37: How to Prepare For a Brand Photoshoot As a Consultant, Strategist,
or Service-Based Business
You want more than a headshot—and the staged computer shot is so overdone—but you aren’t quite sure what type of images will best reflect your business.
I’m sharing my best tips for capturing your brand essence when what
you sell is inside your head.
On this episode, I’m sharing:
Painful lessons from seven years of photoshoots,
What you need to decide before you hire a photographer,
How to build a mood board and shot list,
The best way to dress for your shoot, and
How to remain relaxed on shoot day.
Want all these tips at your fingertips? Join my list to receive this and other episode-specific action guides.
WHY YOU NEED A BRAND PHOTOSHOOT
If you’re the face of your brand—the person who works with clients—you’ve got to show up on your website. Even if you sell products or have a brick and mortar presence, we still want to know the person behind the business.
Photos of business owners and their team make us feel connected to the business in a way stock photography can’t. And if your photography doesn’t match the ton you want to send, you’re risking sending the wrong message to your website visitors.
Think about some of the websites you love the most. What do you love about them? I’m willing to bet photography plays a huge role.
Unfortunately, for service-based businesses it’s a little harder to know how to capture our brands in photos. We’ve got to go beyond the standard headshot to show what it looks and feels like to work with us.
This confusion is what makes most of us avoid having our photo taken.
PHOTOSHOOT MISTAKES ENTREPRENEURS MAKE
There’s a lot of advice online about brand photoshoots. Why they’re important. How “photos can tell your authentic story.” And how to achieve “a unique look and feel.”
This vague advice leads to rushed photoshoots and unrealistic expectations. A few mistakes I’ve seen entrepreneurs make because they think they need to emulate another business owner’s imagery include:
Dressing in a way they don’t normally dress.
Styling their hair and makeup in a way that’s drastically different than their day-to-day (or even a night out).
Not enough thought given to location and environment.
Hiring a photographer with the wrong style.
What you’re looking for are the exact steps you need to take to make your photography investment pay off. That’s what this episode is here to deliver.
10 STEPS TO PLANNING YOUR BRAND PHOTOSHOOT
Step 1: Define the Purpose: What’s the goal of your shoot? Is it to capture images for your new site? Is it to populate social media content? Are you looking for updated headshots? Be specific and be realistic. You should have a single goal for your shoot, which will guide all of your other decisions. Otherwise you’ll end up risking looking scattered and inconsistent.
Step 2: Name Your Aesthetic: What words would you use to describe the style of photos you’re looking for? What feelings do you want people to have when they see your images? These are important questions to ask to make sure they align with your brand’s voice and tone.
Step 3: Find a Photographer: Not all photographers are created equal. Review their portfolio to make sure they’ve shot photos like the ones you’re envisioning. Inquire as to how they’ll be involved leading up to shoot day. And make sure you’re clear about how much time you’ll need to get the images you desire.
Step 4: Build a Mood Board: At this stage you can go wild on Pinterest. You can also source inspiration from Instagram, ads, magazines, and other businesses you admire. Look for the types of shots that appeal to you, angles and poses, settings and environments, hair and makeup, clothing, and props.
Step 5: Choose a Location: Notice you should have a sense of the tone you want to set and the artistic direction before you choose your location. Consider indoor vs. outdoor, clean vs. bustling backgrounds, lighting, and other subjects that you may want in your images.
Step 6: Select Your Wardrobe: While this tends to be the most confusing and anxiety-producing step, you only need to focus on two main looks. Comfort is important and flowy is not your friend. If you’re using these images on your site, keep your brand colors in mind as you shop in store or shop your closet.
Step 7: Develop Shot List: This is where your mood board comes in to play. While it’s tempting to try it all, focus is key. Develop a few themes with your mood board and cut out irrelevant or misaligned inspiration. The shot list should include the exact vignettes you’re looking for, which could cover: details and props, zoomed in images, zoomed out images, headshots, shots with negative space, a hero shot, and more.
Step 8: Book Beauty Appointments: Professional photos can wash you out, so even if you don’t normally have your makeup done, I’d highly suggest it. Men: get your hair trimmed the week of and ask your barber how to style it on shoot day. Men and women: your hands will show up, so consider a manicure the day before.
Step 9: Touch Base With Photographer: Even if a pre-shoot call isn’t included in your package, request a call to review your shot list and mood board with your photographer. Explain what it is about the inspiration that you’re hoping to capture and ask what you need to know to be best prepared. This communicate will reduce any stress and miscommunication that could pop up on shoot day.
Step 10: Create a Playlist: Getting your photo taken is always awkward. Playing your favorite music helps a lot. Create a playlist that spans a few hours and will keep you excited and engaged as your photographer snaps away.
You’ve done everything you can to prepare. Now it’s your time to hand over the control to your photographer.
Know the parking situation before you show up and clear any responsibilities for the rest of the day. Make sure you eat breakfast and stay hydrated throughout the shoot.
Remember: success isn’t in the number of photos you get. 3-5 money shots can carry you through a whole year of business if used right.