A strong brand is more than just your logo, it’s a complete experience through your visuals and messaging. Your photography is a huge part of this experience! As humans, we connect better face-to-face, and having photos of you and/or your team creates trust before that initial meeting. Below are six main things to do for an amazing photoshoot. If you’re thinking of doing a shoot for the first time, or if you wish things went differently last time, this is for you!
First things first… find the right photographer.
When looking for a personal brand photographer, take your time and don’t simply dive in with the first one you find. Do your research and reach out to possible photographers who’s work resonates with your brand. Make sure they are willing to take a little time and meet with you, either in person or on a call.
When you meet, make sure to talk about your vision, possible locations of the photoshoot, what type of photos you’d like (lifestyle, office, workspace, outside, inside, headshots, etc.), the timeframe of the photoshoot, and overall logistics. Understanding the photographer’s client process will limit any unwelcomed surprises. Knowing how and when the photos will be delivered, how many you’ll receive (all, selected, edited, etc.), and if the pricing includes touch-ups (and for how many) is helpful before starting.
Overall, when searching for the right photographer, meet with a few that are at the top of your list and trust your intuition when narrowing it down to one. You’ll know they’re the right fit when you love their work and you feel that your brand vision is truly being heard.
As for pricing… going with the most affordable option may seem like a smart idea, but you’ll most likely be disappointed with the outcome. Only go with this option if it really feels aligned.
Outline your vision.
Before you meet with your photographer, take some time to source inspiration for your shoot. Put together a Pinterest board or a physical mood board outlining how you want your photos to feel through tone, aesthetics, and messaging. This can look more abstract showing off a certain mood you’d like to achieve, or more literal by showing poses and/or scenery you like and would like to see during your personal brand photoshoot.
Photoshoot inspiration mood board.
Communicate your brand.
Make sure to showcase your brand clearly, who you are as a brand, your brand personality, overall aesthetics, color scheme, tone, your why and your messaging. In short, make sure your photographer truly understands your brand vision. A few ways to do this is by sending over your website, Instagram, brand board, and/or style guide.
Depending on where you’re at in the branding process, you may want to also show them your brand strategy report (if you are working with a designer and have one). This will give your photographer a better understanding of where you are going with your brand if it’s not yet complete. If your website is still in the works, you can go over what is working with your website and what you are looking to improve. Having a finished brand board or style guide will give your photographer a clear understanding of your brand and how your photos should resonate.
Brand Style Guide for K Chow Studios (example).
Show off what you plan to wear.
First, make sure to bring about 4–5 outfits to your shoot. Wearing the same thing for every photo is going to feel a little stagnant if you plan to use them on social media and/or on your website. Having a few complimenting outfits will give you dimension and play.
Think over your brand’s vibe and tone—what outfits will work best in representing your brand? First review your color scheme. Should you stick with calming neutrals or go bold with bright colors? Then review your brand tone. Is your brand more dramatic or low key? High-end or causal? You want the clothes you wear to relate and, well, make sense for your brand. If your overall aesthetic is more casual and creative, a conventional suite may not be the best choice. Jeans and your favorite blouse will probably make so much more sense for your brand vision and relate to your people.
Remember, most likely your brand represents your personality, so have fun with it! Show off what makes you feel like you : )
Establish how you will use your photos.
Before your personal brand photoshoot, be sure to have a clear idea of where you plan to use these photos. Do you plan to have them on the homepage of your website? Throughout Instagram? Or will you need them in a printed piece? There’s a good chance you’ll need these for all three (and more), but make a point to review where you plan to use them.
If you plan to use your photos on your website or in print, there’s a chance you’ll want some shots farther away with more “white space.” Having this “white space” will allow for type or graphic overlay, or breathing room in certain design pieces. Having a variety of shots (near/far, doing/posing, lifestyle/headshot) will allow for more versatility and depth in your brand.
Homepage photo with type overlay (example from yours truly).
…And don’t forget props!
Depending on your business and what you do, you may want to bring props (especially for any lifestyle/workspace photos). As a designer, bringing things like Pantone color books, your laptop/tablet, drawing pad, and/or design books are great choices. Think over what you use daily in your business and what’s feasible to bring with you.
Depending on your business and style, you can get more imaginative and bring artwork that relates, or plants if your vibe is more organic. Feel free to play with this and see what works. It’s always better to bring a little more, even if some things don’t work when shooting. Sometimes it can be more of a trial and error, but it’s always good to experiment!
Have fun on your photoshoot day! A good photographer will find ways to help you relax and feel more like yourself. It may take some time, but throughout the day you’ll find it all to feel more natural. At the end of the day, you want your photos to reflect and amplify your brand, so take your time finding that right photographer and communicating with them your brand vision.