How I do Personal Branding Sessions Differently

Personal Branding photo sessions are becoming more and more popular nowadays. And it’s no wonder, because more and more entrepreneurs are growing their businesses online using these types of images. And there are a few photographers in each area who specialize in this type of photography, too. So what makes my sessions different? Quite a lot, actually.

As with every session experience I offer, the photography is almost secondary. Yes, you need to be able to take a good picture, but there are plenty of photographers out there who can take good photographs with their more than adequate camera equipment. That’s nothing new or special nowadays (in fact, that’s the bare minimum!). But personal branding is so much more than just pretty pictures. And what happens before and after that session is what really makes the biggest difference.


Image of a home office desk with flowers and lots of light. Lifestyle personal branding photo by N. Lalor Photography. Serving Fairfield County, Connecticut.

The In-home styling and concept consultation

I strongly believe that when photographs are meant to sell (whether that’s a product or you as an expert in your field), planning is one of the most important parts of the process. Not only do you need pretty pictures in the end (which, btw, most photographers can accomplish), but you also need them to illustrate the top selling points and carry through a cohesive concept while communicating clearly. In short, you need a strategy. Showing up with a camera and taking a few pictures is great, but as someone who spent almost a decade working in advertising, I can tell you that unless you’re telling a story, those images won’t be nearly as useful. These photographs need to SAY something to the viewer.. which is the entire basis for good promotion.

And so, this is why every session includes an In-home Styling and Concept Consultation. This appointment takes place in your home for several reasons.. the convenience of it, being able to see your space and understand your style, having access to all your clothing (we hand-select outfits for your session during the appointment), and meeting face to face so that you feel more comfortable on the day of.

We will sit down and talk about your business, your clients, your marketing and social media strategy, and your goals for the session. This is when we create the plan for the photoshoot.. which is absolutely essential in my opinion. And after this appointment, I will put together a comprehensive PDF for you outlining the session locations and outfits, for your reference.

Image of a man buckling his bicycle helmet. Lifestyle personal branding portrait by N. Lalor Photography. Serving Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Storytelling

Pause for a moment and think about who you are. You’re probably not just one thing. You’re not just a business-owner. Or just a parent. You’re not just a wife or husband. You have more than 1 or 2 things that you enjoy doing. You have your home, but also a favorite outdoor spot. You might have a pet or be really attached to your car (or bicycle). None of us is just ONE thing. Which is why capturing a variety of images and telling several stories through them is so important. Because your followers, clients, and potential clients are eager to learn more about you! That is why they’re hiring you and not someone else, after all.

Image of a woman social media expert in her home, writing in a notebook. Lifestyle personal branding portrait by N. Lalor Photography. Serving Fairfield County, Connecticut.

A 2-hour and 4-hour session option

The full Personal Branding Session is a 4-hour experience that includes multiple locations, clothing changes, and 3-months worth of fresh images for your social media (that’s 90+ photos!). The smaller session, at 2-hours, includes at least 60 final images and is meant as a great starting point for most solopreneurs. Both come with the In-Home Styling Consultation, because you simply can’t skip that part, and full retouching (more on that below).

The thing is, all businesses are different. Some might need just a quick session, while others really want to fill up their image bank with as many photos as possible. If you’re just starting out, you might want to test out the 2-hour session experience to make sure it’s right for you.. but if you’ve been in it for a few years, have a following, and already know that you need more than the bare minimum, 4 hours will be perfect to capture a huge variety and really tell your story.

Image of two female startup owners in Westport, Connecticut. Lifestyle personal branding portrait by N. Lalor Photography. Serving Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Posing Direction

It still baffles me how many professional photographers leave their clients hanging when it comes to posing and giving direction during the photoshoot. None of us are professional models. We don’t automatically know what makes us look good in front of the camera.. and many women struggle in this area specifically.

The thing is, the photographer’s job is to create the scene. Especially with lifestyle images, there is styling and directing involved. Not only is the scene set with the location, outfit, and props, but also with the actions that the people in that photograph are doing. And in order to get as much as possible into a short photoshoot window (we are, after all, trying to tell several stories), you need to get those images fast. That means the luxury of waiting around for something to happen spontaneously is a completely unrealistic expectation.

So I’m always directing - suggesting things to do, where to look, where arms and legs should go, asking for different expressions, and keeping an eye on the details (fingers should always be relaxed, hair needs to be in place, double-chin, etc). It’s the only way to capture flattering portraits and get the variety we need to keep our social media feeds fresh and engaging.

Headshot image of a hair salon owner in Westport, Connecticut. Lifestyle personal branding portrait by N. Lalor Photography. Serving Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Full retouching

The main difference between social media ready images and magazine quality portraits is the polish of retouching. Which is why I insist on putting every final photograph from the session through the full Photoshop retouching process. This takes much longer than batch-editing, but the result can’t be reproduced any other way. Even if you’re only using photos for social media (at least for today.. you never know when you’ll have a magazine spread coming your way!), retouching guarantees that you’ll look your best and that we have full control of the final result. Now, that doesn’t mean that the images will look retouched. The beauty of hand-retouching an image is that things look natural in the end. After all, it’s not about completely changing you into a supermodel, but simply making you look your best.

Image of a woman CEO at Terrain in Westport. Lifestyle personal branding portrait by N. Lalor Photography. Serving Fairfield County, Connecticut.

1-week turnaround time

Nobody likes waiting for their images, especially when they are so essential for your business. That is why I guarantee a 1-week delivery date of final photographs from your session. And once the photos are in your hands, if you feel like you’d like additional retouching or edits on any of them, simply let me know.

Image of a woman capturing Instagram story on her phone. Lifestyle personal branding portrait by N. Lalor Photography. Serving Fairfield County, Connecticut.

100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Personal Branding Sessions are structured a bit differently than Family and Portrait sessions because you’re buying photographs before you’ve actually seen them. This allows me to provide a full session experience, knowing that I will be compensated fairly, and allows you to get more images in the end since you’re not paying for them individually. However, it can be a little scary to commit to something like that - after all, you haven’t even seen the final product yet!

My Satisfaction Guarantee is just that - a promise that if for any reason, you don’t like your final photos, you’ll receive a full refund or a reshoot. My goal is to create imagery that will allow your business to succeed, and if I haven’t done my job correctly, there’s no reason why you should pay for it.


I believe with all my heart that there is a right photographer for everyone. The people who benefit most from working with me are serious entrepreneurs who want strategic imagery, not just pretty pictures to throw up on Instagram. They are women who don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera and can use a bit of direction, good lighting, and yes, retouching. They want polished, high-quality images they can do with as they wish, indefinitely, and with full control. And they don’t want somebody to just show up on the day of the shoot and do a quick job of it. They understand that a Personal Branding session is a collaborative process and when they’re spending real money, they want someone who will take the time to get to know their business, their goals, and creates portraits that are actually unique (i.e. not what everyone else is doing).

So if that sounds like you, and if you’re been wondering about this whole Personal Branding Photoshoot thing, send me a quick email at info@nlalorphotography.com and we can see if we’re a good fit for each other. And if you already know this is 100% what you’ve been looking for, click below to start the booking process.