If you’re a service provider, professional brand photos might be more of a game changer for your business than you think. People want to hire people. When you show your face on your social platforms and your website, it automatically instills trust in your audience. They feel like they know you on a personal level. However, it’s extremely important that the photos that you are putting out there are done purposefully and thoughtfully. It really is true what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words. I want to help you make sure your photos are saying the right words.

Here are some steps that you can take to ensure that your brand photoshoot is impactful:

1 – Brand Strategy Comes First

In order to create successful marketing in all aspects of your business, brand strategy will prove time and time again to be your most important tool. This means nailing down your messaging and who your target audience is. What is your brand’s personality? Values? Mission? All of this information will guide you in planning a photoshoot that is consistent with your messaging and in turn will make an impact on the right group of people.

2 – Create A Moodboard

Once you have your strategy in place, creating a moodboard should come pretty seamlessly. A moodboard is meant to set the tone. Consider color pallets, photography styles, lighting, environment and props. Some of my go-to places to source inspiration from are Instagram, Pinterest, Behance, Unsplash or even my own camera roll. When you are done, take a step back and think about how you audience will interpret your moodboard. It is important that the decisions you make here are with your audience in mind. Your personal preference has little to do with it (unless of course you and your consumer have a lot in common!)

3 – Choose A Photographer

Most photographers shoot in a pretty specific style. Make sure that you are reaching out to photographers that not only have experience with brand photography but also shoot in a style that is consistent with your moodboard. Schedule calls with a few photographers to get a feel for their process. Some questions that I like to ask photographers are:
• What does your process look like before, during and after a shoot?
• What is included in your brand photography package (editing? hours of shooting? number of final photos?)
• Do you work with a team or solo? It might be helpful to know if you have the option to hire additional team members through them like a stylist or set designer if that interest you.
• If they don’t have an extensive online portfolio, ask if they can share some of their recent brand photography work.

4 – Location, Location, Location

Most photographers will be able to recommend locations to you based on your moodboard. I also recommend checking out Peerspace, where you can rent out a variety of curated spaces by the hour. It is easy to get swept away by the creativity of some of these spaces. Make sure you are staying true to your brand’s aesthetic, otherwise the whole shoot will feel disconnected from your messaging. When booking time at a location, factor in the time it takes to set up the space, get yourself ready, and clean up.

5 – Book Additional Talent (If Needed)

It isn’t always necessary, but depending on the direction of your shoot, you may want to consider hiring additional talent. For example: a hair/make-up professional, a set designer, a stylist or background models. Personally, I have always gone the DIY route. However if, for example, your shoot requires specific props, you may want to consider hiring a professional to source and style them.

6 – Curate Your Looks

If you don’t plan on hiring a stylist, your outfit choices are something your photographer may be able to shed some light on. In addition to taking your location into consideration, they will know which colors photograph well and best complement their editing style. Your moodboard will be a great tool to reference as well. Make sure you have your outfits nailed down a few weeks before your shoot. You don’t want to order them online only for them to arrive days before and nothing fits you right. (Yes, this advice does come from personal experience.)

7 – Put Together A Shotlist

Think about where these photos will live. Will they live on your website? Blog? Instagram? Instagram stories? Consider the format that your photos will be cropped into. If they are living on your website, build it out with placeholder images so that you can plan out the types of shots you’d like to capture ahead of time. Do you want to capture any environment details? Specific poses? Put together a folder of inspiration photos. You won’t regret getting as detailed as possible and your photographer will thank you!

8 – Source Your Props

Much like your outfits, it’s important to source your props early. This will save you so much unnecessary stress! You might think that the location has everything you need, especially if it is a highly curated space, but often times this isn’t the case. Everyday items can be easily overlooked. For me, this included things like my laptop, design books, client examples, pens, notebooks, and other miscellaneous office supplies. I collected and printed a ton of client work ahead of time which I would have hated to leave to the last minute. Refer to your shotlist and your moodboard and start writing a list. It will grow faster than you think!

9 – Shoot Day!

If you follow the above advice, shoot day should be as stress free as possible. When you arrive to your location, note specific sections that you want photographed and pair them with your looks. A conversation with your photographer to plan out a loose schedule will allow you to get the most out of your time. Put on a good playlist. This is the fun part!

I love connecting with fellow business owners – especially the creative kind! If you ever want to run anything by me or have questions about brand photography, reach out on IG – @semdesign.co. I hope to see you there!

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