How to plan ahead and get great value from your Brand Photography Sesion
The best way to gain great value from your branding photography session is to start with a plan. Even before I pick up the camera on a shoot, I know that it’s essential to have defined the purpose of the session with my client, and the same applies to you and your brand shoot.
Having a clear definition of your message, story and purpose will make all the difference to a successful shoot.
So, let’s get started. Here’s my advice on planning ahead.
Know your brand: Why do you need to plan?
Because you’ll get much more value from your session and end up with amazing assets for you and your business.
First off, you need to sit down and ask yourself these ten simple questions, you should be able to answer them all quite easily:
- Who is your ideal audience?
- Where are they?
- What do they like?
- What is the best way to connect with them?
- What’s the problem they have that you solve for them?
- How do you solve that problem? your services)
- How are they going to feel when you solve it?
- What are your values and purpose?
- What does your brand look like? (Colour, logo, style, typography/fonts)
- What marketing channels do you want to use to connect with your audience?
Next, you'll need to be clear about why you're booking the shoot:
- What’s the purpose of the shoot?
- What are the images for and how are they going to be used?
- How do you want to personally feel when you look at the photos from the session?
- How do you want your business to look and feel?
Once you have answered these questions you have already made great headway with your planning. Well done. Let’s keep going.
Next up you need to talk to your photographer.
“Wait a minute, I don’t even have a photographer, how can I find one that suits me and my budget?”
That’s fine; finding the right photographer can be baffling, there are so many to choose from. But believe me, you will know when you have found the right one! To help you get there, I have a blog post “How do I find the best Brand Photographer for my business?“ which has tips and a handy FAQ guide that you’ll find useful.
Just so you know, an experienced Brand Photographer will talk you through the process above, offering guidance, tools, and support throughout the planning process. They’ll even give advice after the session if you need advice on how to use your images effectively. That’s how you know you have found the right one, plus you will just gel together!
Now, next up in the planning process - You need to talk to your team
While you may very well be a team of one, it could be that you have others helping you with aspects of your brand. For example, you may have a Business Coach or a Brand Specialist, a team supporting you with a website redesign, a Social Media Manager, or a Virtual Assistant.
This is your team; they know you and your business, so talk to them about what images they’d like to see from your shoot, they may even need specific ones for projects they’re working on for you.
Also, as a note, a Web Designer may have specific requirements for the images – crop dimensions, size, cutout/transparency images for banners so it’s good to gather this info as part of the planning process. These details can be added to the session plan so that your photographer can take shots specifically with the website dimensions and goal in mind.
Plan ahead with PINTEREST
With the answers to the questions, I asked earlier, you’re now empowered to start to build up a folder of ideas and inspiration for your session.
Pinterest is an excellent tool for finding inspiration for your shoot as you can build visual brand mood boards. It’s not just about the images either. You can look through colour charts that match your brand, you can save or ‘pin’ typography and styles you like as well. When you add your inspiration images to a Pinterest board it’s a good visual reference for the look and feel of your finished shoot.
The other wonderful thing about Pinterest is that you can work on the boards collaboratively, and it’s free. You’ll be able to share your ideas with your photographer and your team too!
Remember. You don’t have to do this alone. I’m more than happy to set up a visual mood board for you and walk you through the process.
With my clients, we review the board together and collectively discard ideas that don’t fit with your brand. Then you’re left with a fabulous visual brief and shot list that we can incorporate and use as a reference throughout the whole planning and during the photography session.
By now you should have a good idea of the types of images that you’ll need to resonate with your audience. You’re now nearly ready for the shoot!
Let’s talk about mindset first
I get it. Not everyone likes being photographed. Numerous studies suggest that around 60% of people hate having their photos taken. I’d actually disagree with that figure. From many years of experience, especially working with women, I’d estimate it’s actually around 85%.
Well, I could go into more of the psychology of why this is so common, but hopefully, by this stage, you’ve already found a photographer to work with and have already built up a good rapport, feel comfortable with and able to trust them to coach you through your session.
That said here are a few thoughts to have in the back of your mind when approaching your photoshoot
- You’re determined to make your brand succeed.
- Your face belongs to your audience – It’s what they see.
- Your brain is wired to see your own face as a reflection.
- Do something fun before the session to frame a positive vibe.
