Branded, Lifestyle Portraits Fit For A Keynote Speaker And Brand Evangelist
A couple years ago, Ted Rubin was simply someone that I added on LinkedIn.
I was just starting out on my own, no real game plan to speak of, other than being desperate to connect with anyone that I thought was successful, and could potentially point me in the right direction...or, any direction, really.
Once he accepted the request, I did the customary follow-up email asking to have a chat. Surprisingly, he responded. Even more surprisingly, he accepted an invitation to meet in person. After I met him, my surprise at his generosity with his time wore off because I realized that this is who he is and what his brand is all about.
The main takeaway from our meeting centered on his mantra of developing real relationships. He gave me his book, Ted Rubin on ROR (Return on Relationships), and , although geared towards big-box, brand marketing, the sentiment throughout the book is relatable to anyone looking to develop a brand — including a kid from Astoria who likes to take pictures for a living, :)
His religion is relationship-building and he gave me a first-hand sermon. And that’s why over the past couple years, I’ve reciprocated value by shooting several of his keynote speeches, in order to provide him content he can leverage for his robust, social media feeds.
At last glance, his Twitter account had 414,000 followers — that’s a lot of relationships to maintain!
This is why I was excited about our branded, lifestyle portrait session — this, undoubtedly, is one thought leader who needed my help with creating a massive reserve of awesome, captionable, lifestyle portraits!
As we prepared for this session, I explained the types of images I planned to capture for him based on my direct knowledge of his brand and his posting habits, and provided him a checklist, including what types of clothing to pack and what sorts of props to bring. Of course, I also told him to bring a pile of his socks (look up #tedsockie on Twitter, and you’ll see what I mean!).
LIFESTYLE PORTRAITS IN THE HOTEL ARCHER
While in town only for a couple days, Ted and I planned to conduct his session in the hotel lobby where he was staying. Having been there before, I had the lay of the land, and between the couches in the lobby and the dining area, we would have plenty of places to shoot.
Of course, the moment I get there, I see 75% percent of the locations I wanted to shoot were closed due to construction.
Oh shit - time for plan B.
As I looked more intently around the space that I could use, I noticed a couple nooks and crannies that could be leveraged with a little ninja-like precision. Being resourceful definitely came in handy for this session. But first, I decided to start with something simple and easy.
PORTRAITS ON THE COUCH
In many of Ted’s posts where he uses images of himself, he’s on stage doing his keynote thing; I wanted to capture some candid portraits that showcases various shades of his personality.
While shooting him on the couch, he mentioned that this was his father’s ring and it was passed on to him. Once I heard that, I shot the ring from several angles, giving Ted an opportunity to share this personal story to his followers.
BE GOOD TO PEOPLE
One of Ted’s biggest philosophies is “Be Good To People,” a slogan he borrowed, but, he preaches it everywhere, including his clothing and accessories!
He wanted to make sure we captured several images using this slogan, but we were limited on location options, so, I improvised and placed Ted next to a wall by the front desk, and although we competed with a steady stream of hotel guests walking past us, we were able to capture some good portraits.
In the spirit of adding more variety to the mix, he added a jacket and hat, and I moved him to another location, one that provided an outside vibe. As someone who constantly engages his audience, he does it from everywhere, so, I wanted to add variety to the look of his portraits with this variation.
Although it looks like he’s outside in some of these shots, he’s actually standing about 2 feet from the elevator! Sometimes all it takes is to find one wall, one corner in a space, and that alone provides a unique location and look to the portraits.
YOU CALL IT A DINING AREA, I CALL IT OFFICE SPACE
One of the more important portions of the session would be to capture him working on his laptop, since he works at communicating with his followers non-stop. My original idea of working shots fell by the wayside once I realized that they were demolishing a large chunk of the first floor, so, I asked if we could use a table in their makeshift, dining area. Once they cleared all the china, and I framed out all the other dining tables, we got down to business.
ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE
During one of Ted’s outfit changes, I struck up a conversation with one of the front desk women, joked around for a bit, and made some small talk that led into a conversation about their jobs. I also asked if there were any other locations in which we could shoot. She said that although there was a rooftop space, it was closed for the day. As we chatted up the staff throughout our time in the lobby, one of the managers said he would ask if we could gain access.
Towards the end of the session, we were given the green light, once again, proving how it pays to “Be Good To People” :)
While upstairs, we also threw in some sock shots. God forbid we don’t get content for the #tedsockie followers out there!
After a 5-hour session, over 700 raw images, and too many outfit changes to count, Ted and I wrapped up a super awesome, portrait session. Here’s what he had to say about the experience:
“I have had the distinct pleasure of working with John a number of times, initially, at events where he photographed me while Keynoting and MC’ing, and then, for my personal branding photo session.
Many people have photographed me at events, but time and again my team and I count on his photos for just about everything we do...none better! I jumped at the chance of a one-on-one session and was in for a treat.
John seems to bring out the best in me, and for that, I will be ever grateful. I recommend him wholeheartedly to anyone who is looking to enhance their image, create photos to include with their content, and to help build a personal brand. John will zero in on who you are, and help you share that with the world.”
Are you ready to blast off and take your brand to the next level with a series of kickass, branded lifestyle portraits similar to ones you’ve seen here?
Do you need a variety of images for all of your marketing and promotional needs? Click here to set up your complimentary, 20-minute consultation to talk about it!
I look forward to making the magic with you!