branded photography

Branded Photography – the What, How and Why with Lauren Muttschall

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Have you ever wondered if you need a professional headshot or if you should do a branding session with a professional photographer?

Today, my friend Lauren Muttschall is going to unload all the goods on you. She’s a paralegal, executive legal assistant by day and photographer by night. What started as a hobby has turned into a lucrative side gig that she is super passionate about.


Allison: My special guest is here to give you all the goods when it comes to branded photography. Welcome Lauren.

Lauren: Hi.

Allison: I’m so glad you’re here. But before we dive into branded photography, I’d like you to introduce yourself to our listeners and tell us what your business is.

Lauren: So. My name is Lauren. I am a photographer from the southwest suburbs of Chicago. I do photography anywhere in the Chicago land area. I love helping people like Allison, brand their business, create a recognizable face for themselves and get their product and word out there.

Allison: And Lauren, you do such a great job. And for our listeners, if you don’t know, Lauren is my photographer and she does all my branded photography. And what’s crazy is the picture of me for the artwork for this podcast was done by Lauren. So just goes to show that she knows what she is doing. Let’s dive into our topic today. I’m sure that a lot of women listening probably wonder or even think that branded photography, is it necessary? I know you think it is. I think it is. Let’s maybe take a step back and Lauren, maybe tell our audience what exactly is a branding photography session?

Lauren: Sure. A branded photography session is really a session that focuses on you and your brand, your product, whatever it is that you are providing to your network. For instance, with you, Alison, it’s a session that focuses on what you bring to the table for all the wonderful mom bosses out there. We do sessions that show you as a woman, you are a mom, you are doing it all. You get comfy in some cute pajamas that say that you’re a mom boss. But then we also go outside, and we take pictures of you with your camera because you do awesome flat lays. It’s just an opportunity to show people who you are and what you do visually.

Allison: I love how you said ‘show who you are’ because I think a lot of times, like a branded photo session, people get nervous and they think I must look my absolute best. I must spend $300 on an outfit. And I mean, yes you want to look your best, but you want to be you. I think it’s important for our listeners to understand that a branded photography session is just your opportunity to pull out your personality traits. And I mean, and I think too, before you go into a session, you must really define your personal brand. What do you want to be known for and define your own personality traits? Cause let me tell you, a photographer isn’t going to know that. They’re not just going to meet you on the first day and know exactly who you are and know what you need. I guess that’s my next question, why should a business owner or an entrepreneur do a branding session with a professional photographer?

Lauren: Anyone can sell any product, any service, anything. The problem is there’s a million people that offer the exact same thing. And what’s going to make you stand apart is the fact that people get to know you and who you are, and you get to put your personality and your skills into the session. For me personally, a million other photographers are in my area, they’re all phenomenal. And instead of looking at them as competition, it’s okay, what do I bring to the table? And for me it’s, I can connect with people on a different level. And that’s what I want other people to see. Like, for Allison, I want people to see that about you. It’s important that people know you, they know all the fun little quirks. And you know, if you haven’t personally seen Allison, she always has a fun pair of earrings on in all her pictures and that’s just part of her personality. When you’re looking for someone that does something, things like that stick out in your mind. Seeing Allison, she always has great earrings, that is just part of her personality. Fun shirts with sayings, it’s all her personality coming out, coming through in her photos that show what she is providing.

I like to connect on a deeper level because that’s what you want to do with your client base. You need to connect on a personal and emotional level and visually people want to see who they’re connecting with. It goes so far beyond any sort of product or service. It about who they’re dealing with and that’s a huge part of the branding photography package. You need to put a face to everything and a personality.

Allison: Absolutely. I totally agree. And you know, I also think it’s important that branding photography, for me, is important to showcase that I care about my business and I take my business seriously. If you were to compare two people, someone who has branded photography mixed in with whatever they offer compared to someone who just has selfies in their car or in the bathroom, who are you going to take seriously? You want to be that authority or that expert. I think no one’s truly an expert, but you are an authority in your niche. I also think that’s important too to do the branding photography.

Lauren: I agree. And the other thing, anyone can pull a stock photo from the Internet. That’s great. There’s 500 other people doing the exact same thing with the exact same picture, but your face, in your branding and your product, that makes all the difference.

