How To Plan A Styled Brand Shoot
One of the most powerful ways to build your brand is to be in your own photos! On brand stock images are a great place to start.
When you choose to stop being a business and become a BRAND, that is when perceived expertise shows up on your doorstep and people become curious about what makes your services different. They will stick around to see what you have to offer.
Then it’s your job to be captivating and share content that compels them to work with you.
It also allows you to stop approaching people like a sales person and more like a friend offering genuine support and service. Which is what I do. It’s what feels best to me.
So what does that mean exactly? Well, I prefer to extend an invitation for someone to say ‘yes’ to my solutions, not try to convince someone on why they should work with me.
So how to do you get great on brand photos that help people feel like they are getting to know you so you can transition easily into an invitation?
Selfies and candids are a place to start, for sure. But a styled shoot will help people take you and your brand WAY more seriously.
I just had a styled shoot last week and I want to share everything that I learned from the experience.
Pssst…Get My Visual Personal Branding Workbook
1. Find a photographer who is a good fit.
I was blessed because this GUAPO-guy (my hubby) was my photographer. But some of you may not have someone close to you that has equipment and knows how to use it so here’s what you need to do to find a good photographer.
Look at the photographer's portfolio (or Instagram account) and check for these things:
They have taken photos like what you’re needing (a.k.a. not just wedding photos). Wedding photographers know weddings. Portrait photographers know portraits. Their eyes are trained to look for certain things.
You like their overall vibe — editing style, angles, use of coloring, etc.! Not all photographers are created equal and art is subjective so find someone whose style you ALREADY resonate with.
They care about personal branding and work with clients who are building a personal brand. However if you are in a more corporate setting, look for some who does more professional, formal look.
They seem like someone you would be comfortable around. This was a really big deal for me because I'm an introvert and I, I know that there are very few people who bring out my most genuine smile and my husband is the one of those people. And so I felt very comfortable with him to be able to say like, Hey, is my hair looking okay?
Pro Tip: This is an investment in your brand and in your business. But if you know you can get the same result with someone in your family, then do it.
I know people who have gotten their photos done for free because they had someone in the family who was into photography and they turned out awesome.
I also know women who have dropped $1000+ on headshots and branded styled photography, and that is totally okay because they knew exactly what they were investing in.
But don't just compromise and say, “well, I can't afford that and I'm going to go with someone for 50 bucks” and you end up wasting your time and wasting their time. You won't like their pictures, you won't want to use them. They're not building your brand. And that is a poor investment. So if it's just a couple extra hundred dollars, wait and save up for that.
2. Choose props and staging
Props and staging give people a clearer sense of what it is you do, your personality and your environment. This doesn’t have to feel forced and should feel like a natural extension of who you are in your daily life.
But it can be fun and aspirational! Maybe you don’t always wear a blazer jacket or dress up so fancy but it conveys the idea of what you do when you are at your best. So step into that CEO role and OWN IT!
If you’re feeling clueless on what you could include as a prop, look back over your social media right now. What are you talking about? Where could a customized photo fit in where you’re currently using a stock image? Here are some ideas that I used in my photos.
iPhone and headphones
Pilates mat and mat bag
Books I talk about often
Pens, stickers, a notebook, and other desk accessories
3. Make a shot list
Consider the props you’re bringing and consider what are your essential photos. I like to use Pinterest to organize these but you can make a list in your phone. Either way keep it SIMPLE.
Look to Pinterest and the people you follow whose photos you love for reference. However, forced posing won’t translate well. Allow your photographer to do what they do best and coach you in the moment. Just get inspired for your must-have shots.
Pro Tip: Because I’m not just using these images on social media but also for ads and websites and Youtube thumbnails, remind your photographer to take some with the rule of thirds so that there is enough space for a designer to put words or buttons beside you on the banner.
As an example, some of my must-have shots for my recent shoot were:
With my laptop
With Strengths-Finder book
All 3 of those shots are extremely relevant to my content, and will help me have a fab photo to use when I talk about relevant things!
4. Plan your outfits
Wear your signature colors.
Some people feel put in a box by feeling limited to one or two colors however consider something that people will easily recognize so that will stop their social scroll and pause to see what it is that you are doing/saying.
Wear something comfortable and that makes you feel radiant/beautiful/strong/confident/fresh/insert your preferred adjective here.
So many non-verbals are translated in images and being in front of camera can already make you feel uncomfortable. Making sure your feel good in your outfits is one way to overcome any other obstacles of discomfort. You don’t want to be fiddling with straps, hemlines and jewelry that doesn’t feel right.
Be aware of patterns and locations.
If your brand is loud and colorful that great! Just makes sure it doesn’t get lost in the noise of your environment. Think in terms of contrast so perhaps a clean, simple environment highlight your style or personality.
5. Choose location thoughtfully
Remember this photoshoot is about showing the personality of your brand and business.
So, as your first thought for where to shoot, consider the places you would actually go to in your city and document yourself in those environments.
If you have more of a lifestyle brand, consider going to some kind of coffee shop, maybe an ice cream parlor that has a lot of fun colors. If you are a food blogger, consider renting a vacation house with a beautiful kitchen that shows off what you can do!
There's a lot of room for you to get creative with a styled shoot.
Pro Tip: Make sure you're not shooting all of your pictures in the same exact location, in the same exact room.
That's going to get boring visually. So think about going outside and using a room with a different color wall.
If you're a food blogger, again, using this example, you're at the counter and cooking something, maybe another one, you're at the dining room table and you're eating something yummy.
Lastly, ask your photographer for recommendations - where does she love to shoot? What places have the best lighting and backdrops?
Here are some quick location choosing tips:
Choose spots that are YOU!
Do not take all your photos in the exact same location
When shooting indoors, look for interior spaces with ample natural lighting.
Ask your photographer their location recommendations based on your photoshoot goals.
Speaking of photo shoot goals, you should always "Remember your purpose." Think about your clients and what you help them do and the results you help them get. That should put a genuine smile on your face and get your really excited. And authenticity always translates well in photographs.
Spread out your images over time with a scheduler. This is great especially if your images are what I call “season-neutral”.
Crop tools are amazing. You can get more life out of both your personal brand images and your stock images by using just portions of the each image. If you are really creative, you can sometimes get 3 more images from each image.
That’s it! Once you get these pieces in place, go out and have fun! Do you have any other photo-branding tips? Comment below!