- Treat the session as a day off work – It’s a treat, something fun with a friend.
- Wear something that makes you feel confident and happy (see more on this later).
- Watch this video if you have fears about how others see you.
- Rest, relax and have a good night’s sleep the day before so you’re energized for the shoot.
Where should I plan my photoshoot?
The main consideration with location is to ensure that it reflects your brand and values. However, you should also consider your personality too. Where do you go to relax, what makes you happy and does that resonate with your audience?
You may have already determined this during the first part of the planning process or you’ve been inspired by the types of images you’ve pinned to your mood board or on Pinterest.
For example, I worked with a bespoke Jewellery Designer and while her studio and workshop would be the key locations to photograph, she would also visit the beach and some local woodland for inspiration and to relax. Nature is very much part of her brand values & lifestyle, as well as the clients she wants to attract. By making these details visual, she is sharing the story that separates her from other designers and would resonate with the clients she loves to work with.
It’s important to discuss with your photographer any limitations too. For example, if you work from home, but wish to maintain your home privacy or don’t feel you have the space. Don’t worry! There are lots of ways around this, and a good location brainstorming session with your photographer can easily overcome this.
It’s shoot day, let’s pack!
- Do they complement & support your brand and the purpose of the shoot?
- Would they resonate with your ideal audience?
- Is it something you would meet your clients in?
- Smart? Casual? Both?
Talk to your photographer, discuss the points above and let them know what you’ll be wearing and any outfit changes as it will not only take the stress out of the day but also your photographer can suggest other options that you may not have considered. If in doubt, pack it! Don’t regret it on the day.
You can of course use this planning process as an excuse to go shopping to match or complement your brand colours. 😉
The most important thing is to wear something you feel comfortable in and that gives you confidence going into the shoot.
Don’t forget your shoes. Yes, they may not even be in the shots, but if it’s something that makes you feel confident and relaxed then it’s worth it. If you are out and about ‘on location’ then there could be some walking you may also want to think about comfort too.
Hair & Makeup:
There is nothing wrong with getting your hair and makeup by a professional to put you in a confident frame of mind. However, with hair, I recommend not going to the shoot directly from the hairdressers. From experience, it’s always better to leave it a few days to settle. The exception to this is if we have a stylist on hand during the session. (And yes, I can arrange this if it’s something you would like!).
If applicable Makeup should be as you would normally be seen to your clients and don’t forget to bring it in case, you want to touch up during the session.
If you don’t wear makeup you will still want to have a clean matt face to reduce reflections.
Visual prompts tell a story. Think about the tools of your trade, branded items, or props that your audience uses and can identify with.
For many professions, this can feel pretty straightforward. I’m a photographer, so it’s safe to say that I should have at least one shot of me holding a camera!
Other professions may not be as obvious, so just think about what you use during the course of your work – laptop, phone, tablet, notebooks (maybe you have branded stationery, pens, mugs etc.)
But try to think outside of the box – be individual, be you. Be your brand!
Let’s say you’re in finance (have some cash, even or an old-style piggy bank and a calculator). How about if you’re a coach providing a session via zoom? Then how about some screenshots of a friend or client (that has agreed) you can have on-screen during the session to tell the story of how you work via videoconferencing.
I’m not just talking about putting fuel in the car! This is more about fueling you!
Try to be well-rested the evening before the shoot. Nobody wants tired eyes on the day. Get some sleep so you can sparkle!
Let’s not forget that staying hydrated helps keep you alert and energy levels up, and notwithstanding, it’s good for your skin, so bring your water bottle with you.
And of course, it’s always a good idea to have some snacks nearby for the same reasons.
Free Planning Checklist
Everyone loves a free checklist! Not to disappoint I’ve created a simple checklist for you to use as a reminder and tick off the main plan points I’ve described above
Download your brand Photography Prep checklist
Planning done - Enjoy your shoot!
So that’s it we’ve covered all the different parts of the planning process to ensure you plan ahead and great value from your brand Photography shoot. Plus, to ensure that you enjoy it! It should be a fun experience for you and your business. It’s a reward and a well done for everything you’ve done to get to this point.
Whether you’re thinking about brand photography for your business or still not sure and have more questions, then schedule a no-obligation call with me and let’s see how visual content can help your business connect with your audience.
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