan more effectively for personal brand photoshoots! Happy shooting!!

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