Your 4 Step Guide to Planning a Successful Brand Photoshoot

Filed in Collaborations, Featured  /  March 8, 2020 /

Written in collaboration with Tatum Brandt of Brandt Creative Co.

Brand photoshoots are SO much fun and there’s no doubt you’re going to rock yours.

But first things first, the key to a successful photoshoot (aside from just being yourself and having a badass photographer!) is to plan ahead. Here are a few essential steps that will make you feel confident and prepared to get the content you need. 

Step 1: Make a mood board on Pinterest or Instagram.

Screenshots of KaSandra Mitchell's Brand Photo Pinterest Board
  • Check out others who are successful in your industry and save the content that resonates with you to a specific Pinterest Board or Instagram Folder labeled: Photo Mood Board or Brand Photography.

  • Ask yourself what it is you like about each photo. Is it the way a person is posed? Does it show off their personality? Is it the way it’s been edited? The props they use? The crop? These are all things you should be taking a mental note of so you can effectively describe what you expect from your photographer.

  • Need a little Pinspiration to get you started? Check out my Brand Photography Board on Pinterest and follow along because I’m constantly adding new inspo.

Step 2: Find the right photographer for your brand.

Photo of KaSandra Mitchell with her camera during a brand photoshoot.
Hey. It’s me. Just over here reminding you that I’m 9 kinds of ready to work with ya. You can reach me here.
  • Be sure they are a qualified brand photographer. Repeat after me: This is not the time to ask your best friend’s photo hobbyist sister to take cute photos of you for Instagram. If you take your brand and business seriously, you need to hire someone who knows exactly what they’re doing and how to create images that attract your ideal paying clients/customers.

  • Look at their website to see what kind of brand images they have delivered to other clients. Is it cohesive? Does it flow well with their clients’ branding? Does it evoke emotion and an eagerness to see more?

  • This will be one of the most essential parts of your visual branding. Real talk, you can have the most amazing branding created with a kick-ass website, but if your photos are subpar, it will all fall flat. You can make a simple website look high end with great photos, but you can’t make a high-end website look good with bad photos.

    *Want to make sure you know exactly what to look for in a brand photographer? Read this blog post that’s chock full of advice to feel confident in your search.

Step 3: Plan your aesthetic.

Detail shot of an artist's paint-covered coveralls and Vans brand shoes during her brand photoshoot.
Photograph of Laura Schwieterman by KaSandra Mitchell during her brand photoshoot at Gasmoney Studios in Denver, Colorado.
  • Location. Let’s say you’re a fitness/wellness pro. Great outfits and shots can only do so much if they’re done in a dimly lit gym with terrible colors. Even if you usually work out or work at one location, maybe get a pass at a gym with brighter lighting and neutral colors. Or find a coffee shop or an open space with natural light that works better for photos — ask your photographer for suggestions!

    Pro tip: rent an Airbnb or find a photo studio that you can use.

  • Outfits. For each type of content you talk about on your social media and website, plan one or two outfits to go with the activity. With fitness, it’s fine if you have just one workout outfit, although I recommend throwing on a sweater or just wearing a sports bra for a couple of shots to break things up! You want to think about versatility because you’ll want to use these shots for a long time. So wear something simple that you feel confident in that you can reuse.

    Also, try to avoid bright and electric colors like hot pink or lime green in the shots, as this can potentially clash with your brand colors. Aim for colors you love that are on the neutral side of things. Whites, nudes, rich earthy tones, and denim are all winners. Even if your branding evolves with time, the photos won’t be outdated. Ah, and don’t forget to include shots that will be useful in all seasons! Nothing quite like rocking a blatant winter shoot well into July.

    Need more Pinspiration? Check out this board.

  • Poses. I can’t stress how important it is to get a wide variety of shots. You should not be smiling and looking at the camera in every single photo. Seriously, that’s like walking into a room and having every person looking at you and smiling from ear to ear…and you don’t know why. Uncomfortable, right?

  • While a few “professional” looking photos where you’re looking at the camera are essential, you’ve got to change it up! Get a few shots laughing, working in action, drinking coffee (or wine — who doesn’t like wine?!), journaling, scrolling on your phone, etc. 

  • Be sure to include a few shots of you doing things without your face in them — whether that’s reaching for one of your favorite products or pouring a cup of coffee. Note — if you want to draw attention to products you’ll link to on your site (like Beautycounter or affiliate products you love), get shots of you using these. It’s always good to have personalized product photos that compliment your brand.

    Have I lost you? Look at this Pinterest board to see what I’m talking about.

  • Personality Pics. Try to grab photos of you doing things you love, or behaving a way that is very “you” to make your brand more personal. Like Laura’s laugh in her photoshoots or my girl Sarah Bridgeman’s soft smile in her photos. Communicate who you are to the camera (ahem, your audience)!

Step 4: Make a brand photo shot list.

  • *Be sure your photographer takes plenty of landscape photos.* While portraits are gorgeous and necessary for social media, your website NEEDS a variety of at least 5-10 final edited landscape shots. If you hire a photographer that specializes in branding/advertising, they will already know this, but it’s always worth mentioning and writing into your shot list.

  • Write down the shots you know you will need. Visit a few websites of successful brands you admire in your industry. Some things to consider: What kinds of photos are plastered across their sites? How do they utilize their header images? What kind of vibe did they go with on their “About Me” page? How are they showing off what they do or the products they offer? Take notes about what you think will work for you.

  • Share your list and photo mood board with your photographer before the shoot so they can properly prepare.

That’s all for now! Take this advice and go rock that brand photoshoot, bb.

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  2. KARINA says:

    This is so amazingly helpful thank you for taking the time out to explain every element in detail. Now all I need to do is get myself a tripod and venture off with my DSLR to a great spot. Honestly can’t thank you enough lots of be aware of doing it alone, but so much you get to learn!




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