Personal Branding & Women's Portraiture

What IS a Personal Branding portrait session anyway?

And how could a cohesive, MAGNETIC set of editorial style and headshot portraits enliven your professional image, give you more fresh content for your social media profiles and increase your marketability?

Check out the latest issue of my portrait magazine to learn if this might just be one of the best investments you could make in not only your business, but also your confidence and professional image.

NOTE: magazine is divided into two sections:

  1. Personal Branding and packages (geared towards people who need only digital files) in the first half

  2. Modern Women’s Portrait Glamour sessions (designed for that special, once in a lifetime story session to be celebrated with archival prints and files) in the back half.

If you’re curious to learn even MORE or book a consultation, let’s grab a coffee and discuss how a custom session could benefit you and your business.

Contact me now to set up a consultation to learn more!

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER: Jennifer Koskinen specializes in creating custom, natural light, editorial-style personal branding sessions to highlight what you want to share about YOUR story.

She has a background as an architect and architectural photographer, and is an internationally published Live Theatre and Stage Production Photographer. Jennifer is based in Denver Colorado. For more info and client testimonials, please visit our ABOUT page.

For information and pricing of personal branding packages, please take a look HERE!

Voice Talent | Personal Branding Portrait Session in Denver

Don’t be fooled by her petite stature: this adorable woman is a fierce powerhouse of talent, warmth and inspiring confidence. To say I was impressed by her (and loved every minute of spending the day with her!) would be an enormous understatement.

Rachael West Talent Personal Branding Photos in Denver with Merritt Portrait Studio

An Emmy Award Winning ISDN Voice Talent, Actor, Model and Host, she also happens to be downright delightful. My son (assisting on this session) and I thoroughly enjoyed touring her studio, learning about the work she does in her impressive custom studio, and basking in the purple and yellow glow of her home.

Her personal branding photo session was divided into two parts. Part One fell into my initial career skillset of architectural photography. The goal here was to showcase her incredible, purple (I do LOVE a client with his or her own color!) custom recording studio. Her top of the line professional recording booth was designed to fit her home so she can record at any hour, without the need to work around others’ studio hours, as well as to meet the demands of her internationally based clientele. And this woman WORKS. Every detail has been addressed from technical to functional… and the cream on top? It is all designed to match her personal style.

Part Two of her session was her personal branding, headshot and portrait session. Which, of course, was a blast! We spent a large portion of the session laughing as we wandered around downtown Denver seeking out the perfect backgrounds and colors to complement her wardrobe and coloring, finding a cohesive look to tie all of her photos together. All the while we enjoyed trading industry stories and getting to know each other..

I always love working with actors and talent who have had the opportunity to work with other photographers, as their perspective provides me with valuable feedback. I try to be as helpful as possible in communicating direction on a session, as well as showing my clients what I mean with examples on the back of camera to help them visualize what I'm getting. It was great to hear her articulate both during the session and afterwards, just how helpful that was on that side of the camera.

"Amazing! Incredible talent, wonderful ability to give direction in the moment with understandable adjustments that make the photo magical. The BEST headshot experience I've ever had in Denver!" - Rachael

Towards the end of the session, as the light slipped toward the warm and golden hour, we headed to one of my favorite spots in Denver and these photos are some of my favorites of this season. Warmth permeating not just in the quality of light, but captured in her adorable personality, expression, tone and character.

Every time I meet someone with this quality of warm competence and confidence, I can see immediately that their clients must love working with them as well. What a treasure!!

For more information on Rachael West and RW Talent LLC  and to hear and watch samples of her work, please visit her website:

Thank you, Rachael, for reminding me again how fortunate I am that this work introduces me to such outstandingly talented people. You have inspired me and I'm grateful to know you!

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER: I am a Denver based portrait photographer specializing in bringing out personality in my clients’ eyes while creating powerful, personal images. I want your photos to stand out and communicate more than your average headshot. Comprehensive personal branding packages are custom styled around each client’s specific needs, and sessions are designed to be enjoyable and empowering And don’t worry, if you think you’re not “photogenic” -- it’s not your job to be photogenic. It’s my job to take great photos of you! I would love to chat with you about designing a couture professional branding session for you.

