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.

"I just want to look good in my photos..."


"I just want to look good in my photos..."


Yup - and a hell of a lot more than that!


The other day, I was on a client call with a speaker and author who is looking to upgrade his image content portfolio.

We chatted about a couple things, including what motivated him to become a speaker and author in the first place, and what his business goals look like for the next year.

When the subject of branded lifestyle portraits came up, the first thing he loudly blurted out to me was, “I just want to look good in my photos.”

And that’s when I had to break it down to him.

Sure, it’s essential you present yourself in a flattering and confident way.  When you leverage magazine-quality, branded lifestyle portraits, that presents you in an extremely powerful way to your audience.

Needless to say, presenting yourself through a set of high-end portraits will certainly get people’s attention.  After all, you look like the badass professional that you are.

Now, based on a lot of the social feeds that I follow online, this aesthetic achievement is the pinnacle for many thought leaders.

But, I stressed to my client, striving to just “look good” in his photos would not only be a mistake, but, it’s also leaving a lot on the table regarding the true value that he can offer with his branded lifestyle portraits.

For speakers, authors and coaches, creating pretty photos should never be the main objective - it’s simply the first layer of the foundation.

The true goal of a branded lifestyle portrait session, as I explained to him, is about creating image assets that compliment and visually punctuate the sentiments of the stories you share through your storytelling.

Your posts provide solutions to people’s challenges that hold them back from showing up in the world the way they want. Therefore, the image needs to draw attention in order for the viewer to receive the informative, entertaining and inspirational value you provide in the captions.

As I explained to him, once you capture their attention, they stop on your post in their social feeds, they, then, are compelled to read the story and receive a very important lesson in the process. Then, they're subsequently prompted to follow through with the call-to-action that you laid out at the end of your story.

It’s a very simple formula that goes a long way to building a strong community of advocates for your services and thought leadership.

I could see based on my clients questions that he was getting it, so, I continued the enlightenment process by talking about standard portraits versus lifestyle portraits.

Standard portraits are images that have the subject looking into the camera while standing or sitting in a space.  They’re great for speaker submissions, profile pictures and website assets.

But, they’re just one piece of a well-maintained, image content portfolio.  

Although they are wonderful image assets that open doors to conversations, but, as I explained to my client, you need more substance to keep people’s attention while they’re in your house, and that is achieved by sharing lifestyle portraits.

Lifestyle portraits - images that show you engaged in some form of activity -  break down the fourth wall and allow your audience to get a fly-on-the-wall experience of how you work, how you create and how you interact with your clients.

By offering this glimpse into your various processes, you’re creating a rapport with your audience, because they now have a sense of who you are, who you serve, and why you do what you do based on the images that you are presenting to them.

At this point, my client commented on how he has seen a ton of thought leaders posting lifestyle portraits of clients sitting in front of their computers with these gigantic smiles on their faces.

After letting out a big sigh, I broke down why this wild-eyed smile stuff is problematic.

Laughter, joy, and fun are wonderful emotions to emote in your branded lifestyle portraits - especially because they visually punctuate stories in that vain wonderfully.

But, there’s more to your thought leadership - and your life - than just these joyous emotions.

Those big, over-the-top laughs represent very black and white emotions, while we, as human beings, live in shades-of-gray.

So, big laughs are great to have, but, it doesn’t stop there. You also need images where your facial expressions exhibit pensiveness, reflection, anger, and everything in between.

When you pair informative, entertaining and inspiring stories with images that highlight and enhance the mood of the stories you share, that’s where the magic lies. And that's where you truly leverage the power of your investment in branded lifestyle portraits.

After my mini-Sermon On The Mount, my client started to understand the true objective of a branded lifestyle portrait session.

And, this is a lesson that I never want to stop sharing with every thought leader who leverages social media to create the visibility that they desire for their businesses.

Far too many speakers and authors are satisfied with vanity-based images and that leaves them handicapped. They don’t follow you because of how cool you look in your photos!

They come to you for the goods!

They want to be better than they were yesterday, and, out of the crowds of people who specialize in the same space that you do, they’ve identified YOU as their catalyst for change. That’s a humbling and immense responsibility that falls squarely on your shoulders.

Leverage your image content in a way that truly complements your thought leadership.

Stop offering them the dessert - feed them with a heavy dose of meat and potatoes.

Now, I turn to you…

Do you have photos in your image content portfolio that truly represents who you are, who you serve and why you do what you do?


Interested in changing that? Perhaps I can be of service, :)

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, :)