When you do a branding shoot, it uplevels your business. Having professional photography to use on your social media and website helps you stand out and look more legitimate. I’ve done quite a few branding photo shoots for my business over the last three years and I’m going to give you my top secrets to rocking your first, or next, brand shoot!
What is a Branding Photoshoot?
A branding shoot for entrepreneurs is basically a photoshoot. You’ll have an allotted time to take pictures that will showcase your brand and business. These can range from 15-minute mini sessions to all day events.
The photography you get back will instantly give a professional look and feel to your business. It’s important to show off your face, your personality, and what you do through these photos.
Most of us as entrepreneurs are personal brands. That means people know WHO we are and our names and faces. This is why it is vital to show your face in a professional shoot. Potential clients and customers want to connect to the person behind the brand. These photos help show the story. And while they are an investment, I think it’s worth the cost.
If you’d prefer to watch my YouTube video on HOW TO PREPARE FOR A BRANDING SHOOT: My Top Secrets to Nailing Your Next Business Brand Photo Shoot! I’m linking it below. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel so you’ll never miss my next video!
Hiring a Photographer for your Branding Shoot
The biggest key to having a successful business brand photo shoot is the photographer. This is also going to be your biggest investment.
If you do not know any local photographers, I suggest searching geotags on instagram as well as finding your local Tuesdays Together chapter. Tuesdays Together is an organization from the Rising Tide Society that helps local entrepreneurs build each other up for success. A lot of the members are photographers, so this is an easy way to find local professionals. You can find your local chapter with this map.
Start saving their work to an album on your phone or in the saved folders on Instagram. Once you’ve collected about 10-20 of these, you should be able to notice a trend. Are the pictures dark and moody, light and airy, or true to life colors? Are they more photojournalistic or more posed headshots?
These trends within the images you’ve saved will help you understand the style you prefer. When you start talking to photographers about potentially hiring them, make sure their work is similar to the style you love. This will help you end the photo shoot with photography that you LOVE and want to share!
Another key point in hiring a photographer is making sure their personality matches your vibe. If you hire someone who is a bore, you’re probably not going to have fun. And if you hire someone you’re not comfortable with, it’s going to show in the pictures. You’ll probably be spending quite some time with this person, so make sure you enjoy them and you’re okay being in close proximity with them.
Location, Location, Location
A vital part of your branding shoot is your location. I’ve done branding photoshoots in AirBnb rentals, at studio spaces, in co-working offices, in restaurants and coffee shops, and in the outdoors. Read about my photoshoot at an AirBnB here: The Brand Photo Shoot!
The location needs to convey your brand aesthetic. Having a particular look and feel that you’re going for will help you narrow down your location. And, depending on your photographer and your contract, you might be able to do multiple locations. Also, make sure your photographer is local to the area or will be able to travel to the location.
My suggestion is to find a location that will offer multiple backgrounds and looks. I did a brand shoot in Uptown Charlotte once near Jenny’s Ice Creams. This location had a painted mural, bright colors, a restaurant, and an urban vibe. All of these things allowed me to show a bold side of my brand.
Don’t feel like you need to rent a space for this to be successful. Some photographers have studio spaces that you can use. Whatever location you choose, make sure to know the rules. Some locations require sitting fees or usage fees.
What Should I Wear at a Business Branding Shoot?
First of all, you need to be comfortable and feel amazing! Being comfortable during your branding shoot will put you more at ease. You won’t be tugging at shirts or pulling pants up. And when you feel amazing in your clothing, you’re going to shine in your photos!
Wear clothing and shoes that match your business and your personality. If you never wear heels, it probably doesn’t make sense to wear them during the photoshoot. I will sometimes take my shoes off during the shoot because I actually do a lot of work barefoot anyway. Same goes for dresses–if you don’t normally wear them, don’t bring them to the photo shoot.
Depending on the feel of the particular shoot, I’ll bring clothing to match it. However, during my last branding shoot, I really wanted to stick to my brand colors. Thankfully, the local stores had clothing in those colors a few weeks prior to the shoot. If you don’t want to spend a bunch of money on new clothes just for this photoshoot, you can always check out Rent The Runway. In fact, I used them for one of my shoots in the past.
Another factor in determining how many clothes and shoes I bring with me to a shoot is the time. If I have a 15-minute shoot, I’m probably only bringing 3 tops and one pair of pants, and maybe two pairs of shoes. For longer shoots, I’ve brought like 10 outfits and 5 pairs of shoes. It also depends on the locations and the look I’m trying to portray during the shoot.
