Profitable Headshots & Branding

Guest: Kira Derryberry

Owner | Kira Derryberry Photography
Tallahassee, Florida

DATE: October 27, 2022

Over the last few years, there has been an ever-growing trend for personal branding portraits and headshots. These can be an awesome opportunity, but it’s not uncommon to see photographers working way too hard and for way too many hours and not getting the financial benefits of that work.

With this expanding segment of our industry, I wanted to bring in an expert who has successfully threaded the needle of supplying her clients with the imagery they need while making the process efficient and profitable for her business. 

Kira Derryberry is a portrait photographer based in Tallahassee, FL. She is also the Vice President of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). In this conversation with Kira, we talk about the very intentional steps she took towards profitability, sustainability, and profitability in the Personal Branding category of her business. There are so many great tips in this episode, no matter what type of photographer you are or what your business goals are, because she also shares software tips, workflow ideas, and exactly how she runs a session for these seemingly “boring” shoots.

In this episode, you’ll learn how to:

  • Nail down a few looks that create confidence and efficiency.
  • Schedule back-to-back headshots and branding shoots.
  • Use Calendly for online booking and payment.
  • Spend less time on the shoot and more time on the proofing.
  • Create sustainability with headshots and personal branding images

Here’s a glance at this episode:

  • [2:43] – Welcome to the show, Kira!
  • [4:25] – Personal branding images and headshots are the same thing in Kira’s studio.
  • [5:51] – The elaborate personal branding images are not beneficial and profitable for Kira.
  • [7:32] – There is a difference between the influencer who wants natural looking lifestyle branding photos and the professional who wants headshots.
  • [8:56] – Leaving the studio, especially in a metropolitan area, is costly and time consuming.
  • [9:32] – If you do not have a studio as part of your business model, the influencer market may be something to consider.
  • [11:15] – Business exposure is hard and doesn’t always pan out.
  • [12:23] – Shifting to only working within the studio was what Kira needed for sustainability.
  • [14:01] – Kira describes a scenario where she stuck with her boundaries and the client made it work.
  • [16:14] – Just because a client requests it, does not mean you have to accept the work.
  • [18:47] – Kira describes the impact of nailing down a few “boring” looks in the studio that are asked for regularly.
  • [20:21] – The “boring” and simple images need to have confident and comfortable clients.
  • [21:35] – When a client is looking worried or isn’t confident, Kira builds trust.
  • [22:57] – Kira shoots tethered to her computer and a large screen television.
  • [24:08] – Kira tries to spend as little time on the actual shooting as possible to spend more time on sorting through them with the clients.
  • [25:01] – Kira and Allison both use Calendly for online booking.
  • [26:17] – What happens when you need to break up the monotony?
  • [27:12] – Composite work has become hot recently for Kira’s business.
  • [29:58] – There are retouching companies that can help with composite work.
  • [32:08] – Wardrobe coaching or a recommendation list is helpful.
  • [33:41] – The longer someone has to proof photos on their own, the more they will convince themselves they don’t like it.
  • [36:20] – Set up an entire day where you can bring in clients back to back for the same type of shoot.
  • [37:24] – At Kira’s studio, the session is fully paid for ahead of time through Calendly.
  • [39:33] – This type of work has very little overhead and takes much less time than other types. There is no wrong client for headshots.

Links and Resources:
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Kira Derryberry
Website | Instagram | PPA

Do The ReWork
Website | Instagram

Allison Tyler Jones
Website | Instagram | LinkedIn