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.

Relationship building through image content


An amazing way to approach relationship building with your tribe is through image content posts.


Especially when you post early and often, :)


If there ever a textbook written on how to maximize the value of an image content portfolio when it comes to relationship building, it would have to be written by Ted Rubin.

Or me - but, you know what I meant by that, :)

Ted was one of the first speaker/thought leader folks that I collaborated with before I launched my branded lifestyle portrait photography business.

I was drawn in by his Return on Relationship mantra, which is all about engagement, conversation and authentic connection on social.

For the past couple years, I’ve shot Ted at countless events he’s keynoted or MC’ed, as well as conducted a couple branded lifestyle portrait sessions with him.

Aside from his warm and engaging personality, he also is near and dear to my heart because he sets the gold standard for how thought leaders/influencers need to leverage their image assets in order to maintain their visibility on social.

Without fail, every time that I check out a social news feed, one of Ted’s posts is sure to pop up, and more times than not, it’s one of the photos that we captured.

Although the photo on it’s own is great, and I love seeing my clients properly leverage their image assets, but, it’s even more compelling how he uses the mood and tone of the images to visually punctuate the quote written on the image, or the story added in the caption.

Like I said, textbook, :)

That’s why during our recent branded portrait session, we shot for very specific goals in mind that play directly to how he already posts to social.  

Our location for this shoot was at the Archer Hotel in Manhattan - a location that we used last year during a previous round of branded lifestyle portraits. Now, one of my goals was to make sure that none of the portraits we captured this round looked too similar to the ones that were captured last time.

Fortunately this time, we had access to their rooftop and outdoor lobby areas, which were off-limits last time, so, that helped eliminate my hesitance to use the same space twice.  

My goal always is to provide diverse and versatile images, and by just having a few unique locations, that helps keep the images looking fresh and different.

Since he is constantly posting and engaging on social, I wanted to give him a fresh set of technology shots, where he is working on his laptop and phone.  

This is what work looks like for him, so, candid portraits of him on his computer and phone are authentic to his experience as a thought leader and advocate for relationship building.


So, this is an active hotel lobby in the middle of Manhattan - I had quite a few challenges to overcome here - the main one being that there were streams of people coming and going behind Ted. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass, and yes, Ted asked me several times if this area could work, and yes, I told him that shooting in the spot was challenging but worth it.  

The hotel decor was awesome, the lighting was lovely, and he looked good right where he was sitting, so, I just found his flattering angles, waited for the business behind him to settle, and I hit the shutter when the moment was right.

The other objective for this session was to capture a wide variety of images that are ideal for him to add text directly onto the photo.

That meant I had to find unique angles and corners of the hotel space that I could frame him on the left or right side of the image, leaving space on the opposite side for him to add text.

Fortunately, the Archer has a lot of fun nooks and crannies and I was able to get creative and find some interesting spots to work.


I can envision him complementing these images with stories that will provide a wide range of emotional resonance for his followers.

In addition to these two primary objectives, my goal for this session, as with every client session, is to capture a range of standard, looking-into-the-camera portraits, that he could leverage for his social profile pics as well as speaker submissions.

This objective is always running in the back of my mind, and while working on the other goals for this session, I occasionally asked Ted to look directly in the camera to capture some of these standard photos.

Whenever you pick a profile image for your professional social pages, it’s important to look into the camera for those photos because you will then be making direct eye contact with everyone that comes into contact with that photo.

It’s important to have direct eye contact because people are judging whether or not to further engage you and your feed, so, by locking eyes with all visitors, that helps create an immediate sense of connection.

And since Ted is very confident and purposeful in his intent, I wanted to give him images that reflected this sentiment.

Before the session was over, I had brought him a little present - one of my newly minted, #yeahabsolutely t-shirts. He told me he would love to wear it for a quick round of portraits, so, we went ahead and knocked some out:

It’s always a joy to have Ted in front of my camera. Not only is he awesome to work with and one of the easiest human beings to direct in front of the camera, but, he also is an extremely genuine and thoughtful person.

And hey, he’s a New Yorker, so, you can’t go wrong with that, :)

As you looked at these photos, were you thinking to yourself, “damn, I need to update my portraits!”

I know - lots of people get photo envy after looking at a Ted Rubin set of portraits, :)

The good news is I might be able to help you out with that!

Schedule a call 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, :)