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Posing for Brands—Part IV: Branding Yourself and Modeling When You Are the Brand

So you want to market yourself as a brand, whether that’s on social media or as part of a portfolio.

Kal, what are you talking about? You ask. No, I’m not necessarily talking about designers, though these tips could certainly apply.

Even if you’re not a designer, you can be a brand. In addition to a mark or a logo or a company, by definition, a brand can be “a particular identity or image regarded as an asset.” Therefore, the image you present yourself as is your brand; your public persona is your brand. Think of Lovely Lor or Scarfingscarves—those people have created brands for themselves, and if they want to have consistency, the way they pose, the way they coord, and the clothes they wear all need to be consistent to create a brand.

If you’re going to treat yourself as a brand, you need to think about marketing. Choosing how you’re going to be viewed as a brand is a big decision. It will dictate what people think and assume about you and how they will interact with you. Posing is a part of this, as well as the type of photos you choose.

Sally Asbury | Ba Bouth-Ly | Chey Skye for Ota-Q

Think of how you want to be viewed

What are the things you want to embody as a brand? If you want to be goofy, pose accordingly; if your brand is serious, don’t post goofy photos all the time. These are things to consider when you’re planning your shoots or selfies, or really anything you post. Consistency is key.

Choose a persona

Goofy or serious? Kind or arrogant? Mature or a jokester? Pick something that’s true to who you are, and then go from there. How do you want to be known? What image do you want people to think of when they hear your name or handle? Likely, your wardrobe theme and/or color scheme has already gone a long way in defining your persona.

Let’s use my Instagram profile as an example (not that it’s a particularly great one—just that I don’t have to get permission to use it). If you scroll through @kaldec_ you’ll see that my persona is a gothic-, Japanese- and punk-styled serious person (which just so happens to be pretty close to my actual personality, though I am a bit more goofy than I let on.) Almost my entire feed supports this persona, with the exception of a few goofy poses here and there. I professional photographer, and I want my photos to support that as well. I mixed personal phone photos with professional photos in and out of a studio, and I make sure that my editing is fairly consistent throughout my entire feed.

Kal Frenzel and Bree Love

Keeping this in mind, come up with a plan that includes types of photos you will use and the kind of poses that will support your persona.

Theme and look and feel

Let’s take Instagram as a good example. Your theme can go a long way towards establishing yourself as a brand. Do you want to be colorful or entirely black and white? Maybe somewhere in between? If you’re goofy, maybe choose the color—or maybe not! It’s up to you, as long as you’re consistent.

Kinds of work—and persona-supporting poses

Here’s where posing comes in. Decide what kind of work you as a brand will do. Do you want to solely model in as many fashion shows as possible? Then most of your photos will probably be of yourself on stage, from other photographers. Keep in mind that the brands you model for, and the designers’ preferences, play a large role in this kind of persona. When on stage, make sure that your poses are something that you could use on social media, that is, poses that reflect the brand you’re trying to portray. I’ll go back to the goofy or serious example here. If you’re modeling a goofy coord for a fun designer that wants you to prance around the stage like a rock star, but you’re a serious person, that might be against your brand and you might have trouble making it fit into your persona—and you won’t be able to use it. However, if you model for a serious brand, you’ll most likely be scott-free (as long as you have the photographer’s permission).

That said, maybe “versatile posing” is part of your persona! If you’re, say, a professional model who uses your social media profiles to advertise your diverse portfolio (and why companies and brands should hire you) then this would be a good route to take.

Ota-Q: Scarlett Reed, Imani Kibble, Denise Davis

If you decide to take all of your own photos wearing your own clothes, you have a lot more control over your image, surroundings, and poses. If this is the kind that you choose, use this freedom to your advantage and get creative. Because you don’t have to worry about being on stage or posing for a designer (and you’re, in theory, taking your own photos) you can make your poses a lot more dynamic. Even if you’re a serious personality, you can get out there and be creative with your poses! Take the Instagram account @byakuya_a for example. She posts mature men’s fashion and Japanese fashion, and has a serious persona with a twist: she poses dynamically with weapons.

No matter what your persona, each pose should help support your brand’s idea. In this way, poses are super important to how other people view you. No matter what type of images and persona you choose, take a look online to see what other people are doing, and then see if you can do something similar, then break from that in some way. Creativity is always a great part of your brand!

Use my Individual Posing Tips series to your advantage

My entire Individual Posing Tips series is applicable to this type of modeling. Since the pose is about you and not another brand, take a look through this series starting with this post, and start from there.

I hope this post helped a bit. If you have any questions, suggestions for further posts, or concerns, please let me know via @lightningsavage_photography on Instagram or Facebook!

lightningsavage
Kal from Lightningsavage Photography specializes in creative portrait photography for J-Fashion enthusiasts and more. He has served as the J-Fashion event photographer for Oni-Con 2016–2018, as well as fashion shows, meetups, and personal shoots. He is also a co-owner of Kuroshiro Kawaii. You can follow him on Instagram at @lightningsavage_photography and @kaldec_

He is currently into visual kei and EGA fashions.