As a health coach, you likely spend a lot of time in your office or studio, or out with clients. But this can make photography for your personal branding options quite limited!
After all, there’s only so many ways your studio can be used for inspirational imagery, but in this case, stock photos aren’t a good option either. When working on your personal branding, the pictures that you’ll use on your site and especially on social media should make sense for your brand so that people instantly recognise it’s you. And when you’re storytelling, it’s stock photos aren’t going to resonate as well.
I’m not saying stock photography is bad – in fact, it has its own distinct role and a part to play, but you also need pictures that are yours and yours alone.
So, this brings me back to the title as to how you can create these unique images without needing to resort to stock photography…
The 4 Ways To Create Unique Images For Your Personal Branding
Doing a photoshoot on your own is actually fairly simple now, and you don’t need a big expensive camera either! The truth is, all you need is your phone camera to get started, (although I’d still suggest getting a tripod if you can!)
You can easily create unique images that will allow you to stay on brand, have a personal touch, AND keep things interesting with just a little change in perspective, proximity, and composition!
Here are my tips on how to create a truly unique imagery:
1. Do macro shots
Wide-angle shots are great to present your whole office or studio space, but they are going to get old very quickly if you use them every time. Because there’s a limited amount of perspectives with a wide shot.
Instead, that’s why you should go for macro. When you zoom in there’s so much more to explore (that you didn’t even realise was cool to capture) and it makes for some really interesting images.
An example of a macro shot Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash
How do you do this? Simply decide on the focus of your photos; for example, the things that matter to you, and that are relevant for you and your business. Ask yourself:
If I would reduce my business to a handful of items that can be connected with my brand, what would these be?
Your notepad or your business computer that you use all the time, equipment, and other items you use in your health coaching, like a favourite fruit, meal plan, or your work desk on a regular day (when neat and tidy!) can be the focus of your macro photography.
How to use macro photography for personal branding
Macro shots are a great way to bring attention to detail, but just zooming in won’t do! You must have proper composition and view of each of your macro photos to strike the right balance.
- Choose the background: The background of your macro shot plays just as much of a role as the actual subject you’re focusing on. If there’s too much going on in the back, even when blurred, it will take away from the actual subject and make the image pointless.
- Learn your angles well: The angle of the camera determines what’s in focus and what’s out of focus as well as what view the audience sees. This is another way to make each shot different so don’t be afraid to experiment.
- Know your working distance: It’s the distance between the camera lens and the subject. Note: for most phones, the distance is one inch.
- Never zoom in: This degrades the quality of the image – always take yourself up close and personal instead! This is particularly important if you’re going to be scaling up your images for your website or as backgrounds as you’ll want as high quality as possible.
- Find a macro lens: Yes, there are macro lenses for smartphones! You can get them for as little as $15, which is a minuscule investment considering how much better your macro photos will be!
2. Change the view
Many people are tempted to avoid their own perspective (after all, who is going to find it interesting right?!) but they forget that how they view things in the studio or office is completely different to how the client sees it.
For instance, when they interact with you, they won’t necessarily see what’s on your notepad or your computer, or your side of the desk. So, share your point of view, your eye view, from your perspective.
You can also twist this around which is known as ‘becoming the subject’. You take photos from the perspective of how your clients see you and how you go about your day (if there was a fly on the wall!)
Interesting shots that people have tested include bringing your hands into the shot and interacting with various objects. It’s more candid and takes the audience on a journey (it’s also where the tripod comes in!)
Some great ideas you can try to create images for your personal branding include:
- Writing on your computer or notepad
- Interacting with your clients (get their permission first)
- Preparing a meal/report/or creating something
- Being at your main point of work (your desk, office, sofa etc.)
- Your favourite view e.g. looking out of a window, a reading corner.
Have one too many images of your office? Switch between different point of views: Go for very low and high angles, or share both the bird’s and worm’s eye view to get different perspectives. Each of these views has a distinct influence on people!
For example, when you take images from the bird’s eye view, viewers will often feel protective or superior to the subject, particularly if it includes animals or people. But when you’re focusing on an inanimate object, it can create distance and might not be great for a connection. It’s most commonly used in landscape photography, but showing your studio from this perspective includes everything that’s happening and gives it a unique twist.
The worm’s eye view is the opposite, when you take images from the very ground level, with the camera usually aimed from below. It will make the subject in your image strong, tall, mighty, so it’s perfect when you’re looking to share wisdom and motivational messages.
3. Use gridlines
There is a basic rule to good photography that’s called “The Rule of Thirds.”
The idea behind this rule is that you get gridlines, two that run horizontally and two vertically over the image. To make your photo more balanced, you should place the subject on the intersection of those lines to break the same old boring “front and centre” routine in your photos.
It also gives your images the much-needed hierarchy, where most important subjects are on the intersection, and those not as important can be farther away from the lines.
It’s used so regularly in professional and amateur photography that we are all used to it on a subconscious level. When we see a picture without the rule applied it can look odd or out of place.
Even when you have to crop the image for social media, you would just readjust the position of important elements in the photo so they still match the gridlines. Here’s the above image cropped for Instagram:
The best thing about gridlines? Every smartphone has the option to turn them on to help you make more visually appealing and balanced photos straight away.
4. Use leading lines
Another way to up your composition game is to make use of natural lines you can capture in your images to lead the viewer towards the focus of your image.
This image by Mohamed Nuzrath from Pixabay shows leading lines in action – the railway tracks lead your view all the way to the three people walking. You probably followed the track up when you first looked at the photo right?!
There’s a ton of things that can be used as leading lines in your photographs! While most of them are usually found outside – bridges, lampposts, roads – you can find them inside too: windows, even radiators, anything that can be used as a path – even sunshafts can be used as leading lines, so try them out when you’re creating your new brand images and you’ll get some unique effects/
Some things to keep in mind
No matter which direction you take with creating your images, there are some things to keep in mind.
Branding is key
First of all, always be on point with your branding. It’s okay to be creative with your images, but your branding needs to be consistent. Not just the colours, but the images and values of your brand as well. If you’re fun and quirky, dark themes and cold images just won’t make sense.
Plan ahead! Take a whole day for making your photos and prepare well for it with different props, lighting options, and angles. I’ve detailed this in my previous post – preparation for home photoshoots – so go there to learn all about inspiration, props, and choosing and processing photos.
Speaking of editing – your phone’s camera app usually has some editing options, but you’ll do much better when you go for a standalone image editing app because the toolkit is much more powerful.
Remember to test performance and what type of images have the highest impact which are those that get the most interaction from fans and followers!
When you need a new set of images for your website and social media pages, there’s also no need to reinvent the wheel! You can reuse the above methods and techniques every single time – just make sure to create a twist on the existing subject.
If you’re not confident about your imagery, or need help maintaining your branding, get in touch and I’ll help you create unique images for your personal branding, without needing stock photography!