Planning a branding photoshoot can seem overwhelming. There are a lot of moving parts, and it is a big business investment in both time and money. Every branding client of mine receives a full planning and strategy session prior to taking a single photo. Together we plan your photoshoot from start to finish! Here is how I prepare my clients for their creative session.

1. Gain brand clarity

You can’t just take pretty pictures and hope that it makes money for your business. You have to have clarity on how you want the images to work for your brand. Imagery works as a part of your brand identity. The role of photos is to elicit a certain emotion from your audience. That emotion is strategic in how you need them to experience your brand. For example, if you are a real estate agent you need your clients to feel that they can trust you and that you are approachable. If you are an artist, you need your audience to feel connected and inspired. Salon owners need their clients to feel confident and magnetic.

This is always our starting point for the direction of your photoshoot. 

You can gain brand clarity by defining who your audience is and what you need them to feel when they experience your brand. You’ll be asked this in your questionnaire and together we will come up with a shot list that incorporates this element of your brand strategy.

2. Find your imagery gaps

The next step is to do an image audit. It’ll take a look at your website and social media and identify where you might need new photos. Imagery is used on several platforms and across all marketing touchpoints. Do an audit and see where you are missing imagery or where the photos are outdated. If you’re doing a rebrand, look at each touchpoint and take note of what kind of imagery you need to replace. 

Social media is a photo dominant tool. To find your photo gaps in your social media strategy, write down the type of photo you use or search for when posting. Keep a running list for a couple of weeks. Are you using more horizontal or vertical images? What color trends are emerging? What subjects are in the photos? What’s the mood or emotions that the photos elicit? Were you looking for a certain kind of photo that you couldn’t find? What was it? What did you use instead?

Take a look at other ways you can use your brand photos in your branding and marketing. Where are the photo gaps there? What kind of imagery do you need to fill those gaps? Be as specific and detailed as possible. This will help us when we are planning your shoot.

3. Find a location

Now it’s time to get into the logistics of planning your photoshoot! Like real estate, it’s all about the location! The setting for your shoot requires strategy. You want to choose a location that offers versatility in its space so that we can get a variety of images. You want the style to match your brand. You want flexibility to bring in your own elements, props and people. Your photographer needs good lighting or space to set up lighting. 

I use Peerspace to find photoshoot locations here in Austin. Peerspace lists homes that are open for commercial photography as well as studio rentals. They also offer flexible scheduling by the hour.

Location scouting is included in your brand photo session. You can browse galleries shot in different locations to get a feel of what they look like and how I use the space. Or if it’s a new place, I’ll scout it out and send you my feedback. 

4. Prep your wardrobe

Wardrobe selection is another service I offer as a part of your brand package. Your wardrobe defines your brand style and speaks to your personality. Comfort is key. If you don’t feel comfortable in your clothes, it’ll show in your photos. 

Choose outfits that give you options! Add (or remove) accessories, jackets, and shoes to create a whole new look. Stay true to your style but elevate your look with a belt, scarf or jewelry. Play with textures and colors that add to the story of your brand. If your brand is feminine and carefree, choose outfits with delicate fabrics and flowing skirts. If your brand is polished and modern, choose pieces with clean lines, solid colors and block patterns. If your brand is casual and youthful, pair a statement tee with jeans or a maxi dress with sneakers.

We will fit in as many looks as we can during your session to give your images maximum variety.

We'll have a Zoom session to plan out your photoshoot.

5. Coordinate with a makeup artist

I always recommend hiring a makeup artist for your photoshoot. It’s an additional expense that is worth its weight in gold! Hiring a professional to do your hair and makeup on shoot day will save you prep time and prep stress. Knowing that a pro is waiting for you to take care of your makeup is one less thing to worry about.

A pro also has makeup that’s made for high definition photography. Not all makeup is the same. To save you from buying makeup that you might only use for the photoshoot, hire a pro. She’s got the foundation you need in her kit. You also need to wear a little bit more makeup for a photoshoot than you do on a regular day. Don’t struggle to figure it all out yourself. Let the pro handle it! You deserve to be pampered on your photoshoot day! I have a list of trusted makeup artists that I have worked with and I can help find one for your session.

6. Rest, rest, rest!

Brand photoshoots take a lot of planning and prep work. Pack the car the night before and get lots of sleep the week leading up to your photoshoot. You want to feel your best on shoot day! That energy will translate to your photos and you’ll be absolutely magnetic on camera!

7. Hydrate

No amount of makeup or lighting can hide dehydrated skin. The week leading up to your shoot, drink plenty of water. It will increase your energy and give your skin a beautiful natural glow from within!

8. Skip the cocktail the night before

Save the celebratory cocktail for after the shoot. Skip alcohol the night before. Alcohol interferes with sleep and you want a good night’s rest before the big day. Booze is also dehydrating and you don’t want to mess with all that water work you’ve been doing the past week!

9. Make your hype playlist

Create a playlist to play at your photoshoot. Include all the songs that make you feel confident and empowered! The more uplifting and groovy the better! Put all your favorites on there so you can sing along!

10. Say your affirmations

Repeat after me:

"I am confident and ready to be seen!"

"I am magnetic and enough just as I am."

"I love and celebrate myself at every stage."

"Today is going to be fun, easy, & expansive."

Planning a brand photoshoot isn’t hard, but it takes a lot of work. I’m here every step of the way to help you make this a fun and rewarding experience. Not only is it an investment in your brand, but it is an opportunity to feel empowered and magnetic! Contact me today and let’s start planning the best photoshoot of your career!