Makeup and Hair for Your Photoshoot
Does makeup and hair really matter? Yes. Besides vanity, photos will wash you out. So you kind of have to put on a lot of makeup. I actually feel like a drag queen with the amount of makeup I have to wear. But, it’s a lot of fun too!
I HIGHLY suggest you wear fake lashes. That’s one of the biggest things that gets washed out in photography. My favorite lashes are these Ardell Magnetic Lashes! The other piece that can get washed out is your mouth. I’m not a big lipstick person, but I do try to remember some gloss or something because I know how toned down they will be.
Now, if you have no clue how to do makeup or hair you can always hire a professional. I usually do all of it myself. Another option here is to watch YouTube tutorials and practice your makeup and hair prior to the day of your shoot. Or you could hire a makeup artist to teach you how to do your own makeup.
With your hair, make sure you bring different accessories so you can style it differently. I’ve worn hats, headbands, and scrunchies to give my hair a little pop of color. Since I have longer hair, I’ll try to wear my hair up for half the shoot and down for the other half. Unless it’s a super short shoot or specific to my outdoor brand (Leisure and Leashes) I will rotate style options.
I know some of this might feel a little frilly or bougie, but I promise when you get those photos back it will be worth it. And, it does feel good to pamper yourself and treat yourself to a branding shoot. You deserve to look and feel good in these photos! Otherwise, you might be sad when you get them back and then you won’t use those photos. That will just turn into a waste of money. So go ahead and treat yoself!!!
Props Will Elevate Your Shoot
What things do you use in your business every single day? What things help convey your brand? These things should be used during the branding shoot. When I was a diet Dr Pepper addict, I’d bring my cans of DDP to my shoots. This was part of me and my brand, so I showcased it in my photos. Think of those things that people see and immediately think of you! That’s what you need to bring with you.
Make sure to bring a computer, a tablet, your phone, etc. Those are work items that will give the professional side to the photo shoot. You’ll also want fun and personal things too. In my most recent shoot, I brought some grief affirmation cards because grief is a huge part of my story. In the past I’ve brought my microphone, my camera, balloons, plants, and some banners. You can also use food like coffee and avocado toast (especially if you’re doing a shoot at a coffee shop-invest in them for using the space).
When doing longer brand shoots, make sure to organize your props and make a list of what you’re bringing. Don’t try to rush through and pack it all up five minutes before your shoot. Get this stuff ready the week of your shoot!
Preparing for a Business Brand Photoshoot
Once you have the photographer, the location, the clothing, and the props, it’s time for some research! Why? Well, you’re going to want to know what type of shots you need and how to pose.
When you start researching what shots you need and these poses you want for this branding shoot, I recommend using a Pinterest board. You can make a secret Pinterest board and collect your ideas there. Two other resources for posing ideas and shot ideas are TikTok and Instagram.
Any time you see a picture that you like the pose or the shot, save it to a folder on Instagram. On TikTok, I started saving videos and taking screenshots of poses. There are literally millions of ideas out there. My favorite person for pose ideas is Jera Bean on TikTok.
Once you’ve collected these ideas, you can share them with your photographer prior to the shoot. This will help the photographer understand what you need during the brand shoot. You could also make a shot list and keep a running checklist as you go through all of those shots.
My suggestion is to get a mix of headshots and “b-roll” shots. Those b-roll shots are showing your workspace, your props, etc. This will allow you to use them as backdrop images for social media and Pin graphics. At the end of the day, your goal is to have a cohesive brand with these images.
During The Branding Shoot
Your shoot is finally here! Wahoo! It’s go time! You’ll bring all of your props and clothing with you as well as the knowledge of the shots you want and your posing ideas.
First of all, you need to get comfortable. I listen to music to get pumped up prior to branding shoots. If you’re stiff and need to laugh, maybe listen to a comedian or something funny on the way to the shoot location. The quicker you relax and get comfortable at the brand shoot, the easier it will be.
Make sure to have fun, check your makeup every little bit, and enjoy yourself! You put enough time into the preparation for this shoot, that you’re going to rock the heck out of it!
I cannot wait to see the outcome of your brand shoot! If you do one, please share them with me on Instagram. You can follow me on IG here: Nicole’s Instagram!