Are you hiding behind your logo? Or do you have headshots but keep putting the same photo of yourself on social media posts? Maybe you see other people sharing photos of themselves going about their day and wonder how they did that.
Enter brand photographer Catherine Berry, of Entirely Catherine Photography, who helps business owners to stand out and connect with their audience on their website and social media. She hosts a Selfies Masterclass, so who better to ask about taking photos of yourself to use in your business? Here Catherine shares 10 things business owners need to know about taking selfies.
1. Showing your face is an instant way to boost your marketing
There’s an estimated 11 million bits of sensory information going on in our brains every second. Only about 40 of those bits of information are being consciously processed. When we are on social media or browsing the internet, our brains tend to be in a relaxed state, not necessarily an alert learning state, so they are relying on the primal brain that can look for quick messages. The three main things we’re likely to subconsciously process most quickly that will trigger our brain to remember are: sex, food and faces.
We’ve all got a face! The most basic thing in your marketing you can do is use your face to be visible and make those connections. You really are missing a marketing trick if you’re not doing it.
2. Selfies make you more approachable
If you’re a service-based business you are likely to be a personal brand. If you’re not putting yourself, as a person, out there at all, then you’re not bridging that gap between people not knowing you and knowing you. Knowing what you look like makes people feel more comfortable when they email you or send you a direct message, or even phone you. We unconsciously feel a slight comfort in knowing someone’s face. People look for a human being.
You want to give yourself that little edge. You could just blend into the background and be whoever with your brand colours and your logo, or you can stand out and say here I am. I’m on the map. This is who I am. This is a little bit about me. And people get to know about you, they get to know your smile, they get to know your clothes. All this makes you more memorable for them.
3. There’s no such thing as a bad selfie
There isn’t anything wrong with any selfie you take because sometimes it’s necessary to capture that ‘I’m here in this moment and this is my message that I’m going to put under this’.
The thing that would jar was if there was a mismatch between the photo you had taken and what you had written underneath.
4. Take a batch of selfies at once
Give yourself time to batch up a few photos. Take a good dozen. Use a couple of different expressions, or move your hand around, so you’ve got a little stock of photos you’ve taken in that moment. Then it all looks consistent and you’ve got a few photos you can use for different posts.
If you feel self-conscious about taking photos of yourself in public, you just have to say to yourself, I’m just going to try this. I’m just going to do it. It’s only 20 seconds of my life. If you’re in a public place, remind yourself I’m not going to see these people again. If you really don’t want to stand in a busy space, you can wait and see if it gets a bit quieter, or take yourself to a quieter area.
5. Use your camera app to edit your photos
If you take your photo in the shadows or a dark environment, brighten it up a bit. You can do that in your phone. It will make a huge difference before you put it online.
Try and take your photos in the best light you can.
6. Here’s how to prevent glare on your glasses while taking a selfie
You can diffuse light. Reflect light around your room. You don’t want to look directly into a window necessarily if you’ve got glasses on, but if you are next to a white wall, you might look towards the white wall. The white wall will reflect the light from the window and that will help. Then you won’t get the reflection directly into your glasses. If you’ve got a big white sheet and you’re able to peg it around the room, then that can work as a good reflector.
You can also switch on lights above you and switch on lamps around you. You don’t have to go to extremes and buy huge bits of equipment. Quite a lot of people have lights and things that they bought for video and Zooming over the lockdown. Those can sometimes just fill a shadowy area, or be used to bounce light off of a white wall.
7. There are multiple ways to use selfies
There are so many ways of making sure that you share different types of visual content. You can create your own GIFs using Giphy. You can use Canva content and create memes out of your selfies. You can cut yourself out and put yourself in amongst some words. There are other ways to use your selfies beyond the camera.
8. Props are a great way to bring a little bit of difference to your messaging
You can be really creative. You can photograph yourself with your mug or your laptop. They might be clichés but they represent a quick message to your audience because you sitting at your laptop with the mug is how people might expect to see you. They know you’re online and that’s how they will work with you. You like a coffee, that makes them feel relaxed.
If you’re a product-based business, use them and be in the photo with them. You don’t always have to take photos of your face. You could have you and the item but not your face, but it’s your hand and it’s you because it’s the outfits that people will have seen you wearing in your content. It feels like you, it’s an environment that you’ve used for other photos. It will bridge the gap, create personal connections and be recognisably you.
9. Don’t let not looking your best stand in the way of taking a photo
If you honestly didn’t have time to do any tidying up or consider more about a photo, it’s better to take the photo anyway. It’s realistic. I suppose the caveat on that would be if it doesn’t fit with your branding. You know if you are supposed to be an ultra organised person and you sell yourself in a really messy environment, it’s not very good. It doesn’t go with your brand messaging.
But if you are a working at home mum, you have little children around you, and you talk about that in your content then people will sort of expect to see it sometimes. They won’t mind if they see things like that because they are quite likely the potential clients that you are wanting to work with. Again, it’s that primal brain going, oh, I recognise that that feels comfortable and I relate to that. But also, you can tidy a corner and take a selfie there.
I think it depends where it sits in your brand. If your audience expects to see a real side of you, then be real. If they expect you to be professional all the time, then that’s the image you want to portray.
10. You want a mix of professional brand shots as well as selfies
I would totally advocate that people try to use a mixture of the photos they take themselves and when they can, invest in some sort of brand photography. You can start off with a really simple, small shoot if that’s what your budget stretches to. It’s a really great start.
Some people get stuck and think, ‘I don’t know what I want’. And then they don’t have a professional image ready for when somebody says to them, I need you to do a guest blog, or be on my podcast. So it’s worth having a few professional photos that you’d like for your profile. Then when you have a better idea of where your brand is going and what you need in terms of visual content for your website, and what pages need filling, what sales pages you’re creating, that’s the time to really invest and go for a full on brand shoot.