Allison: Now here’s my next question. When we do branded photography, because a lot of women might be listening and they might think, ‘I don’t have a well-established or a large business. Do you think whatever size business you have, does that play a role as far as branded photography? Do you think everyone should do it?

Lauren: To be honest, I think everyone should do it. I think a branding session could really set you apart from anyone else and that’ll help your business grow. People don’t want to connect with a screen or a stock photo or someone’s website. They want to connect with another person. When you add the personal element to your brand, which you do with the branding shoots, it really takes your business to the next level. Perhaps you just want a small business that stays where it’s at. You’re not looking to grow. Maybe that’s fine, but if you’re looking to make something out of your business, if you’re looking to connect with more people to make a difference in more people’s lives, you really need to show the human side. And you do that with the branding sessions. No matter the size of your business, you don’t have to do a full branding session. Branding is so important for anyone, regardless of the size of the company.

Allison: Now what would you say to someone who’s listening and they’re like, I want to do this. I want to find a photographer, you know, wherever they are, but their budget just won’t allow it. Because I mean, photographers, you know, price ranges, range all over the board. They can get pricey. What would you say to someone who wants to do this, but they just don’t have the budget to do it?


Lauren: I get it. Photography can be crazy expensive. I get it. I do think it’s important, if your business is important to you, you need to make a branding session important to your business. If you need to save little by little, I would do it that way. Or if you just want to start off with something small, do a small session. Perhaps a headshot, a couple of photos of you in your element showing what service or product you provide. I think you just need to start somewhere and that’s the big thing. Everyone starts somewhere.

Allison: And you know what? You can get a lot out of a 15-minute session. I think you and I did a 30-minute session and I couldn’t believe the number of photos that came just from that short session. I tell people too, if you’re so nervous to invest the money, go on Facebook and put out there that you’re looking for a local photographer, possibly willing to trade services. That way you’re starting a relationship and you’re collaborating with them and you are helping them by giving your products or services.

What do you think someone should look for a photographer? What qualities make a good photographer in your opinion?

Lauren: For me, I think a lot of it is personal. How do you mesh with that person? Do they understand your vision? This is so important because you need this person to understand what you’re trying to convey. And do they get your mission? Do they understand the emotion that you want people to feel when they see your pictures? Do they get it? Do you click? This is the goal; this is what I want people to feel. These are my ideas. Can we make it work? You can work with someone who is the most talented photographer in the area, but if they’ve got a personality like cardboard, that’s such a waste.

Allison: Yeah, I agree. Because you don’t want to show up to a branding shoot and like you said, they have the personality of cardboard, and then it’s hard on the client because they don’t know what to do. They don’t know how to stand or where to put their hands or how to turn their head. And then if you’re not vibing with the photographer, like you said, it’s wasted time for you and the photographer.

Lauren: Of course. And its nerve-wrecking for whoever is on the other side of the camera anyway. I mean, there’s a camera in their face and you need to be comfortable. There’s got to be some personality there.

Allison: And add a little music in there. I know that’s what we do. Have a little background.

Lauren: Dancing, whatever.

Allison: How does someone even begin to prepare for a shoot? Let’s say they’re doing it, they booked it, but now they need to prepare for the actual session. What advice would you give someone who’s going to show up at your session?

Lauren: Before anyone has any sort of branding session, they need to figure out what they’re looking for, what they want their brand to represent, whether it be a service or just a product. You need to figure out what you want people to feel, what you want them to think. Even if you need to look online for inspiration, that’s fine because what you do is you take that inspiration and you make it and you tailor it towards you. I think it’s just important to understand what you’re looking to accomplish, what you want people to think about you. It’s also important once you start to figure that out, to discuss it with your photographer. It’s a collaboration.

Allison: And I love how you said, ‘how do you want to make people feel?’ That’s what really makes your branded photography stand out because it’s almost like you’re telling a story with just that one photo or even if you have several photos within your grid on Instagram and people start to scroll your grid and they see all these different photos of you in different poses, they really start to have a feeling about who you are.

And before we sign off, can you please tell our listeners where they can connect with you?

Lauren: Of course. I have a website, it’s I also have a Facebook page @lchristinephotography. I have an Instagram. If you would like to email me, my email is [email protected].

Allison: Well, thank you so much again, Lauren. This was awesome and I can’t wait to have you on again soon enough. All right, thanks again. Until next time.

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