John DeMato - NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photographer

How To Build An Effective Image Content Portfolio

This article explains the steps necessary to create an effective image content portfolio for speakers, authors and other expert-based businesses.


What does an effective image content portfolio look like?

There’s several key pieces needed to complete this magical puzzle.

Your image content library is the visual collateral required to gain the attention of those you serve. Each image visually punctuates the sentiment of every story you share with those you serve. 

They also visually illustrate who you are, who you serve and why you do what you do.

Needless to say, your image content portfolio is a foundational element to building a memorable and referable online presence because they are used everywhere:

As a result, the types of images you leverage are critically important to the way that your business and brand is viewed by your audience, which also doubles as your pool of potential clients, advocates and strategic partners. 


If you constantly post the same types of photos across your social channels, website and blog articles, you are, quite frankly, going to bore the hell out of your audience. 

Keep things fresh and interesting with a wide variety of image content that captures you partaking in various activities throughout your business and life. 

After all, the stories you share with your audience are conceived through various insights, moments and conversations, so the image content you leverage to visually punctuate these stories needs to carry that same variety visually.

Your image content is what inspires your audience to stop the scroll, click on your post, read the story and follow through on your call-to-action.

In order to create a diverse and effective image content portfolio that visually punctuates the sentiments of all the stories you share online, here are the main ingredients:

  • Branded Lifestyle Portraits 

  • Event Photos

  • Smartphone photos


Branded lifestyle portraits candidly captures activities that occur within your daily lifestyle.

As opposed to a studio portrait session, these magazine-quality portraits add a layer of visual texture and context for the viewer. As a result, they add curb appeal to your business and brand.

It breaks down the fourth wall between you and those you serve, which gives them an entry point into seeing how you run your business and live your life. 

Why is that so important?

You’re not hiding anything from them.

Offering this glimpse to potential clients goes a long way to building connection, familiarity, rapport and ultimately, trust, with them. 

These photos serve as a fly-on-the-wall throughout your daily life, introducing to your audience what your world looks like:

This is not an exhaustive list, by any means, but it's meant to give you an idea of the flexibility that branded lifestyle portraits afford you to leverage throughout your online presence. 

When you factor in that these images will be shot from a variety of angles, your library from shot-to-shot will vary significantly.

Adding to that visual flexibility are lifestyle images that don’t require your face and likeness in the photos.

What am I talking about? 

As I mentioned earlier, it’s boring for your audience to see the same types of visuals over and over, so by offering lifestyle portraits that captures these added elements break the monotony.

These photos also help visually round out who you are, who you serve and why you do what you do for your audience, which clues them into determining whether or not you’re the right person to help them remove their points of friction within their businesses and/or lives. 


...not all lifestyle photographers are created equal. 

And, not all portrait sessions are created equal, either. 

For some of my clients, they prefer to rip the band-aid off in one fell swoop and work through the one-big-portrait session model. 

For others, they prefer to build their image content library over the course of time and have shorter sessions every month. 

These sessions capture actual work and lifestyle activities as they occur throughout their day. For them, “faking it” is an expensive proposition because it shuts them down from working for an entire day.

Before you pull the trigger, determine which format works best for your business and sensibilities.

Once you figure out how you want to approach the creation of your image content portfolio, the next step is identifying the photographer that fits best for your needs.

Now, many speakers, authors and other expert-based professionals believe that the best way to qualify a photographer is to base their decision on their price tag and portfolio. 

Do yourself a favor and resist that temptation.

You need to be comfortable and in the moment when in front of the camera, otherwise, your anxiety, hang-ups and uncomfortableness will show up in every photo. 

As a way to avoid that unfortunate scenario, pick up the phone and have an actual conversation with your potential photographers to determine whether or not you have a rapport with them. 

Once you get past qualifying their personalities, you also need to find out if this particular photographer specializes in serving professionals in your area of expertise. 

When you hire a plumber, you don’t want an electrician to show up, right? 

So, why would a wedding photographer be hired to capture branded lifestyle portraits? Sounds weird, right? Well, it’s happened on more than one occasion with colleagues in my network, and yes, they ultimately regretted the decision. 

Keep that in mind before you decide to cut corners or commoditize the experience by hiring a cheaper, non-specialist photographer. 

Cheaper does not mean better, especially when you’re talking about branded lifestyle portraits that are a vital component to your image content library.


Not to be outshined by the branded lifestyle portraits in your content library, photos of you from the stage and facilitating in front of the room are also extremely valuable pieces of image content. 

These images offer your audience a chance to see you at the height of your superpowers, generously informing and inspiring those in the audience.

Some of the possible opportunities that you can capture quality event photography are:

  • Keynotes

  • Breakout session

  • Running a workshop

  • Participating in a mastermind

Now, these photos don’t simply need to live throughout your online presence, which mainly translates to your social media feeds.

Some of my clients get really creative with how they leverage their event shots, and use them in ways that serve as a win-win for their clients.

But one word of caution with respect to leveraging images of you in front of the room; the size of the room and audience matters greatly to those who are looking to potentially hire you to speak for their organization. 

What does that mean?

If you’re looking to book bigger keynotes and presentations, don’t post event photos where you’re working in front of a handful of folks. It will reflect negatively on your pitch to speak.

If you’re limited on image content, then focus on only posting event photos of you that are close-up and highlight your body language and personality.

One way or the other, however, make sure you do insert those types of photos throughout your online presence to let people know how you roll, :) 


Hiring a professional photographer doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook from capturing compelling images that can be added to your image content portfolio. 

The fact is interesting moments in your life occur all the time and you don’t have a professional following you around 24/7.

That means it’s up to you to fill in the gaps and capture some magic on your own!

The good news? 

You’re walking around with a more than serviceable camera in your pocket or purse right now! And, in this day and age, the camera quality is improving with each new phone iteration. 

Long story short, you have no excuse, :) 

Here are some ideas to keep in mind when you need to take the bull by the horns and snap a few photos with your phone to commemorate a moment:

  • Take snapshots and selfies with colleagues/mentors/new friends at conferences

  • You’re working with a client and s/he mentions a big win - take a selfie together

  • A big win for yourself and/or family member 

  • There is a person, place or thing that captures your eye and attention and inspires insight that your audience would find valuable and interesting

While it would make things easier to have a professional photographer follow you around on a day-to-day basis, that’s not a practical solution, so a strategic Plan B is the way to go.

And that Plan B begins and ends with a piece of equipment that you handle more than anything else in this world, so, you’re already comfortable with it!

As you can see, there are several parts that comprise a well-constructed image content portfolio. 

While the backbone are the branded lifestyle portraits, event photography and smartphone images also hold a very important place, as well. 

Although it requires a time and financial commitment, these images go a long way to creating a memorable and referable online presence...

...a magical online presence, if you will, :) 


Starting point to create a memorable and referable online presence.
Content creation that establishes connection and trust with those you serve.
Who is John DeMato? 

(718) 431-3542   |   |    ©2019   DeMato Productions   |    Astoria,  NY.