Paula N. Luu talks about what all goes into personal branding and how you can make a successful business with your personal branding package.
It almost goes without saying that Paula is one of Houston’s most sought after photographers when it comes to personal branding. Whether her clients fly over from another city or bring her to their location in another state, Paula has provided top of the line branding photos for a variety of business clients and their needs. In this question and response session, Paula discusses what she does for her clients and how they see personal branding as a way to bring impact to their business.
What is personal branding about?
Paula: Personal branding is about creating and maintaining a unique and distinctive image and reputation for yourself. It can stand out in your industry, make your mark, attract new opportunities, and build a loyal following. It involves intentionally crafting and communicating your unique value proposition, skills, and personality to your target audience. When I started my business, Houston Creative Space, which evolved into Paula N. Luu Photography, I was working closely with graphic design and marketing to create the look and feel I wanted for my business.
Personal branding was always a part of my entrepreneurial journey. I wanted to be known as Houston’s premiere photographer for unique, editorial type design and a sense of elegance and glamour. It was not only about having a photo session for nice pictures or social media and marketing. It was about emphasizing your reputation as a business person and professional in the world. If you think of the origin of the word “brand” it was a cattle mark. I wanted to leave this mark in the world and this is what I am offering my clients.
What all goes into personal branding when it comes to a photo session?
Paula: First, I like to have a phone/Zoom conversation about their values, goals, and target audience. This will help them determine the look and feel they would want to convey through your photos. Then, we talk about the location. We want to choose a location that reflects their personal brand and style. This could be at their home or office. This could be even in our studio, but what ever it is, it must showcase their unique personality. Third, I plan their wardrobe. We choose outfits that are comfortable, stylish, and consistent with their personal brand. Neutral colors work well for personal branding photos, but you can also incorporate pops of color to add interest. I also enjoy visiting clients’ closets and helping to pick out what they currently have in their closets so that it matches their personality and tastes. Next, we make sure hair and makeup are styled in a way that complements their personal brand and the look that they are after. Lastly, I guide my clients in a variety of poses that will make their photos shine.
How can personal branding help a person’s business succeed?
Paula: We lead with first impressions. That means our clothes, our body language, the way our voice sounds. Photos are on the top when it comes with how we present to the world. Sure, you can have great photos and a bad reputation, but if you are going put that type of investment into great personal branding photos, then you are a person who wants to show up well in this world. In other words, you know what is important and you want your clients to know what is important.
Lastly, what does a person who is looking for personal branding photos need to know?
Paula: Many clients who have a substantial budget to do this work often don’t know where to go. I had a client in another city look through photographers in her area who specialized in branding portraits and found nothing she liked. They were mostly quick headshots with very little eye toward the vision of her business. Then she expanded her search and found me and my editorial style work. She immediately booked a meeting with me and we talked over an hour about her work and vision for her photo session. We made a date and she booked a flight to come down to my studio.
Because I made the process so easy for her on the front end, she was willing to do the work to make flight and hotel reservations to see me on. For her, this was well worth the investment for her own reputation and how she presents to the world. We attract the clients that are like us. Because my client wanted a high end experience, and showed this in her marketing, these were the types of clients she attracted to her business. Additionally, for many entrepreneurs this is an easy business write-off. It was an easy win/win for her.