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Authentic Brand Photoshoot – How to plan yours

Recently I found out first hand how being intentional and prepared for your authentic brand photoshoot leads success.

After a client reached out to ask for tips and suggestions on how to get the most out of her brand photoshoot, I realized that this topic was an important one to write about.  Representing you and your brand in an authentic way through brand photos is a powerful way to engage and connect with your ideal client.  It’s also a topic that I have first-hand experience with since I just went through it myself this earlier this year.

If you know me you know that I’m a recovering perfectionist and an over-planner (Virgo here…).  But on the flip side, I’m also incredibly self-aware and have the gift of BIG vision.  Ultimately, it was careful planning and being connected and aware of my desired outcomes that helped me achieve brand shoot photos I love and that resonate with my clients.  When you combine all of those things together you get a Creative Strategist who was able to apply her gifts to her own personal brand project and I’m going to walk you through my process.


HOW TO FIND YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER

There are a lot of talented photographers out there.  It can be challenging to know how to choose the right one for your brand photoshoot.  It’s important to know that much like doctors, photographers specialize in different styles of photography ex. wedding, landscape, family, etc.  Each has specific skills that make them stand out in their niche.

When it comes time to pick your photographer for your authentic brand photoshoot, there’s some homework to do and here is a good place to start:

  • Referral – If you admire another biz owner’s pictures ask them who they worked with and reach out
  • Social Media – Turn to social media and search for photographers in your area.  I found mine on Instagram.
  • Current Contractors – Ask your web designer or creative strategist;-)
  • Google – Search for photographers in your area

 

Regardless of how you find them, be sure to check out their work.  It’s important to like their style.  I reached out to my photographer because I liked the way she played with light and captured her subject’s personality beyond the pose.

  • Visit their websites
  • Ask them about their process and how they work with their clients
  • Review their portfolios
  • And whatever you do… read their reviews!

 

Good communication with your photographer before the shoot is critical to a great outcome.  Don’t assume your photographer knows all of the shots you. You know your business, they know photography. They can offer suggestions and think creatively WITH you if you schedule a brainstorming session before the shoot.  This is time and energy well spent… I promise!


PLAN & PREPARE 

Proper planning = successful photoshoot. 

Here are the steps I followed…

Pic of Pinterest board with brandshoot examples

  1. FIND INSPIRATION & EXAMPLES

Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration. 

Search for the type of photos you need. Try phrases like: 

  • Brand photography
  • Personal brand photography
  • Corporate brand photography
  • Product photography
  • Website photography
  • Team photography

 

Create a Board on Pinterest of photos you like and share it with your photographer. It’s also critical to be able to describe why you like the photo.  What is it specifically that caught your eye and how do you see it working with your project goals?  Share the Pinterest board with your photographer so she fully understands what you need and like.

  1. DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO COMMUNICATE 

I started with a working document in Google Drive.  I listed words to describe how I wanted my audience to feel when they experienced my pictures.  This is SO important!  Your photographer will have a much better vision of your desired outcome if you give them something to go on. 

My words were: Authentic, Friendly (bestie), Trusted, Playful, Creative

In that same document, I also listed all of the photos I knew I needed (headshots, action shots, promo shots, etc).  If you have a team, this is a great time to bring everyone together and brainstorm where you want to use the photos:

    1. Website
    2. Social Media
    3. Advertising and Marketing
    4. Print Items
    5. External Requests

For a more detailed list of the different types of photos, you may want to grab my FREE Authentic Brand Photography Checklist for ideas.  Once you have a list, start organizing it and writing what you want the picture to look like (location, style, layout). If you don’t know how to style it, make a note to ask your photographer.

  1. SELECT YOUR CLOTHING

Clothing is important to consider for brand photography. I was lucky enough to have my photographer provide a stylist who came to my home to help me select perfect pieces and combinations.  She was AH-MAZING!  Here’s what I learned from her:

  • Don’t try to match your brand colors.  Pick colors that compliment them and your skin tone.
  • Be sure to have 3-5 different looks
  • Pick jewelry that compliments your outfit without overpowering

 

  1. CHOOSE AND GATHER PROPS

Use your list of photos from step 2 and think through the props and items you need to take the picture. For headshots, you only need to think about location and clothing. For other photos, you might want to choose some other items to include.

Here are some things you should consider when choosing props:

  • Consider the colors in your pictures. If you have a colorful brand, include color in the props and backgrounds. If you have a simple sophisticated brand, stick with clean simple backgrounds with minimal props.
  • Don’t add props just to add props. A pen or coffee cup styled with a journal could be a great compliment to your photo. You could use flowers and greenery to freshen the look on indoor shots. You could use books, candles, and business cards because it works for your brand. Props should complement the brand not add to the confusion of what you do and offer.
  • Backgrounds matter. Work with your photographer to choose locations that provide variations in background.

Still stumped? Ask your photographer if they have any other suggestions based on your business type and photography needs.

  1. PICK LOCATIONS

Your photographer is a great source for choosing a location for your shoot but some things to look out for when choosing location are:

  • Pay attention to the colors of the surroundings (wall color, decorating colors, etc.).  Natural lighting is your best friend.  Locations by windows with good light work well.  If outside try to avoid mid-day because the sun is the harshest. Morning shoots were recommended by my photographer.  And don’t worry if it’s cloudy that day.  Overcast days are your friend!
  • Check the location’s availability for taking photos. Some places will allow you to come for free if you schedule ahead of time. Just post about them on social media and give them a shout out.  Your photographer will be a great resource if she knows what you want.  She may also research locations that you want to try and make sure they are available and appropriate.

 


DAY OF SHOOTING

In order to make your shoot go smoothly on the day of shooting, here are a few things to keep in mind:

COMMUNICATE:  Don’t be afraid to ask for specific angles or shots and move positions slightly as they shoot.  You’ll have more pictures to choose from in the end and you’ll appreciate the options between poses.  You may need to have images where you’re positioned to the left or right of the shot so you have room for copy.  Let your photographer know.

GET ORGANIZED: Work with your photographer to organize the shoot according to location and background. Be sure to bring the list of shots you need and the backgrounds and layouts you want with you so you’re sure to get everything you need and want.  

WORK SMART:  If your photographer doesn’t have someone there devoted to styling you that day, I’d strongly recommend bringing someone with you who knows what you want and can be your eyes while you’re posing.  This person can help you watch for straight collars, stray pieces of hair, jewelry laying right, etc.

 


I hope you found the information here helpful.  Brand photographs are an important and powerful way to articulate who you are, what you’re about and what you offer.  When done well your authentic image will complement your products, services and engage your perfect clients.  Still not sure where to begin?  I’m happy to help!  Schedule a Creative Director On Call appointment so we can dive in and start creating your authentic brand photoshoot.

Have you prepared for a brand photoshoot?  What friendly advice would you add?

 

October 16, 2019

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