So you’re ready to prepare for your brand photo shoot? That’s so fun and exciting.
But you probably read the headline and were thinking – “wait, what, there’s 10 steps?! That sounds overwhelming!” Don’t worry, it’s not as overwhelming as it sounds. I’m a brand photographer and these are the steps I take my clients through to prepare for their brand shoots. However, I just don’t lead with the 10 steps part!
And you are probably reading this post because you have a brand photo shoot coming up or you are thinking about booking one. You have lots to plan and get done in your business so let’s dive into the 10 steps!
How to Prepare for Your Brand Photo Shoot
1. Research Brand Photographers
When you start thinking about booking a photo shoot for your business research the different photographers in your area. I highly recommend finding a brand photographer who specializes in photos for businesses. They are well versed in coordinating shoot details, styling, prop sourcing, and recommending great locations.
When inquiring make sure to ask what dates the photographer has available and when then images will be delivered. This is important if you need the photos by a certain date.
It’s also important that you get a feel for the photographer when you’re planning a brand photoshoot. This person is going to capture who you are, your business, and your brand. There needs to be trust and understanding. Branding photography is an investment in your business, so it’s important to jump on discovery calls before booking a photographer.
2. Understand Your Brand Inside and Out
Before you can prepare for your brand photo shoot, you have to understand your brand. I know, it’s your business, so how do you not understand it?
Well, it’s important that you convey your brand to your photographer so that they can translate that in your brand photos. Now, it’s not as complicated as it sounds, as I have a brand questionnaire that I send my clients to help them think about their brand message, mission, and vibe.
Your photographer needs to know (and you do too) who your target audience is. I know most people tend to think of a general population segment when it comes to target audience. However, I believe it’s essential to think of a specific person that you want to get your message to.
Here are some examples:
35 year old mom, two kids under 4, wanting to make healthier food choices for her family.
45 year old dentist, 15 years with own practice, looking to run practice more smoothly, with less stress about insurance filings.
55 year old, empty nester, getting ready for retirement, looking for simple ways to stay in shape that don’t require a gym membership or expensive equipment.
See how you can speak directly to each of those groups? Technically, they could all be lumped into a 35-55 demographic, but they all want vastly different things. By having a specific target, you’re more likely to reach who you want to serve.
3. Gather Inspiration Photos and Visuals
So after a client completes the questionnaire, we start the fun part – planning the branding shoot! I want to make sure the client and I are on the same page. So the next step is to collect lots of inspiration photos and visuals so I know what they mean by words like “feminine” and “fun” and “approachable”.
I create a secret board on Pinterest that the client and I can both add photos. We pin a variety of images that showcase their brand mood, theme, vibe, brand words, style, and more.
It’s hard to tell a brand’s vision from just one or two photos, so I like to have 10-20 photos that are different, yet cohesive. The brand’s aesthetic comes together visually this way.
4. Prop Source and Location Scout to Prepare for Your Brand Shoot
A brand photo shoot is about showcasing your product or service and the lifestyle that goes with it. These are not generic product photos or headshots. Your brand photos need to tell a story. Props help bring a brand to life!
Since I work with creative entrepreneurs, a few props that I like to incorporate into my photos are:
- My camera & laptop (what I use when working and show people I’m a photographer)
- Coffee (sometimes in a mug, sometimes a to-go cup from Starbucks)
- Pen & notebook (I’m always planning out goals)
An interesting and unique location tells more of a story than just a plain studio. It depends on the mood, style and emotions you want to evoke in your ideal client, because that can be translated through the location of your shoot.
For example, if your brand is edgy & urban a good location would be a graffiti wall. If your brand is fresh and serene, an appropriate location would be a beach.
Location is just another layer of a photo shoot to tie in all the different aspects of a brand.
You can choose from a number of location types, such as a natural light studio, a gorgeously designed home (whether your own or a friend’s), a cafe or restaurant, a rented space on Peerspace, or even an Airbnb – with host permission, of course!
5. Collect Wardrobe, Posing, Hair & Makeup Inspiration
In addition to you brand vision, you can also add wardrobe, posing, hair, and makeup inspiration to your Pinterest board. It’s a great idea to add them to your brand vision board to make sure that everything is cohesive with the vibe and feeling you’re hoping for. Pinterest is full of photos that you can pull so to find lots of ideas.
