Career in Focus – The Brainstorm

I first started discussing a personal branding shoot with Saskia last summer.  When we sat down for the planning meeting, we had a long discussion about brand colours, themes, messages and purpose of the brand. This was the point that Saskia had what I call the ‘lightbulb’ moment and we made fantastic progress on our brainstorm sheet and she really started to think about how she wanted her brand conveyed!

As a career coach, Saskia was unsure how she could portray her brand in images, so we discussed the different types of images needed for her website, what she liked (and disliked) in her competitors website and then we started brainstorming blog posts that she could write and social media posts and any necessary images that would be needed to accompany these.

From these discussions, we built a really good plan of ideas and I left Saskia with a lot of ideas, a lot of blogs to brainstorm and a lot of exitement for the forthcoming shoot and how she could vary the shots and what she could bring to the table!

We were both so excited as felt that the brand had already evolved and progressed so much in that time. The idea of dropping brand  colours here and there really excited Saskia, just to bring that level of continuity and cohesiveness.

We planned the shoot for a few weeks down the line as Saskia wanted to really have a good think about website and ensure she had time to collect and plan for necessary clothes, equipment and activities to showcase! It also allowed us to have a constant discussion over Pinterest – we would both add images that we thought might be suitable and then deleted any that weren’t appropriate or on brand!

Shoot Part #1

Saskia’s job as a career coach takes her here, there and everywhere. Sometimes she works at her kitchen table whereas other times she holds meetings in her camper van. We were, therefore, always going to split the shoot between two locations; Saskia’s kitchen table and her camper van! Instead of trying to squeeze the shoots into one day, we decided to focus on her kitchen first.

The first thing I tried to do was reassure Saskia that I was not there to judge the state of her house nor was I going to be shooting in every corner. So long as the kitchen table was clear then that’s all that mattered!

Saskia had really taken my advice on board and had had a professional make over done in the hour before I came over. She said she wanted to look her best and feel more confident, and she looked amazing as a result! She had also laid out all her clothes and accessories upstairs so when it was time for an outfit change, it was a quick and straightforward proces!

Because of all the work spent in previous weeks on the Pinterest board, we were able to get cracking straight away with the different shots and both knew exactly what was expected. We used the Pinterest board to arrange the different set ups, and it also helped Saskia massively with how to pose and what to do with hands! For the overhead shots, I had brought my trusty little decorating ladder so was able to position myself over the top which was great!

We took a lovely range of portraits (both official headshots where looking directly towards the camera is essential and more candid portraits), as well as detaul shots, blog-related shots and other shots that could be used for social media etc.

Despite it being the hottest day of the year and therefore we were inevitably slower as a result, Saskia and I were able to get through all her shots in about 2 hours. I can only say that the time spent  brainstorming and planning had benefiited us massively as it meant there was no faffing or wondering what to do next. It was a really seamless and constant workflow!

Shoot Part #2

We had to wait several months between the two different parts to Saskia’s shoots, thanks to the School summer holidays. In hindsight, I think this worked in our favour as it meant that Saskia was able to start utilising the pictures from the first shoot and work out if there were any gaps or if she wanted anything reshot. I emphasised that this process was really important as this is a big financial and time commitment to the business so Saskia, as my client, was well within her rights to ask for additional or retake images at the second part of her shoot (she was on the Gold Package).

We had chosen to shoot at Deerleap in the New Forest as we wanted some nice pictures of Saskia and her camper van, and I knew from experience that this location would have more options for decent backdrops and without being in a concrete car park!

This part of the shoot was far quicker – I took various shots of Saskia and the camper van, making sure to include the details so that if Saskia ever wanted to blog about the camper van as a meeting space, she had images to use! As you can tell, I get very involved in the brainstorming and shoot aspects and like to think that I bring a lot of ideas and thought to the various stages!

A couple of weeks after each shoot, Saskia received her images. I make them available in both high resolution and low resolution. it is really important to understand why the two differ and matter so much; high resolution is for advertising and media and for any stationery etc. You can also use high definition on any big images on your website where the definition is seen in clear detail which matters. All social media and smaller images on your website need to be in low definition otherwise it will slow down the loading time of each page and you will be penalised by Google!

You can visit Saskia’s website here if you would like more information about how she works and what she can offer you!

I had my personal branding photoshoot with Caroline, and I am absolutely delighted with the photos! Caroline is an incredibly talented photographer. She is very creative and came up with some brilliant ideas on how to portray my business messages in the photos. She made me feel so comfortable during the shoot. These photos will be used to refresh my website, in my upcoming blog posts, as well as social media posts. This whole experience has forced me to sit down and assess my personal brand and my business message. I feel so much more motivated and empowered to make my business a success. I would highly recommend using Caroline, she’s fantastic!

I never realised just how important personal branding is when it comes to your business.

Saskia van Lier

Career in Focus