We hope this blog post on planning and preparing for a branded photoshoot will help professionals of many different industries. We will be sharing our process along with helpful tips that ensure you capture pictures that reflect your brand. Whether you are a business selling product or a growing photographer or a marketing/design professional looking to connect with your audience through authentic photography, this process is for you!
If you aren’t sure what brand photography is and how it can
benefit your brand or business, read the What is Brand Photography post.
Planning and preparing for a branded photoshoot (even for a small business) is complex and can feel daunting. We want to simplify the process for you, but please know that this DOES take effort. We promise the work up front will pay off with strong photography that can be used in multiple ways. Our approach works well for small to medium businesses. For larger companies with more complex products, the process may be more detailed and would take longer to coordinate.
If you have any questions regarding branding or photography,
please email Eloise at firstname.lastname@example.org
PICKING A PHOTOGRAPHER
FIRST, you need to find a photographer that fits your budget,
brand style, and photography needs.
You may have to ask around, do some research of their websites, and interview a couple of photographers before finding one that is best for YOU. Don’t just hire the first photographer you find on google, meet at an event, or hear about from a friend.
Photographers (like doctors) specialize in specific types of photography. For example, someone who specializes in weddings may not have the equipment, eye, or editing skill for real estate photography. Or a photographer who does fashion photography may not be skilled in infant and family photography. If you need a headshot photographer, find one that has a portfolio of headshot photography. If you need product photography, find one that specializes in product, fashion, or brand photography.
You may be thinking the following thoughts … and we have some answers!
How do I find photographers near me?
Ask other business owners
Ask your website designer, graphic designer,
Ask your branding consultant (wink emoji)
Search on Instagram and Facebook
How do I ensure they are right for me?
Research the photographer's website
Ask what they specialize in and their approach/process
Look at examples of their work
Look at reviews to make sure others have enjoyed working with them.
SECOND, we need to emphasize the importance of having strong communication with your photographer BEFORE the shoot in order for it to be successful. Do not assume your photographer knows all the shots you need for your business. You know your business, they know photography. They can offer suggestions and think creatively WITH you if you schedule a brainstorming session before the shoot.
WHY SHOULD YOU REQUEST A BRAINSTORMING SESSION?
Ensures that the photographer has all the equipment necessary for the shots.
If you are being charged by the hour, you don’t want to waste time (and money) during the shoot deciding on shots.
You get the shots you need and can use multiple times (best bang for your buck)
PLAN & PREPARE
From our experience with multiple brands and business types …
Planning = successful photoshoot.
Here are the steps we recommend that you follow…
1. FIND INSPIRATION & EXAMPLES
Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration.
Search for the type of photos you need. We recommend phrases like:
You may not be a visionary who can visualize what the photo style or layout should be for a specific type of picture.
Create a Board on Pinterest of photos you like and share it with your photographer. This will help them better understand what you need and like.
2. DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO COMMUNICATE
We start with a Google Doc that the whole team can share and add to. Schedule a time to brainstorm for 1 hour. Put a time limit on it and stay focused. We start with listing any and all photos we know we need (holiday pictures, headshots, picture of newest product or service, etc.) Then we start thinking of the areas we use photos:
2. Social Media
3. Advertising and Marketing
4. Print Items
5. External Requests
For a more detailed list of types of photos you may need, refer to our FREE Brand Photography Checklist for ideas.
Once you have a list, start organizing it and writing what you want the picture to look like (location, style, layout). If you don’t know how to style it, mark it and ask your photographer.
3. SELECT CLOTHING
Our next blog post will be a Working Wardrobe blog post focused on what to wear for photoshoots. Clothing is important to consider for brand photography. Thus a whole blog post on it!
4. CHOOSE AND GATHER PROPS
Use your list of photos from step 2 and think through the props and items you need to take the picture. For headshots, you only need to think about location and clothing. For products, you may need backdrops, props, accessories, etc.
Here are some things you should consider when choosing props:
Consider the colors in your pictures. If you have a colorful brand, include color in the props and backgrounds. If you have a simple sophisticated brand, stick with clean simple backgrounds with minimal props.
Don’t add props just to add props. We use a pen or coffee cup with our resumes and workbooks. We use flowers and greenery on the desk to freshen office pictures. We also use books, candles, and business cards because it works for the Eloise brand. We use for sale signs and decorated homes for our real estate brand shoots. Props should complement the brand not add to the confusion of what you do and offer.
Backgrounds matter. We pick locations that provide variations in background. But sometimes you need a clean background for a product. We use white foam boards for flatlays. This is an affordable and easy option. We have added contact paper to the boards for texture (think marble or wood textures)
Still stumped? Ask your photographer if they have any suggestions for props based on your business type and photography needs.
5. PICK LOCATIONS
Your photographer is a great source for choosing a location for your shoot but some things to look out for when choosing location are:
Pay attention to the colors of the surroundings (wall color, decorating colors, etc.)
We like using natural lighting so we pick indoor locations with windows. If we are outside we try to avoid mid-day because the sun is the harshest. Other photographers may have other styles and preferences and will want to use lighting equipment.
Check the location’s availability for taking photos. Some places will allow you to come for free if you schedule ahead of time. Just post about them on social media and give them a shout out.
If you hire us as your brand photographers,
we will research locations and make sure they are available and appropriate.
DAY OF SHOOTING
In order to make your shoot go smoothly on the day of shooting, here are a few things we do:
CHECK IT: Organize your photos according to location and background. Print off your list and bring a highlighter and pen to mark items off and write notes. Sometimes photos change or are added during the shoot. Once the shoot is done, share the updated list with your photographer so they edit all the photos you are paying for.
WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER. We strongly recommend having someone to assist in helping things run smoothly. We work as a team of three for styled shoots. 1 photographer, 1 leader (directing vision), 1 assistant (getting the next shot ready)
I hope this content has been helpful as you think about the photography you need for your business or personal brand. We know that it is hard to think of creative photography on your own. If you need help with creative strategy or photography, email Eloise at email@example.com