The first step to preparing for your branding session is first to know: WHAT IS YOUR BRAND IDENTITY?
Your logo, brand colours, visuals, brand voice, ideal client, brand values etc. are all part of it and all come into play when it comes to knowing how to prepare for your branding session. For my own personal branding sessions, I want my images to be feel fresh, light, and bubbly which is direct translation of my brand identity. If I had dark and moody images, they wouldn’t reflect or compliment my brand.
The second step is to know exactly why you’re doing a branding photo shoot.
Is it because you need an updated headshot?
Do you need more content for social media?
Have you been taking all of your own photos but don’t have the time now?
Perhaps you have no idea but realize that quality photos are important in your business. All of this is why I meet with all of my clients in person, if possible. We talk about why you want a branding photo shoot, your brand identity and pull it all together to bring your brand to life with photos of your business that feel genuine and authentic!
Start working on pulling together a shot list! This is absolutely essential to how your branding photo shoot will go. The more you prepare, the more you will get out of your session. If you’re one of those who isn’t quite sure just what to take photos of start thinking of the words you want to share. What social media captions, blogs, ads, emails, etc. do you want to share? From there, think of the images that would support those.
More great ideas to think about are:
your process from start to finish
your client experience
your workspace / location
behind the scenes
your life outside of work
Now that you have your brand identity, you’re clear on why you’re doing a session, and you’ve got a shot list, you will want to start preparing your props, outfits and locations – the fun stuff!
For each “shot” on your shot list, you want to aim to have a different outfit. For a one hour session I suggest 4-5 outfit changes but I’ve photographed up to 8 before. The goal is to make it seem like you’ve done multiple sessions on multiple days but in fact, we’ve done it all in a one hour session ;)
For your outfits, the first goal is to feel comfortable. If you’re uncomfortable it will show in the photos via your expression and your body language. You also want to make sure that your outfits match you brand identity especially visually and professionally. Is your business more of a jeans and tee kind of aesthetic or do you want to come across as more formal. Referring to my own business, I pick outfits that are light in colour and more on the casual side so they compliment my brand identity. I want my clients to see my style of photography is light and airy and that I’m personable, down to earth and inviting.
Props Don’t overthink this one. My number one piece of advice: if you’re thinking “ahhh, maybe?” just bring it. The worst case scenario would be to realize a prop would be the perfect fit except it’s sitting at home because you weren’t sure. Again, props will help support your brand identity so if it’s a mug that has a saying on it that’s “so you”, bring it. If it’s your brand colours, bring it.
The props that you bring for your branding photo shoot will all depend on your business but most common items for my clients are:
coffee / tea to fill the mug
products, if applicable
Location, location, location!
Of course after you’ve done all this work you’ll need to decide what the perfect location is for your session. Do you need to be outside? Inside? At a coffee shop? Do you need a kitchen atmosphere? For an hour session, I suggest 2-3 locations max. and that all depends on how far away they are from each other, the time of day (#traffic) and how many outfit changes you have.
Here are some great options if you’re completely stumped on a location for your session:
rent an AirBNB
rent a local photography studio
rent a show home
rent a local yoga studio
use a family member or friend’s home
Finally, after doing all of that preparing, you’ll be ready for your branding photo shoot! And don’t worry, every single person has those same excited nervous feelings too before their session, myself included. A few more great tips I’ve picked up being a branding photographer are:
Bring a friend to help you stay organized so you can focus on being the model etc.
Bring a bluetooth speaker with your favourite playlist to help you feel more comfortable and at ease
Don’t be too shy to bring food or drinks to help your session feel like fun! Wine, doughnuts, you name it…
Make sure you have fun and I mean lots of fun! At the end of the day, having a branding session should feel like something you would do again – at least in my books it is :)
I hope by now you’re feeling super duper knowledgeable on how to prepare for your branding session but, if you have a few more questions send me a quick email! I’m always happy to help.