Perhaps the most essential element of your branding will be the imagery you share. Over time, your audience will begin to recognize your brand, your special traits, your unique character and your spirit through the portraits and images you choose to incorporate. To help guide you through this rewarding and exciting experience towards seeing your unique photoshoot come to life, I have created the following guide:
PREPARING FOR YOUR SHOOT
SELECT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
The goal of your photographer is to introduce you in an engaging and approachable way, so that through the photographs, your potential client feels connected to you in a way they feel like they already know you! For this to occur seamlessly, you want to be sure to find and build a relationship with the best photographer for you! This relationship and continued collaboration will be essential to a successful journey together.
To begin the search for a photographer, it’s helpful to reach out to your colleagues and friends for recommendations first and do some educated internet searching for yourself to see who's work most attracts you. Photographers come in many varieties! Simply put, if you love and connect with your photographer’s imagery, trust in their vision and admire their approach, guess what? Your potential clients will too! In Branding Photography, it is best to collaborate with what is commonly known as a “lifestyle portrait” photographer. These are the photographers that will select everyday settings as your backgrounds- a cozy café, a seaside boardwalk, a colorful city marketplace- places that you may find yourself on your best days! They will document you in real and authentic ways, generally with natural, ambient light- versus a studio portrait photographer that works with stationary backdrops in a studio setting. Take a look at my Branding Photography Portfolio for inspiration and examples of this.
Keep in mind, you will want to book your photographer (and hair/make up stylist if not included in your photography package) 1-3 months in advance. This will ensure you secure the best date and time that fits your schedule, while also giving you time to work through any pre-shoot details.
CURATE YOUR WARDROBE
Using any inspiration and Pinterest boards you’ve gathered along your brand building process, you can begin to organize the wardrobe pieces that you think are right for the shoot in which you’re planning! I suggest you first review your existing wardrobe to see what may fit your brand and qualify as “shoot worthy”. These are pieces you feel absolutely fabulous and fully confident in. Share your options with a trusted friend and your photographer – then together, you can decide what could be added to take the looks to the next level! Have fun with this process!
Treat yourself to a day of shopping around local boutiques and high-end apparel and accessories shops. If you find this process overwhelming, consider hiring a professional stylist who can custom design a complete vision for you! As a top client with exceptional style, Emily Williams of I HEART MY LIFE, is a superb example of how a consistent curated style can be an authentic representation of you and your brand. I know thus far, she’s chosen all of her clothes and uses Kate Spade for a lot of the inspiration. Maybe there’s a brand that is an easy go-to for you too! Finding inspiration from notable Fashion Bloggers you admire is greatly helpful too. Emily loves browsing galmeetsglam.com and pinkpeonies.com for fresh ideas!
The locations you and your photographer select should ultimately convey the lifestyle you lead. Your ideal clients love to feel like they’ve stepped into your world so as your brainstorming locations, begin thinking about the types of settings you love to find yourself in. And think big! Most photographers travel (ahem, moi!)! Don’t be shy to consider a shoot in a city of your dreams.
If your portrait shoot includes more than one location, you and your photographer will want to discuss how you can maximize variety of locations as best you can. Trust in your photographer’s vision! Many times, they are already seeing the potential of a setting before you are. I personally love to use unexpected locations.
READY, SET, SHOOT!
In the weeks prior to your shoot date, coordinate all final details with your stylists and photographer. Be sure to share your wishes for hair and makeup with your stylist in advance. Outline all location and wardrobe details with your photographer. If your shoot includes more than one location and wardrobe, your photographer will work with you to decide what pieces work best in specific locations.
Pamper yourself! Deep tissue massages, facials, an appointment with your trusted hair stylist, several workout sessions with a trainer, maybe even a juice cleanse – preparing for a photoshoot gives you all the more reason to treat yourself!
THE SHOOT DATE
Your first shoot is one you will never forget! You may feel the rainbow of emotions as you journey through each step of the day, and that’s totally okay and all a part of it! It is a big stretch in confidence for most of us to put ourselves out there, but remember that having fun and allowing yourself to glow with confidence will show through in the images!
The morning of your shoot, be sure to enjoy a clean and hearty breakfast, drink plenty of water and spend some time in quiet mediation before the day gets moving. Once you are with hair and makeup stylist, you’ll enjoying sitting back and getting made up! Keep your thoughts and conversations positive and uplifting during this time.
Enjoy every minute with your photographer once you’ve begun your shoot. You may have found it helpful to research and practice suggested posing for your body and personality type before your shoot. On the day of, it’s important that you don’t let yourself get hung up on whether you’re remembering everything and “getting it right”. Allow yourself to be natural and to be guided by your photographer as they will love to see your personality and spirit come through authentically. Remember they will always help guide you along the way if you’re feeling stuck. Trust their guidance – photographers are constantly looking for the best angles, lighting and backgrounds! Keep your posture open and those beautiful eyes and smile directed toward the camera lens for the majority of the shoot. For branding purposes, this will help you come across as connecting, approachable and engaging. Imagine the camera as your new favorite client sitting across from you!
Welcome the unexpected! As all of my clients know, I love spontaneity! Sometimes the best shots come in the most unexpected moments! Be courageous and welcome variety! Being open to ideas that are different than what your peers may be doing will let your imagery stand out!
Once your shoot has wrapped, you will feel warmed with excited energy and confidence! Consider treating yourself to a post-shoot celebratory beverage or meal with a friend or loved one!
AFTER THE SHOOT
RECEIVING YOUR IMAGES
Your photographer will have shared with you an expected delivery date of your image proofs prior to your shoot – generally a couple weeks after the shoot. Once you’ve received your image proofs, I recommend sitting down with a cup of tea or coffee and giving yourself time to quietly review everything.
It isn’t uncommon to experience an array of emotions the first time you view your images. Trust me, even as photographer with years and years experiencing images for the first time, I am a ultimately woman, too. And sometimes that means over thinking and nit-picking on every part of myself that shows in the picture. While this is entirely normal, I encourage you to focus on all the elements you love and don’t be afraid to talk with your photographer about these initial feelings. She/he will love to discuss the images they most love and why. Trust me when I say, there will be a day when you revisit those very same images and want to celebrate what confidence and beauty you exude.
Once you’ve begun narrowing down selections of your favorite images, begin placing them into your website or your social media feeds. You’ll quickly fall in love with your brand image just as your clients will, too!
ORGANIZING YOUR IMAGES
You’ll love having the variety of imagery you’ll receive from your shoot! There is potential for use in each image! I recommend going through your proof gallery several times, both by yourself and with a trusted friend. Create several “favorites” and “ideas” lists to help organize the many images that you can envision using. Remember that not every image you select has to be smile-at-the-camera type of shot. I love Emily Williams' rule of thumb that 70% of your portraits used for branding purposes should be engaging with eyes at camera, and the other 30% can be looking away. Consider that using several of the fun and interesting snaps of details and unexpected candids will add variety and personality to your brand!
UTILIZING YOUR IMAGES
Once you’ve received your final image files, begin playing! Brainstorm placement in your website pages, on your social media feeds, banners, etc. If you’re working with a graphic designer or web designer, share the images with them so they can make suggestions as well!
I hope this information has been helpful. It would be a true honor to work alongside you to see your entire vision come to life! Feel free to connect anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your dream shoot and any ideas you may have.