Taking Ownership of your IMAGE with Personal Branding Portraits

Let’s talk about YOU.

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Imagine you’re given one chance to communicate your brand to a potential dream client, a potential director, investor, team or your dream collaborative partner, and your very first impression is limited to that of a photo -- or perhaps a few photographs of you. Of course these days, this isn’t an imaginary scenario: it happens all the time.

We can debate the fairness of the inevitable snap judgement that is formed about personality, talent and competence from just a photo… but it’s hard to deny that it happens. What we CAN do accept the reality that there is power in a great branding portrait and use that knowledge proactively.

A single headshot is a great place to start... but now imagine a cohesive SET of custom, personal headshots that all communicate you and your brand in various styles, levels of approachability, from casual to more professional… a tailored visual presentation of you, varying slightly for specific and appropriate representation across different social media profiles or web uses… also allowing you to refresh your image for new placement in front of your clients (and giving you easy ways to boost your SEO with fresh content).

Whether you’re re-entering the workforce, embarking on a new career or venture, or simply refreshing your brand to attract new clients, social media channels and websites are demonstrably the norm, and having a great set of photos to represent you and your brand is a critical step in proactively taking ownership of your FIRST IMPRESSION.

If you’ve found your way to this post, I’m guessing you’re at least curious about the potential impact that YOUR images have to introduce you/your business/your brand to your network or potential leads… and you’re considering a professional branding portrait session... so...

Let’s talk about how YOU want to be photographed for this powerful and creative visual representation of you.

Here are a few questions to get you thinking about YOUR brand, and what you want to say to potential clients with your imagery. Feel free to jot down ideas and bring notes to your consultation:

What is your personal brand, and how does it relate to your image?

Perhaps you’re one of those people who knows EXACTLY what your brand is, but if you haven’t thought about this before, let’s break it down a bit.

Your personal brand should communicate your unique value and your personality/style. With regards to your headshots and imagery, this includes visual components (color themes, style and design elements) as well as more intangible components (tone, experience, mission, approachability, unique skillset, etc.).

Personal branding portrait sessions with Merritt Portrait Studio include a consultation where we can discuss this more in depth, but here are a few QUESTIONS to get you thinking about how you’d like your session photos to feel.

Combining my perspective as a photographer with your thoughts on these questions will yield the most custom, effective set of photos to communicate YOUR brand to your network and potential collaborators/directors/clients. Consider the following:

  • Are you drawn to certain colors in your home or wardrobe?
  • Are you comfortable in a formal suit or do you prefer casual - or perhaps even “working yoga” styled attire, or are you an “all of the above” type (that’s me!)
  • Is your style contemporary, minimal, classical, youthful, graceful, bold, simple or eclectic?
  • Do you thrive in the vibrance and noise of an urban setting, or do you prefer quiet space, open space or mountains?
  • Do you love walking or biking, or your car, or public transportation?
  • Do you work best when you are surrounded by people in coffee shops or an office, or do you prefer to work solo?
  • How do you choose to spend your unscripted free time -- do you have favorite destinations and/or cultural influences?
  • Do you have unique passions, obsessions, collections or talents that may not be part of your work, but are part of YOU?
  • If you have a small business, does your company/brand have consistent graphics and/or a logo? This is worth considering if your photo will be shown WITH your logo on marketing materials.
  • With the question above, do you have a WEBSITE with a design theme or style that we should consider? (minimal, dark, bright, colorful, monochromatic, etc.)
  • And finally… If you could describe yourself to your potential network using only 3 descriptive words, what would these three words be? This is enormously helpful for me when thinking about how and where to photograph you (and possibly for you as well if you’ve never thought about it before).

Do I really need 8 photos or more?

