- It's super important that you know your brand personality beforehand to convey the right messages.
- Build a mood board, hire the right photographers, discuss everything and make sure you are comfortable
- Get in the mood on the day of your branding photo shoot, don't rush and have a backup plan.
If you run an online business, then you'll know that visual content and branding is crucial. Without face-to-face interaction, images are the key to getting known, sharing your point of view, connecting with those around you in a quick, fun and dynamic way. If your images aren't up to scratch, you'll look like an amateur on your site and social media.
It's a given that you need professional photos taken.
Back in 2015, I updated all the photos across my social media, website and everywhere else that requires visual content. It was something I'd been wanting to do for a while but I also wanted to make sure I get it right being a brand and business strategy coach.
The whole experience was so much fun and it's been very empowering to have a suite of images that I love and am proud to go to market to build my business and brand. There were a few lessons I learnt along the way that I thought I'd share with you. If you've got a photo shoot coming up, then take a read but most of all – enjoy the process!
Best Practices for a Brand Photo Shoot
Follow these best practices to make your branding photoshoot a success:
- You must know your brand personality
- Be clear on what "good" looks like
- Pick the right photographer
- Give it the time it needs
- Be loud and proud
1. You Must Know Your Brand Personality
"What is my brand personality?"
I hear you asking this question. Your brand personality is the way in which you convey who you are and what you do in your business.
If I asked you to describe your sister or best friend you may say something such as, "She's really outgoing, bright, vibrant, fun and a little crazy!". Your business brand must also have a personality or a way you want to be perceived by others.
Now you may be a big personality or maybe you're shyer, but depending on your business and what you do, you need to think about what type of brand personality is going to position you in the best way to connect with your ideal client.
As a business and brand coach, I want to be visible, bold and bright. Basically, I want to stand out.
Fortunately, these traits are part of my own personal brand. It's also what I love about helping others when it comes to being seen and heard. In an overcrowded market, working out your own unique look, feel and voice is critical.
Being clear on your brand personality means people will instantly know if you're for them or not. Because let's face it, you're not going to be everyone's cup of tea.
I know that not everyone wants to be bold, but then I may not be the business coach for them. (Please understand that bold doesn't always mean loud and out there!).
2. Be Clear on What "Good" Looks Like
Now that you know what your brand personality is, it's time to get really clear on what that means to you, how you envision it to look and what look and feel you want for the overall shoot.
One useful technique is to create a Pinterest mood board. I shared with my mood board with my photographer so that she knew exactly what I wanted on the day of my photo shoot. It meant that we could look for venues that reflect my brand personality, brand colours, and messages.
Look at the format of your website, social banners and whatever else you use and understand the type of shots you need. As my website banners are long and narrow, I knew I needed a lot of landscape images that were not close-ups as I would need to take the top third and bottom third out when putting them into a banner format.
I also put together a mood board of all of the expressions, hand gestures and poses that I wanted for specific content posts. For example, a fun shot as a welcome post in my Facebook group, images for sales pages and Facebook Ads.
Think about what you use your images for so that you can capture it all on the day. Explain this to your photographer so that they get what you're trying to achieve and can deliver that for you.
3. Pick the Right Photographer
Choosing the right photographer is the key to a successful shoot and as with everything, there are definitely different levels of quality with photographers. Y
You get what you pay for. Get recommendations, prices, look at websites of photographers, portfolios and testimonials.
Be very clear on what you want and check if this photographer is going to give it to you. Some photographers have a certain style so make sure it aligns with yours. Speak to them, ask them lots of questions, get comfortable with everything because if you don't have rapport, it's going to be harder on the day to get the type of shots you're looking for.
Ensure that you understand what the price covers as well. Agree on the price upfront so that there aren't any surprises along the way. I also find that getting price sorted up front makes everything more relaxed throughout the process.
When things are unresolved it's just awkward. Understand the fine print:
- How many shots do you get? Is it all of them?
- Will they do retouching if you want that?
- Is retouching part of the price?
- When will you get the shots after your shoot?
- How long will the shoot take?
- Is there anything they want you to bring besides yourself and your outfits? Will they sort hair and make up or do you need to do that?
See – there is a lot to think about!
4. Give It the Time It Needs
One thing I definitely learnt from my shoot was to give it the time it deserves. I rushed mine and wished I had given it more time as I potentially missed an opportunity for more images. t I'm beyond happy with all my images, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. Also be sure that you're happy with hair and makeup on the day of the branding photo shoot.
I actually went and got my hair and makeup done professionally and before I arrived at the shoot my hair had dropped out, which was super annoying. Either get someone you've had before and have been happy with or have a contingency plan.
I brought hair tongs with me so that when my hair dropped I quickly plugged them in and did some curls and got on with the photo shoot. Also, things like having your own foundation and lipstick to reapply are key.
I took around 8-9 outfits so that I had options based on the backgrounds we were shooting against. Before your shoot, find outfits that are in line with your brand personality and colours, outfits you feel comfortable and great in and the right accessories, shoes and whatever else you need. Go fully prepared and ready to change quickly into outfits you love!
Tip: Get in the mood for your branding photo shoot.
There's nothing worse than taking an hour to warm up when you have limited time. I played music in the car on the way and I'm not afraid to say I did a bit of car seat dancing and singing to get me in the mood. You want to get to the shoot, be ready and hit your action button.
Have fun, make the most of it – this is you creating a brand that shines as a beacon to your ideal client. It's a reflection of what you're trying to build and more, so really bring your A-game! Do what you need to do to get in that headspace as well.
5. Be Loud and Proud
Now, you've put loads of effort into getting your shoot just right. You've paid the money, spent the time and crafted what you wanted.
Now what? Now it's time to be loud and proud.
You didn't do this to shy away from putting yourself out there. Just a few tips on this – update all your website shots, social media images and banners, start using these images in your advertising and other branding efforts.
By using these images you're starting to create consistency, which is important. Remember that if you're in a service-based business, then people are buying YOU when they purchase your services, so make sure you put yourself front and centre whenever you can.
Happy photo shooting!
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