Are you running a service-based business? You’ll need to plan a brand photoshoot to visually communicate your brand to your potential clients! Your brand is more than your website, your logo, and even your color palette or mood board! Your brand is a complete experience, and your photos should draw your audience & your potential clients into that experience!
Even with a plethora of stock photos at our fingertips, it’s still just as critical to plan a brand photoshoot! Stock photos are great but they will not work to capture the essence of your brand experience or connect your further to your potential clients. And yes, your potential clients want to see your face before they decide whether or not to invest in your business!
Gearing up to plan your brand photoshoot can feel overwhelming, I like to start with the end in mind! What purpose will these photos serve in your business? Are they for use on your website, Instagram, or something else? Knowing this in advance will help keep your vision in alignment as you find inspiration and begin booking your photographer, location, and buying props.
Now that you know what is needed for your business, how much time will you need? Is this simply a refresh to gather updated images? If so then a mini brand session (like my recent shoot with Ashley Rae!) would be perfect for you. However, if your business is in need of all new website content, social media content, and marketing photos, then you’ll be looking to plan a full-service brand photoshoot. Preparing for a full-service brand photoshoot will require a lot more time and a bit more planning than a brand refresh photoshoot.
Here are my top 9 steps on how to plan a successful brand photoshoot!
1. Create a Pinterest inspiration board
Creating a Pinterest inspiration board will be key in pulling out central themes that align with your brand. However, make sure that you only saving pins that have a similar feel to your own brand! Do you still have your brand mood board on hand? Use it to refer back to when creating your Pin-spiration! Don’t be afraid to include pins of your own work on your inspiration board.
2. Take note of commonalities
Those inspirational images you’ve just pinned, what do they have in common? Is it a texture, color, style, prop, hairstyle, or pose? Even deeper than that, are there specific colors that showcase movement within the photos? For example shades of linens, grays, and whites, typically highlight movement. What about the primary setting of your inspirational images? Are they in a house? A studio? Outdoors? Or sitting at a desk?
3. Plan your brand photoshoot location based on inspiration & your brand
What does the inside of your brand experience look like? Do you work in a studio or a home office? When you meet your clients in person is it typically at a local coffee shop or a high-end restaurant? When it comes to locations which options feel most natural and aligned with your business?
Maybe having your brand photoshoot outdoors is the right option for your business. Be mindful of the current season when it comes to selecting your outdoor location! The season will play into your color palette and outfit choices, which should tie back to your inspiration and your branding! Selecting outfits can be tricky when you are dealing with extreme heat or extreme cold (I’ll go over outfits when we get to no. 8!) You don’t want to spend your time in front of the camera sweating or freezing!
4. Put together your team
When you plan your brand photoshoot, you’ll notice it takes a lot of different moving parts to bring it life! At the very least, you’ll need a photographer and a hair & makeup artist. It’ll take some extensive research on your part to find these professionals. When researching photographers, look closely at their style and work product. Does it align with your brand? Are they a film photographer? Digital Photographer? Natural light? Dark and moody? Light and airy? Choose a photographer whose work looks and feels similar to what you are trying to accomplish with your brand photos. If you are aiming for light and bright, don’t hire a photographer who showcases a lot of black and white work.
A hair and makeup artist should also align with your brand! For my own brand photoshoot by Ashley Rae, I chose to work with my favorite hair & makeup artist in the Phoenix area – Amanda Victoria Beauty. I met Amanda 6 years ago when I was getting married. She did my hair and makeup trial, my wedding, and a couple of my brand photoshoots. I will not trust anyone else! Amanda is known for her work with luxury brides, her professionalism, working on the Miss America pageants, and bringing out a natural, beautiful look. All of the things that I want my brand to look like and I knew Amanda could make it happen!
5. Share your inspiration with your team
Your team is anyone who will be on-site for your shoot such as your photographer, videographer, & hair and makeup artist. Your team might also include anyone who works on the back end of your business! For example, will you be handing off these brand photos to a social media manager or a copywriter? Everyone on your team will need a full understanding of what your vision is so that they can each plan their part accordingly.
ARE YOU READY TO DELIVER CONFIDENCE AND CREDIBILITY IN YOUR BRAND IDENTITY?
6. Choosing props & locations
Always keep your brand aesthetic in mind when planning your shoot. Think about your brand color palette, your target audience, and your client experience when planning your brand photoshoot.
The props and locations for your brand photoshoot should have a similar color palette to your brand! A great option for achieving this is by choosing a studio (if this aligns with your brand of course!) that will allow you to bring in your desired palette by way of props and accessories!
For my shoot, I chose Blok Studio in Phoenix because the interior is all white. They also have gorgeous natural morning light that streams in through their windows. This allowed me to have a clean palette. I was also able to bring in my desired colors with my props.
7. Props, props, props!
Purchase or use props that coordinate with or are similar to your brand colors! Believe it or not, texture is also a huge factor in choosing your props! For my brand photoshoot, I had a lot of European-inspired pins with organic elements. Think: concrete, plants, and wood! While these might not be my exact brand colors, I wanted some of these tones to be used as accents to give that texture to my overall color palette. When it comes to your props, the more you have, the better! Stuck on where to start with props? Your computer, plants, and linens (table cloths), are all props! Additionally, you’ll want to layer in the feel of your brand by including anything else that your eyes would be drawn to on a perfectly styled desk. Some examples might include a phone, pens, camera gear, notebooks, and albums!
Speaking of props, begin collecting them well in advance! Your props should be gathered and boxed up so that they are ready to load and take to your location(s) on the day of your shoot.
Here are some quick and easy tips for choosing outfits to wear during your brand photoshoot!
- Start purchasing outfits way in advance
- Be mindful of your confidence level when trying on outfits
- Pair & coordinate your outfits with accessorsies
- Color coordinate outfits to your brand
- Avoid too many/contradictory patterns
- Avoid clothing with writing or logos
- Find clothing with movement & texture, it photographs wonderfully!
Don’t be afraid to communicate with your photographer for help on this! Your photographer will have insight into what kind of fabrics and colors work best in front of the camera. Many brand photographers also provide their clients with a styling guide in preparation for their shoot!
9. Photo Composition Variety
This is a big one and not to be overlooked when you plan your brand photoshoot! Remember at the beginning of this post when we discussed what your images will be used for? Using your images throughout your brand will require plenty of variety in the composition! Work with your photographer on capturing both horizontal and vertical images, but it doesn’t end there! Headshots and lifestyle photos of you, images of your gear/work equipment, images of you “in action” or “working”, images close up, and far away, making eye contact with the camera, laughing, smiling, soft face, serious face, and turning away. Just get it all!