Having fresh brand photos is essential for every service-based business. Not only does it keep your look updated, but it helps to create content for social media, and helps to build that know-like-trust factor that we are always trying to build.
But knowing where to start when it comes to having a brand shoot can be hard! Do you start with the photographer? Where should the shoot be? What do you wear? All great questions friend! I’m going to answer all of those, and walk you through exactly how I went about my most recent brand shoot so you can feel prepared for your next one too.
The biggest thing I learned through this, prep is key. Even my photographer was impressed with how prepared I was, and it made the whole shoot go smoothly.
A little background info here: I worked with my girl Katie Wilke on my most recent brand shoot and I’m obsessed with how everything turned out. The advice I’m going through below is all from my experience with Katie, but each photographer may work a little differently. Be sure to ask them and allow them to guide you on what will work best!
Starting with your Brand
Before you start looking for a photographer or start trying to figure out where to have the shoot, you need to start with your brand. Do you have an idea of the style of photography that makes the most sense for your brand? Do you need a style that is more light and airy? Or maybe a little more moody and emotive? Reflect on your brand and get an idea of what style makes more sense.
Next, be sure to know what you want to accomplish with the shoot. Do you have an upcoming launch around a specific product or service? What kinds of things do you talk about on your website and on social media (cooking, exercising, your kiddos, dogs?) that you don’t have photos of? Do you work virtually with clients and need content to show that?
Having a good idea of your goals for your shoot will help the shoot have a focus and aid in the planning process.
Once you have an idea of your goals for the shoot and the style of photos you’d like, then you can start researching photographers. Keep in mind that the photographer you choose doesn’t have to be local to you, but it’s a good place to start. You can also ask your community on Instagram if they’ve worked with a brand photographer they loved!
When it comes to the type of photographer, ideally you would find a photographer that specializes in brand photography. But in my case, I wasn’t able to find one that I really loved in my area. The next best thing is to find a lifestyle photographer. These are photographers who capture portraits in real-life events, but they don’t feel overly staged or posed. Keeping in mind the photographic style that you want for your photos, start reaching out to photographers that match that style. Once you’ve gotten information from them, be sure to ask questions about how they work and the overall process so you know what to expect. Once you find one that you love, book them!
The photographer you hired may be able to help with this too, so be sure to ask them if they have a place in mind for your brand shoot. I know some photographers have their own studio, and others have actually rented Airbnb’s in line with the aesthetic for the shoot.
For me, there aren’t really that many cute Airbnb’s near me that would be suitable for a brand shoot (at least not for what I had in mind). So I decided to have it in my own home. Keep in mind that I have a dedicated office space and decent lighting throughout the house so I knew that it would be a good spot to shoot at. I also love that the photos would have the same look and feel as when I meet with my clients virtually.
This also meant that I had to clean my house on top of getting everything ready right before the shoot, which added more to my to-do list. Something to think about!
Create a shot list
I first started by creating a Pinterest board of brand shoots photos that I really liked. Keeping in mind the goals I set first, I curated a board with similar poses or things I wanted to try with my own shoot. I also shared the board with my photographer so we could be on the same page!
Once I had a good deal of inspiration, I actually created a shot list to help organize the shots I knew I wanted. This also ended up helping later on when I knew I needed to have props ready for the different shots I was needing to get. Here’s an example of what my list looked like when I created my shot list. Nothing fancy, just a note on my phone!
After I had my shot list, I made a list of things I would need for the shoot. For me, this looked like my computer, iPad, books, some of my work, ingredients for my favorite cocktail, etc. The list wasn’t long, but I wanted everything to be ready instead of running around trying to pull stuff together on the day of the shoot.
Things like plants and fresh florals make a big difference too, don’t forget to pull them in for your photos! I actually bought a couple of bouquets of fresh flowers to have sitting in the photos.
Choosing What to Wear
Alright friends, this is not where I shine. In fact, most days you can find me in jeans and a relaxed t-shirt. But I wanted to be true to what I wear and my personality and still have an elevated feel. Most photographers will tell you to wear neutrals and avoid loud, bright patterns because they can reflect weirdly on your skin.
Typically you can have a couple of outfit changes throughout your shoot so you can have a variety of photos. Depending on what your goals are for the shoot, you may want to jump into some workout gear, put on a flowy dress, or something in-between.
For me, I had one super casual outfit (ripped jeans, v-neck tee, and a cozy cardigan), one that was more dressy (beige blouse and dark pants), and one in-between (dark jeans and a black blouse), that I pulled from my closet. My sis-in-law has a great eye for clothes and what will photograph well, so I Facetimed her while I tried on a bunch of different combos, which was a huge help! So reach out to a friend to help you put a couple of options together if you’re fashionably challenged like me.
Hair, Nails, Makeup etc.
You want to make sure you look and feel your best for the shoot! This can mean hiring someone for hair and makeup or doing it yourself.
For me, I gave myself an at-home manicure with press-on nails, applied some false lashes (You can check out my faves here!), and made sure I did a full face of natural-looking makeup and hair.
If any of that sounds like something you’re not up to, then hire a pro to make you feel and look like the queen you are!
During the Shoot
After alll the prep work you did, it’s finally time to do the dang thing and have the photoshoot! This is where Katie took the lead and worked her magic. She knew the shots I wanted to get, and we had an absolute blast (including sharing Moscow Mules at 10 am ?).
Remember to have fun!
Here’s a peek of some of the photos from the shoot: