Recently I had the chance to work with talented local photographer Tamzin Smith on a series of portraits.
The client, Mary Anne Hardy, was ready to update her online presence. She reached out to Tamzin and me for help in developing this aspect of her personal branding.
We started with shopping. Mary Anne needed several different potential outfits for the photo shoot (and the arrangement she had with Tamzin was to end up with several different portraits to keep).
Our first step was to sit down and make sure we were on the same page about how she wanted to project herself. We had to consider many things: her most flattering colors, the level of professionalism she wanted to convey (professional but not TOO buttoned-up), the need to bring out her natural warmth, and fit.
Then we browsed.
This took awhile but we were patient. (With a petite client like Mary Anne, persistence is particularly important.) It helped to remember the clothes we selected weren’t necessarily ones she needed to keep and wear. Rather, she needed to buy them for this shoot and then could return them if she wanted.)
We brought 30 or 40 pieces into the dressing room.
Not everything was a winner. Although we both liked the idea of a jacket, we decided this red trench didn’t convey exactly what she wanted to. (It was a great color, and the popped collar looked terrific, but Mary Anne wanted to project warmth and approachability, and red doesn’t do that.)
We played around with a few accessories in the dressing room (I tried my necklace on with this jacket, which we ended up not keeping).
We struck gold with some of the other pieces.
This black suit has a great shape to it. It was a keeper.
Tamzin asked Mary Anne to faux-pose in it, so she could see how it would look. We liked it!
Mary Anne took the black suit and the other contenders and we all went our separate ways until the following day.
The day of the shoot, her first stop was hair, styled beautifully by Suzanne Wieber of Symmetry Salon Studio, Twinbrooks/Rockville, Maryland.
Next up: makeup. Tamzin’s preferred makeup artist, Melissa Taylor of Cheek 2 Cheek Beaute, in Bethesda, Maryland, is a master. The finished result is low-key yet very polished—perfect for clients who want their natural beauty to shine through.
Once hair and makeup were finished, it was time to try on outfits with the accessories she and I had brought.
We had to try different combinations to get exactly what we wanted.
But it was super-fun for all of us, Tamzin included.
Of course, the best part of the shoot was seeing the finished product, incredible portraits of Mary Anne looking beautiful and luminous, yet warmly professional.
Softened with the aqua silk shell and turquoise necklace and earrings, the white suit is crisp and modern on Mary Anne.
The white shirt and black slacks, while possibly a little boring in real life, look clean and modern in a photograph. Simple yet bold earrings complete the look.
Many, many people can find use for a portrait of themselves wearing a suit. Mary Anne’s is very professional without being stuffy, dated, or boring.
For more about photographer Tamzin Smith and her work, take a look at her portfolio here.
Hair by Suzanne Wieber of Symmetry Salon Studio, Twinbrooks/Rockville, Maryland.
Makeup by Makeup by Melissa Taylor of Cheek 2 Cheek Beaute, Bethesda, Maryland (phone/text 301-728-0770; Instagram @makeup.skin.brow.wax).
(Ketura Persellin is an image consultant, public speaker, and personal transformation mentor and coach. If you’re ready to change your image and your life, please contact her for a complimentary half-hour strategy session.)