Go behind the scenes with headshots and brand photographer, Meg Marie. See how she’s leveraged her passion to enhance the dreams of others! (Featuring MEG MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY)
“I was only gonna do weddings.”
Meg Marie was decidedly building a wedding photography business when a friend asked her to make some headshots for her startup. As all photographers do, Meg said, “sure,” really casually, while her insides jumped for joy at having booked another client – any client.
Instead of photographing a small series of run-of-the-mill headshots, however, Meg took her friend into town and created a spectrum of images. Magnetic headshots, energetic portraits, bold brand photos: the pictures were alive and full of story, and – more importantly – they dramatically increased her friend’s growing business.
Now, Meg earns 80% of her income with brand photography and brand-building add-ons. With a vision that challenges and surpasses the headshots status quo, Meg consistently delivers photographs that become as much a part of her clients’ brands as the services and products they sell.
“To capture people’s seven second attention span, you need stunning images that tell the unique story of your brand.”
– Meg Marie
Going Beyond Headshots
Headshots have been a staple of business marketing since the earliest days of boardroom executives and real estate agents. With the advent of social media, however, the need for photographs has evolved beyond headshots and into brand photography. And while clients continue to request “just a few headshots,” Meg knows this approach is rarely enough.
“In today’s world, we’re bombarded with so much information and marketing all the time. That’s why it’s even more important to be intentional with your branding and the images you post online.”
– Meg Marie
Selling Her Vision
Convincing your clients that they need THIS when they think they need that can be a challenge – especially for budget-aware clients with brand-new businesses. Meg’s contagious passion for brand photography bridges the gap between each client’s initial request and what she ultimately delivers to them.
Meg follows a strict protocol when booking a new client. It’s one that combines collaboration with confidence and connection. Her first step? Getting the client on the phone.
#1: It Starts With A Phone Call
Meg’s first step with any new potential brand photography client is to connect with them by phone. Getting to know each client is a critical step in creating – not just headshots – but a holistic collection of brand imagery. She has chosen to not publish her pricing on her website, because she’s learned that her clients are more likely to invest when they’ve had a voice-to-voice conversation with her.
During the call, Meg listens first and talks after. She seeks to understand the passion her client feels for their own brand and business, then shares what she can do to refine, emphasize, and empower that brand.
Meg asks questions like:
- “Where do you see yourself and your business in the next two to three years?”
- “What is your vision for your photo shoot?”
These questions help Meg determine whether her approach is the right fit for an inquiring client.
“A lot of times, people get wrapped up in details like inventory and pricing, and they don’t yet know who their client is. I ask them to think about their bigger vision – why they’re doing what they’re doing, and the lifestyle they want. I want my photos to be an authentic reflection of my client and their brand.”
– Meg Marie
#2: Send the Branding Questionnaire
When a client decides to proceed with booking, Meg’s next step is to send her new client a branding questionnaire. The branding questionnaire includes a short series of questions designed to help her client clearly define the brand message they’d like their photos to convey.
The responses to this questionnaire will inform Meg’s approach to their headshots and lifestyle imagery.
#3: Schedule A Strategy Call
Once the branding questionnaire has been completed, Meg schedules the strategy call. During each strategy call, Meg invests up to two hours collaborating with her client about every detail of their upcoming brand photography experience. They talk about everything from the questionnaire responses to details like location, wardrobe, and props.
One questionnaire item is particularly helpful to Meg when trying to understand the intended vibe of a client’s brand. “List three to five words that describe your brand.”
“I have one client whose five words are: self-care, stillness, relaxation, indulgence, and bliss. Then I have another client whose words are: bold, fierce, unapologetic, and so on.”
– Meg Marie
These brand adjectives bring Meg into her client’s world. Everything about a brand photography session is crafted with these words in mind: the location, the props, the lighting, and the mood Meg works to capture during the session.
