Up until now, your brand photos might be a bunch of same old product images you’ve collected on your iPhone or a handful of headshots your best friend snapped for you– that look more posed than an 8th-grade yearbook portrait.
And to a point, DIYing your brand photos is essential!
In fact, I encourage you to learn how to take photos for your business.
But, if you’re ready to elevate your brand, connect with your most perfect audience, and truly allow your brand imagery to tell a captivating story about what sets you and your creative business out from the crowd, it’s time to explore professional brand photography.
What is Brand Photography?
On the surface, it may seem like all professional photographers are the same. In fact, many photographers offer brand photography sessions but don’t necessarily specialize in this type of photography.
So what’s the difference between a brand photographer and a regular photographer?
It’s all about the process.
Brand photographers don’t just point and shoot. They take time upfront to understand your business, craft a strategy, and consider how your visuals will be used in your business.
During the photoshoot itself, this background informs what kinds of photos your brand photographer will take. For example, I often capture diverse images that fall into three categories: environmental portraits, action/process, and product/service.
While the goal of a general or portrait photographer is to capture an image, a strong brand photographer will have more specific goals in mind not just for the images but for how they represent and fit into your business.
A skilled Brand Photographer will ensure you have visuals that:
- Are consistent, professional, and “on-brand”
- Build your brand awareness
- Position you as the expert and showcase your unique process
- Generate more business and revenue
You’re probably thinking, “Okay, this sounds great. But how do I find the right brand photographer for my business?”
Below, I’ve collected the 3 most important things to look for when hiring a brand photographer for your creative business so that you can feel confident moving forward with this investment.
Quick Tip: Read to the end and you can snag my FREE Brand Photography Checklist to make this process even easier!
3 Things To Look For When Hiring A Brand Photographer
Brand Photography is a very personal thing. Not only are you trusting someone to make you feel comfortable in front of the lens, but you are also putting your business image in their hands.
You want to make sure that this person will be able to provide you with the tools, strategy, and guidance you need as a business owner, while also meshing with your style, preferences, and personality!
It can feel like a tall order to fill.
But, never fear. I’ve got you covered!
Here are three of the most important things to look out for when hiring a brand photographer for your creative business.
#1 Strategy Meeting
The first piece of the brand photography process you want to ask about is the initial strategy meeting. You should NEVER show up on shoot day without having a plan in place that you and your brand photographer have reviewed together in detail.
What to expect during a brand photography strategy meeting
A strategy meeting should…
- Focus on your business and image needs.
During a brand photography strategy meeting, your photographer should take time to understand your brand, why you started your business in the first place, and what your short and long term business goals are. The types of images they decide to take will be guided by this information.
- Happen well in advance.
You should also be offered time and space to chat about your ideas and vision ahead of your actual shoot date. During strategy sessions, my clients and I often talk about location(s), styling (I actually provide a custom styling guide after this initial meeting and you can access my free Wardrobe Guide here), and even the psychological aspect of stepping in front of a camera (it can be intimidating, and it’s my job to help put you at ease).
- Prep your photographer to curate a shoot and prop list FOR you.
I firmly believe a brand photographer should provide YOU with all the prep materials ahead of your shoot, not the other way around. Hear me out. Many photographers will require the client to prepare Pinterest inspiration boards or decide on their own props.
Understandably, this can be daunting for many business owners.
Instead, I believe it’s the brand photographer’s responsibility to capture these pieces for the client in advance. That’s why right after our strategy call, I curate concept boards, the shoot list (what kinds of images we want to capture), and the prop list so you can gather any essential materials or tools ahead of time. In fact, every client’s plan is completely original to them.
Images need to be crafted with intention if they are going to tell your story and purposefully serve you in your creative business. This is why the strategy session is a non-negotiable.
Quick Tip: While I prefer to discuss this information in person during a strategy meeting, other brand photographers may instead gather these details in the form of a robust questionnaire. There’s no right or wrong, as long as your photographer really takes time upfront to understand you and your creative work!
#2 Make Sure It’s A Good Fit
Whether or not a brand photographer is right for you will depend heavily on the type of creative business you run and your specific needs. You want to make sure they have experience taking photos in the type of spaces that make sense for your business. For example, if they exclusively take photos in their studio, but you were hoping to showcase images of you and your clients practicing in your actual yoga studio, that photographer may not be right for you!
- Location-Based Brands
For example, if you are a maker and have a location-based business, it often makes sense for some or all of your photos to be taken in your natural environment! I often work with creative business owners and meet them in their studio, workspace, or shop to capture authentic images in their space.
- Location Independent Brands
Other business owners like coaches, realtors, and bloggers may need something different. Since their location may not be a significant part of their business, we might instead choose to rent studio space. I like to think outside the box and will often rent Air BnBs, co-working spaces, or some more unconventional shoot locations to achieve the vibe my clients are looking for. I have an eclectic list of options to present to my clients. This takes the guesswork out of finding the perfect photo-ready location so you can simply focus on showing up and being in the moment on shoot day!
- Pricing Model
Pricing has a LOT to do with whether or not a brand photographer is right for you. This isn’t about penny-pinching or bargain-hunting. It’s about making sure the way the photographer charges will serve you and your branding. Many photographers who claim to be brand photographers are actually portrait photographers. It’s an important distinction. So, how can you tell? Look out for this red flag. Headshot photographers will often charge per person. This might make sense for professional employee headshots to be featured on your website, but when it comes to brand photography, it just doesn’t add up. Brand photos often rely on lots of different faces to represent clients, employees, and vendors. You don’t want to feel limited to who you are able to represent in your brand images or worry about wracking up an outrageous bill!
As you’re researching photographers, look for examples of their past work (specifically keep an eye out for examples of either on-location or studio staged photos) and explore any pricing or package information they share on their website. You may still have some clarifying questions but this will help you narrow down your list and hone in on the photographers that will be best for your brand photography needs.
#3 Discovery Call
So the brand photographer you’ve found offers a strategy call as part of their process and feels like a good fit. If they check both of these boxes, you may do a bit more investigating before making it official!
- Review their work
This might be their formal website portfolio, but don’t forget to also explore their social media platforms too. You’ll want to get a strong sense of the brand photography work they’ve done in the past and make sure you like what you see! I specifically work with creative businesses and believe that working with a photographer who specializes in your unique niche can make all the difference!
- Schedule A Discovery Call
Next, it’s time to schedule that discovery call. Most photographers will offer a free, no-obligation call as a way to get to know one another before committing to any work together. It may be in person, by phone, or via Zoom. This is where you can ask all of your logistical questions about things like pricing and packages, their process, shoot availability, and more. But, more importantly it’s an opportunity to make sure they’re a good match for you.
- Gut Check
And of course, you should simply LIKE the brand photographer you decide to work with. My favorite thing to hear at the end of a discovery call is, “Just talking with you I know this is gonna be great.” I want every client I work with to feel this way! Consider how they make you feel, their photography style, and their personality. Is this someone who puts you at ease? Do you like their portfolio and the type of images they’ve taken in the past? Trust your gut.
I believe my role as a brand photographer goes beyond the strategy and the photography itself. It’s my job to help YOU feel confident stepping into the spotlight. Because, believe it or not, you are the secret sauce that makes your business SHINE.
Find YOUR Brand Photographer
Now that you have the essentials you need to confidently hire the right brand photographer for your creative business, it’s time to take action!
Plus, I’ve made it even easier for you!
Click here to download my free Brand Photographer Checklist. Keep it handy so you can check each point off as you go and make sure you’re able to find the right match for you!
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