It can be so difficult to get great photographs of ourselves, images that truly represent our authenticity and our range, photographs that show who we truly are – naturally.
The pressure these days to represent ourselves to show our best side is immense. We have platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram and our own Websites that require us to be seen. The consensus belief can be that we should look a certain way, as if we have it all worked out, that we are sorted as a coach and change-maker.
This of course invites in all sorts of anxiety as we scrabble around looking at lots of photographers websites, not knowing who to choose and potentially, spending hundreds or even thousands on overproduced, over teeth-whitened, soul-less images. Photographs that we don’t love. “It just doesn’t look like me!”, “It felt forced, rushed’ and ‘I just had no connection with the photographer, he didn’t get what I wanted at all!’ are just some of the things I have heard from coaches who went to photographers who just didn’t spend the time to get to know them, who didn’t see their magnificence.
The repercussions of being stung like this, is that we are reluctant to use the photographs. We just can’t get behind them or have them represent us out in the world – of course because of this, we stay hidden, our impact is greatly diminished and as we know, being successful as a coach requires us to be SEEN, we cannot spread our message and lead change when our tribe can’t find us.
Images that capture the moments in between the awareness of the camera, natural portrayals of your strength, your beauty, your thoughtfulness and your presence. Some in your home environment, some maybe in nature, photographs where you feel a special connection to the surroundings.
To capture images such as these, you need to feel safe with the photographer, held in some way. To know that they aren’t judging you or asking you to adopt premeditated poses that don’t feel true. Somebody who you’ll feel easy with from the outset, who treats you as an incredible human being.
Having a series of captivating, natural portrait photographs that glow with the essence of you is fantastic. These go a very long way to letting your audience meet you on a ‘heart’ level and, building on this, there is more that can be woven into a story to have it become deeply compelling.
Each of us has experienced a unique journey through life, a hero’s journey in many ways. We’ve had struggles, tragedies and of course highs and triumphs, we’ve had to pivot and change course through necessity, and at other times because we’ve felt a yearning, a desire to head in an entirely different direction. All of these aspects have moulded us as people. These key moments have lead us down a route that means we stand here today a coach, a change-maker, leading a movement that matters in some way and this is the story needs to be told.
I have been a lifestyle portrait photographer for a number of years and am passionate about telling peoples stories through photography. I am also a practicing purpose coach who has helped many individuals find meaning when they were struggling to know which direction they should head in and how they could point their focus and energy to effectively lead change.
I created Story Portraits as a way to blend my passions and help coaches and change-makers show up in a way that is both beautiful and compelling. In partnership we create your written ‘hero’s journey’ story and weave it together with a series of beautiful lifestyle portrait photographs of you taken by myself. The end result? A personal and powerful portrait for the work you take a stand for and a brilliant window into your world for your audience. This of course translates to more clients, more impact and much more exposure for you.
This is how it plays out when you partner with me on the Story Portrait journey.
Step 1: The Alignment Call. The first step is to have a 30 minute conversation. We’ll discuss whether a Story Portrait is the best option for you, I’ll walk through what to expect, we’ll look at any questions you might have and I’ll answer your queries. Incidentally, you can book this right now by clicking here if you’re ready.
Step 2: Welcome document and Hero’s Journey map. So you’ve decided to go ahead with a Story Portrait – brilliant! I will then send you a welcome .pdf which will outline the next steps and give you lots more information on how to prepare and get the most from the experience. Included in this will be a unique Hero’s Journey map. This we will reference as we start to formulate your unique story.
Step 3: The unfolding coaching session. We will spend 45 minutes coaching via Skype and diving into your life journey, I will help you unfold and explore, discover and elaborate on the key aspects that need to be told in your written story. Many participants say they get a huge amount from this coaching session alone, clarity around their purpose and self-awareness as to just how far they’ve come.
Step 4: Crafting your story. Now is the time for you to take what we’ve unearthed in our coaching session and answer some provided questions. My framework will really help you formulate your story and enable you to write with ease and flow.
Step 5: My eyes-on and story reflection. When you are done writing your story, I will take a look through and read – if this is something you’d like me to do. Maybe English isn’t your first language or you’d just like a trusted second pair of eyes on your copy. I will offer up some reflections.
Step 6: The photoshoot. The day of our Story Portrait shoot is here and we’ll meet where we have arranged to at the agreed time. Often we will start the shoot in your house and then move outside, talking a walk to a favourite park or maybe an area that’s close by that you love. Currently I only shoot in and around London unless we’ve made individual arrangements. You’ll be prepared in terms of what you’re wearing and will be feeling grounded and ready to go. We’ll then spend up to 3 hours together for the shoot and we’ll have lots of fun. Guaranteed.
Step 7: Curation & post-production. In the following 3-4 weeks after our shoot I will curate the very best shots from those we took – up to 15 final images. I’ll spend time on each one, post-producing and ensuring they look stunning and tonally consistent. These will be the shots we use in your Story Portrait.
Step 8: The Story Portrait build. I now build your unique Story Portrait, laying out your words with the photographs, creating a flow and consistency ensuring the most captivating story.
Step 9: Sign-off. Once the Story is complete, I will send you a private link so that you can check things through. Here you will have the opportunity to alter some of the words should they need to change and swap out an image or two.
Step 10: Launch and Announcement. We’ve arrived! I now make your Story Portrait public and share the exciting news on my social media channels including Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram. I will also send you a bespoke graphic file that I’ll have designed exclusively for your Story Portrait. This you can use to promote the launch on your Social Media channels. I then transfer the full-resolution photographs used in the Story Portrait to you. These are yours to use however and wherever you wish.
Q: I already have a website, why would I need a Story Portrait as well?
A: Firstly, that’s great, we need websites to validate what it is we say we do as coaches. They outline the HOW, how we work, how much we charge, they speak to what qualifies us to do this work etc. A Story Portrait is your WHY, it tells the story of who you are – and why you came to this work, before clients or companies commit to working with us, they need to trust us – they ask: “who is this person I am committing time, energy and money to?” and the combination of your own website AND a Story Portrait means your audience can move forwards and reach out to you with confidence and a lot more enthusiastically.
Q: I really don’t like having my photograph taken, will this be a problem?
A: A lot of participants say this, I think it’s actually rare to enjoy having our photograph taken. What people find is that because we go on this journey together, through the story, with the coaching, trust forms and when it comes to the day of our shoot, you will be excited and ready to go. This is why the end results shine and look so natural.
Q: Can you make me look 10 years younger in the photos?
A: The power of a Story Portrait is that it tells the authentic story, I will post-produce your photographs to bring out the very best – they will be bright, beautiful, with some wrinkles if wrinkles are present and the unique moles and marks that make you, you, the beautiful facets that travel with you will be included. I won’t do high-fashion beauty post-production, there are other photographers who can do that for you.
Q: Can I use the photographs and copy elsewhere?
A: Absolutely, when the Story Portrait is complete, I’ll send you the high-resolution, print ready versions of the photographs and you may use them however you please. That goes for your written story as well. You can extract parts or use it in it’s entirety wherever you like. Participants love how they look together though, so often just refer people to their unique Story Portrait page here on Luminous Lives.