March 27, 2020
Brand photography is an important investment for your business. A good collection of cohesive images will elevate your website, social media and all other touchpoints where you may use pictures for your business. The key to getting the most value out of your brand photoshoot is lots of preparation. When you’re prepared, you can make sure you’re going to get all the images you need and more!
But what exactly do you need to prepare? Well, I’ve got you covered with my 5 tips below:
Before you take a single photo, I highly recommend spending the time to figure out exactly what you want to communicate through your brand photographs. Defining this before anything will make sure your images are perfectly aligned with your brand and will be that much more usable and valuable.
List out all the key offerings of your business. Maybe this is your key services, your types of products, the way you work with clients, the way you want them to feel, what you do day in & day out, plus how you do it!
Then organize the list into 3-5 overarching categories that encompass everything.
Example 1: Jewelry Designer – her overarching business categories might be 1) bracelets, 2) earrings, 3) necklaces, 4) behind the scenes images of her doing her craft, 5) images of the natural materials she uses in her pieces such as crystals or gemstones.
Example 2: Business Coach – her overarching categories might be 1) headshot style images to show her professionalism, 2) shots of her working in a welcoming environment, 3) images of her with others, 4) images that are a little more casual & fun and show off her personality.
Use Pinterest to create vision boards for each category. Pin sample photos that fit within each category & communicate your message.
Share your boards with your brand photographer in advance! Often, good brand photographers will help you plan your session. If you know already have a sense of what you want, they’ll be able to enhance and make suggestions based on what you share. Perhaps they’d even be willing to collaborate on your Pinterest boards.
A shot list is a detailed list of all the types of images you need from your brand photoshoot. To help get started with your list, think about all the places you will use your images and the possible applications.
For a product-based business, your shot list may include:
For a service-based business, your shot list might include:
Also, consider how your shots will be used. If you need wide images for a website, square images for Instagram or something else. Also, perhaps you’ll need images with white space to overlay text or graphics like a logo. Make sure to let your photographer know so they can take these things into account.
Based on the vision from step 1, your photographer should be able to help you source a location for your brand photoshoot.
One location is ideal provided it gives a variety of backdrops and settings. You’ll maximize your time with the photographer without having to move props and travel between locations.
Some things to consider in a photoshoot location.
Need some help finding the perfect place? Websites like This Open Space make it easy to find & book available studios for an hourly or daily rate. Or if you’re looking for great outdoor locations, try searching the most Instagrammable places near you.
Pull together props for the photoshoot. If you are selling a product this includes curating all your items. In addition to this, you may look for supporting props such as backdrops, flowers, produce, sand, dried items, fabric, tech, tools like pencils, notebooks, maps, accessories, stamps, or vessels for holding items.
If you’re a service-based business, select things you use every day such as your laptop, phone, pencils, pens, notebooks, business cards, a mug, sunglasses, etc.
Most of these items can be curated in advance of the shoot but plan for some last-minute gathering. Living things are a nice balance in photos so pickup fresh greenery, flowers or fruit. Prepare or pick up a sweet treat or a beverage that can be styled in your cup of choice.
Pull together outfits that tie in with your overall brand colours. Be sure to pick sweaters, scarfs, hats or shoes that can easily be swapped & layered for subtle variations so not each image is the same. These items could even be used on the backs of chairs, carried over your shoulder, etc. and will add texture & dimension.
When shopping online for some photoshoot outfits, I had my brand colours open on my laptop so I could pick items that coordinated well. I ended up with a great combination of clothes that not only matched my brand palette but also went beautifully together and are easy to mix and match!
Try your outfits on in advance and take pictures of each one. Photoshoot day will move quickly and you might forget what should go with what. Keep your photos handy for easy reference.
Don’t forget accessories like earrings, a watch, hair clips, and necklaces. These things can easily be swapped in between shots and will add unique touches to your images.
If you’re the focus of your brand photo session, make sure you feel your best with a little pre-photoshoot pampering.
Get your nails done or do them yourself! Your hands will most likely be seen in the images – and don’t forget your toes for those peep-toed shoes!
Have someone do your makeup. Book a hair appointment for either a cut a few days before or have someone style it for you the day of.
Finally, make sure you go to bed early! Photoshoots are a lot of fun. They’re exciting but can also be a little nerve-wracking. Get a good nights sleep so you feel your best for the big day!
I’m Vanessa, a west coast Canadian girl obsessed with all things design who left her corporate gig to build websites for like-minded creative entrepreneurs. I’d love to help you too!
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