March 27, 2024

Why Artists and Creatives Need Portraits

Small Biz Photography, Music Photography

There are many reasons for personal branding photos. Businesses large and small invest in these types of photos to better showcase themselves to potential clients and the world at large. It's a great way to get attention and say "Here I am, and this is what I have to offer." They can help engage your audience and differentiate you and your art from everything else out there. They can range from traditional headshots to something much more unique!

Most folks who work with me for this type of photo session are artists and/or creatives and/or performers. (That is why I call them "Creative Sessions") As creatives, sometimes we struggle to see ourselves as "artists". It's hard to make a living as a creative and we often have other, possibly more mundane, day jobs to pay the bills. This, I think, can cause us to feel some imposter syndrome. We might feel like our colleagues at the office know a different version of us. Or kind of like we are living a secret life.

To be frank, the words "personal branding" aren't my favorite. It makes me think of things we do to livestock that we honestly shouldn't do to livestock. (I think maybe nowadays they put little tags on their ears? You better believe I will fall into a deep dark Wikipedia hole about this later.) But also, when you brand livestock, that mark is permanent. However, we are not cattle, and we are not static. Especially as artists, we often go through many iterations and rebirths along our paths. Our paths are non-linear, winding and twisting, they speed up, slow down and sometimes change direction altogether. And it's okay. Sometimes we like we should be somewhere else in our journey, someplace further along. Sometimes we end up in an entirely different place than we could have ever imagined! At least, I often feel this way.

So yes, as an artist, you should invest in portraits of yourself to share for visibility and marketing reasons. But there are many other reasons.

  • The process itself, for many clients, is transformative. It involves a good amount of planning and deep thinking about your art, your voice, and your style.
  • You will get clarity on what part of you you want to project to the world. And what you don't.
  • Owning your art and where you are right now in your journey.
  • Seeing yourself in a new way can be refreshing and emboldening.
  • Working with other creatives (ahem, ME!) can help you see your self and your art in a different way. You'll have a creative buddy to bounce ideas off of.
  • You will get dope-ass photos of yourself. Also, lots of fun.

These photos are of Nadine Douds, an awesome Pittsburgh area singer-songwriter who was so fun to work with. You can and should check out all of her music here.