A business branding shoot with me is about more than lovely headshots. It’s about us capturing the essence of your brand and telling the story of what it is you do. After all, a picture tells a thousand words, so the images we capture have to resonate with your target customer and inspire trust in your services.
That’s why investing in images that represent you at your best is one of the kindest things you can do for your business. The key to getting this right is all in the prep work. So, with that in mind, I’ve put together 5 handy tips to help you approach your branding session feeling confident, calm and ready to take on the world.
1. Think about where and how you’ll use your images
As I mentioned already, a branding session isn’t just about capturing lovely close-ups of you looking gorgeous (although of course, we’ll get these shots). Essentially, a branding shoot is about communicating you as a businesswoman and capturing a bank of images you can use across all your marketing channels.
For me, a great way to approach a branding shoot is by thinking of how and where you’ll use your images in the future. For example:
Your business website
Press releases to promote new launches
Your social media channels
Biography pages on affiliate websites or guest blogs
Printed assets such as packaging, brochures and business cards
Once you start listing all the different marketing assets your business uses, it’s much easier to visualise the types of shots you need. As part of my pre-shoot prep, I’ll actually send you a short questionnaire to help with this part of the process.
2. Create a mood board of images you like
Another great way to narrow down what you want to achieve with your branding session is by collating a mood board of images you like.
Websites such as Google Images, and apps like Pinterest and Instagram, are great sources of inspiration. Try searching for businesses like yours and seeing what results come up. You can also look for more generic terms like “business woman”, “female portrait” “woman at work” and any search terms related to your industry sector.
Once you’re happy with your selection, share it with me so I can take a look. As I create your shot list (the list of images we’ll capture in your session) I’ll refer to your mood board to make sure everything you like, need and want is included.
3. Plan your outfit(s), hair and make-up in advance
Changing outfit during your shoot is a great way to capture a wider set of images, especially if you’re looking for photographs that feel relevant year-round. For that reason it can be a good idea to prepare a choice of outfits that represent what you’d typically wear in different seasons – winter versus summer, for example.
To ensure a quick changeover between looks, I always recommend preparing your outfit choices in advance. Having your outfits neatly laid out and ready will help to keep the session fluid and ensure we get the maximum value out of our time together. The same applies with your hair and make-up – although to save precious time I’d recommend keeping this the same throughout your shoot.
If you’re struggling to decide what to wear (and believe me you won’t be the first) I always say stick to your favourite looks. At the end of the day this shoot is about showing the authentic you at your best, and nothing makes a girl walk taller than stepping out in an outfit she feels fierce in.
4. Nail down your locations (and seek permissions)
What you do for a living (and where you do it) will have a massive bearing on the shoot locations for your branding session. If you’re a baker for instance, let’s capture some great shots of you mixing, blitzing and kneading in your kitchen. If you’re a yoga instructor, let’s get you doing the perfect downward dog in your studio or somewhere dreamy like the beach at dusk.
Sometimes your shoot location may be your own place of work. Other times it might be somewhere out and about; say a café, park or a gym (thinking out loud here). The fact is there’s no one location that works for everyone. The nature of your job will determine the best places to capture you doing what you do best.
If you do want to shoot in a commercial space however, please do visit ahead of time to ask permission from the owner. That way we won’t get any nasty surprises on the day and find ourselves suddenly scrambling for a last-minute shoot location!
5. Prepare your props and source any ‘extras’
And my final tip for being prepared for your branding shoot is about ensuring you have all the little extras you need to make your shots complete – be it a rolling pin or a person.
With branding shoots I often find the focus can be on the individual and not on the business as a whole. As I mentioned at the start, branding photography is less about just taking headshots and more about creating a story narrative.
You might spend 80% of your workday at a desk, crunching numbers, designing websites or creating awesome travel content, but your work could equally see you attending client meetings, giving presentations and facilitating workshops.
Remember, a vast proportion of your shots will capture you actually doing your job (ok so you won’t actually be doing it, just pretending to) but to make the images seem authentic you’ll need to go through the motions with all the usual props (and people) that make it possible for you to ‘do the do’ every day.
Of course this list is by no means exhaustive. Other ways you might want to prepare for our session is by having a zoom with your mum – or another of your biggest cheerleaders in life. You might also want to put on a favourite album or a tune you can’t help but bust a move to.
Do it! In fact, keep it on while we shoot.
These tips are just to help you get started, and extract the most value out of our session. As always, if you have any questions, worries or concerns – be it about the shoot itself or just about me as a photographer - I’m always at the end of the phone or an email away.