Violet and I met in Kampala, Uganda, in 2013. She was working at 32º East Ugandan Arts Trust as a project manager at and I was staying there doing some photography. We got along instantly. Violet is fucking fantastic. Cut to 2018 and we're both now living in Berlin. She’s in school for her MA in curatorial studies and I’m here on a freelance Artist visa.
Street shooting and personal branding
When she reached out to me for some headshots, I suggested we do a street shoot around her flat in Shöneberg plus a few indoors. Violet has modeling experience and a larger-than-life personality. She’s clear on who she is, with no desire to conform to tradition. She is sexy and confident and a bit of a wild card. This makes her pretty much a dream to shoot. We paraded around the streets like they were our personal set.
I think these images say a lot about who she is. Much more than a ‘normal’ headshot.
And it’s a good example of how photography can enhance – and, really, help to create – your personal brand.
What to think about when hiring a photographer
When you’re hiring a photographer, pick someone who matches your vibe and vision. Violet’s an art curator; I happen to understand that world pretty well and, more than that, I’m passionate about it. We share a similar outside-the-box p.o.v. on things and I know and like her as a person. These things all add up.
You definitely don’t need to know your photographer well ahead of time and they don’t need to understand your passions or job. But they do need to be able to see your beauty and feel energized by who you are, what you do, and how you do it. I think the best photographers are able to feel love for everything they photograph and have that love show in each image.
How to choose a photographer to work with
When you’re thinking about hiring a photographer for headshots – or any shoot, really – ask yourself:
What message do I want to convey with these photos?
Your answer will depend on who you’re hoping to connect with. Some ideas: smart, intelligent, intimidating / beautiful, attractive, sexy, warm / artsy, innovative, non-conformist, unique / professional, trustworthy, respectable, reliable / Anything else under the sun that you can dream up
What does your brand identity look and feel like as a whole?
What are your colours? Your fonts, your website, your packaging, your aesthetic vibe?
Do you want to shoot inside a studio or outdoors?
Different photographers will specialize in different things
Where are you planning to use these photos?
If they’re for Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, some images should have some white space that you can put quotes overtop, and certain sizes to fit for a cover photo, etc.
Do you want a watermark or no?
Whether you want the photographer’s watermark, your own, or none is a personal choice. Just make sure you and your photographer are on the same page.
Have you ever had a great or terrible experience working with a photographer?