It seems like a lot, right? The number is not random -- it’s the result of many of these sessions. The advantage to arranging this up front is that we can plan and design for variety. Many clients have purchased extras. The ability to have a batch of photos that you can switch out to refresh your social media profiles keeps you fresh and in front of your clients, and to have those images all have a consistent feel effectively strengthens your brand. If you have a website, switching and adding images keeps your content fresh, which is great for google indexing and search engine optimization, or SEO (TIP: always be sure to add descriptions and tags to your images, including your name, business name and other keyword that will help people find you).

The VALUE of this series of professional branding photos should not be underestimated.

Clients share with me not only how greatly they value their final results, but that this process is helpful, fun and empowering, and the experience of seeing themselves through this photoshoot increases their own confidence and self image.

The enthusiastic gratitude continues as their new images are consistently met with overwhelmingly positive results, leading to increased workplace confidence and most importantly… RESULTS.

Jennifer Merritt Koskinen is a Denver based portrait photographer specializing in creating comfortable, empowering portrait sessions, bringing out personality in her clients’ EYES, and creating images that are far more powerful than just headshots. Personal branding sessions are styled around YOU, and are immersive experiences, from the design consultation, to the day of the photo session, through the delivery of your final photos.

Meet Katie | Gorgeous Personal Branding Portraits in Denver

I have known Katie for the better part of a decade (how is that even possible?!) We met when we both lived in Telluride and have been through a LOT together. I photographed this session before I had this lovely blog, but I was just looking through her photos the other day (big computer switch-over / data migration in the works!) and realized I loved them too much not to share. I'm thinking of this as a beloved post in the spirit of a “throwback” Thursday!

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Let me just preface this by saying: Katie is a veritable rock star.

For real: I’ve seen her sing and dance her heart out. I’ve seen her laugh until she cried (and laughed through my own tears right along with her). I’ve seen her be granite strong in the face of adversity. She is a fiercely intelligent and creative entrepreneur, a mother, a caretaker, friend, and also somehow has energy left to be the fun and sexy life of the party.

She is amazing, strong, smart, powerful, fun, and a dear friend. Oh, and hello? She’s freaking gorgeous… inside and out.

I’ve photographed her family several times before, yet still I’ve gotta admit... I was a touch intimidated when she asked me to photograph her personal branding portraits for her new coaching business. Photographing close friends (especially ones I’ve known since before I was officially a photographer) is a surreal experience to begin with. But I happen to know just HOW much personality this beautiful woman has... I really wanted the photos to kick as much butt as she does!

Part of my nervousness always comes from the fact that a photo session is intimate in a way that almost lends itself more easily to working with people you DON’T know that well, as counter-intuitive as that may sound. I share a side of myself with my clients that is almost embarrassingly honest, unabashedly supportive, and I willingly reveal how floored I am by the beauty I see in my clients. And I often act like a complete fool -- torquing my body for the best angle, sometimes literally jumping with delight when I am inspired -- it’s pretty ridiculous.

In turn, I invite my clients to open to the experience of being vulnerable in front of the camera; I invite them to share authentic emotion, and ultimately I ask them to do all that while directing them to hold their chin forward and just a bit down, and a bit to the left… eyes to me… bring that shoulder forward… now down a bit more (if you’ve worked with me, you know what I’m talking about!)  

Anyway, we ended up having a total blast, AND we were both pretty thrilled with the results!

We also got to play a bit while we were there... I mean, if you've got two grown children and can rock a sexy red dress with bling like this.... you need to celebrate that, right?!

But most importantly, she has been able to use her new personal branding photos to create a whole new, beautifully professional look for her business, allowing her to approach new clients with branding materials that match her own confidence and unique style.

All of the photos above we captured in my natural light photo studio just north of downtown. And at the end of our session we headed over for a few last location photos at one of my favorite places in Denver: Union Station. Love the light and vibe in this space to no end.

Love you always, Katie!! Let's do this again soon!

If you'd like to learn more about Katie's biz coaching (I mean, can't you just SEE how much fun it would be to work with her?), check out: Katie Drew Coaching!

