Visual Branding

How to plan out a brand photo shoot

How to plan out a personalbrand photo shoot - tips for finding the right photographer, choosing your location, clothing and props
planning photo shoot 1

With a photo shoot, you know there is a lot riding on the one day.

Unlike design work where we can keep refining things, in your photo shoot, it’s time-bound. You show up, you get your photos taken and beyond some minor editing options or paying to do a new shoot, what you get is what you’re stuck with for better or worse. Not to mention the other investments you may be making beyond the photographer (hair, makeup, venue hire etc), it can feel like there is a lot riding on getting things right to get an outcome you feel happy with. Add in some insecurities about how you look and fear of being in front of the camera and could all spell disaster, unless you do the right planning.

Photographer

You want the photos to feel authentic and make you look good. I feel a big part of that is choosing the right photographer and outfits. The right photographer will make you feel comfortable and confident. They will be your hype-girl, telling you everything is looking great and you’re looking beautiful. They’ll give you direction so you know what to do with your hands and aren’t left floundering. They’ll get you out of your shell so you’re not stuck with a stiff, fake smile. They’ll take the time to get to know the energy your trying to convey and will help you achieve that.

Many clients don’t know where to start when searching for a photographer. I usually try to find a “personal branding photographer” or “brand photographer” if we can. Depending on your location, there may or may not be brand photography specialists in your area, but this would be the first place I would check.

So try Googling “Brand Photographer California” or “Brand Photographer Brisbane” etc, to see what you can find. You want to find someone who will understand lifestyle photography (the inclusion of props and other elements to set a scene and showcase who you are). You’ll also want someone who knows all the good locations and possible locations to hire, to cut out the work involved in trying to figure this all out on your own.

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Some of my favourite brand photographers:

Michelle Swan from Eyes of Love Photography is based in the Gold Coast, Australia and works with many of my local clients. She is an amazing natural light photographer and as a former school teacher, she’s wonderfully supportive and great at making people feel comfortable.

Heidi & Tara from In Her Image Photography, based in California, USA  and has worked with many of my US clients. They always produce stunning images.

Location

Your photography location is one of the best tools in your ‘high-end’ positioning toolkit. If you want to look like a serious player in your field and to reflect the high level of quality that you deliver to your clients, you’ll want to be mindful of what location you pick. I’m not suggesting you need to be in a super fancy hotel sipping a glass of champagne in a ball gown if that’s not your vibe. Most of my clients want a more relaxed/low-key look that feels like them, BUT at the same time they know that the furnishings in their space matter. It’s not always the best idea to do your photo shoot in your own home/office if it looks a bit rough around the edges or doesn’t get good natural light and you may want to consider hiring out a gorgeous Air BNB or shoot location or shooting in a beautiful cafe instead.

Energy

Consider what energy you want to portray in your photos and make sure that comes across. It may be that you want to convey different tones to reflect the different sides of your personality.

Examples of different energies/feelings you may want to convey with examples from my client’s shoots 

Joyful and Fun

fun

Soulful/Compassionate

soulful

Uplifting and Inspiring

uplifting

Professional

professional

Clothing & Props

Clothing choices tend to be an area of panic for some business owners.

Of course, you want to look your best while reflecting your sense of style. But maybe you’re not quite sure what your sense of style even is. My clients usually feature around 3-7 outfits in their shoots. With that in mind, yes there is a fair bit to organise! Don’t just try to figure out what to wear on the day of the shoot.

I highly recommend you plan out each outfit and then photograph yourself wearing them (get someone to do this if you can, or take selfies). It is important to know how it photographs and heck that you actually feel comfortable with the choice. Many clients have one outfit they wore in their shoots which they don’t actually end up liking/wanting to use photos of them in. So this is very common and should ideally be avoided so you don’t have any wasted photos.

You should know what your brand colours are/will be and incorporate them into your clothing and props so your photos feel consistent and cohesive with everything else in your visual branding.

You may want to consider bringing along a range of props to make your space feel on-brand, if it isn’t already. i.e.
• Laptop
• Coffee Cup
• Books
• Notebook
• Flowers
• Spiritual Tools
• Decorative things
• Affirmation Cards/Quotes
• Stationery items
• Cushions/Blankets/Rugs/Other Homewares

There is a lot more depth you can go to when planning your photo shoot, but I hope this helps get you started.

Emma

MEET THE FOUNDER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Hi, I’m Emma Brownson

For the last decade, I have helped hundreds of business owners clarify their essence and translate it into a bespoke brand identity system and website layered with authenticity, depth, beauty and care.

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