THE INSPIRATION PLACE PODCAST
Carolina Luna: It’s really all about showing that you’re human. That we know that you are human, but showing what makes you that special human that you are. So showing what captivates other hobbies that you might have. Perhaps you might like to hike and explore nature, or travel. So photographing the other sides of you are also part of building a personal brand because it shows your values and how you spend the time that you’re not working.
Speaker 2: It’s the Inspiration Place podcast with artist Miriam Shulman. Welcome to the Inspiration Place Podcast, an art world Insider podcast for artists, by an artist, where each week we go behind the scenes to uncover the perspiration and inspiration behind the art. And now, your host, Miriam Schulman.
Miriam Schulman: Well, hey there! This is Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration, and you’re listening to episode number 257 of The Inspiration Place podcast. I’m so grateful that you’re here. Today we’re talking about all the ways you can use photography to help position your art or your products online. And it’s more than just taking pictures of your products. As an artist, having a strong online presence is essential, and one of the most important elements of that is the photos you choose to showcase you and your work. So in this episode, we’re going to explore the topic of photography and how to create a visual identity that truly represents you and your work.
So, before we get there, I just want to tell you a quick story. My guest today was actually the photographer that I hired for my book launch party for Artpreneur, and it brought me back to when I had to hire photographers for my kids’ bar and bat mitzvah parties because it’s so fun to capture all those details. I remember how my daughter’s number one priority for her party was a good photographer. That was the most important thing that she would have as a keepsake. And we did invest in really good photography, and I’m so glad that we did. Now, for my son, he didn’t care about the photographer at all. He just wanted a fun party. So I did go a little cheap on his. But believe me, investing in photography makes a huge difference.
I also want to make sure that you stay until the end because we have a free guide just for you. It’s a workbook for you to start brainstorming your brand further and develop a plan for your next photo shoot. To help me out today, I’ve invited a New York-based photographer and personal brand expert who teaches entrepreneurs how to build authenticity, authority, and credibility online using strategic photos as a positioning tool. Please welcome to the Inspiration Place, Carolina Luna. Well, hey there! Welcome to the show.
Carolina Luna: Hey Miriam, I’m so happy to be here. Thank you for having me. [inaudible] your book launch.
Miriam Schulman: Yeah, it’s been a long time and a short time. Is that possible? Like, it’s been two months, but I don’t know. It’s like it’s yesterday or it was years ago. This is like in the post-pandemic world or the pandemic world. Like, I never know what day it is. Do you know what I mean?
Carolina Luna: Yes, absolutely. [inaudlbe]
Miriam Schulman: Yes, all right. So let’s get started because I know I have a lot of questions. I want to make sure we get to all of them. So first off, what are the most common mistakes that, I’m going to say, artists, but let’s say “artpreneurs” to mean either artists or entrepreneurs? What are some of the most common mistakes artpreneurs make when it comes to choosing photos for their online presence?
Carolina Luna: So the biggest mistake that artists and people, in general, are making as far as posting their photographs is not really putting too much thought into it because everything that we put out there on the internet stays there forever. It’s very hard to remove your image online once you post it. So I think the biggest mistake is just throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping that it sticks to create their brand and promote their business and art. It’s really not being intentional with the photos that they post.
Miriam Schulman: That’s a great answer. Okay. So when you’re being intentional, what kinds of photos do you recommend that artpreneurs have for their website or their social media profiles?
Carolina Luna: I think Artpreneurs could be thinking a little bit more about the behind-the-scenes process of creating their art, such as painting or sculpting. The art process is so captivating. I find myself on social media when I see somebody creating art, for example, a time-lapse or a few clips of them working and creating, painting, sculpting, or whatever that is. It’s just so much fun because you want to see what’s going to come out at the end. So it’s a great opportunity for you to photograph or film the step-by-step process or have your camera on a time-lapse and bring more value to your art for people to understand what goes into it. Typically, they only see the final result of the art, but now, when they see how much time and energy and process goes behind creating things, it really makes the art more understandable.
Miriam Schulman: So I think a lot of artists do share their process. I think a lot of artists don’t share enough. Some of the other kinds of photos like. And what kind of value do you think is in that, like showing their studio or their pets? Do you think do you think people want to see that?
Carolina Luna: I think everything that shows how you live your best life helps people to bond with you. So if you have a pet, maybe those art collectors that are considering you as an artist or commissioning your art will connect even further with you because they also are pet lovers or cat people or dog people wherever there is. Our plant collectors also notice. So it’s really all about showing that you’re human. We know that you are human, but showing what makes you that special human that you are. So showing what captivates other hobbies that you might have. Perhaps you might like to hike and explore nature or travel. Photographing the other sides of you is also part of building a personal brand because it shows your values and how you spend the time that you’re not working.
