Marketing

How to Prepare for a Brand Photo Shoot

Before we dive into the HOW, let’s quickly chat through the WHY of a brand shoot, shall we? 

Think of your brand shoot photos as the key ingredient you need to create scroll-stopping content that’ll draw your people in. Without the main ingredient for your perfect cocktail, it won’t taste right

The same goes for crafting your online presence — from your website to social, email marketing, and beyond. You need to have the goods to make it work for you. The goods, in this case, are your brand photos. This image set is the reserve for your business when it comes to, well, everything!

Having the visual assets to set yourself apart from the crowd is the best place to start (& instill confidence in yourself and your brand) to propel your business forward. So, did we convince you to stock your business bar cart (& real bar cart, too 😉 ) with the essentials? Good, let’s do this.

Consider Your Future Client + Build Your Mood Board

First things first, your brand photos are not for you. They are for your future clients. Those dream clients you want to attract a year from now. Speaking of, Jen made a killer Instagram post about the idealogy of giving your future self a chance to work with the clients you’re dreaming of. Take a peek at that post and vision cast who you want your future self to reach and what those clients are looking for right now. 

With that future client in mind, you want to establish credibility aimed at that group of people or person specifically. To establish credibility, visual aesthetics across your online presence have to align with what they’re seeking, and what they’re already looking at — so that your work will resonate when they find you. 

Get into the mind of your future client and draw inspiration from key sources to help aid in the overall vision and vibe for your brand shoot. And think beyond the digital universe as you source inspiration. Look to magazines, artwork, nature, and more to create a layered mood around the photos you want to capture through our brand images.

As you compile this targeted inspiration, create the visual mood board that will guide your brand shoot. Take cues from the sourced inspiration, and recreate the vibe with your personal touch to align your images, outfits, poses, and props with what your ideal client is attracted to — while also introducing and attracting them to YOU. 

A quick pro-tip not to be missed: consider the *type* of photos you need, especially for your website. For example, do you need a landscape banner photo with white space to one side or the other? This has to be noted for your photographer so they can ensure you get the vibe of photos you want, but also the type of photos you actually need

If you’re feeling totally lost in creating your mood board or sourcing inspiration — don’t worry! Your photographer can help you establish what you’re going for should you need some extra help. They want to ensure you love your photos, so they are a great resource as you entrust your imagery to them. Speaking of, let’s chat about how to find the best photographer for your brand shoot now.

Find a Photographer that Vibes With Your Established Vision

Most photographers have an established style. Light and airy. Dark and moody. Woodsy and outdoor. Modern and editorial. The list goes on. When selecting your brand shoot photographer, the easiest way to narrow down the (likely) broad range of photographers in your area is to examine their style, first. Peruse their portfolio on their website and social — letting their work do the talking. If you love the work they’ve created over time and their photography style and tone align with your desired photos, you can be confident in their ability to recreate similar imagery for you. 

If you don’t want to do a ton of legwork on this front, start with connections in your creative community to see who they’ve favored for photography projects in the past. Or if you see a local creative with amazing brand photos you’re drawn to, do a quick stalk-sesh via Instagram to see if they’re tagged from the creative’s profile to cut down the search time as you seek a photographer. 
And just like photos for your wedding, this is not the time or place for, “Oh, I have a friend with a camera who will take them for me.” Repeat after us: I deserve to invest in my business and future self right now.

Determine the Location that Makes Sense for You

Once you have the vision set and photographer selected, it’s important to determine the location for your brand shoot. There are so many options when it comes to picking your perfect spot — and there’s no right answer here. Except for what’s right for you. Think about your offerings, how you work in your day-to-day, and what makes sense to display your magic — all so you can bring that forth with ease in the photos captured. Common locations include a home office, photo studio with multiple setup options, or something simple like solid color backdrops depending on what you’re after. 

If you have extra cash to invest in space, natural light photo studios and chic AirBNBs typically offer the versatility (& controlled, stunning light!) to create consistency in your imagery while allowing you to diversify the setting in which the photos are captured. It’s helpful to get a good mix of professional photos depicting what you do, stunning headshots, lifestyle imagery, and more to sprinkle into your online presence. This well-rounded approach to your brand shoot will ensure you have options at all times and a healthy mix of professional yet relatable imagery to use.

Plan Your Outfits + Props

With the logistics checked off your brand shoot to-do list, let’s get into the FUN part: outfits and props! The surefire way to be confident during your shoot is with planned outfits that you know you look amazing in. Identify which pieces in your closet align with the images you want to create — and bring a few options to change into so you have a nice mix. Not sure how to style yourself? Refer back to your mood board or take to Pinterest to source and recreate the inspired looks with pieces you likely already have in your closet. 

And when it comes to props, think through a few buckets as you categorize what you need:

  • Professional (What do you need to do your job? Think through items you use every day and pack all of those things.)
  • Personal Touches (What do you want to show about yourself and your interests as you draw your future clients in?)
  • Fun Extras (Include a few of your favorite things like plants, your favorite on-trend hat, and beyond.)

Let’s recap

As you already know, we have strong opinions about most things when it comes to setting yourself apart online (& up for major success!). And while we could keep writing (#longandweird crew can co-sign), we will wrap it up with these rapid-fire tips for a successful shoot day: 

Equipped with these tips, we can hear the best hype-Momager out there yelling, “you’re doing amazing, sweetie,” already. So, take that Kris Jenner energy into your next brand shoot because we know you’re set up to totally kill it.

Your future self will thank you as you update your brand imagery, revamp your site photos, show up on social because you have the content to do so, speak at an event and provide the headshot that feels 100% you to accompany your bio, blast your newsletters out with confidence, and beyond. These photos will take your brand where you want it to go — and we can’t wait to see where that is! 

Cheers (& always in your corner!),

Team TONIC

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christina Griffin is the founder of Clic Communications, a capturer of photos, and a curator of words that connect. At Clic, they believe in a creative partnership and collaboration when it comes to creating content that connects — because you know who you want to connect with. And more importantly, WHY. Christina’s sweet-spot? Extracting the community you want to reach from the crowd, identify what they’re seeking from your brand/business (& the solution only you can provide), to seamlessly build valuable connections that lead to conversations. Conversations that build a community. They give you the visual and verbal content to be a conversation starter. Connect with Christina on Instagram at @cliccomm or visit cliccomm.com.

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