What is a branding photoshoot
Whether you’re building-up to launching your brand or business, or are having a revamp or new look… a branding photoshoot can be the icing on the proverbial cake. A branding photoshoot is the professional shoot you have that gives you on-brand visuals for your digital marketing channels (ie. website, blog, social media etc.).
The idea of your branding photoshoot is to give you a coherent brand aesthetic and plenty of content that represents you and your brand visually. In my opinion, it’s worth investing in having your branding photoshoot done with a professional photographer, as you can use these images for months and even years to come. You’ll want them to be right.
Here’s how to prepare for your branding photoshoot… (and all the things to remember)…
1 – Start with a spreadsheet or document
It’s important that you have a clear idea of the shots that you want and need to get at your branding photoshoot, so I find a simple spreadsheet is a fantastic way to keep track. It’s also something that you can share with your photographer, so they have something to work from.
Start by creating a column of each channel you intend to use your photos for (eg. social media, website, podcast, ads etc.).
Then, under each column, make a note of the specifics (and try to include any sizes or photo requirements). For example:
instagram – grid shots
facebook 1600 x 400 banner
soundcloud podcast banner (image needed with left negative space)
Add another section to your spreadsheet that details the actual “shot list” that you’d like to achieve from your branding photoshoot. eg. profile head shot, laughing shot, me working on my laptop, me with a client etc. etc.
Add another section that details possible locations for your shoot (could be at your home office, in a co-working space, coffee shop, local park)… remember, the locations should be as much “on-brand” as the rest of the shoot and needs to reflect the brand image and message that you’re trying to convey.
Finally, I like to add a section where I can brain-dump ideas for my outfits, accessories and props. It’s good to have a few different “looks” for your branding photoshoot, that you’ve planned in terms of the colour palette and general feel (ie. do you want to look professional, corporate, laid-back, sporty?). And props such as your diary or planner, yoga mat, favourite books, pot plant etc. can really bring your shots to life.
Note: if you’re not sure where to start, your photographer should be able to give you some direction and may even have some props of their own!
2 – Create a Pinterest Mood Board
The best way to get inspiration for your branding photoshoot? Have a look at others! Pinterest is perfect for this as you can start your own board, search for “branding photoshoot” and save away. You can even share your board with your photographer, so they can get a good idea for the sort of aesthetic and feel that you’re looking for, from your shoot.
Bonus – this mood-board can also serve as inspiration for your poses… if you’re not a “natural” in front of the camera, or run out of ideas, having your pinterest board open at your branding photoshoot, will give you ideas that you can copy and try yourself.
3 – Really think about the use of your photos
I touched on this in point 1, but I want to go into it more, because I can’t stress enough, how important it is to know how and where you’re going to use your photos. Too many times, I’ve gone into a shoot and just figured “oh, I’ll get some shots for the gram” which is great, but it’s a waste when I realise that I have to resize them for facebook, or crop them out for something else and they end up look sh*t.
So use the spreadsheet you’ve created to brain-dump all the potential uses of your photos. Go through all your social media, website and everywhere that you hang out online and look at the visuals that are coming up. What do you need? I hadn’t even thought about the fact that my podcast banner is a random size and that it’d be good to plan for an image that’d work specifically.
It’s also worth considering whether you’ll want to have text overlay on your photos… in which case your photographer will need to be aware to leave “negative space” somewhere for this (otherwise you’ll end up with writing across your face!).
TIP: A great place to start if you’re stuck, is canva – have a look at the various templates, specs and sizes they have, as it’ll give you a good idea of the things you might want to consider.
4 – Plan, book, tidy your space and locations
I did my entire branding photoshoot at my home, so all I had to do was tidy-up and clean! Don’t underestimate the impact of a tidy background in your branding photoshoot.
If you are shooting “on location”, then you may need to plan ahead, book the space, reserve a table and make sure that you have permission to photograph in their space. Also, you might need to factor-in that there will be other people using the space if it’s public, like a coffee-shop for example.
If you’re considering an outdoor shoot, then you’ll need a contingency plan for bad weather… not just rain, but an overly hot day can ruin a shoot too (who want’s to be sweating and squinting in every shot?!).
5 – Practice!
As I mentioned already, having some poses that you can “copy” and be inspired by, is really helpful if you’re not entirely comfortable in front of the camera. Your photographer should help to direct too, but there’s nothing like a bit of a practice.
So get in front of the mirror and have a go… the more you practice, the more you’ll remember on your actual branding shoot and you’ll find you slip into the poses more naturally. For example, my “hand-in-hair-smiling” pose is something I’ve nailed after continually practicing… it’s my default and now part of my brand.
The finale: last few tips to nail your branding photoshoot
- Relax. Your branding shoot should be fun and it’s all about you! You can’t get this wrong!
- Ask your photographer to see some of the images as you go along – that way you’ll be reassured at how awesome they are and also so where you can tweak/improve some shots.
- Remember to drink lots of water and bring some snacks – smiling continually and “turning it on” for the camera is surprisingly exhausting… don’t forget to refuel!
Special thanks goes to my amazing friend and professional photographer, Sean Cross aka The Published Image, who helped me nail my recent branding photoshoot… this post is just a sneak peak and I can’t wait for you to see the rest!