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Use Local Talent to Help Brand Yourself

In an earlier article, I introduced you to 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 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 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): 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?): 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.

10 thoughts on “Use Local Talent to Help Brand Yourself”

  1. As a real estate agent, I’m used to seeing peoples pictures from 10, 20 or 30+ years ago. I find it as the first impression I have, giving me an uneasy feeling about the person. If you are doing business isn’t it better to portray who you really are rather than how you want to remember yourself? A bit fake in my mind.

  2. Both images of you are fab though I am biased towards the car one, being a petrolhead 🙂 I recently paid a professional photographer for images but was disappointed with the results. I never like photos of myself, so he was up against it from the start, so I’m sticking with perpetually young (2005 photo) for the moment 😀

  3. Mike, I not only would that calendar lose money, but people would likely stick forks in their eyes. HOWEVER, I’d LOVE to see the Flavors pages you’ve designed. Feel free to share those links here! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I’ve used Flavors for a few small, rural businesses and we’ve got creative in our photos. Sometimes we use a closeup of hands at work (a mechanic), the backroom (a shoe store), and the obvious entry way. We’ve even put a montage of several photos together.

    Do I see a Flavors of Melanie calendar on the horizon?

  5. thanks for answering, one of my daughters is a photographer and she has been telling me she wants to do new pics. I really don’t like pictures of myself and my headshot is one I am somewhat pleased with and everywhere, but it has been awhile. I have been building on the familiarity. Hmmm, maybe I will take her up on it.

  6. Penny, that’s a great question and I hope others will weigh in with their opinions. My opinion is that you should probably update your headshot every once in a while. If nothing else, it’s fun to change things up. If it’s been more than three or five years, I think you’d want a new one.

    I have friends who change their avatars regularly (about every three months). They don’t all use professional shots each time they change. Here are some options:
    1. Ask the photographer to take two or three different shots so you have options for change as the whim strikes you.
    2. Use your professional headshot for your About page and anywhere you need to project a professional appearance; save the candid shots for the less professional spaces (and feel free to change out the candid shots regularly).

  7. I did my own version of this years ago, with my own name domain, but I have a question, should our headshot, which has become familiar to many, change over the years? Or should I stay perpetually young?

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