Whether you’re planning for a personal branding photo session (geared towards service businesses or creating a personal brand) or a business branding session (geared towards a physical business with a space and maybe even product), here are some things that you should consider when preparing for your session.
Branding is something that's near and dear to me. As a business owner, it's something I'm always conscious of. Developing a strong brand identity will build your reputation in your field, help you stand out from your competitors, and attract your ideal clients, and here are all of the tips I think you'll need to make sure that our branding session accomplishes just that.
To make sure you get the most out of your branding photo session, please fill out the little questionnaire below, preferably a few weeks before our session if possible.
Get your creative juices flowing in the weeks leading up to the shoot by making some inspiration boards specifically for your photo shoot that will capture your aesthetic and define the creative direction of this project. This can either be achieved digitally through a platform like Pinterest or Tumblr, or through a physical collage board. Include a variety of content, including both buzzwords and images. I recommend finding a handful of existing brands that have a look similar to what you're hoping to achieve, and sending them my way a week or so before the session so that I can get some ideas together. Having a clear vision for the shoot already figured out is going to be important for us to maximize our time together, and also to ensure that you get exactly what you're hoping for from this session.
Seriously, organization is something I cannot stress enough – I’ve shown up to so many shoots and seen so much precious time be wasted because things weren’t organized. Let’s go ahead and get everything mapped out now, so that our session moves smoothly and efficiently.
First of all, figure out where your images will be used, whether it be on your website or blog, on promotional materials, in print form for a featured event, etc. This will allow us to style your shoot appropriately. For example, if you plan on using your images mostly for social media campaigns, we’ll want more wide, horizontal images as opposed to tall vertical shots. If you don’t know, or just want a mix of everything, that’s perfectly fine, and shooting a mix of orientations is my default mode for a branding photography session. But, for the most part, a horizontal image isn’t going to look as great “cropped” into a vertical one, so let’s make sure we know how these are going to be used going into the shoot!
If you’re looking for specific shots, then create a detailed shot list so we capture all the necessary angles and content. For example, a lot of yoga + athletic branding shoots that I do, I encourage clients to come with a list of poses that they want to photograph, so we can check them off as a we go. For restaurant branding shoots, I encourage clients to have a list of the dishes that they want photographed. Every image should capture your style, personality, and color palette, so keep referring back to your inspiration board. If you have specific props in mind, decide which shots you want to include them in.
Have all your necessary tools laid out and ready to go before I get there. If you’re a food stylist, have as much prepped ahead time as you can, and your kitchen neat + tidy. If you use a laptop or camera on a daily basis, have that handy. Think about things that you can’t start your day without. If that’s a cup of coffee or your journal, be sure to include that. Building up your toolkit will be a helpful resource for future shoots, or if you need a content shot for your social media feed.
Your clothing is just another piece of the puzzle when it comes to creating a cohesive representation of your brand. I recommend using your inspiration boards to guide you so you choose pieces that compliment whatever the predominant color palette is. Your branding shoot should tell a story that your target audience can connect to.
Keep it simple. Stick to solid colors or very subtle patterns, and minimal accessories. Don’t overlook the details. Always keep in mind what message you want to send about your brand so you can continue to reinforce that through your images.
Be prepared to play an active role since this is entirely about you and your brand, but don't forget to breathe. The most important part to a successful branding shoot is to be completely present, and have fun!