Use Local Talent to Help Brand Yourself

In an earlier article, I introduced you to Flavors.me as an easy-to-use option for your online hub. In a nutshell, it’s a quick-to-set up web page that links out to your various social networks. You can see what others have done in the flavors.me/directory. The creativity is astounding. I was immediately smitten and decided I needed my own Flavors page. However, since creativity is not my strong suit (technical writer, anyone?), I decided I needed some help.

KMR Photography in Tulsa, OKLuckily, a few months ago I attended a local blogger meet up in my city and I won a door prize! The prize was an online presence photography session with a local photographer, Kenny Ruggiano (pronounced rue-JAN-oh), owner of KMR Photography. I wasn’t sure what an “online presence photography session” would entail, so I asked. Kenny suggested it would basically be a headshot — which is awesome if you don’t already have a headshot (but I do). So I suggested the Flavors.me angle and explained that I thought it would be a better option for me if he was game. He was and we brainstormed some ideas.

We met over coffee and discussed my personality (introverted and off-beat), my likes (retro), and my dislikes (fake extroversion). And what I mean by fake extroversion is that I love seeing all those pictures of families at the dinner table who are laughing and babies are crawling on the table and everyone looks loud and at ease. To stage a picture like that of my family would put me over the edge. If you came to dinner at our house, you’d see that it’s a pretty quiet affair and I would not be laughing or at ease with a baby on the table. It’s not me. However, I would be completely OK overdressing for the grocery store and giving you the stink eye while I cram pork rinds in my basket and peruse the organic food aisle. And Kenny got all of that. He talked with me and understood exactly what I was going for. Don’t you love when people get it? Kenny and I came up with this (click to enlarge):

MelanieNelson.com via Flavors website

We also took some pictures of me relaxing in my husband’s ’67 Camaro (which really is more my style, but who can resist the hilariousness of the overdressed housewife in the grocery store?):

MelanieNelson.com via Flavors websiteI’m incredibly happy with how the photos turned out and, in turn, how my Flavors page looks. Kenny was great to work with.

I know I was lucky enough to win my session with KMR Photography, but I want to encourage you to invest some time and money in yourself and your blog as well. Having a good headshot gives you a more professional look than a simple snapshot your friend took. And you can always use a headshot: avatars/Gravatars, your About Me page, your bio for speaking gigs, etc. If nothing else, you’ll look uber-professional on Twitter and Facebook.

I know many of you are thinking you have a digital camera, maybe even a fancy dSLR that takes great shots. Awesome. But you know what? The shots you and I take just aren’t going to be as good as someone who has a degree in photography (did I mention Kenny has a degree in photography? Because he does.). A camera in my hands or my husband’s hands is not going to wield the same power as that camera in a professional’s hands. And a professional is going to be able to massage those photos to hide blemishes and enhance color. If you’re serious about your online image, I encourage you to invest the money in some good photos. A good photographer will sit down with you and talk to you about what you’re looking for and how best to achieve those goals.

If you’re ready to think outside the box, set up an appointment with a local photographer and ask him or her to help you develop an idea for a Flavors page or even your blog’s header. If you’re in Tulsa, you’re in luck! KMR Photography is local and Kenny is fun and easy to work with. I recommend him highly. Give him a call and ask him about his online presence photography and see what you two can come up with.