Let’s be honest, friends. Subpar iPhone selfies are not an acceptable option for your professional headshot. Neither is a grainy photo from more than a decade ago with your old hairstyle. You need a brand photography shoot!
So let’s talk about what all this means.
Quality branded imagery can make all the difference for your brand. It can elevate your website, your social media, and even your level of perceived professionalism.
Listen, I know there’s plenty of pretty stock imagery out there. But there is something special about custom photos shot exclusively for your brand. It sets you apart from the crowd with photos that fit your color palette, style, and speaks to your ideal client.
I have been getting questions all about how to prepare for a personal brand photography shoot.
Here are a few ways to prep for your brand shoot and elevate the images that represent who you are and what your brand is all about.
HOW TO INCORPORATE YOUR BRAND VISION AND VISUALS INTO YOUR SESSION
Before you begin planning your photoshoot, there is one thing you must be confident about – what is your brand identity & who is your target client?
It’s important to list out what your goals are for your business in general, as well as for the photoshoot you’re prepping for.
Sure, you want an updated headshot, but what else do you need?
A great place to begin is to think about your visual identity and the qualities and values of your ideal client. This is your chance to get more than just a headshot… so take advantage of it.
The overall look of the photos should complement the established look of your brand. Think about some adjectives that are in line with your business and brand.
List out 5 adjectives that describe your brand and how you want others to feel when they experience your brand imagery.
On Pinterest, look for colors, textures, vibes, feels, instead of specific poses, as every person, brand, and shoot is different.
When you have a general description and vibe, we can capture the essence of your brand, not just a replica of someone else’s.
HOW TO CHOOSE OUTFITS AND PROPS FOR YOUR BRAND SHOOT
As far as props go, I recommend checking your workspace for items you use every day. Pair those items with a few intentional purchases to uplevel your brand. Think of your brand in 5 years. What does it look like then compared to now?
Let’s shoot for that, and let your imagery help you get to that 5-year down the road point.
Here are a few extra styling tips:
- Don’t choose outfits with super loud, busy patterns. They take away from your natural beauty & can be distracting in photos.
- Heels (even if you’re not the heels type) elongate the legs, making great lines in photos. Additionally, clothes that fit well and aren’t too loose photograph best!
- Let your photographer know if you have a “good side” – while either side is my client’s good side, I know that they are more likely to love (and use) the photos if they feel their best in them! I’ll even show clients a few images on the back of the camera while shooting to ensure we’re on the same page and feeling great about the setup!
HOW TO PICK A LOCATION FOR YOUR BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY SHOOT
Your office space? Out and about around your city? A rented studio? Selecting a location can make all the difference in the style of imagery captured.
Referencing your pre-shoot questionnaire and brand vision is key in this stage. If you have an office that is well styled for your brand and filled with gorgeous light, use it. Easy peasy.
But what happens when that isn’t the case? I’ve heard from many of you about what exactly to do in various situations, so we’ll run through a couple of scenarios:
You have an office without natural light:
If your brand vision is full of bright and airy photos filled with sunshine, you may need to rethink your vision. Discuss with your photographer about his or her artificial light capabilities. Being realistic here can make or break your final product.
For example, I aim to find at least a window where natural light can filter into the room. I love the look of natural light, but I am always equipped and ready to supplement with artificial light. In fact, I use it at some point in nearly every indoor shoot, as it can add the perfect amount of extra fill light in moments when we need it (and moments when we can’t control the weather!).
You want a mix of professional and lifestyle photos but don’t have an office:
Searching for places to shoot on websites like Peerspace and Airbnb is a great option here. Plus, if you choose a spot near one of your favorite places in town, you can capture more “day in the life” lifestyle imagery. This gives you a perfect mix of professional & lifestyle photos for your brand.
Thinking about your locations in advance will help you create a shot list that communicates your brand and voice as a whole instead of only a piece of it.
You would love to shoot at another business’ studio or shop:
Ask! You’ll never know until you ask. Let the business know if you need anything from them.
For example: at a coffee shop, you might need a corner table near the window for an hour or so) and what is in it for them. Communicating upfront about what to expect from the shoot can ease some of the nerves about the photoshoot hindering their business. I always love to offer for the business to have access to using the photos for marketing purposes if they’d like!
Some places have designated studio rental fees for anyone to use the space. Others have never had anyone take photos at their business before and would be happy to see it used in that way. And finally, others will flat out say no. That’s okay – keep an eye out for other potential locations – I always am! That way when a client comes to me with questions, I have an idea for them!
HOW TO CREATE A BRANDING SHOOT SHOT LIST
What would you love to see come out of your branding shoot? Write it down.
Where do you plan to use the images? Go to those spots and look to see what you specifically need. A hero image as a header for your website? Write that down.
Want a flat lay with props specific to your brand? Be sure to have all those props curated. Let your photographer know your intentions for flat lay photos.
Not every photographer is also a stylist, so some may require photo stylists to be on set and present for every branding shoot. These stylists work wonders and can also help you select props and outfits to tie it all together.
Finally, what things you can never have enough of? Quality headshots in different outfits and settings, as well as special detail imagery that is specific to your brand.
Think of it this way: a library of your own personal stock imagery shot and curated just for you!
That will sell your brand, product, and services above and beyond what you can imagine!
Don’t get me wrong. Quality stock images are a great option. Definitely better than nothing at all. So if you don’t have the budget yet for custom personal branding photography, you can stay on the right track with quality stock photos!
But listen…stock images will never be the same as photos shot just for you!
What are your top tips for preparing for a personal brand photography shoot? Comment below with any tips to get ready for the photos of your dreams!
Check out more info about North Dallas Personal Branding Photography