Investing in your visual brand

What I love about school fundraising auctions is that you can usually buy something that you need and get a tax deduction for it. This year’s Old Orchard school auction did not disappoint.

Lately I’ve had increased needs for a head shot. Hosting Twitterchats with the lovely Britt Michaelian and Amy Chesler reminded me that post blow out selfies can only go so far. I did have professional headshots done by Michael O’Donnell and Rosalinda Luna, both great photographers, but it had been awhile.

Yes, I would have loved to have lost 15 pounds before this set of photos, but I was hoping that the included hair and make up artist could do a little magic. I haven’t seen the final results yet, but I am extremely optimistic as the process was top notch.

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Ilyanne first asked if she could have a pre-session with me. We met in the evening at the house. She had an extensive list of questions, trying to understand my objectives for the shoot. In my case we were going to do the head shots, but we were also going to try for some fun photos for the husband. We talked about props and outfits as there would be plenty of time for changes.

It was at this point that I started to panic a bit and felt that I wouldn’t be ready for the shoot. What outfit was I going to wear? I needed to take my favorite blouse to the dry cleaner. I spent an evening on Rent the Runway and found some ‘new’ dresses to order. The night before the shoot I literally packed a suitcase and a garment bag. I must have taken 10 pairs of shoes, jewelry, lingerie and a dozen dresses. My favorite blouse didn’t make it as the dry cleaners didn’t open until 9.

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I had seen photos from previous shoots, but I was still surprised by how warm and inviting the studio felt. It also didn’t hurt that Ilyanne had put together a wonderful feast of fruit, coffee and champagne. Becky then worked wonders with hair and makeup. I loved the eyelash extensions and made wish I had real ones!

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We started with the business shots. I have a great deal more respect for models. Ilyanne understands how to have you pose so your features may be seen in the best light. In fact, she had over 30 sketches of shots she wanted to accomplish. In addition to her creative eye, her husband is also there with a camera. He has his own sense of creativity and often took the same shot at a different angle. One blouse and two dresses later we were finished with the first part of the shoot. [Side note: I had my first disappointing Rent the Runway experience as one of the dresses arrived with a broken zipper. Even more disappointing is how difficult Rent the Runway makes it to file a complaint.]

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Even this single teaser image has already made me feel better about my visual brand. I’ve changed my Facebook profile picture and need to do the same for Twitter and Instagram, but I am waiting until I see the rest before I change everything.

The second part of the shoot was fun. I am quite confident that the husband will be quite happy. How much of it I will reveal on social media remains to be seen. Your image is your brand, and it should be SFW.

Due to vacations the final reveal won’t be until mid-July, so stay tuned.