Are you getting picked off the shelf?

Are you getting picked off the shelf?

Is your image getting you picked off the shelf or are you still sitting there with all the other books?

Recently my wife and I went to Chapter’s Bookstore just to browse around. I wasn’t looking for anything, but came home with one book.  Did I need this book? No. So why did I purchase it?

It stood out; at least to me.

First the photograph or illustration on the cover got my attention, then the title, then I read the back cover and was sold.

A mentor once told me it didn’t matter how good a photographer I was if no one was buying my photographs. The first step to selling your photographs is to have them noticed. How are you different from all the other photographers? I couldn’t help but to think of this when I purchased this book. Those words of wisdom don’t just apply to my photography or this  book.

Why do we make the purchases we make? For me there are two kinds of purchases; the things that I need (must haves) and everything else. For the purchases I need I already know what I’m going to get, I know what store is most likely to have it, and often where it is in the store. I know what I want. I go in and get it. I get out.

But what about all the times you don’t know what you want. How do you make those decisions?

Sometimes I have a vague idea of what I want, but I need to look around to determine which the best option is. Other times I’m not really looking for anything, I’m just browsing – looking around. My wife calls this shopping. That’s what I was doing in Chapters.

I just happened to see the illustration on the cover of the book. The illustration/photograph caught my attention. I picked it up. It peeked my interest. The other books didn’t do that.

I read the cover. It sounded interesting. I might learn something by reading this book. Now it stood out and got me interested in what it has to offer. I’m thinking “how can this help me.” I want to learn more. I read the index of chapters. More interested. I randomly read a couple of pages. I’m sold. It’s going home with me.

Your business portrait is like the cover of the book.











Sometimes a business portrait isn’t even what we would normally consider as a business portrait. An image that peaks the interest of your viewer enough to make them take a closer look is all that you have to accomplish sometimes.  This is particularly true musicians, authors and other creatives.  For this type of image to work it is imperative that you understand what it takes to push the right buttons of your perspective and desired client. What is going to make you stand out from the crowd of your competition?

People buy from people they like and from people that are like them. Do you need to develop a relationship with your client or perspective client before they will trust you enough to do business with you? The your portrait had better be open, friendly and inviting.

You will need great expression, direct eye contact with the camera (viewer) and a feeling of friendliness, honesty and openness.

Are you the expert in your field – the go to person? To me that is the person that is relaxed, intelligent and approachable. When I’m looking for an expert I’m not looking for a friend or a relationship. I’m looking for somebody with confidence that can steer me in the right direction.

The above 6 portraits are also very accpetable in a case where the individual has a reputation and is well known. The portrait in this case is simply to put a face to the name. If you’re a jazz fan you don’t need to see an image of your favorite jazz musician when you go into the store. You already know the music of Porter or Armstrong. Either the name or the image will have you picking up the right piece of music. Likewise in the book store, if you are a Clancy or Archer fan you don’t need to see their image, you know just from the name that it is one of your favourite authors. Any of these images work for an author’s biography portrait, depending on the type of book.

Lastly, if you are a relatively unknow identity and people don’t know what you do or even that they may need your service it is entirely possible that an image showing exactly what you do is even more important that what you look like.

The hands of the potter tell me their is a connection to pottery in this image.


The doggy-doo bag and the bin tell me these people improve our environment and make it cleaner for everyone.

So what is the right business portrait dor you? Do you need to get picked off the shelf for a closer look? Do you need to first build a relationship, or reinforce the idea that you are the expert in your field? Whatever it is, a good image will help you grow your reputation and your business.

I am John Mitchell; a storyteller, an artist and a photographer and I would love to talk to you about how I can help you achieve your goals.

John Mitchell is a master of photography that has been using the magic of all things photographic to create meaningful portraits for business and personal use since 1971. Call me today at (519) 624-8460 or click here to send me an e-mail. I look forward to helping you reach your goals.

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