You run a business and you know – or you’ve been told – you need some professional photos. Now what?

I can be a bit daunting trying to find the right photographer to get some photos for your business, especially if you don’t love being in front of the camera. But let me tell you a secret: Barely anybody loves being photographed.

Until you work with someone who makes you feel amazing and creates images that you can’t stop showing off.

The key to having images of yourself that you love, is preparation as well as working with the right person. Knowing what you need to get out of your session, what you need these photos for and how they’ll help you support your business means you can fully focus on how they’ll benefit you rather than just obsess over what to wear or how you look.

Let me show you how I help my clients plan and prepare for their branding photo session to get them to show up confidently in their photos.

How to prepare for a branding photoshoot

While I offer a few different types of sessions – they mainly differ by the time you spend with me – my approach to them all is very similar. In short, we start with a chat, followed by a questionnaire and either another chat or a couple of emails to finalise the planning.

Let’s look at why all this prep work is needed before you step in front of my camera.

Why do I need brand photos for my business?

Have you ever noticed that people love hearing about what’s going on behind the scenes of a project, a business or a brand? Showing the faces behind the content, hearing stories about ideas, challenges or personal adventures always gets a ton of engagement – usually more than any article about a new feature, a new service or offer. That’s because people are curious. We love hearing stories about what’s going on beyond what we see.

This is where small businesses and solopreneurs can really shine. Making your business personable creates a connection with your audience. It’s a way to start genuine conversations that can benefit selling without having to actually sell your product.

And this is where brand photos and films come in. They are an opportunity to show rather than tell and to give a peek behind the scenes of who you are and what your business is about and make you look like the professional you are. They give the opportunity for you to tell the story of what you do, why you do it and how you do it which will then attract your ideal clients and help you sell.

Brand photography includes portraits and headshots of you and anyone else that’s part of your business as well as anything you do. That can be showing off your products or services or your workplace. These photos (as well as a film) help you make a positive and lasting impression on your audience or potential clients.

A personal branding photography session is an invaluable asset for your business. The set of images you’ll receive from your photographer can be used across all your online profiles and websites as well as in any online and offline marketing materials. They can even be used in your premises to give your space a touch or personality.

An initial chat and an in-depth questionnaire aim to uncover all of that background information about you and your business and help both of us understand what you need and how to best plan a brand photo session that will support your mission.

Planning your personal branding photo session

During the planning phase, which is where we have conversations and you fill out a questionnaire (or 2 if you need a brand film), we’ll look at your goals and the purpose of your session. Do you need new headshots because you haven’t had photos taken in 10 years, are you working from a new space you’d like to show off or would you like to introduce a new service?

We’ll go over a variety of topics and questions such as:

  • What does your business stand for?
  • What makes you different from your competition?
  • What is your personal style?
  • What questions does your audience need answering?
  • Do you need anybody to join you for your session to be your client or do you have products that need to be photographed?
  • What locations you’d like to use and how long does it take to travel to them?
  • What are your brand colours and how do they need to be incorporated in your session?
  • How and where are you planning on using your images?
  • What’s your main marketing channel?
  • Do you need any props for your photos? Things you use daily like your laptop, notebook, your favourite mug etc?

Having all of this information (and more) helps me to create a plan or make suggestions to get you the images that you’ll need so that you know what’s going to happen on the day and what you need to prepare for.

How to prepare for your session

How to choose your location

If you want your photos to represent you and your business, it’s important that the location you choose for your images plays into that as well.

A full branding session usually takes upwards of 2 hours. Depending on your photographer it can last up to a whole day even. My most-booked branding session is about 1 hour long, followed by a 3-hour session which is enough to create some variety in what we can shoot and gives you a database of images that will last you at least a year, if not longer. During a session that long, it’s easy to hit 3 or more locations.

Typical go-to places for a brand photoshoot are your office, workspace or workshop if you have one. Alternatively, a co-working space or coffee shop works too – but if you can choose where to go, I’d always recommend a place with good light and lots of space. Your favourite coffee shop might not always be the one that looks best in photos so be aware of that.

If most of your session is supposed to happen outside, it might be worth having a backup plan – either an alternative location or a different date if indoors would not fit your brief at all. We are in the UK after all, with a very unpredictable climate!

What to wear

What you should wear is probably the most-asked question for every photographer. And actually, there’s no single right answer to this.

What you wear is entirely personal. It comes down to your own style and what suits you. But also who your audience is and how you serve them. A jewelry designer can get away with photos in dungarees while someone running a small agency probably has a different image to represent so smart casual or businessy outfits would suit them better.

It’s important that your clothes fit well – not too tight, not too baggy. They should feel like you and support your personality rather than distract.

I’d avoid big brand logos (even if it’s your own) and big, busy patterns as they can distract from who you are.

Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing your outfits:

  • Bright colours are ideal for colourful accents
  • If clothes need to be ironed, make sure you do – creases can’t always be photoshopped
  • Bring accessories like scarfs, jackets, cardigans or a few different pairs of shoes to mix up outfits

Along with your clothing goes your general styling. Are you someone who barely ever wears makeup, even when you’re working with your clients? Then don’t change that for the photos unless you want to uplevel your business and plan to change your appearance anyway.

Stay true to who you are, how you dress and present yourself normally. A personal branding photo shoot is not the time to experiment with something new unless you’re open for the possibility that it won’t work for your business.

What do you want to say?

Whether this relates to a brand film or some personal branding photography, you need to be clear about what your message and your goal is before we start shooting.

For video, what is it that you want people to walk away with? Which action should they take? How do you want them to feel after seeing your video? What are the key points that need to be covered to reach your ideal client and make them say “This is what I need. How can I get this?”

For photos, this is a little more subtle but the images need to be a visual representation of what you do for your clients. Looking at your photos, your ideal client should easily recognise what you do and whether they want to find out more about that.

What happens during your brand photo or film session?

When we meet, there’s usually a bit of time to chat first before I point my camera at you. Throughout the whole session though, we’ll probably just chat about your business, your goals, your hobbies… Anything that will keep you engaged and happy.

It will show on your photos – not always to others but definitely to you – if you weren’t feeling comfortable so if there’s ever a point where things don’t feel right, speak to me so I can change what’s in my power! And if that means we’ll take a break and have a coffee and a chat, then that’s totally fine too.

I usually don’t book more than 1 photo session per day for that reason – so if we run over because you needed a break, I don’t have to worry about rushing off to another client.

So, how do you feel about a photo session now? Does that clear things up and make it a little less daunting?

If you’re curious to find out what I could do to help you show up confidently in your business, book a chat with me and we’ll talk about your options.

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