Creating on-brand images is one of the most fun-filled aspects of building a brand. It can also be one of the most stressful tasks. Having been through a brand refresh that included a branding photoshoot for on-brand images, I thought I would share my experiences of how to prepare and ensure you get the images you want.
First things first, working with the right photographer is crucial. You should meet up a few times beforehand to discuss your expectations. Such as the type of images you need, and what you will be using them for. A good photographer will ask as many questions as possible to get to know you and your brand. They will guide you through the shots. This will make a huge difference in putting you at ease and enjoying the day. I have had photoshoots where I have booked a photographer, turned up at their studio have them take a few pictures with two or three outfit changes and then left and waited for my images. A very impersonal process and the photographer hasn’t found out what I do beyond a conversation on the day of the shoot.
If you, however, due to budget or other reasons, are unable to work with a photographer who can give you a personalised service, here are some tips to help get the most out of your photoshoot.
The backdrop is important because it helps to fill in the blanks of the story you are telling about who you are and what you do. Your photographer will go through this with you, but it will help to have an idea in your mind of what you want from your photoshoot. Will it be outdoors, or indoors. Minimal or opulent. Will you need props or will you rely on what the location has in place.
Surrounding yourself with the things you use daily or adorn your space with can help make you feel more comfortable on your photoshoot. But more than that personal items can make your photos more authentic in sharing the visual story of your brand with your audience. When gathering your props keep in mind how much of a scene you are creating. Are you setting up an entire room requiring furnishings, plants, pictures, and wall hangings; or will your images be focused on specific areas such as a desk or tabletop.
It can be tempting to wear whatever you have in your closet that looks good on you, but you need to think does this item reflect my brand through the colours and style. If your brand is about formal elegance and sophistication a ratty pair of jeans is not going to cut it, no matter how comfortable you are in them. On the other hand, an artist who spends their days paint-splattered is probably not going to convey the right message in a business suit. You need to wear what conveys your brand personality, yet makes you comfortable. Going back to the jeans example, if they are your garment of choice think about tailored styles and pairing them with a well-cut jacket and smart shoes. Also when considering colour you need to think about your skin tone and what colours complement.
When thinking about clothing, you also need to think about accessories such as jewellery, scarves, hats, bags, ties. Do they need to be statement or subtle, modern or classic, colourful or neutral, patterned or plain and so on. You don’t want your accessories distracting from the overall look and feel of your images.
Hair and makeup
Give yourself plenty of time to experiment beforehand. Some things to think about, are you going to do it yourself, visit your hairdresser, or hire the services of a professional to be on location with you. You need to think of things such as allergies, how you normally wear your make up and have your hair styled. What look are you going for, keeping it natural. As tempting as it maybe don’t experiment with a new facial, haircut or colour at least a week, let alone the day before your photoshoot. Again keep in mind your brand.
Other helpful tips
- I found it helpful to keep a running checklist adding everything I needed before and on the day of my photoshoot.
- Creating Pinterest boards for the different categories came in handy to collect inspiration. I also took photos of what I had, clothes and props, and uploaded them to my boards so that my photographer and I could see what we had to work with and what I needed to get.
Watching the visual part of your brand come alive is both exciting and daunting, but planning ahead will have you confident to get in front of the camera and create the images that reflect your brand. I hope you find the tips helpful and for more on creating a visual brand read my post Be Authentic and Create a Brand That is Unique to You.
[Image credits: The image belongs to Tapiwa Matsinde/Atelier Fifty Five If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]