Podcast: Why You Must Have a Brand Photoshoot & How to Prepare for It

How to Prepare for a Brand Photoshoot

So you may be wondering why you should invest all the time and money into a brand photoshoot or what a brand photoshoot even is in the first place, right? Well, let’s start by defining what it is. A brand photoshoot is a professional photography session scheduled to capture custom photos of you and any objects associated with your brand. These photos are for use on your website, social media, and other marketing materials.

There are several benefits of getting a brand photoshoot done, so let’s dive right into them!

High quality brand photos give your business a polished, elevated image.

People are visual, which means that we’re all judging by what we see before we even read any of the words on a website or social media page. This means that if your photos are blurry, dark, styled poorly, etc., people will have the impression that your brand isn’t the best quality, even if your products are top notch. When you invest the time and money into professional photos for your brand, you’ll have high quality images that are crisp, well lit and that help to make your brand look like one worth learning more about.

Brand photos give your business a customized look.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my business to look like everyone else’s. One of the best ways to differentiate yourself in a saturated market is by having a custom look that’s unlike anyone else’s. You can get this by having custom brand photos done, based on your unique preferences. Using generic stock images from online can suffice if your budget is limited, when you’re just starting out. But once you’re able to do a photoshoot, you’ll be able to get images that are custom-designed just for you, making you stand out, so you can create a unique look for brand recognition.

Brand photos can improve the look of your website.

The quality of a website design depends on the quality of the photography that’s included on the website. If you have a great brand design (i.e. logo, fonts, color palette, etc.), but your photos are low quality, you won’t be projecting the image that you want. The perception will be that it’s a low quality brand before people even start to notice other details of the website.

High quality product photos build trust.

Product photos that are crisp and well-lit allow people to get a good look at your products before purchasing, when you have physical products that you’re selling online. This is important because you want people to feel like they’re investing in high quality products for them to move forward with a purchase and you want them to trust that they’re getting something great! If your product photos are low quality (again, blurry, dimly lit, or styled poorly), you won’t give off the best impression and you’ll see fewer purchases of your products online.

Now that you know why you need a brand photoshoot, here are tips for preparing for one:

Tip #1: Create a mood board in Pinterest to understand the look/feel for the shoot.

Pinterest is the best place to create a mood board. A mood board is simply a collection of images that you like that visually illustrate the look that you’ll want in your photographs. You could create a private board in Pinterest so no one can see it but you and use it to pin all the inspiration you want.

You can pin other people’s shoots that inspire you, photos of places that look like the types of settings where you’d want to shoot, photos of outfits like the outfits you’d want to wear for your shoot, and finally, photos of objects that are styled in a way that you’d want any objects styled for your shoot. Objects could be your products if you’re going to need photos of physical products. Or if you sell digital products/services, it could be any props that relate to your business, like laptops, notepads, pens, etc.

You also want to make sure you stick to a certain color theme. If there are several colors in your brand color palette, make sure you stick to that for the style of photos that you pin. You want to end up with photos that match both your style and colors, especially for a website that looks great. When things coordinate together with the photos, graphics, and fonts, your website will be taken to the next level, for real!

This mood board will be your place of reference throughout the rest of the process.

Related: Mood Boards: What They Are, Why You Need One, & How to Create It

Tip #2: Choose a photographer whose style matches the look you’re going for.

Not all photographers are created equally. Some excel with the muted, black and white photography. Some do really well with photography that’s rich in color. And others do well at the airy wedding photography. Do your research on photographers in your area and check out their portfolios to see if their photography style matches what you put on your mood board in Pinterest.

A great way to find local photographers is on Instagram. Many bloggers in your area probably use professional photographers. I’m in Atlanta, so I search using the #atlantabloggers hashtag and a ton of blogger photos come up and they usually give credit to the photographers. You could also search other city-specific hashtags, like #atlantaphotographers or #atlantaweddings. Check out the Instagram pages of other business owners in your area and see if they have professional photos and who they’re giving photo credit to.

Once you find a few options, save the websites for each photographer who’s work you like on Instagram and go to their website addresses to check out more of their work. For the ones who make the cut, fill out their contact form or email them directly to inquire about a shoot. It's good to do this well in advance of when you’ll actually need the photos because many photographers book weeks or even months ahead of time and they’ll usually take a couple of weeks to do editing before they send the photos to you.

Tip #3: Prepare for the shoot by discussing it ahead of time with your chosen photographer.

Once you have a photographer secured, see if they’ll be able to have a quick consultation with you. During the consultation, you’ll be able to discuss your vision for the shoot, such as the colors you want to include, the type of location where you want to shoot, any props you may need to style the photos appropriately, and the outfits you’re planning to wear. Your photographer will be able to offer some great tips to help you prepare to make sure you’re not overlooking any important details. And by talking about your vision with them in advance, they’ll be able to scout a location that’ll fit exactly what you’re looking for!

Tip #4: Gather all outfits and props well in advance.

Once you know exactly what you need to prepare for the shoot, make a list of any wardrobe gaps (like if your brand colors include green and you really want a green blouse, for example) and any props that you may need to buy or order online before the shoot. If you’re ordering anything online, you’ll want to do it well in advance to make sure it arrives in time for your shoot day. And if you’re ordering clothing online, you may want to give yourself extra time, so you’ll have time to exchange it, in case items don’t fit.

This will help you avoid the last-minute rush so you can be relaxed once shoot day arrives. Usually there are 3-4 outfits for a brand shoot, so make sure you have every item of clothing and every accessory and pair of shoes to complete each look in a style that will compliment the brand image that you’re going for. It may take a little patience with finding the perfect items of clothing and the perfect props, but the effort will be well worth it once you see how amazing the photos look.

Tip #5: Find a professional makeup artist to do your makeup for the shoot.

You may be wondering why you should go through the trouble of hiring a makeup artist for a brand shoot. I wondered the same thing when I did my brand shoot. However, it actually made my photos look 10x better than if I would’ve done my own makeup. My skin was flawless and the eye makeup made my eyes really pop and stand out. It made for a very polished and professional look. Plus, it took some of the pressure off of me on shoot day. On shoot day, you already have to gather everything for your outfits, all your props, do your hair, and make sure you arrive at the shoot on time. So getting your makeup done by someone else is one less task on your to-do list.

Try to schedule your makeup appointment about 2 hours ahead of your shoot so you won’t be rushed.

Tip #6: Have a small snack, a water bottle, tissues for blotting, and flats for walking to take with you on shoot day.

And now…it’s show time! To make the shoot run smoothly, have a small snack in case you get hungry. You may not want to eat a big meal right before you shoot, so you don’t feel bloated while posing for your photos. And definitely have some water to stay hydrated. You’ll want the tissues to blot the oiliness off your skin in case you get oily throughout the shoot (especially if it’s summertime). And finally, as you’re following your photographer around from place to place, it’s way more comfortable to do that in flats, than in heels, so pack some comfy flats for walking around.

That’s it! I hope you have an amazing brand shoot! It’s going to elevate your website INSTANTLY. I was so pleased with how much better my website design looked once I put in the photos from my professional shoot. It’s an investment that’s truly worth it because you’ll also be able to use the photos on social media and for any press features you may get that will require you to submit photos. These will be photos that will be with you and your business for years to come!

If you’re in the Atlanta area and you’re looking for a great photographer who loves color, be sure to check out Mecca Gamble! She did my brand photos and I have them ALL over my website and I love them! She did a beautiful job!