When I planned my brand photoshoot, I wanted my personality, skillset, and creativity to shine through.
I needed photos for my new website, Instagram, and other collateral, as I was rebranding. As a hobby photographer, I had photos up my sleeve. What was missing, though, was professional photos that I’d be proud to share. Photos that said, “Hey, this is me. Working with me is like frolicking through a creative wonderland.”
I was excited simply thinking about it, and I took good notes just for you. So here’s your plan for styling a brand photoshoot:
Understanding your ultimate intention with the photoshoot will help you strategically plan the rest of the details. Plus, it makes it easier to communicate with any others involved in the shoot. This may be an easy task for you, but here are some good questions to start with:
Why do I need photos? (Business launch, rebrand, new campaign)
Where will I use my photos? (Social media, pricing guides, website)
What do I need photos 0f? (Your face, your work, your office, your team)
Think of the photo orientation (landscape versus horizontal) as well as the overall content.
When it came to my photoshoot, I ultimately needed photos for my website, but I also planned on using them on social media, and any other collateral I designed. They would be Salted Pages photos, fitting for anything I could get my hands on. I told my photographer, and I quote, “My goal is to have photos that show off my personality with fun, business casual vibes.”
Pssst, here’s my styled shoot shotlist, if you were interested in seeing it:
Who is your ideal client? What type of content are they interested in?
I wanted to work more with creatives and small businesses. That meant photographers, artists, graphic designers, etc. I needed content that would catch their interest, and mind you, my clients have good taste. Naturally, I wanted my photos to be quality, but the quality I was after couldn’t be novice.
My top tip for attracting any type of clients? Brand photos of your face! Faces draw people in. We’re human after all, and we’re more likely to connect to a smiling face than a photo of a smart phone. Now, sure, you’ll probably need photos of both, but remember that it’s your face and your emotions you need to capture.
Here’s what I told my photographer when I sent her my shotlist: “Remember, my website’s audience will be creatives like yourself. What photos would you want to see when hiring a copywriter?” Granted, that’s not the best question to ask, but she herself was my ideal client. I wanted what she would be interested in. I wanted my photos to be the result of what I had in mind, and what her creativity drew her to.
Are you looking for candid, laughing photos, or strictly professional corporate headshots? I was certainly looking for the former myself.
What kind of props do you need? Will you be shooting in a studio with colored backdrops, outside, or at your office?
What colors will complement your brand?
Here’s the inspiration board I used for poses. My photographer had this screen open during our shoot. It definitely came in handy.
Once I figured out how I wanted everything to look, I started gathering what I needed. I went shopping for a few new shirts and props — I bought the pillows, rug, side table, and new pots for my plants. I tried on my outfits and took photos so that I could remember what necklace I wore and with what shoes on the day of the shoot. Likewise, I even did a test hair and makeup day. I wanted the actual day of my photoshoot to be smooth, and it was so worth all of the preparation ahead of time. On the day of, I already had my pile of props by the door and my outfits carefully hanging in my closet, with my shoes and jewelry packed up in a large purse to take to the studio.
I didn’t say, “hire a photographer” or “find a makeup artist” because that’s not at all close to what you should be doing. A personal brand photoshoot requires a creative partner, someone who will take the time to get your vision and work with you for a successful styled shoot. Your personalities should vibe and you should enjoy working together.
How did I find my creative partners? It was a bit of luck, a lot of community, and a lick of courage. I’m fairly engaged in my local community and followed a local photo studio’s adventures as they opened downtown. They literally had a blank canvas as their photo studio and I was in love. As I toyed around with the idea of how exactly I wanted to get brand photos (Set up the camera and explore downtown with my husband as the photographer, or use my tripod…), I realized that I didn’t have to do this alone. I reached out to the studio, (the courage I mentioned) and requested that we work together. They said yes. Then I had it, a studio, a photographer, and a calendar date to take the photos. I was in the clouds.
And the table? I asked a vintage rental company to sponsor the table. Now I need to see how I can buy it…
This is honestly the most important part of the photoshoot. You can have the best photographer, and the cutest props, but if they’re not you, they’re not going to work. You’ll look uncomfortable trying to stretch into poses that don’t reflect who you are, and even if you, too, look perfect, what’s the point of photos that don’t reflect you? Remember, this branding photoshoot is for you! It’s to help you connect to your ideal client! How the heck are they supposed to connect with you, the real you, if the photos don’t show that?
You betcha I brought my dog to my photoshoot. He’s my official co-worker and best friend.
You put a lot of time into this styled shoot, and chances are, so did your studio, photographer, and any other individuals or businesses you partnered with. Say thank you in one of the best ways — by sharing the images on social media and tagging them. Talk about your experience and mention their name. A public thank you goes a long way and it can potentially help them get more business. Plus, other individuals like you can achieve success too by choosing the same vendors.
When you receive your photos, don’t let them sit! Use them strategically on your website and throughout social media. After a year or two, (or maybe just months) when you’ve cycled through the images, consider another photoshoot. Perhaps your style has changed or your target client has been narrowed down. Either way, new content is one of the best ways to ensure that your website and social media posts stay fresh.
Are you planning a personal branding photoshoot? I’d love to see your inspiration board, or maybe some of the images you received. Share in the comments below!