John DeMato - NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photographer

NYC Branded Lifestyle Photographer - Blog

NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photography Blog | Hi, I'm John DeMato, and I collaborate with thought leaders to create powerful, purposeful and authentic images. This is my blog where I talk all about the magic behind the portraits we create.

the numbers don’t lie - accountants need portraits, too!


The numbers don’t lie…


…accountants need branded lifestyle portraits, too!


One of the most satisfying aspects to the work that I do with my clients is the ability to help them see how they can translate their expertise, businesses and personal lives into content that deeply resonates with their audiences…

...especially with folks who never thought for a second that they would be able to leverage social media to promote their particular business.

Such was the case with a recent client, Randy, a financial professional who specializes in accounting services for a variety of businesses.

Randy discovered me through a Facebook Group that focused on personal branding, and, unbeknownst to me, opted into my email list, and followed me silently for months.

And then, one day, he popped up in an email asking for more information on my Idea Nugget Incubator Program, and, that’s when the magic began, :)

It was through his Incubator experience that Randy truly began to understand how he could share informative, entertaining and inspiring content that is authentic to him.  

It’s also when he realized that he needed to create an image content portfolio full of branded lifestyle portraits to visually punctuate all of the content that he was now brainstorming.

Bad news - he lives in California and I live in NYC.

Good news - he was in town for a 3-day conference and was willing to stay an extra night in his hotel to make it work.

From there, we were off to the races, :)

Now, I have shot a lot in hotels through the years, and quite frankly, it’s a high-risk, high-reward proposition:

the risk involves working around hordes of people walking about and it can be quite challenging to frame them out of every shot. The reward is that hotels look awesome in photos based on their interesting decor, high ceilings, and variety of locations with which to leverage.

Fortunately on the day of our session, the hotel was quiet as a church mouse, and we basically had the place to ourselves the entire session.

Phew, :)


I always break the seal of the client portrait session by shooting lifestyle portraits where they are not looking directly into the camera.


That’s when people clam up, get intimidated by the moment and put up their guards.  They feel insecure and, thus, become hyper-critical of themselves and their appearances…

…can you relate to this sentiment, hmmmmmm, :)

To avoid this, we start off with lifestyle images that involve “working” so that it allows clients to not only get accustomed to my directing style but also to familiarize them with the camera as it moves around them from shot-to-shot.

I also take this time to leverage and build on the rapport we’ve already established by chit chatting with them to get them even more out of their heads and into the moment.

We were very lucky that Randy’s room was so photogenic and conducive to the type of work we were doing in there. Believe me, considering the nightmares I’ve had to work around in the past, I was very, very spoiled in this case.


During one of our strategy calls, I asked Randy to bring a couple books that inspire him on a daily basis, so that we could capture a couple portraits of him reading them. I told him to earmark compelling chapter titles, passages and sentences that he can use as a springboard to turn into stories that would resonate with his audience by teaching them a lesson.

So, he grabbed some books and we went to town on that:

While we were there, I got inspired to simply move him around the space and capture portraits of him standing and sitting in the space, alternating his attention from thinking to himself to looking into the camera.

These images are tailor-made for him to incorporate text and his logo directly onto the image, which is something we talked about at length. Normally, I shoot this series of images against a plain wall, but, I wanted to mix it up and try something different with him, and he was all about the experimentation.


One of Randy’s biggest interests is his connection to his alma mater, Michigan State - he made that abundantly clear throughout our many conversations.

As a result, I told him that we needed to infuse that interest into his image content portfolio, so, he brought a Spartan polo shirt with him to the session, and I had him wear it for a round of images with him working on his phone and listening to podcasts, which is a huge component of his day-to-day activities.


And then it was time for some headshots, :)

I ended up shooting two rounds of headshots from which he could choose his favorites - one round sitting, and one round standing. I did it in this way because our energy is different in those two postures, so, I wanted to see what interesting expressions we could muster from him through each option:

Quite frankly, he did amazing well with both options and he walked away with a slew of keepers.

I was really impressed with the subtle, but powerful, differences from photo-to-photo - differences that present sophisticated expressions and can be used for a wide variety of applications.

He was warm, engaged and confident - can’t ask for more than that, :)

At the end of the day, Randy was overjoyed with the results of our session, and I couldn’t have agreed more. Not only does he now have an image content portfolio that truly presents him powerfully, purposefully and authentically, but, he also has the images that will visually punctuate any story that wants to share on social media and his blog.

The icing on the cake? He finally had a slice of NYC pizza, so, he got to check off the really important stuff on his bucket list, :)

Now, I turn to you…

How is your image content portfolio looking these days? It’s looking pretty outdated, you say? What’s a content portfolio, you say?

Well, if you’re looking for some help in this area, I do know a guy………..

Set up a time to chat with me and let’s see if we’re a fit to work together, :)

PS - For those of you who aren’t in the know, I mail out these blogs 3x a week, and lemme tell you, they’re a real party, so, if you’d like to get in on this, sign up for it here and I’ll throw in a free gift for you, because I care, :)