Congratulations! You have booked your first brand session and you are nervous and excited. You don’t want to be in front of the camera, but you are willing to do it for the business and brand that you love. Yes, brand sessions are a necessary evil when it comes to our creative businesses, but they can also be fun and boost your business to the next level. A brand photo shoot is unlike any other type of shoot. There is a lot that happens before the actual photo shoot day, which is why I wanted to share 3 things a creative business owner can do to prepare for a brand photo shoot.
You may have already found a local photographer that specializes in branding or still researching the field, (The 4 Things To Look For When Hiring A Brand Photographer) but the key thing is that you feel comfortable with the photographer and have already started building a creative relationship. This type of shoot is highly collaborative and it’s important that you vibe with your chosen photographer. This can be accomplished through a zoom or in-person strategy meeting (or brand story session), checking out their social media feeds to see what other projects they are working on, or introduction posts and videos to get to know them.
Tools Of The Trade
As a creative business owner you have tools you work with on a daily or weekly basis depending on how often you produce your products. Start to take note of which tools you use the most, have a story behind them and/or something new you just added. (These are all potential post topics on social media.) To help narrow down further, you and your brand photographer should discuss during your strategy meeting what products you are highlighting during the shoot. On photo shoot day have these tools organized and ready to include in your images.
What To Wear
This is a common question anyone who has ever had a professional shoot will ask themselves. You are not alone in thinking “what do I wear?”. I had the same questions leading up to my own recent brand shoot. Here is the advice I give all my clients.
- Be Comfortable. Have your clothes be comfortable to wear, if you are not comfortable it will come thru in the portraits. This tip also piggybacks on my tip of feeling comfortable with your photographer. An experienced photographer will also guide you through the shoot. Although you might not feel 100% comfortable, your clothes should be.
- Include Brand Colors. If your business has a strong brand color that it’s known for think of ways to incorporate the color into your clothes, unless you and your photographer have discussed other ways to incorporate, keep your clothes neutral colors. I have layered in brand colors by adding in furniture pieces, backdrops, fun sneakers, exterior & interior buildings as a backdrop.
- Be Authentic. You want to wear clothes that elevate your brand, but not so far off from who you are authentically. Think of it this way, what would you wear if your dream magazine publication, star client or TV network came to interview you in your studio, shop or office? That’s the outfit to wear for the portrait session of your shoot.
All of these tips lead me to my last piece of “what to wear” advice. Have options on photo shoot day. You can easily change up an outfit with a great accessory or changing a top. Your photographer is there to guide you and take in the full environment. We assess the light, the backdrop, how the clothes fall, body position and more. Trust the process.
Capturing Your Process
This part of the brand photo shoot is my personal favorite and most creatives get into the zone and forget about the camera. That’s when magic can happen. You will know what products you will be highlighting on photo shoot day prior to the shoot, hopefully your brand photography had a strategy meeting/brand story session to work on the direction of the photo shoot. Knowing what products are being shown will help in showcasing your process. Depending on your final product maybe you need to have a sample 90% complete to show the rest of the process. Consider all the steps you go through to finalize a product or full product line. Think of it as a recipe. You have ingredients, the mixing of the ingredients and the assembly. These are the type of images captured during this portion of a brand shoot for a creative business.
Keep This In Mind
Working with a professional photographer that specializes in branding should guide you through the process and answer any questions or concerns you have. Please let them know about any concerns you have no matter how silly you think it might be. A brand photo shoot is not like a regular portrait session, there is intent and planning behind every image well before you hear a camera shutter click. We want you to be able to use the images to grow your business and ultimately your bottom line. Images that clarify your brand message will help you reach your ideal client and build your brand.