I find it easier to put together an outfit when I have a photo to reference. Personal stylists and makeup artists will better understand the look you are going for when you show them a photo. Don’t just describe it… always show them a photo. A photo will make sure you’re on the same page.
6. Shop for new outfits & book makeup artist to prepare for your brand shoot
Once you have a few ideas of what to wear, you should search through your wardrobe (or a friend’s) to see what you already have that fits your brand vision. If you need anything else, then it’s time to go shopping!!
I recommend buying items that you love and would wear again. Look for pieces that you could wear in more than one setting. Think something that works as a casual outfit or could be dressed up for a networking event. The key is buying versatile items that are on-brand for your business.
I love it when clients send me photos of their outfit ideas ahead of time. I can offer styling suggestions or advise what to wear for your location(s).
Once your photoshoot date and location is set and all the details are planned out, the next step is to find a hairstylist and makeup artist whose work you love and book them for the morning of your shoot. If you need help with this, I have a list of recommended artist that I love referring.
7. Make a Shot List to prepare for your brand shoot
A step in planning I find essential is to make a list of every shot you and your photographer plan to capture. This ensures that no details or shot ideas are forgotten in the midst of a photoshoot. You’re making an investment in your business, taken all this time for planning, make sure you get ALL the photos you’re hoping for.
Examples of different shots are flat lays that are eye-catching for a website banner, images that are off-center so there’s room for text, shots of your workspace, you working, lifestyle headshots and/or photos of products you’ve made.
This is part of the planning process that we go over during our branding shoot planning call. This call takes place about two to three weeks before your shoot so that you have time gather any final items.
8. Beauty Treatments
A few days or a week before your shoot do any beauty treatments you want to look your best. I recommend getting a haircut at least a week before your shoot. Get an eyebrow wax, facial, spray tan two to three days before, and a manicure the day before.
This is optional of course, everyone has a different beauty routine! If any beauty treatments are part of your routine may as well plan to get them done before your shoot to feel extra fresh and fabulous.
I mean, don’t experiment with a spray tan for the first time the day before your shoot. You don’t want to look like you like an Oompa Loompa…right?!
If anything, get a manicure! Or do your own nails. Or try some press-ons – they make some great ones these days. Your hands will be in your photos and a fresh manicure elevates your look instantly.
9. Prepare Outfits and Props for your Brand Photoshoot & Get Rest
The night before your photoshoot make sure to get some rest. Wind down earlier than usual (if you can) and go to bed early. You want to avoid dark circles and puffy eyes! You’ll need energy for your photoshoot…smiling can get tiring!
Pack up everything you need a few days before your shoot. Put everything together in a corner so when you’re ready to load up your car, everything is already together. Also, wash your hair the day before. Most stylists like to work with hair that hasn’t been freshly washed since it holds the style better.
Before bed prepare your skin for makeup the next day. Cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, and maybe a face mask if you’re feeling extra motivated.
10. Have fun & relax!
If you’ve gone through all these steps, you’ll be MORE than prepared for your big photoshoot! Don’t worry about any blemishes that may pop up (oh so conveniently!) the day of your shoot – those can be Photoshopped!
It’s my job to make sure you look great, so do not worry about knowing how to pose or what to do with your hands. Your photographer should show you flattering poses for your body type, shoot good angles, and make the most of the light you have.
Finally, there’s no need to stress about losing 10 pounds before your photoshoot! I know that this has held me back from booking my own photoshoots in the past! Instead focus on loving yourself at every size, age, and milestone.
I hope you found these 10 steps helpful. You know just what to do to prepare for your brand photoshoot! Know that these photos are documenting your journey (of business and life!) while showcasing YOU as the face of your brand.
If you are making the investment in brand photography, you are investing in yourself! Pat yourself on the back, because that is AMAZING.
I know you are totally going to rock your brand photoshoot, now relax and have fun!
Helpful Resources to Prepare for your Brand Photo Shoot
Ready to book your own branding shoot?
Step 1. Get in Touch – click the button below to get started
Step 2. Discovery Call – we’ll chat about your business and your vision for brand photos
Step 3. Book your Shoot – if we’re a “match” let’s get you on the schedule and start planning