Those of you who know me or follow along regularly here at BlueVerve Studio probably know that in addition to photography, I still do a lot of work as an artist, both in the digital and traditional sense. One of the services I offer as an artist is web design, and without a doubt, one of the most crucial aspects of web design and online presence these days is branding with imagery. Whether you’re an individual providing a service, a storefront providing a product, or anyone in between, your web presence speaks volumes to potential clients and customers before they even pick up the phone, open their inbox, or step into your store. And what’s the one thing you want to ensure you project in that web presence?
A genuine picture of who you are.
Of course, for each of us, that varies. Some of our branding is based on clean, straightforward professionalism. Some of us share the lighthearted playfulness that you get while working with us as independent contractors. For others, it’s a blend of beautiful craftsmanship and unique creativity. But each one of us providing a service has a choice to make in this digital age — what sort of a first impression are we looking to make?
Whatever your brand entails, creating a web presence full of vibrant imagery that revolves around your voice and identity is the only way to stay afloat in an increasingly mobile dominated business culture.
What does that mean for professionals, teams, and brand who have been struggling to find their identity? Or even for those who know it, but haven’t yet presented it fully on social media, or even their own private corner of the web — their websites, blogs, or landing pages?
Having gone through the past few years learning what it takes to survive as a professional photographer, I’m finally at a juncture where my focus has become thriving as a professional photographer. (Why wasn’t it there originally you ask? Well, some lessons take longer to learn than others — let’s just leave it at that for now.) As such, my attention has shifted greatly to branding, culture creation, and seeking a way to showcase my unique voice — not only as a photographer, but also as a person. Because the truth is, there are thousands of photographers out there. You are going to book me because you like my work. Because something in the way I see the world matches the way it looks through your eyes. Because on some level, you relate to me, and know that when I photograph you, you’ll see something you like, and are interested in.
Now, in accomplishing that sort of closeness online, one must walk an interesting line. As professionals, we want to put our best foot forward, and rightly so. But, we also want to showcase enough personality to remind people that we too love ice cream, exploring national parks, and snuggle sessions with our cats. Those are the things we bond over with our clients — and those are the sort of things people are hoping to find when they seek service providers.
So, step number one is:
Don’t underestimate the power of your first impression.
On social media, professional networking sites (yes, LinkedIn), and most importantly, in your little corner of the web. Be sure to have images that represent who you are, and what you’re about. And if you’re not there yet, don’t worry. Your online presence is alive. It is a work in progress (stay tuned here as BlueVerve Studio and I make some changes this year), and as you evolve, so will it. But investing in professional headshots, branding imagery, or even taking the time to pick up a few tips on taking a better selfie, will allow potential clients and customers to see you in the most positive light possible. Which is important, because in real life, we’re moving, breathing, incredible beings. Online, we’re only the two dimensional image posted on our bio — and if you’ve been paying attention, all of the other great imagery we’ve chosen to flesh out our brand.
Which brings us to step number two:
Build Your Voice
This takes intention, so don’t be afraid to take some time to consider not only where you are, but where you seek to be in the next two, five, ten, or even 20 years.
Once you’ve outlined not only who you are, but what you want to say (for more direction on this, check out this great piece on Creating a Consistent Marketing Voice by Classy.org), showcase imagery that’s consistent with that voice. Not every picture has to be professional (although having a professional headshot sure helps), but every picture should add value to the overall statement of your brand or personal identity.
People take notice of appearances these days, more than ever, when they visit a site. And that’s not to say every professional, artist, crafter, financial specialist, etc. should look the same. But be sure that the imagery you share represents what people can expect when they meet you face to face. And give them a chance to fall in love with your brand long before that happens.