Hair & Makeup: Ashleigh Franke | Locations: The Studio Denver + Union Station, Denver

Photography: Jennifer Koskinen | Merritt Portrait Studio

I’m a Denver based portrait photographer specializing in bringing out personality in my clients’ EYES, and creating images that are far more than just headshots. Your personal branding session will be custom styled around YOU, and will be an immersive, fun and empowering experience, to boot. I would love to chat with you about designing a couture professional branding session for you!

Meet Kris | Rockin' the Personal Branding Portrait Session in Denver

Those eyes... seriously, I mean... just look at THOSE EYES!!

( pardon my momentary brown-eyed-girl eye-color envy... but can you blame me? )

I'll get to the purpose of this session in a moment, but first, let me transition from eye-color envy to a quick shout-out to LAUGHTER. One of my favorite things in sessions lately is a moment when, partway through a session (almost predictably now) my client laughs in response to my -- how shall I say -- “overly excited” joy and direction with a remark along the lines of, “Wow! You really do enjoy this, don’t you!”

It's one of those moments that always makes me realize that I've once again lost myself in the sheer joy of what I'm seeing through my lens. And yes, I do realize this means my client is laughing AT me, but …  if we're all having fun, we get great photos... so... I have no plans to hold back my joy any time soon!

OK, laughter aside, this particular session was, in fact, an expanded professional headshot session -- part of my line of Personal Branding Portrait Sessions.

Professional and business headshots and portraits aren't the stuffy, traditional "sit in chair and smile against a backdrop" painful occasions they used to be. These sessions can be full of personality, style, and should reflect your level of approach-ability. This is a golden opportunity to define YOUR brand -- to create your own visual calling card. It's an enormously powerful tool in our short attention span world of social media. As we all know, often that first impression is all you get.

This session was EXTRA fun, because, well, that’s how this woman rolls. Kris commissioned me with the goal of refreshing her professional branding images with a new aesthetic for her real estate business, Dreams by Davis (check her out -- you KNOW you want to work with her!)

During her consultation, we designed and styled her session to bring out her absolutely gorgeous eye color and create a set of photographs she could work with easily to be complemented with text and in different contexts within her business' marketing materials (she also has a graphic design background).

And yeah, that’s a lot of business talk for what was really just a TON of FUN. Mostly we laughed. A lot. Which I believe translates into a sense of joy, approach-ability, and confidence in her photos. I mean, don’t you just want to work with this gorgeous and fun-loving woman?? Can’t you just SEE how much fun she would be as a collaborative partner on a sale?

We had plans to take this session “on the road,” but we ended up having such a great time on location at my portrait studio in Denver that we never felt the need to leave. Thankfully, the studio affords quite a bit of flexibility -- and that rooftop is just too much fun for portrait work, especially for a rockin’ client with a hip, graphic design sensibility.

What a blast it is to be offering these highly personal, couture portrait branding sessions as a more extensive and incredibly customized way for people to expand their digital presence beyond the traditional corporate headshot. To be able to refresh your image with a series of multiple photos that have a style and communicate your brand consistently is an incredibly powerful business tool. The feedback I’m receiving is that it’s WELL worth the investment. Plus, it’s just plain fun!

Finally, I have a talented team of makeup artists to get you “camera ready” (being camera ready is nearly as much about how you FEEL as it is about how you look! ) Adding a makeover to your session will relax you, give me time to plan your wardrobe with our set/location options, and it sets the mood and tone for your photoshoot. It will help you FEEL pampered, prepared, and is a beautiful part of this whole experience. It’s not required, but I do recommend if you have any hesitation about having your photos taken that working with my stylists will be a huge added value to your experience and final resulting photographs!

Hair & Makeup | Sara Duffey

Location | The Studio Denver

Photography | Jennifer Koskinen | Merritt Portrait Studio

I’m a Denver based professional portrait photographer specializing in drawing out personality and highlighting my clients’ EYES; we will be creating images that are far more than just headshots. Your personal branding session will be styled around YOU, and will be an immersive, fun and empowering experience. I would love to chat with you about designing a couture professional branding session for you!