Miriam Schulman: That brings us to a really good point, Carolina, because I imagine that the location would play a big role. So, how do you choose the location when you’re working with a client for doing brand photography?
Now, obviously, if it’s something like me with a book launch party, it’s going to be where the book launch party is. If it’s a wedding or bar mitzvah, that’s going to be where the event is. But when you’re doing brand photography, how do you choose those locations to really showcase the entrepreneur behind the brand?
Carolina Luna: So, this is a very personal matter because it’s important to know who the person is and figure out how they live their life. What’s in their day? What’s their routine? Do they get up early, go to the gym, watch the sunrise, go for a hike, or just cuddle with their pet? Or, do they have a routine with their kids? Do they have a hobby like journaling, pulling out Oracle cards, reading a book, or reading the Artpreneur in the morning before they get inspired?
So, it is really important to understand how you live your life. And then, the purpose of personal branding photography is not to make you look like someone you’re not. It is to keep you as authentic as you are. So, it is really showing little slices of your life to allow your audience, your art buyers, or the people that you know are looking and interested in you as a brand, as an artist, to see how you live your life, inspire people, and again, show your lifestyle.
So, people have the opportunity to bond with you besides your art. By just liking who you are, it enhances your know-like-and-trust factor in general.
Miriam Schulman: I’m sure there’s a lot of people listening to this that think ‘That’s great but I’m so uncomfortable in front of the camera.’ What tips do you have for people who are—Am I right? Are there a lot of people who get uncomfortable?
Carolina Luna: Yes, of course. Because, unlike models who do that actually for a living, we are not models. We’re just regular people doing our thing, creating our art, and living our lives. So, if you’re not comfortable in front of the camera and you are building your personal brand, it’s time maybe that you explore being more comfortable and practice a little bit. Now me, for example. I am an introvert, so it’s not my favorite thing to speak on camera, but I’m a little more comfortable being photographed because then I don’t have to have that awkwardness. But when you work with a photographer, you really want to connect with your photographer because you want to be able to relax with that person.
A great photographer will give you direction, have your best interest in mind by posing you in the correct way, giving you guidance, and really speaking to you in a way that will make you relax into the best expressions and poses and feel comfortable so we can capture your energy. So, it’s really about having chemistry with your photographer. And then, if you’re doing photos by yourself, just look in the mirror. I can give you some tips.
Miriam Schulman: Yeah, I would love to hear some tips. What are some tips that will give us some really good poses? I want to look good.
Carolina Luna: So first off, I would say if you are photographing yourself for a full-body photograph, a lot of people use their cell phones and they’re raising their cell phones, right? Because when you have the camera angle a little above your eye level, we’re distorting the image a little bit. So that helps you to look a little slimmer. However, when you’re doing a full-body photograph, the best angle should be towards your belly button. So the lens meeting your belly button to stay proportional. So unless you look into the camera a little bit and try to look a little slimmer, raise the camera angle a little bit. That’s why you see a lot of people with the phones high because they feel that reflects their best angle.
On the one hand, everybody wants to look their best, but also when you’re posing with people or in groups or by yourself, you want to turn your body slightly 45 degrees towards the camera because that way you’re not square on, and naturally, you’re going to look more flattering for your composition. Of course, you guys know how to use the Rules of Third. When you use personal branding photography, you want to make sure that you’re also getting more horizontal photos for your website sections. That’s really important because a lot of photographers are typically photographing portraits, and what happens is when you go to put them on the website sections, you really need the full-width photographs to fill in the space and get the best visual experience for the viewers. Also, to be able to use the negative space on your frame, to use the copy, the call to actions, and things like that.
Miriam Schulman: I just want to stop you right there because there are two things you said that are huge. And I’ve known about the holding-the-camera-up trick for a long time, especially as we age. It’s not just about making it slimmer, but it hides all that stuff that happens to women as we age with our necks. So when you do the above view, even if you’re in a restaurant and you ask the waiter to take a picture of you and your friends, make sure they’re holding the camera a little bit higher than your eye level so you get that flattering point of view.
