Let’s just set the record straight here, friends. No longer are iPhone selfies acceptable offerings for your professional headshot. Nor is a poorly lit photo where you’re wearing a t-shirt from 10 years ago.
Ok, so with that being said, let’s talk about what that means.
Quality branded imagery can make all the difference for your brand: for your website, your social media, and even your level of perceived professionalism.
Sure there is gorgeous stock imagery available from countless places, but there is something special that can set you apart from the crowd when you have custom shot imagery for your brand that fits your color palette, style, and speaks to your ideal client.
With a few branding sessions on the books these days for some amazing clients, I have been getting questions from you all about how to prepare for a brand photography shoot. I’m here to share a few key ways to prepare for your brand shoot & uplevel the images that represent who you are and what your brand is all about.
I even had Camille Vlahos, personal stylist & owner of Aiken Styling, share a few of her tips for finding the right color palette, props & outfits for your shoot!
Even before you begin planning your photoshoot, there is one thing you really must be rock solid on – what is your brand identity & who is your target client? It’s important to list out what your goals are for your business in general, as well as for the photoshoot you’re prepping for. Sure, you want an updated headshot, but what else do you need? Being confident in your brand voice, having a set visual identity (this includes your brand’s key color palette), and creating a list of qualities & values your ideal client has is a great place to begin if you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for. This is your chance to get more than just a headshot… so take advantage of it.
Camille of Aiken Styling said: “The overall look of the images should compliment the already established look of your brand. As a personal stylist, I knew that I wanted a refined, styled and feminine feel to my brand imagery. Try to nail down some adjectives that are inline with your business and brand. Once you have those to work with, see what kind of vision comes to mind. And hey, Pinterest is always a great source to consult.”
List out 5 adjectives that describe your brand & how you want others to feel when they experience your brand imagery. And when pinning on Pinterest, look for colors, textures, vibes, & feels, instead of specific poses, as every person, brand, & shoot is different. By having a general description & vibe, we can capture the essence of your brand, not just a replica of someone else’s.
We’ll let the personal stylist expert kick off this portion! 🤗 Camille said: “This is by far my favorite part of prepping for a brand photoshoot! It really comes down to making sure you’re choosing outfits and accessories that are cohesive to your brand. Don’t stress over trying to pull together an outfit with every color in your logo though!
On-brand outfitting can be as easy as layering a necklace in one of your brand’s key colors over a great fitting black dress, pairing a pop-of-color blazer with denim and a neutral top or keeping it simple with dark skinnies, a white or off-white top and fun accessories and shoes in your brand’s signature color!
Your office space? Out & about? A studio? Selecting a location can make all the difference in the style of imagery captured. Referencing your pre-shoot prep & brand vision is key in this stage. If you have an office that is perfectly styled for your brand & filled with gorgeous light, use it. No brainer. But what happens when that isn’t the case? I’ve heard from many of you about what exactly to do in various situations, so we’ll run through a couple scenarios:
What would you love to see come out of your branding shoot? Write it down.
Where do you intend to use the images? Go to those spots & look to see what you need specifically. A hero image as a header for your website? Write that down.
Want a flat lay with props specific to your brand? 1. Be sure to have all those props curated. And 2. Let your photographer know… not every photographer also is a stylist, so some require photo stylists to be on set & present for every branding shoot. These stylists work wonders & can also help you select props & outfits to tie it all together. I particularly love the prop styling element of flat lays, so if you work with me & want one, you just let me know in advance. However, these do take a bit extra of time to properly style & capture, but can be oh, so worth it for that one key header image!
Finally: things you can never have enough of? Quality headshots in different outfits/settings and special detail imagery that is specific to your brand. Think: your own personal stock imagery gallery that was shot & curated just for you!
That will sell your brand, product, & services above and beyond what you can imagine!
(but also hear me when I say this, quality stock imagery that you can find elsewhere is still a better alternative than nothing at all! So if you don’t have the budget yet for custom branding photography, stay on the right track with quality stock imagery!)
What are your top tips for prepping for a branding photography shoot? Comment below with anything you’ve done to get ready for the imagery of your dreams!
You can find some of my branding imagery here to get examples of a few favorite shoots!