Do you know how to prepare for a brand photography shoot?
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.
Professional branded imagery can make all the difference for your brand. It can elevate your website, your social media, and even how you are perceived in your industry.
Listen, I know there’s plenty of pretty stock imagery out there. But in today’s fast paced digital world, pretty stock photos aren’t going to cut it anymore. In order to truly set yourself apart, having custom brand photos taken just for you, makes a statement.
You put your stake in the ground and declare who you are and what you do and for whom.
I have been getting questions all about how to prepare for a personal brand photography shoot.
This post covers all aspects of getting ready for your brand photography shoot, from casting your vision to the tactical things like choosing outfits and locations.
HOW TO INFUSE YOUR BRAND VISION INTO YOUR SESSION
Before you ever contemplate hiring a brand photographer, there is one thing you MUST know. You must know and understand your brand. What does your brand stand for and who do you serve?
It’s important to have a purpose for booking your photoshoot and by writing out your vision and goals for your business, you can make an even more targeted shoot plan.
I’m sure you’re needing a new headshot, but a brand photography shoot is so much more than that – so think big picture.
A great place to begin is to think about your visual identity and the qualities and values of your ideal client. What sort of images would help your ideal client connect to your offers and services?
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.
For example: “bold” “confident” “go-getter”
These adjectives will help inform the location, outfits, and types of photos that will be planned for.
HOW TO CHOOSE OUTFITS AND PROPS FOR YOUR BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY 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 elevate your brand.
A mentor once told me, you must start acting like the person you want to become. It’s kind of like “dress for the job you want, not the one you have.” So if you’d like to attract a more polished clientele, think about dressing for that client.
Here are a few extra styling tips:
- As a general rule, stay away from busy patterns. You don’t want to compete with your outfit.
- Heels (even if you’re not the heels type) lengthen the legs, making great lines in photos. Additionally, clothes that fit well and aren’t too loose photograph the best!
- Let your photographer know if you have any areas of your face or body that you are self conscious about. We all have them! But making your photographer aware can help them position you in the most flattering poses for your body.
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 types of brand photos created.
In order to choose th best location for you brand photography shoot, I send my clients a pre-shoot questionnaire in order to get a clear idea of their business and brand. Then a few weeks before their shoot, I have a strategy and planning call with them.
Sometimes, you’ll have the perfect location with good light right in your home or office. But what happens when you dont?
You have an office without natural light:
If your brand vision is full of light-filled 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 had a photoshoot with estheticians and they have a small studio space. While they have a window, having the curtains open would not accurately represent their space when performing a facial. So I brought artificial lighting in order to best photography the space.
You want professional and lifestyle photos but don’t have an office:
Searching for places to photograph 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 take more “day in the life” type imagery. This gives you a nice combination of professional & lifestyle photos for your brand.
Thinking about your locations in advance will help you create a shot list that communicates your brand holistically. Talk to you photographer, as they can best recommend local spots.
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: If there’s a cafe that you absolutely love and you happen to be a “regular” there, that’s a great spot to ask if you can take some photos there. Ask your photographer if theyd be willing to share some of the photos with the cafe for their marketing purposes (hint: I’m sure they would!)
It’s usually best to ask, but there’s always also asking for forgiveness. Some places will have fees for “commercial” shoots and a brand photoshoot kind of tows the line for some businesses definition of “commercial”.
HOW TO CREATE A BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY SHOOT SHOT LIST
Like I mentioned at the beginning you should have a goal and purpose for your branding shoot. This is an investment of time and money to create custom images that will help you promote and market your business.
What are your top 3 goals for you shoot?
How do you plan to use the photos? Website? What specific dimensions and orientation do you need the photos to be?
Do you have a product or service launch coming up? Will you be adding an educational arm to you business? Are you created a course or membership?
Think about the photos that you would like to have. Have you spotted photos on Pinterest that caught your eye? Pin those and show your photographer so that you can communicate exactly what you want.
Do you want custom flatlays? Do you have a product suite to showcase? Are you needing product photos for your online shop?
Your photographer should be compiling a shot list based on your preparation, however it’s never a bad idea to make sure you give this list to them so that you’re on the same page.
The biggest mistake I see some business owners make when going into a brand photoshoot is that they DO have photos they would like, but don’t tell their photographer. Instead, they rely on hoping that the photographer can read their mind.
My biggest tip is to show your photographer exactly what you’re thinking so they can create something that meets your hopes and expectations.
More tips for preparing for a personal brand photography shoot
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