The other thing that you just said, which is huge, was making sure you get lots of horizontal shots. And this is true even when you’re not doing brand photography. If you want to share, let’s just say, wedding pictures or special occasion pictures, you do want to have a lot of horizontal shots because they crop better as squares, whereas verticals don’t. Sometimes you crop them, and they don’t quite look as good. So another way to give direction to the photographer is to shoot wide, so that you have the choice.
Carolina Luna: Yes, I would say when you have a photographer working with you, you want to really get a variety of cropping. So you do want to have your headshots, and they should be consistent on all your social media channels, the same photograph. Because when people are researching you as an artist, they are platform-hopping, and they want to understand who you are, and how you show up in the world, and you don’t want to have different photos in your profile because you want it to be easily identifiable. So when people are hopping, they burn fewer calories trying to figure out if you are the same person. Whether they go on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other platform you use, Facebook, you need three-quarter photographs, full-body photographs, and you’re going to need those horizontal photographs either for body or three-quarter cropping. But again, with the negative space using the rules of thirds so that you have better placement of the subject, a balanced frame, and you need call-to-action photographs as well. The ones where you’re looking away, sometimes pointing or just guiding the viewer to read something or look away, will create intrigue and invite people for that call to action, right?
To read something, looking at something. The other thing that you will need is a variety of expressions. So, have you ever been on a website that you scroll from top to bottom, and the person has the same exact smile everywhere? It’s important for you to have a variety to show that you are expressive as well. And when you speak about something that’s a little deeper and profound or serious or speaking about something sad, you have something that can match your post. So, your photography should match your captions when you write something, when you write a blog post, when you’re writing on Instagram, social media, try to—the photography should help you to tell the story. And the best way of doing that is really matching the seriousness of your expression or having positive expressions, happy, or even intriguing, funny faces. Sometimes they stop people in their tracks to look and read further. So don’t be afraid to show a different range of expressions when you get photographs.
Miriam Schulman: And to add to that, if anyone checks out my YouTube channel—so The Inspiration Place is on YouTube, we do post a lot of videos. Many of the episodes you listen to here, you can watch them on YouTube. If go to my YouTube channel which is The Inspiration Place, just search over there, you’ll see me making a lot of goofy faces because the best thumbnails for YouTube are these extremely goofy poses – not glamour shots. I’m not sure if glamour shots work as well on Instagram either. So it’s all about these goofy things. Carolyn, you’ve shared so much knowledge here today. But is there anything else that our listeners need to know that is different about a regular photography session and a branding photography session?
Carolina Luna: Yeah, so what is different is really the strategy that goes behind the planning of your photoshoot. For example, your branding photographer should have a questionnaire to assess your social media presence, your online presence, and ask tons of questions to really understand who you are. This way, we can better curate your storylines, photography, locations, and even help you with your wardrobe. It’s not just a regular photoshoot. I highly recommend that your branding photographer has a good grip on marketing and understands branding. This way, it can help you understand how you want to position yourself and elevate your vision and positioning with your photoshoot. It should not just be pretty photographs. I have heard from many people that they have had really expensive and fancy photoshoots, but they ended up with nothing they could actually use that would match their brand or represent them accurately. So this is something that you should be careful about because there are so many photographers out there, and pretty much anyone can give you a pretty photograph. But when you’re using your photo to market yourself as an artist or an artpreneur, you really have to be more intentional. And you should take this opportunity to dig deeper and get very clear about how you want to show up. Because branding your brand is about what people remember about you. So think about this: How do you want to be remembered as an artist and curate the photography to help you appear that way and create those impressions.
Miriam Schulman: I love that.
Miriam Schulman: Okay, so if they want to get your branding workbook, I know you have a free gift for our listeners.
Carolina Luna: CarolinaLunaPhotography.com. I also have some other giveaways there such as what to wear for your photoshoot and how to brainstorm your next photoshoots.
Miriam Schulman: We’ll make sure we include all those links in the show notes. And again, this is episode number 257, so you can find the links to everything over at SchulmanArt.com/257. All righty. Do you have any last words for my listeners before we call this podcast complete?
Carolina Luna: So Artpreneurs, you are already a brand. So my invitation is for you just to curate your personal brand a little more consciously for brand positioning success.
Miriam Schulman: All right. Thank you so much for being with me here today.
Carolina Luna: Thank you for having me.
Miriam Schulman: All right. And thank you, my listener. I will see you the same time, same place next week. New episodes drop every Tuesday. Until then, stay inspired.
Speaker 2: Thank you for listening to The Inspiration Place podcast. Connect with us on Facebook at facebook.com/schulmanart on Instagram @schulmanart and of course, on SchulmanArt.com.
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