Ready for a Brand Shoot? 5 Signs You're Not & What to do Instead

I’m Catie, and I’m a brand photographer for passionate small business owners who are ready to stand out online and scale their businesses.

I'm based in North Dallas, serving the greater Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Here at Catie Ronquillo Photography, I provide strategic marketing photos that will help you grow your business.

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5 Signs You’re Not Ready for a Brand Shoot

Personal Branding Photography

ready for a brand shoot and what to do instead

Are you ready for a brand shoot?

Okay, I’m going to deal it to you straight. Because your time is valuable, as is mine.

You might not be. Not all business owners are ready for a branding shoot. There, I said it.

And that’s okay!

Sure, you could book a session with me and we could go through the motions of planning a branding shoot. But if you’re missing some key elements in business, your shoot will not be as effective as you hope it will be.

In this post, I’ll be sharing five signs that you may not be ready for a brand shoot and what to do instead.

are you ready for a brand shoot?

5 Signs You’re Not Ready for a Brand Shoot

I’ll just say it, if you’re in your first year or first few months of business, you’re probably not ready for a brand shoot. I know, it can feel exciting to think about creating photos for your business. However, if you want a brand shoot that is impactful and effective, you need some key things dialed in.

Or, at least I would say that you should save your money and plan for a brand shoot after being in business for at least a year.

You’re not ready for a brand shoot because you don’t know your ideal customer

therapist branding photo

For business owners, this is the million dollar question. If you don’t know who your business is serving or who you enjoy working with, it makes it difficult to create photos to attract your ideal client.

I know, it trips people out when you think about narrowing down your ideal client profile. But it’s actually easier to start narrow and specific. When you’re specific, you can speak directly to that person.

So if you haven’t figured out who your ideal customer or client is, here are some tips. Once your have an ideal customer avatar in place (it can always evolve, by the way), you’ll be on your way to be ready for a brand shoot!

  1. The Basics – what is their name, age, and occupation (yes, give them a name!)
  2. The Details – Add some details, like where they live, relationship status, do they have children?
  3. What do they like, where do they hang out, how do they spend time outside of work?
  4. What is their problem you can solve? What is something they need help with that you have a solution for? For example: new mom looking to get baby to sleep, empty nester looking to get in shape, busy single entrepreneur looking for organizational help, etc

You don’t know your brand story

ready for a brand shoot photo

What is your brand story? Your brand story is a cohesive narrative that includes the facts and feelings that are created by your brand – and inspire an emotional reaction.

Listen, if you don’t know your brand story, please don’t fret. Most new, small businesses don’t figure this out for a while. But to keep it simple, let me put it this way.

Why do you do what you do? Why do you work with the clients and customer that you do? There will always be a deeper reason than “to make money”. There are so many “easier” ways to make money. There is a reason you started a business and work with the clients that you do.

So take some time to think about why you started your business. If you’ve been in business for a little while, think about why you keep going and keep grinding. As with any small business, you have your ups and downs and there will be days you want to quit! What is the reason that you don’t give up? Who or what is your reason why?

Overtime, these pieces will come together to create your brand story.

You haven’t served enough clients yet to be ready for a brand shoot

This is for new businesses. When you’re a brand new business and haven’t worked with any clients yet (or have only worked with one or two), it can be difficult to know who you enjoy working with. Once you’ve had a variety of clients, you’ll be able to pinpoint who you don’t want to work with.

It’s crucial (even just as a business tip!) to figure out who you DON’T want to work with. When you start your business, you’re excited to work with anyone. You just want to help. That client is willing to pay you money. Why wouldn’t you work with them?

when to diy brand photos vs hire a brand photographer

You’ll find out.

You’ll see the red flags.

And that’s okay.

It doesn’t mean you don’t know what you’re doing.

It just means that your values do not align with your client’s (or potential client’s) values.

When it comes to branding photography, it’s important to know who you DO want to work with so that we can create content that attracts your ideal client.

You don’t know your unique value proposition

Now “unique value proposition” sounds all “business-y” and perhaps a little overwhelming. But let me break it down for you. Your UVP just means what makes you unique. What makes you different from other businesses that do the same thing as you?

Your number one, but probably overlooked UVP, is YOU. Yes, you. There is only one you and nobody else does your business like you.

But some people cringe when they hear that they are the thing that makes their business unique. So if that’s you, then think about what makes your business different from other businesses of the same kind.

If you’re a sleep consultant, what makes you business different from other sleep consultants? Is it your method? Is it your offerings? Is it the support you give your clients?

If you’re a realtor, what makes you different from other realtors? Is it how you work with your clients? Do you have a signature workflow to make house hunting easy in a wild market?

Basically, what is your secret sauce?

If you’re not sure what your secret sauce is, spend some time thinking about that.

Then think about if someone else could have that secret sauce. If they can, go deeper.

You’ll likely land that YOU are the secret sauce, but I won’t rush you.

When you know what your secret sauce is, you’ll be on your way to being ready for a brand shoot.

You don’t have a plan for your brand photos

So you’ve heard from your business besties that you need a brand shoot. But what are you going to do with the brand photos?

Before you book a branding shoot, you need to know what you need when it comes to photos. While it’s all well and good to have brand photos, branding photos without a plan are just nice photos of yourself.

Think about where and how you need photos. Do you need a headshot? Do you need lifestyle photos of you working? Do you need photos of behind the scenes of your work? Do you need photos with your kids (to show your family priorities)? Do you need specifically composed photos for marketing or launches?

When you get branding photos your website can go from this:

To this:

Plano Branding Shoot

What to do if you’re not ready for a brand shoot

You’ve made it to this part! So based on the above information, you’ve figured out that either you’re ready for a brand shoot or not.

If you and your business are not ready for a brand shoot, what do you do?

Well, you have some options!

You can DIY your photos.

With a tripod, your phone, effort, and maybe a friend, you can DIY your photos until you’re ready for a full branding shoot. I highly recommend at the very least having a photo of yourself, especially if you are a 1:1 service provider who works directly with clients.

blogger reading a book

You can book a headshot session.

A headshot session will give you a handful of options of headshots that you can use on social profiles, the about section of your website, and whenever you’re asked to provide a headshot. You can rest assured that you have a quality photo of yourself that you’re confident to share.

You can book a branding mini session.

If you know you need more than a headshot session and the idea of DIY-ing your own photos stresses you out, but at the same time you’re not ready for a full branding photoshoot, I recommend booking a branding mini session. It’s kind of like the best of both worlds. You’ll walk away with some headshots, some working shots, and enough content to get by until you are ready for a full session.

Do your homework so you can be ready

Or, you can do your homework to prepare you and your business by figuring out your ideal customer, your brand story, working with more clients, your unique value proposition, and a plan for your photos. This type of work will take a couple of hours to start, and then honestly, a couple of months to finesse. So while you may not be ready for a branding shoot right now, you could be next quarter!


Personal Branding Photography – What You Should Know

How to Find the Right Brand Photographer for Your Business

When to Hire a Brand Photographer

How to Use Your Branding Photos

Brand Mini Session vs. Full Session: How to Choose


Step 1. Get in Touch – click here 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

ready for a brand shoot and what to do instead

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I'm Catie! Brand photographer based in the North Dallas, Texas area. 

I work with busy women CEOs who crave more than generic stock photos to promote their business. You want an effortless strategy to connecting with your ideal clients through personal branding photography.

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