If you have a small business, you should absolutely 100% hire a professional photographer to take some pictures of you. At the very least, you need headshots, and at best, a fully styled shoot. You might read this and think "Whoa! I'm bootstrapping my business I don't have the cash flow for this" but I'm here to give you 5 reasons why a professional photographer is 100% worth the investment.
1. Professional photos will make your website look, well, more professional. You need your picture on your website. Even if you sell a product or a service that has nothing to do with you, YOU are your small business. People want to connect with YOU. They want to get to know YOU. They want to know there's a real person behind that product or service. And even if you're picture isn't all over your website, at the very least you need it on your "About" page. Please don't take a selfie. Even if you are the world's best selfie-taker, everyone knows its a selfie, and it is incredibly tacky for a business page. Take that professional headshot that conveys the right message for your business and your customers. Are you casual and friendly? Are you a glamazon who thrives on fabulous? Are you the no-nonsense business woman who gets things done? You may be all or none of these things, but your headshot can help convey who you are without you needing to spell it out.
2. Content is king...errr... QUEEN: If your business is on social media, you need fresh content to keep your followers engaged. And a photoshoot is the easiest way to get 25-75 pieces of high quality content in one sitting. A good photographer will pose you in ways that highlight your best features so that you can get pictures that convey a variety of emotions. "Fun" you may be captured laughing. "Serious" you may have you looking off in mid-distance like in the Hills (RIP). If you take some props, you can take your looks even further: Jacket on, jacket off, outfit changes, change your bag, change up your jewelry - you can create a lot of looks with just a few changes. My favorite props include champagne, flutes, confetti and of course, jewelry.
3. Use it as an opportunity to collaborate: Photoshoots are my FAVORITE way to collaborate with businesses I love. I recently collaborated on a photo shoot with the team at Oak & Honey Events: they were shooting for their "About" page, and I provided the jewelry via my business Bombay Taxi Boutique. I'm currently working on another collaboration with a photographer, a hair stylist and a makeup artist - this one is going to be more of an editorial shoot. I also did a styled wedding shoot last year with a group of vendors who I had never met before: not only was it a great opportunity to get my name out there, but it was a fun way to meet and learn from an incredibly talented group of people!
4. You need it for PR: Earlier this year, one of my Pop Up collaborations was featured on Cleveland.com and one of the first questions the journalist asked me was if I had some professional pictures she could use for the piece. Naturally I did, and they ran a great visual story around my event. I hired a PR firm to help me grow my business, and having professional photos has definitely made it easier for them to do their job promoting my business.
5. Set yourself up for success: A few months ago, I started offering my jewelry at wholesale, and when I reach out to stores, I include a link to my site, knowing that the pictures truly highlight my product. While some of these pictures are taken by me, a number have been taken by a professional photographer. My headshot has proved invaluable for various speaking engagements, and it has also helped my LinkedIn profile and social media.
If you're looking for a professional photographer, I've included links below the photos to some that I've worked with over the past year. Please spend some time researching your photographer before you hire them: each photographer as a different style and spending time on their website will give you a sense for the look and feel you can expect. A good photographer will also recommend locations to you to fit your brand and give you posing tips to highlight your best features. You may be camera shy, but your photos, and the mileage you can get out of them will definitely be worth the investment.
Disclosure: As some of you may know, I am a founding partner at She In The CLE, a blogger collective that aims to amplify the voices of the women of Northeast Ohio. This post first appeared there in June 2017, and has been edited for pictures.