PRO TIP: Pinterest Is Your Friend
Pinterest can be frustrating when a client presents you with a board of 500 photos and says, “I want photos exactly like these!” But in brand photography, Pinterest is your greatest ally! Ask your client to create a Pinterest board with up to 50 images that represent their brand. These can be photos, works of art, or relevant articles. The pins will provide a visual component to the brand questionnaire, and help you in creating a shared vision.
Brand Photography: Headshots, Lifestyle, & All-Around FUN
Meg invests a great deal of up-front time in every single client; but the real time investment is the shoot day itself.
“We go to three or four locations, and I photograph four to eight different looks for my client. I deliver around 150 final images, so clients walk away with a ton of truly unique content to use in their marketing and their branding all year long.”
– Meg Marie
With clients often paying for hair and makeup services and purchasing new clothing, Meg aims to deliver a diverse collection of headshots and lifestyle photographs that will last.
“I created a guide for my clients called, How To Feel Confident AF. It helps my clients prepare for the ultimate branding shoot!”
– Meg Marie
The Price Is Right: What To Charge
Meg charged $200 for her first brand photography session. Today, that same shoot books for $1550.
Setting your brand photography pricing may feel daunting, but it really all boils down to simple mathematics – and a big, old-fashioned dose of confidence.
Know Your Numbers
Every pricing structure should be prefaced with a deep dive into your costs of doing business, as well as a clear understanding of what you must earn to live. (Or, if you’re partnered to a high-income earner, what you would need to earn if you didn’t have that partner.) Homeroom‘s Courtney Zerizef does an excellent job of breaking down pricing formulas in this post. Knowing your numbers is the first step toward building sustainable photography pricing!
Know Your Clients
Every individual client is unique, but so is every photographer’s preferred demographic. What works for one photographer’s clientele may not work for another’s. For this reason, you’ll want to create ample opportunities for your clients to share feedback with you – and you’ll want to truly listen.
Meg’s first brand photography sessions included a gallery of images, but only 25 downloads were included, and her clients had to manually select their favorite 25. Additional digital JPEGs cost extra. This pricing structure was completely reasonable, but through asking and listening, Meg uncovered what her clients really wanted.
“Entrepreneurs and business owners – they are busy people! I’ve learned that they prefer to pay more up-front, then have access to all of their photos without having to pick any favorites. Also, they don’t like prints. They want to put photos on their websites and post them on social media, so I use ShootProof to make downloading easy.”
– Meg Marie
“No prints?!? Then how do you add value?”
Meg recognized early on that she didn’t want to give beautiful images to clients who then didn’t know how to use them. So she began offering value-added upgrades.
- Instagram Makeovers. Meg collaborates with her client to develop a social media strategy incorporating their new photos, researched hashtags, and targeted descriptions.
- Brand Photography Seasonal Packages. For bigger businesses, she offers a package that includes three sessions per year. With an ever-growing library of headshots and lifestyle images, clients never run out of fresh content!
- ShootProof Gallery Extensions. Some clients will diligently download their photos and save them in multiple locations. Most clients, however, will download a few photos, forget where they’re stored, and come back to you for more. Offer an Always Online option, where, for a yearly fee, you’ll keep your client’s gallery live and active in ShootProof, ready for them to access at any time, from anywhere.
Businesses Helping Businesses Helping Businesses…
Meg Marie’s brand photography has impact far beyond the enjoyment a client gets from seeing beautiful photos of themselves. From fine-tuning brand messaging, to creating visual representations of that brand, to providing guidance and marketing insights, Meg’s business is helping other businesses to thrive. And they, in turn, enhance their own communities with their services, solutions, products, and purpose.
“This week, two different clients gave me the biggest compliment I’ve ever received. They said, ‘You do so much more than photography. So much more for your clients. It’s not just taking photos.’ “
– Meg Marie
And to us, that’s what photography is all about.
Written By: ANNE SIMONE | Featuring: MEG MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY