A few weeks ago saw me heading up to Surrey for a personal brand photoshoot with Lucy Down of Fresh Leaf Creative. Find out what exactly happens on a personal brand photoshoot and check out the fab photos that are the result of one thoroughly enjoyable day!
In desperate need of new headshots
When I first started my blog, back in 2015, I was too scared to even put a photo of my face on my blog, let alone my social media channels. So, for the first year or so of my blog, all my profiles just had a pic of my logo – eeek!
It took a long while for me to figure out that this was not exactly the best policy, given that we human beings are social creatures, and as such, most people like to interact with someone’s face, not a logo!
So reluctantly I got over myself and posted a pretty terrible photo (that I took of myself, camera held at arm’s length) on my blog…but couldn’t quite bring myself to use it for my social channels.
Eventually I managed to get my hubby to take a halfway decent shot of me and finally plucked up the courage to put that photo everywhere. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest – the lot. But I still hated it. It didn’t really look like me and also it made me look about 12 – and it just didn’t convey the things I wanted it to convey about me (like I’m older than 12!!).
I knew what I needed to do and promised myself that in 2018, I’d get proper professional headshots done…which would be easy right?
Er…wrong. Turns out it’s not easy at all, unless you want someone who will take those formal stiff corporate shots – you know the ones you find in glossy brochures of big companies or on their websites. But that wasn’t the vibe I wanted at all. I wanted what’s generally known as personal brand or lifestyle photos – photos which not only show what you look like, but also convey your personality and what your business is all about. Photos which give people a favour of what to expect when they visit your website and the sort of photos that would not just be perfect for my blog headshot and About Me / Work with Me pages and Media Kit, but also can be used on social media and for other PR purposes.
To throw in an extra complication, I am also currently designing a second website: www.productiveblogging.com – where I will be sharing my blogging tips and helping others to start, grow and monetise their blogs – all while staying sane, being organised and not burning out!! I strongly believe in concentrating on your own blogging goals, rather than feeling like you have to do #allthethings because everyone else is. So there will be a big focus on productivity, time management and goal setting as well as lots of practical help with the day to day stuff too.
It’s a really exciting project, (I’m having so much fun working on it at the moment), but one where I knew I would need lots of great professional shots and not just headshots but more lifestyle and branding shots too.
Fresh Leaf Creative
I discovered Lucy Down from Fresh Leaf Creative quite by chance, one day on a mass Google hunt for someone who might be able to offer more than a couple of staid stiff corporate style headshots, and when I clicked onto her website I was pretty sure I’d found what I was looking for. And I wasn’t wrong!
Lucy has been a photographer for many years, originally specialising in baby and family photography, but has recently moved more into branding, website design and personal brand photography after a big life change, where she quit her corporate career in finance to concentrate on what had been, until then, more of a side hustle.
Our initial meeting was over coffee (very civilised!) where we discussed exactly what I was after and Lucy’s creative ideas, as well as how the whole process would work. Lucy is so lovely – just the right mix of professional and friendly. She is also a mum and had until recently, it turned out, worked for the exact same company that I used to work for and had also quit her corporate career to follow her passion in the online world, so we found we had a lot in common!
And I was delighted that she really ‘got’ what I was after. Not only did she really get it, but she was able to take my ideas and push them further with lots of wonderfully creative ideas of her own.
Gathering ideas and props
After our initial meeting, Lucy set me the challenge to create a Pinterest board with all the photos that inspired me, whether that was headshots, lifestyle shots, colours I liked, locations etc.
She also encouraged me to gather together props we might use and think about the clothes I wanted to wear for the shoot…a challenge which clearly necessitated a quick trip the shops to get a few extra bits and pieces (except, well…I may have got a little carried away with that last part…but this girl only needs a very small excuse to go out and buy new clothes…and a photoshoot – that’s a great big excuse, right???).
The day of the photoshoot
The day of the photoshoot began at Lucy’s gorgeous cottage in Cobham, Surrey, where she had arranged for JoJo Hicks, a professional makeup artist and hair stylist, to come and do my hair and makeup. JoJo was great, taking time to find out exactly what I wanted from my hair and makeup and taking the greatest care and attention to get it just perfect and exactly how I had envisioned it.
After our earlier discussions over coffee, Lucy had suggested using the Medicine Garden in Cobham as the backdrop to our shoot – and what a gem of a place! Perfect backdrops for the photoshoot everywhere and lovely friendly staff, who were very happy to accommodate our photoshoot and help out supplying props and allowing us to rearrange their furniture. (Obviously Lucy had arranged all this prior – we didn’t just turn up, so they were ready for us!).
We started in The Hothouse – a gorgeous conservatory style cafe full of bare brick and rustic furniture, for lots of ‘me at my computer’ style work shots, before heading outside to the gardens where we were spoilt for choice for beautiful backdrops.
I loved working with Lucy on the photoshoot – she’s so friendly and encouraging, and full of great ideas to make me laugh and a produce a variety of natural facial expressions and poses.
Her desire was to give me a broad range of natural looking photos, so I would have plenty to work with in all kinds of situations – across my two blogs and all my social channels, which was EXACTLY what I wanted. Our photoshoot involved a whole array of backdrops, poses, facial expressions, props and outfit changes to give me a huge variety of photos to use for every possible scenario.
And whilst it was technically ‘work’ a day for me, to be honest, a day of pampering, feeling like a celebrity and nice friendly chats with Lucy felt like anything but!
The big reveal
I just love Lucy’s professional, organised approach. A week after the photoshoot, Lucy sent me a preview of the photos, which I was utterly delighted with and vastly exceeded my expectations (and after getting to know Lucy, I already had pretty high expectations!) and then just a few days later, she had the full collection ready for me to work with: high and low resolution photos, both landscape and portrait, as well as a few black and white shots, all ready to download from my own password protected collection online, as well as a USB stick of all the images for added convenience.
I need your help!
But with so many beautiful images (down to Lucy’s skills I might point out, not my face!!), now I have a dilemma – which one should I use as my ‘hero’ headshot? The one I will use in the sidebar on my blog and in all my social profiles. I’ve narrowed it down to the following 5, but I’d love to know which one you think would work best? This seems like such a bizarre question, but which Eb would you want to connect with? I want to appear friendly and approachable, someone who you’d want to chat too – not weird or aloof or scary or someone who you just don’t think would be a nice person (‘cos I am a nice person – honest!!). Let me know in the comments below!!
So, would I recommend Fresh Leaf Creative?
No question about it – a great big YES! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Lucy to you if you are looking for personal brand or lifestyle photographs for your website and / or social media channels. The experience was amazing and the end result more perfect than I could have hoped for.
But Lucy does way more than personal brand photography – she designs websites, creates logos and branding for all kinds of businesses and websites, as well as offering a whole host of other services, including business cards and stationery, website maintenance, SEO optimisation and social media management.
And whilst I haven’t tested out these services, with Lucy’s friendly professionalism and attention to detail, as well as her desire to go above and beyond for her clients and give them the very best, I can’t imagine you’d be disappointed!
How to contact
If you are interested in booking a personal brand photo shoot or one of Lucy’s other services, you can visit her website here: Fresh Leaf Creative
Or check her out on Instagram here: @freshleafcreative
More details of the medicine garden at Cobham can be found here: The Medicine Garden
Pin this review for later