You’re Not Gonna Selfie Your Way Out of This One: A behind-the-scenes peak at a branding photo shoot

Over a year ago I met branding expert and photographer Melissa Demple, and was totally excited about what a difference her approach could mean for authors. So many of my authors (myself included) have the typical headshot for their book cover, and while often quite lovely, don’t really say anything about their brand or their message.

After talking with Melissa, we not only offered a Master Class together for my clients, but I got to thinking about my own branding. It has been some years since I had a new headshot, and with my recent weight loss during the Pandemic (yes, I lost 51 pounds!) I wanted to not only present my best and current image, but also wanted to treat myself with a branded shoot. And I knew that the images would be great for ongoing marketing and promotional purposes.

I had originally planned to be in Washington DC where Melissa lives for the NSA 2020 convention, but since that was cancelled I had no travel plans to DC. That’s when Melissa approached me about doing a long-distance shoot, where she would help me do the strategic planning for the shoot and then coordinate the actual shoot with a local photographer.

Step one involved completing a strategic branding report where she asked focused questions about my business. What is the problem you solve for your clients? Who are your clients, and what are their pain points? What makes you unique? And then, what are the stories and themes you want to share, and what images will represent these stories?

After completing her survey, we met to discuss concepts for the shoot. For example, we discussed possible locations (bookstores, libraries, or my office in front of my bookshelves), props (books, typewriters/computers, magic wand and hat), and messaging (“books are magic”). We had several great ideas as we researched potential photographers in the Louisville market.

We met together with several professionals before deciding on Nick Bonura, a local photographer who I had hired for several of my previous shoots. The three of us agreed on the shoot plan location, messages, and investment.

The shoot was scheduled for March at the Omni Hotel in downtown Louisville in their “library”—complete with an antique typewriter, bookshelves, and a library ladder. The rest is history!

If you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes look at the shoot, including the key questions that prompted my shoot plan and the resulting branded images, Melissa and I are offering a special Master Class on May 26 at 2 pm Eastern in which we’ll share all the secrets and insights we learned together. We’ll also share tips and ideas for helping you plan your strategic photo shoot to promote your book and your business!

To listen to the recording follow this link.

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