So, you’re building a presence on a social media platform like Instagram or Facebook. You may have heard of “lifestyle photos”, and how important it is to include them in your content strategy. If that’s the case, why is your feed still filled with stock photos and corporate portraits?
In my experience, professionals often resist the idea of taking lifestyle photos. Some are uncomfortable with the personal nature of those shots. Others don’t know how to take a good lifestyle photo that will connect with their audience.
Lifestyle photos capture real-life moments and candid interactions. These photos showcase you in your element.
Does the thought of taking pictures of yourself fill you with a sense of dread? That’s completely normal. Many advisors don’t like to have their pictures taken, and I promise that it will get easier as you practice.
Here is your Financial Advisors’ Guide to Social Media Images to help you create lifestyle photos for your business, even if you’re only using a smartphone camera — and don’t like having your photo taken.
Any professional photographer will tell you that most “perfectly candid” photos are, in fact, staged. And yes, accomplishing that effortlessly natural look takes strategic planning, creative vision, and lots of practice.
If you don’t have the budget to work with a lifestyle photographer, begin by looking for inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram. Search for profiles of other advisors, as well as coaches and consultants with strong online brands. Use those images to guide you in creating your own content.
As much as I have been in front of the camera, taking staged photos that are meant to look like they aren’t staged is still very awkward for me. Here’s an example of a reference photo I used from one of my long-time muses, Jasmine Star — and the photo it inspired.
I paired this photo with a lengthy caption that described my entrepreneurial journey and why I love helping people with their online branding. The copy provides insight into my work ethic — without me selling a particular product or service. Selling without being sales-y, a win-win for everyone!
Lifestyle photos are not selfies.
There’s nothing wrong with the occasional selfie, but it’s hard to capture context when you’re limited by the length of your arm. Use a tripod for your phone or camera, along with a shutter timer — or enlist someone to help you hold the camera. You can find a decent tripod on Amazon for $25.
When people are in a buying mindset, they want to know two things. One, what is it like to undergo the transformation that you’re selling? And two, what is it like to get that transformation from you?
Lifestyle photos are really effective at showcasing the latter. You’re not just capturing a headshot. Instead, you are demonstrating what it’s like to work with you — versus another financial advisor that offers similar services.
Here’s an example of me working in my home office. I paired this photo with a caption about goal setting and a question to my audience about how they go about prioritizing.
Here’s another example of me working, this time at my desk. I used this photo to share some positive feedback I had received from a client and how happy it made me feel.
There’s a lot of planning and preparation that goes into taking lifestyle photos! Which is why I block dedicated “lifestyle photo session” time on my calendar. I use that time to take many pictures that I can save and use over the upcoming month.
Do I have a specific use in mind when I take a picture?
Sometimes. But just as often, I have no idea how I am going to use a certain photo.
Instead, I focus on creating photo banks. Each picture has a different vibe. That way, when I’m ready to share something on social media, I have a variety of images to choose from. Think of it as your own stock image library that allows every piece of your content to be both branded and authentic.
Here is a screenshot of one of my old photo banks:
Without going too deep into photography techniques, one thing that makes a lifestyle photo more effective is focusing on a single subject.
Show yourself doing the thing that you’re selling. Show the tools of your trade. Show your dedication. Show how you care for your clients. Each of these can be a separate photo.
The goal of lifestyle photos is to build a strong online brand that people can connect with — so they eventually do business with you. Using this Financial Advisors’ Guide to Social Media Images, you will take lifestyle photos that are relatable, approachable, and memorable. In today’s digital world, advisors must become prolific content creators in order to build a lasting connection with their audience. And lifestyle photos are a step in that direction.
Have you taken lifestyle photos for your business? What was your experience like — and what response did you get from your audience? Please share in the comments, I would love to hear about it!