So you booked a Profile + Process Photo Session for your small business. Everything went smoothly - planning the shot list was actually really fun and inspiring, you shook off the jitters and blossomed in front of the camera, you finally had a great excuse to give your workspace the deep cleaning that it deserves! You have a new spring in your step until you see your photo gallery and are completely paralyzed with anxiety over how to use the hundreds of photos that were just dumped in your lap.
This is a great problem to have!
Just like writing an essay, it's best to start with an outline. I like to put the photos in to a few broad categories first - we'll call them 'Bins'. These aren't meant to box you in - it's only a place to start until your creative grass-roots marketing juices are flowing! I'll go over these bins using photos from a shoot I delivered for Emmy Callero of Emelia Decor - an interior design company based in North Portland, Oregon.
Bin #1 - Website Overhaul
The very best photos should go here! Choose the ones that define your brand, your personality and your products or services. For many small businesses, the majority of your marketing strategies are intended to funnel potential customers and clients to your website, so that thing better shine!
Some of Emmy's best photos showcase the attention she gives to each client. They are intimate portraits that underline her competence as a designer and her warmth as a creative collaborator. Other stand out photos from Emmy's shoot highlight the details of her office space.
Something to think about is where you can use your new headshots. A 'contact' or 'about' page on your website are the obvious choices, but also don't forget to update your profile photos on all of your social media and professional organization sites.
And don't forget your product shots! In Emmy's case we had already collaborated on some proper interior photography sessions of her client work, but for some businesses, you'll want to comb through your photos to pick out the very best contextual 'portraits' of your products.
Bin #2 - Social Media Bank
For some folks, keeping an active social media presence comes naturally. I recently got some advice from one of those people. My sister, Chelsea, runs Sweet Thyme Design out of Austin, TX. She has a strong social media game that keeps her customers engaged and entertained - and it really does translate in to new sales and returning customers for her. Her advice is to make social media a regularly scheduled part of your day. Every day she posts something in the morning just after (and only after!) her first cup of coffee. By checking that box early in the morning she is able to go about her regular business for the rest of the day and not worry about getting lost in her phone when she should be stamping more spoons.
How does this relate to your new photos? Well you now have an opportunity to line up many social media posts without having to think too hard about what to write every morning! Set aside a collection of photos that will easily spark your daily posts over the next weeks and months. For Emmy, those photos certainly include details of her workspace, but we we also got some good coverage of a material scouting trip with a client as well as a cozy family morning with her husband, Jake, and their pup, Sol. Emmy and I talked a lot about "future proofing" these photos - we had a broad photo session and covered a lot of ground so the images would spark new and varied posts for weeks and months to come.
Bin #3 - Blog Fodder
Do you have a blog? You should have a blog.
Not only is it a fantastic way to help your website's SEO, it's also a great way to air out that brain of yours. For better or worse, running a small business is often a 24/7 job and I have found that my head gets pretty cluttered by the end of the week. Committing some of my random thoughts and ideas to 'paper' has actually helped me to de-stress and feel like I'm tangibly moving through some of my ideas about my small business.
Similar to the Social Media Photo Bank, you can horde some of your photos to use for future blog posts - it will make it so much easier to jump in to a post if you already have the visuals lined up.
In Emmy's case, we shot a series of vignettes that she can use for longer posts about working with materials. Many of these photos would be great as one-off social media posts, but saving a collection for a meaty blog post is definitely something to consider when parsing your photo gallery.
You don't necessarily need to load up a blog post with photos either. It's perfectly okay to build a post around a single image. The images above were some of Emmy's explorations of the things that inspire her work. It's easy to imagine a unique post for each one of these vignettes.
Bin #4 - Advertising + Promotion
Second, identify some photos that would work well with some added text. An easy place to start is to comb through all the soft focus images. With a typical portrait session I would immediately discard all of the out-of-focus shots, but with these Process + Profile sessions, I've found that some of these images can be quite useful if you are looking for some quick promo content.
I'm no graphic designer, but you can see with these examples from Emmy's shoot that I was able to use Typic to quickly throw together some interesting text + image collages that would fall seamlessly in to a social media feed.
As you're pouring through all of your beautiful new photos, don't forget to enjoy yourself and be proud of the business that you are building. These photos are meant to showcase the best sides of your business and you've worked hard to get to the point where there is even something to photograph! Enjoy this moment in the spotlight and channel that energy into all of the promotional work that you will use these photos for. Your audience will see that you are proud of your business and they will want to get a piece of that action for themselves!