If you are reading this, I want to congratulate you for taking a big step on up-leveling your brand imagery. It serves as a really good investment especially for online service-based entrepreneurs. Why? Because personal brand photos lend credibility, show your personality and connect with the visitor on a personal level. Ask yourself if you’d ever buy form someone who you don’t see online especially if it involves service? For sure the answer is no. This is why I strongly recommend custom photography over using stock photos because it gives that more authentic feel and vibe. Using personal brand photos will greatly improve the marketing power of your website.
If you are planning to get your brand photoshoot done and you are investing quite a lot of dollars on it, you better get it right the first time to avoid frustration and disappointment later.
I have a few tips for you so you will get the most out of your photoshoot and I am telling you that preparation is key to achieve it. The whole photoshoot prep thing alone takes a lot of effort.
1. Choose a Photographer.
I love working with Sarah Clayton because she just gets it. Her style is light and airy which I really loved. She is also great at directing the whole shoot.
Do your research on a good photographer who does brand photoshoot. Check out their portfolio. Choosing by price isn’t always the best filter. Visualise how you want this brand photoshoot to look, then go after the best fit. Make sure to choose a photographer you will be comfortable to work with as well. I tend to be more comfortable with female photographers.
Tip: Book ahead of time 2-4 weeks before the shoot to allow preparation.
2. Pick Your Location
Think about your brand tone of voice and try to match that to your shoot location. Your location has to do with what you do. For example, if you sell houses then a good pick is a property you have sold. If you are someone who works from home, then maybe you want to pick your own office. It is so important that you have to be comfortable with the location as it will show in your photos. I did mine at a friend’s house and I wish it was mine because I didn’t really do much staging before the shoot due to lack of time. I was thinking of a hotel lobby and I was glad I didn’t because that’s not where my ideal clients are. I wanted a homey vibe because that’s where I usually do my work anyway. If you decide to do it in a public place like a cafe, talk to the owner or waiters and ask if its okay to shoot and what time would be suitable. Note that cafes and hotel lobby will be busy and it will affect how you pose in front of camera. So just a thought for you.
Tip: Choose 2-3 locations. Note that you may have to pay your photographer for travel fee and her time driving to the next location so make sure that your locations are relatively close to each other. Consider where your ideal clients hang out – cafe, hotel, outdoors, etc.
3. Decide or Finalise your Brand Colors
If you haven’t done your Brand yet, at least come up with a mood board for your colors so you know what to wear so you can match your outfit with your location. Don’t base your brand colors solely based on your tastes. Take your ideal clients into consideration as well. Honestly I never thought my brand will be red but after taking the Kaye Putnam’s Brand Archetype test, I learned that I am a Lover Archetype so that’s when I realised that it has to be red.
4. Choose Your Outfits.
You might think that wearing a suit, casual or a smart dress is a good idea – but your clothing says way more about you than you realize. What you wear says a lot about you and your personality so keep in mind how you’d like to be perceived. Wearing a suit might feel like too formal and corporate for your brand. For me as a designer, I love wearing designer clothes and I was so lucky I found this perfect dress that really showed my personality.
You don’t have to purchase new clothes just for the shoot. You can rent some nice clothes at a fraction of a new one. This is what I did. I rented a designer dress from Designer Wardrobe.
Pick outfits that compliment your brand colors well. Stay away from patterns as they can be distracting. Make sure what you wear is YOU and that you are comfortable wearing it. Watch out for buttons that may open up (wink wink) during the shoot which happened to me and it kind of ruined one favorite photo of mine.
Tip: Project an image of a more successful you.
5. Prepare for Shoot Props
This could be laptop, desk, pens, books, and any other things that you use for your work. This part never came across to me until my brand photographer sent me a checklist so I had to prepare my mood boards. The idea is for the photographer to capture what is like when you are working. So if you need another person acting as your client in the photoshoot, have that arranged as well.
6. Posing Ideas
I am naturally comfortable in front of cameras due to my previous shoot experiences before but if you are someone who has never done shoots before I recommend looking for pose inspirations on Pinterest and discuss with your photographer so s/he can direct you how to achieve those poses. This is why it is important that you are comfortable with the photographer that your choose. Take note of the look and feel of your brand you want to portray. Is it warm, friendly, and impactful? Just try not to be intimidating.
Tip: I say just be yourself and pose as friendly and approachable.
It was a huge dilemma for me back there if I should do my makeup or book a makeup artist for my shoot. I am glad I did. My advise is trust your gut and do whatever it takes to give you that boost and best feeling. How did I feel when I decided to book a make up artist? I didn’t regret it at all. I love photoshoots and I always like to look good on cameras and I don’t do photoshoots quite a lot so investing on makeup one-time for your shoot is really worth it. Otherwise you will end up saying “I wish I booked a makeup artist” after you see yourself looking like your normal day look. Show your best self on your photos.
See it this way, if you were to meet your dream client online would you like him/her to see you in your ordinary look – home clothes and naked face? No right? Attracting clients online is like dating. They have to like you first before they can love you after they get to know you better.
Shoot Day – Just relax and try to chin down, laugh a lot, always smile and show some personality. Don’t forget to use your props on your shoot day! It also doesn’t harm to get a drink – coffee or some mocktail. Don’t forget to celebrate after the shoot. I did a 5-hour photoshoot and it was exhausting but I also celebrated after it.
Biggest Tip: We women tend to overthink about perfection, having the perfect shoot location and wishing for the a good weather. Of course there are things that we won’t be able to control like availability of location, distance between locations, the weather, props not arriving on time, friend not being there for support, feeling of not being prepared. I wanted everything to be perfect but I couldn’t control outside factors. So my advise is just try to enjoy the shoot, keep your natural vibe high and show how awesome you are in what you do. You’ve got this GIRLBOSS! Post some photos of instagram and tag me if you’ve read this post #styledwebdesign_nz