How To Prepare For A Branding Photoshoot
Tips to save you time, money, and frustration when getting new headshots for your business.
Ahh…branding. It’s such a magical process!
And so crucial to differentiate you from other people in your industry. Being a visual person, in the very beginning, I used to think having a wide array of colors and styles to represent my business showed creativity. Years later, I completely see the value of a well put together brand, with a polished logo, complimentary color palette, and flowing consistent message.
A part of the branding package also includes professional photos. Think about the powerful images that speak to you throughout the day, whether it be on social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, or in brand ads and billboards. Visual association is increasingly the top way to attract attention, followers, and potential clients.
So, how do you prepare for a branding photoshoot for your business? Let me share what I learned from my experience.
The first step is to research and source your photographer. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But, it actually can be pretty time consuming to find the perfect fit. I initially like to start out by doing a Google search for “Brand Photography in City/State” and see what comes up. You can also search for other keywords like “Business portraits,” or “Professional Photographers.”
Once you’ve collected a couple to go through, the next step is to scope their primary niche. It’s important that they list out “branding” and/or “business” under their services. If the only categories they highlight are weddings or senior portraits, I’d suggest that you move on. :-)
Another popular way to find a professional photographer in your area is by using Instagram and searching by #brandphotography. At the time of writing this, there were over 27K posts with that hashtag. It gives you an opportunity to view their feed to see if it matches your brand look and feel.
Ok, now that you’ve picked a couple of your top faves, it’s time to reach out and connect. It’s always a good idea to email and/or call the photographer before just automatically booking a session online. Do you like their energy? Are they professional? Do they seem genuinely interested in your questions/concerns? How long did it take them to respond to your inquiry, etc.?
You can learn a lot about how someone conducts their business from first impressions.
This is a necessary step in the vetting process.
Do Your Homework
Taking the time to have a general idea of the type and number of branding shots that you want is important. I suggest making a list of how many styles/versions you need for your website. Also, remember other areas that you‘ll want to use these branding shots - like social media, professional membership sites, landing pages, etc.
I like to go on Pinterest for inspiration! Why not make a board of drool-worthy shots that you’d love for your business. Share your branding and your board with the photographer before the shoot so that you’re both on the same page.
Make sure that who you choose, what you wear, and where the shots are taken are in alignment with your company and message.
For example, I had originally set up a shoot when I was in Hawaii. I was so excited and totally clicked with the photographer. The more I looked at her portfolio and the destinations that we were going to shoot in, the more I realized that it wasn’t in complete alignment with my overall brand. Even though I‘m passionate about business without burnout and setting your business up on automation so that you can have the freedom to live the laptop lifestyle, I didn’t think having shots on the beach or on lava throughout my website would resonate completely with my ideal client.
Choose what feels the most on point to who you are and what you usually do on a daily basis — simple as that.
If you don’t usually wear make-up then don’t go gobbing it on for the photoshoot. You want to be your most authentic self. Same goes for the type of clothing that you wear. If your style is punky funky then stick with that. People love you for you — the pictures need to reflect that.
Practice a few angles in the mirror before your shoot. Any good “model” will tell you that it’s their responsibility to know what gives them the best view. Of course, your photographer does this for a living, so be open to the various “posing suggestions” as well, even though they may feel awkward.
Confirm the Details
Professional photographs are not inexpensive, but they are totally worth it. In today’s visually stimulating world, you need your images to look fresh, modern, and stand out. From my research, a session for branding photographs run anywhere from $350 — $900.
Remember to clarify:
- How many outfit changes are allowed?
- How many images are included?
- How many locations, if applicable, are included?
- Do you have the copyright to the images to use freely?
- Is it just a “sitting fee” and the digital images are sold separately?
- What level of “touch up” is included?
Prep Before the Session
Now that you’ve got all your ducks in a row, you’ve most likely shopped for some fun, new clothes (within your branding palette), and maybe even added a few highlights to your hair, there are just a couple more steps to ensure a stellar shoot:
Pack up any props you feel will support your brand and message (like a coffee mug, books, flowers, inspirational artwork, etc.)
Put a to go pack of makeup/hair necessities for any touch-ups needed.
Have a few layering options for quick changes, like a blazer, scarf, or a different necklace.
Drink a lot of water a couple of days before the shoot, so your skin looks hydrated.
Go to bed before 10 pm the day before your session, so you look refreshed and rested.
Press all your outfits and shine up your jewelry for a polished and pro look.
Remember, this is an investment. It’s OK to communicate with your photographer what makes you feel the most comfortable. Do you want your favorite tunes in the background to help you loosen up? Do you despise your side view? Do you need a few shots that have ⅔ “white space” so you can use them for your squeeze page? I guarantee they’ll appreciate your feedback!
Also, when choosing your final images, don’t rush!
I recommend making your decisions on an alternate day of the shoot. It takes a lot of preparation to get ready for professional branding pictures, both mentally and physically. Give yourself a spacer day before committing to the package of images.
Lastly, celebrate and share! Your clients want to see the behind the scenes of your upleveling process. Don’t be shy to post a few of your new images, update your social profiles, and website headers.
I hope the above helps you when you are deciding how to prepare for a branding photoshoot. I’d love to see your shots when you do decide to take the plunge.