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So, what exactly is brand photography? Is it just a headshot or two? Do I really need to do it?
Photos allow us a unique glimpse into your world, your values, and your journey. Brand photography is certainly no exception. In today’s world, it’s the ultimate way to connect customers to what you can offer! Putting together a well-thought-out photoshoot will allow you to showcase your product or service in multiple settings. Show your target audience what you’re like on the job, how your product can be used, and perfectly encapsulate what your brand is all about. Being well prepared is key!
A brand photoshoot should produce high-quality, eye-catching content that really bonds with and entices your customers. These visual representations will be the bread and butter of your website and social media presence. You want to wow potential customers and get them hungry for more! It’s tempting to show up and hope your photographer will be able to construct mouth-watering photos, but it’s likely only to happen with a little elbow grease beforehand. We know the idea of a shoot can feel daunting, but we’ve got you covered! Follow along for a collection of our favorite tips and tricks to nail your next brand shoot!
Whipping up a mood board is one of the best ways to get the gears turning! If you have a product-based business, do a few quick searches to find similar products with an aesthetic feel you love. If your company is service-based, look up successful brands within your industry and see what types of photos they use to showcase their online presence. Save these photos in one folder and take a few minutes to study them as a whole and individually. What draws you in? Take note of the colors, background, and lighting. What do these photos communicate to you? Do they feel clean, friendly, warm? Finding inspiration is a great way to kick off the planning process. Don’t forget to show these images to your photographer – it’s a sure-fire way to communicate the feel you’re going for!
Ok, now it’s time to do a little critical thinking. You want to make the most out of your photo session. Going into a shoot with a clear notion of how and where these images will be used is key! Once you have a few solid ideas on aesthetics, start thinking about sizing and placement. It may be worthwhile to set up meetings with both your web designer and photographer at this point. These professionals are adept at how to best present your work. For example, your web designer may ask you to acquire a good mix of both horizontal and vertical images to best suit your website. Your photographer may suggest you focus on lifestyle/editorial type images to lead the eye and draw in your audience. Work together to make a “shot list” so you can ensure you’re getting everything you need on the big day. Utilize the services of the team you hire and ask for advice as you go through this journey; it’ll be so worth it in the end!
You’re feeling inspired now, and you’ve brainstormed a few important elements. Let’s start ironing out the details! Where’s a great place to shoot? There are a few ways to get the ball rolling. Remember those mood boards? Dig through them again and focus on backgrounds. Were these images shot indoors or outdoors? Do they have plain, muted backdrops or do they utilize natural sunlight and vibrant tones? Be strategic. For example, if you work mostly with urban customers, don’t choose a middle-of-nowhere farm setting. Jot down a list of 10 environments that might connect with your target audience and ask your photographer for recommendations. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also take a little time to scout out locations on your own! Take a drive to the coast, explore an old factory building… you’ll be surprised at all the hidden gems out there, well suited for spot-on photos!
It’s coming together. You know where you want to shoot your images, but what on earth should you bring along?! Having the right props can make or break a photoshoot. You want to communicate your unique vision by involving thoughtful accessories. Why? These are the tiny details and elements that will really speak to your audience. If you’re a business coach, consider images of you working at the computer, scrawling in your notebook, or in conversation with one of your clients. This allows a stranger to connect with what you do right out of the gate. If you’re planning to photograph your products, think about the vibe you want to associate with them. Have a vintage/rustic feel to your brand? Visit your local antique shop and see if you can find old wood boards, small metal trinkets, etc. Choose items that reiterate your brand message and might feel personal to your customer.
You usually wake up a few minutes late, brush your hair real quick, and pop on some lipstick. It’s 2021, we all know it’s been crazy. But the day of your shoot, you’re going to want to step up your game and be the best version of yourself! You’re very likely going to want to book a professional to assist for a few reasons. Hair and makeup artists are professionally trained to work with photography light and bring out the best in you on camera. In order for your personality to shine through in photos, you’ve got to be comfortable and confident. You could try out a few looks on your own, but the truth is while it may look great in person, it could fall flat through the camera lens. Having a hair and makeup team available while you shoot also allows you the flexibility to change things up mid-shoot. It doesn’t hurt to have someone around, making sure there’s not a single stray hair out of place!
If you already have a color palette in mind for your brand, you want to make sure your wardrobe reflects that. You want to really belong in these photos and ensure your look is cohesive with what you’re presenting. If you’re a florist, think vibrancy, pops of color, fresh and natural accessories. Your wardrobe is a key aspect to bringing your unique concepts to life! There may be something hiding in your closet that fits the bill. If not, now is the time to do a little shopping! Try on a few things that you feel best to encapsulate your brand aesthetic. Remember to factor in your location. A bold-colored flowing gown in a meadow could be the money shot!
You’ve got a plan now. The look, the purpose, the perfect spot… it’s all coming together! Book a final meeting with everyone involved to ensure everything is clarified. It would be ideal to get the photographer, designer, hair, and makeup altogether in one room or one zoom call. Hash out details and make sure everyone is on the same page. Reiterate what inspires you, what your brand is all about and the specific types of images you’re hoping to achieve. The photographer will know what tools to bring, hair and makeup will know what to pack in their kit the night before, and everyone will be focused on creating a top-notch experience.
You’ve put all of your efforts into planning and now your vision is about to come to life! The morning of your shoot is an exciting time you should look forward to. After all, if you’ve followed our steps you should be feeling chock-full of confidence and ready for the task at hand! Before you arrive on-set, try to put yourself in a calm headspace. Setting a warm, inviting tone will allow your team to feel they can approach you with questions or creative tips along the way. Everyone in the room has the same goal in mind. You’re all working hard to achieve your vision, but you want to have fun too. Remember to stay focused on the shot list. If something seems out of place or isn’t what you had in mind, speak up about it. Ask the photographer to see some of the captured images as you go along so you have a good sense of the final product. Enjoy yourself. If you’re comfortable and feeling successful, your potential customers will notice and could easily become lifelong clients!
Now you’ve got the confidence, tools, and know-how to make your visual goals a reality! Whether this is your first brand shoot or you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, we know with a little planning your next shoot will be the best one yet!
Want even more tips and tricks for your photoshoot? Hear it straight from a professional brand photographer, Jessie Wyman. Check out our episode on the Mind-Reading Marketing podcast!