DeMato Productions


NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photographer | This is where I share with thought leaders and other high-level entrepreneurs how to present themselves powerfully, purposefully and authentically in their image content on their websites, social platforms and sales vehicles.

Branded Lifestyle Portrait Session For An Excel Authority


Ever since I began offering my branded, lifestyle portrait service to thought leaders and high-level entrepreneurs, I am amazed at the diverse industries my clients represent.

With that said, when I think of "Excel Instructor," my first thought is not that this person would ever need my help — that is, of course, before I had my first conversation with Shir Aviv, owner of ExcelShir, and then it all made a lot of sense.

You see, Shir is not your run-of-the-mill, Excel instructor who will put you to sleep the moment he starts waxing poetic over pivot tables.  To the contrary, he compliments his clearly vast Excel knowledge with a warm, honest and engaging personality.  

And he wants to take his business and brand to the next level, and he knows that increasing his image content is going to help him get the visibility he deserves.  His goal is to present himself as Excel's definitive authority in order to help promote his new YouTube series of Excel Shortcuts.  

We discussed his specific needs at length, tossing ideas back and forth, and once the dust settled on the brainstorming session, we created a comprehensive list of specific types of image content that will solve his needs:

Studio Headshots - profile pictures, e-mail signatures

Studio Portraits - e-mails to his list 

Lifestyle Portraits - social media content

Branded Image Content - video blog thumbnail images

Event Coverage - candid shots during his lecture at the Microsoft Store

Variety in your image content not only keeps your feed visually compelling, but these images also spark the opportunity to share informative, inspiring and entertaining stories related to your brand and business.


First on the agenda was to start in the studio, and warm him up to the camera, and my, shall we say, unique, directing style, with a quick, headshot session. Although headshots are a very specific type of portrait, the techniques learned here would translate across all of the work we do together.  

Posture, head angle, timing, and most importantly, expression, matter highly when talking about any type of portraiture, but especially when all that is included in the shot is a head and a face.  

The top image was our unanimous winner because of the way it expresses his confidence, approachability and likability.  That slight smile goes a long way to warming people up to you.  The other two are great in their own right, but, he was immediately sold with the first choice.


While Shir liked the professional and clean look of studio-based headshots, he also wanted some portraits, utilizing more than just his expression to illustrate his personality and brand.

By shooting a bit wider, experimenting with de-saturation, and changing the lighting setup, I was able to diversify his image set, and give him image content that could be used on his social feeds.


One suggestion I made to Shir during the brainstorming conversation was that we should capture a series of images of him working on his computer. Although I shoot these working images for all my clients, these images are particularly useful for Shir since his laptop is the signature tool of his industry.  

Each image has it's own personality that is created based on the combination of facial expression, frame composition and subject matter within the image.  Each image would serve well as a compliment to an informational, entertaining or inspirational caption that is in line with the ExcelShir brand.


I ask my clients to bring several props to their session in order to create captionable, on-brand content for their feeds, so, in the past, I’ve shot several books, mugs, journals and wall art with inspiring slogans on it. 

When I mentioned that idea to Shir during our initial brainstorm, I suggested we take it a step further by creating a series of branded images that can serve as thumbnail images for each of his individual video blog posts.  He loved the idea and we ran with it - 31 episodes worth!

Rather than do what many other people in Shir’s position do and leverage stock images to promote his content, he decided to own the process and his content by using some good, ol' fashioned originality.  

When you see these branded images in context of the blogs they promote, you immediately get the sentiment of that episode.  


When you can showcase your skills to your followers while in your element, that is compelling imagery. These photos illustrate cool, enlightening and/or inspiring activities related to your brand, so caption wisely!

Having spoken to Shir and worked with him, I had a good sense of his personality, but watching him do his thing at the Microsoft Store during his workshop, his knowledge, passion and humor truly shined. 

These images were not only great for social media content, but, he also used them in a promotional video that was created around his lecture.

Considering the successful results, working with Shir was a testament to comprehensive brainstorming, planning and strategy.  

He now has the ability to cover all of his content bases - with plenty of images to spare!  Versatility is an important byproduct of my branded portrait session with entrepreneurs and thought leaders - it makes for a magical collaboration!

Here is what Shir had to say about the whole process:

“I’m looking to become THE AUTHORITY in the excel instruction space, and I wanted something to distinguish myself from everyone else. This meant re-branding and launching a new video blog & YouTube channel. I needed new headshots, portrait shots, custom stock images, and also some event images to show me in action. Signing up for the “Be a Celebrity” package with John was HANDS DOWN one of the best investments I made for my business.

I’ve worked with other photographers, and the difference was clear in my first conversation with John. He doesn’t just show up and snap some photos — instead, he was a true partner in my success, every single step of the way. We collaborated and strategized before each shoot, to make sure we got ALL the images I wanted, while still leaving room for the serendipitous moments, which he captured beautifully.

I am still blown away by the sheer VOLUME of incredible images that he gave me. I have more than enough content to last for an entire year without repeating a single image. What’s more, John came up with ideas I NEVER would have thought of, to portray my personality and my brand in the best possible light.

Did I mention he’s also a joy to work with? He has a great sense of humor (no fake smiles!), is extremely prompt and professional, and 100% reliable. I could also tell that he genuinely cared about my success, which in turn, has made me a lifelong fan.

If you’re a growing entrepreneur, and are ready to take your business and your brand to the next level... work with John. You’ll be putting your best foot forward every single day, for the world to see.”


Now, let's talk about you for a second - do you need branded lifestyle portraits to help take your brand to the next level?  

Looking for a variety of images that can be used for all of your marketing and promotional needs?  Click here to set up your complimentary, 20-minute consultation to talk about it!