The power of mock clients in a brand photoshoot

The Power of Mock Clients in Brand Photoshoots

Preparing for a brand photoshoot is more than just picking outfits and striking poses.

Sure– as a creative business owner you might be thinking about things like: 

What should I wear for my photoshoot?”, “What props do I need?”, and “What are good poses for my pictures?”

And while these are important questions to consider, there’s a big piece that’s often overlooked – something that can really make your brand photos stand out.

What if I told you that something as simple as the people in your photos could transform the entire shoot? 

This is where many photographers, especially those not well-versed in the nuances of brand photography and marketing, often miss the mark.

So what is this essential ingredient? 

The answer is ‘mock clients’!

In this blog post, we’re diving deep into the concept of mock clients. I’ll explain what they are, why they’re invaluable for your creative brand photoshoot, what kinds of creative businesses need them, and how to effectively incorporate them into your shoot so you can bring your brand’s story to life at your next photoshoot. 

What are Mock Clients?

Mock clients are stand-ins who represent your ideal customers during a brand photoshoot. They help you and your photographer capture authentic and relatable images that resonate with your target audience

These images showcase how you interact with clients, giving your audience a glimpse into the experience your business offers.

mock client for furniture maker process shoot

Why are Mock Clients So Valuable?

Instead of using mock clients, many businesses opt for generic or staged photos that lack a personal touch. It’s a missed opportunity! These images often come across as impersonal and fail to tell a compelling story about the brand. 

This is where mock clients can make all the difference! 

Let’s explore some of the benefits:

Improve Audience Engagement

A big mistake I often see in creative businesses’ brand images is not making their products or services feel human. They tend to show just the product or service, without any people. This can make the images seem static, lifeless, and impersonal. 

But here’s where mock clients really help. They bring your brand to life by showing real people enjoying what you offer. This adds a touch of relatability and warmth, making it easier for potential customers to picture themselves engaging with your product or brand.

fitness mock client in different locations

Highlight Your Process

Whether you’re a wedding florist going over flower choices with a mock bride or a baker teaching a pretend customer how to ice a cake in a baking class, these scenes are about more than just the service you offer – they’re like mini-stories that make people feel a real connection. 

Your goal is to show them that you’re able to design that perfect bouquet because you take the time to listen and get to know your brides! Likewise, your students don’t just magically figure out how to bake delicious cakes. It’s your unique teaching style and patience that makes the process more approachable and successful! 

Whatever your creative business may be, these scenes highlight your personal touch and the care you put into every customer interaction.

Bride during a floral presentation process
Cakes being frosted during a brand shoot

Mock clients aren’t just stand-ins– they’re a powerful tool to make your brand more relatable and personal. They help paint a picture of what it’s like to be your client, transforming your brand photos into marketing tools that resonate with your audience.

Who Needs Mock Clients?

Most creative businesses will find that using mock clients in their brand photos is a game-changer. As a creative entrepreneur, your process is just as critical as the final product or service you deliver.

Mock clients provide a visual representation of this process, adding depth and context to your brand story.

In my own creative business, I enjoy taking pictures that showcase how I work, not just the final images or videos I capture. These pictures help me share the story of what I do as a brand photographer and how I do it. 

For example, I have photos on my website where I’m going over the plan for our shoot day with clients or presenting their brand board. These are big parts of how I work, and even though my website talks about it, I like to include pictures that show these steps too. This way, my audience can see exactly what happens and feel more confident about investing in my services!

my own brand shoot with mock client

Here are some examples of how I’ve helped my clients enhance their brand photos with mock clients during our photoshoots:

Incorporating mock clients not only enriches the visual narrative of your brand but also provides a more relatable and authentic glimpse into the heart of your business.

Examples of mock clients for brand photo shoots

Finding Mock Clients For Your Brand Photoshoot

Now you might be wondering, 

“How do I find these mock clients?”

Don’t worry– it doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming!

Most of my clients reach out to their close friends, past or current clients, or team members to participate in their brand photoshoot. 

If you’re unable to find anyone, don’t hesitate to ask your photographer for suggestions. They can usually tap into their network and find the right mock client for you.

Timing and Involvement 

A common concern among my clients is the time commitment for friends or clients participating in their brand shoot. Many worry it might be a big ask, involving a lot of waiting around. 

This can feel extra stressful if you’re not comfortable being in front of the camera–the idea of extra people watching might make you even more nervous!

But really, it’s way easier than you think!

The key is to plan your shoot day effectively. You can schedule everything just right, so your mock clients are there when you need them and can leave when it’s time for you and your photographer to move on to other shots or locations.

In fact, mock clients aren’t needed for the entire photoshoot and most likely shouldn’t be there the whole time. During our strategy meeting, I’ll talk to my clients about how mock clients will be involved so we can proactively plan their arrival time. 

I usually start with individual team member portraits to ease into the shoot before introducing mock clients. They typically join about 30 minutes after the start, to avoid any distractions or self-consciousness.

This way, everything runs smoothly for everyone involved.

Team members as mock clients for a brand shoot

Compensating Mock Clients

If you’ve already invested a lot of time and money into your brand photoshoot,  you may hesitate to spend even more on hiring mock clients. 

Luckily, this isn’t necessary if you’re willing to be creative and reach out to your community!

Compensation can vary based on your relationship and the nature of the shoot. 

Friends might participate for free out of support, while clients might appreciate a discount or a free service. Team members may just consider it part of their job.

Here are some ideas of how you can compensate your mock clients outside of paying them:

  • If you own a flower shop, your mock clients might walk away with a bunch of blooms and be happy.
  • If you run a medical spa and past or current clients are part of the shoot, you may decide to provide a discount or free service for their time.
  • If you have a home decor shop, maybe you offer the client 20% off their next in-store purchase!

Whatever you choose to do to express your thanks, it’s important to set clear expectations regarding compensation from the get-go to avoid any confusion or uncomfortable conversations. 

Compensation for mock clients

Pro Tip: Know exactly how you plan to use mock client images beforehand. Share concept boards and image inspiration to help ensure everyone understands their role before shoot day so there are no surprises! Plus, this will help you confidently use those images in your business’s social media marketing or on your website!

Enhance Your Brand’s Impact with Mock Clients

Mock clients are a powerful tool in brand photography. They offer your audience a real look behind the scenes of your process and help build trust with your prospective clients. Proper planning, clear communication, and strategic use of mock clients can significantly enhance the quality and impact of your brand imagery.

As a brand photographer for creatives, I always make sure to chat with my clients about how adding mock clients can really make their photoshoot pop. Not only do they make the photoshoot more dynamic, but they also help ensure that their images can be used as strategic marketing tools.Whether you decide to hire a professional brand photographer or DIY your creative business’ photos, incorporating mock clients can help set your brand apart from the competition, making your brand imagery feel more approachable, engaging, and unique!

extra pair of hands for key symbolic images
nicole bedard photo video profile image

Nicole Bedard is a Connecticut-based brand photographer, videographer and strategist, who is on a mission to help fellow creatives step out from behind their work, showcase their creative process, and make their branding irresistible to their ideal client so they can feel more confident, connect with more people, and create more of an impact in their industry.
Want to learn more about brand photography? Be sure to follow Nicole on the following platforms:

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