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a brand photoshoot can elevate your branding and tell a visual story your clients will resonate with.

I mean sure -- who doesn't love a good 'ole stock photo every now and again. They are totally valuable and worthwhile. Even the best of us use them.

But imagine if your clients came to your website and saw photos of you.

You creating.

You smiling.

You selling.

You leading.

Having been a photographer for over a decade, I am a firm believer in the cliche statement "a picture is worth a thousand words". So when I started Hone & Hold, I knew that I wanted to offer brand photography to my clients.

A brand photoshoot tells your clients the visual story of your brand and gives them something to resonate with. It makes you more approachable and it makes prospective clients more comfortable around you. It elevates your level of professionalism and reminds your clients of your intentionality and attention to detail.

Producing a brand shoot doesn't have to be overwhelming. Follow these steps to effortlessly plan your brand photoshoot:

step 1: know your brand messaging and values

(If you have not completed this step, STOP HERE and go back to Identifying Your Ideal Client.)

Your brand messaging and values set the foundation for your business! As with every other aspect of branding, you should start with your messaging and values when designing your brand photoshoot. Consider your ideal client and what kinds of photos will reach them. Look at your brand values and ask -- how can I portray this visually? Review your brand messaging and think about how you can use this to inspire your photos.

For example:

- If your ideal client is women, consider soft, warm colors and vibes that will appeal to a woman.

- If one of your brand values is simplicity, consider keeping your props minimal

step 2: create a mood board
Brand photoshoot mood board
A mood board is a great way to visually communicate your ideas and vibe to a photographer.

Gather photos that represent what you are looking for in brand photography. Consider outfits, props, colors, editing style, and the overall feel of the photos. The photos can be a direct representation of the kinds of photos you are wanting, or they can just be of pretty things that will inspire the feel of your session.

My mood board (right) provided a few outfit ideas and communicated the overall vibe for my photos -- intentional, refined, and effortless. I wanted lots of black, white, and creamy tones. I was interested in a location with elegant architecture. And I wanted to convey an element of luxury to my clients.

A mood board is an effortless way to communicate what you're wanting to your photographer.

step 3: select a photographer

When planning a brand photoshoot, the most important decision you can make is who your photographer will be. You want to choose a photographer whose photos really speak to you. You will also want someone who you feel comfortable around and who you can have fun with on the day of your photos. This will make the whole experience so much better for both of you!

In brand photography, there are two types of photos. Of course, there are photos of you doing what you do. Then there are the photos I like to call "supplemental photos". These would be photos of your props, close-up images of small details, or other photos that can be used as banners or backgrounds. Make sure your photographer is prepared to capture both!

Here are some questions to ask photographers as you are making the decision:

- How would you describe your photography style?

- How long have you been a photographer?

- What kinds of photos do you normally take? (Weddings, families, landscapes, etc.)

- Are you comfortable with posing me?

- Are you comfortable working within my brand guidelines and vision?

- How long will you be shooting?

- How many outfits can I wear and how many locations will we visit?

- How many photos will I receive?

Ultimately, my best advice here is do not settle. These are the photos that will represent your brand on your website, instagram, and in client materials. You want to work with someone who understand that and can execute well!

Brand Photographer Kimberly Moduno
Choose a photographer you feel comfortable with -- this will make the brand photography experience better for both of you!

step 4: choose a location

A solid location that is aligned with your brand can really elevate your brand photos. There are four main categories for locations: city, country, office, or photo studio. Below, I'll breakdown the best fit for your business:

  • CITY VIBES: Give me all the city vibes if your brand values are things like -- modern, simple, bold, urban, or elegant. A city backdrop can be anything from minimalistic to historic.

  • COUNTRY VIBES: Disclaimer -- a "country" photoshoot does not necessarily mean cowboy boots. When I say "country" what I really mean is nature. Think mountains, trees, tall grasses, etc. Plan your brand photoshoot in the country if your brand is rustic or your ideal client would prefer to spend their time outside. A country backdrop is laid back and could make your ideal client feel at ease.

  • OFFICE: Do your brand photoshoot in your office or workspace if you are a creator or consultant and spend most of your time in that space. A storefront can also be considered your office space. This is a great way to give your ideal client a sneak peek into what you do on a daily basis and how you bring your products and services to them.

  • PHOTO STUDIO: A photo studio is a great option if your brand photoshoot will rely heavily on product photography and/or you want a very minimalistic style. There are some gorgeous photo studios out there -- but make sure to find a photographer who is comfortable working in one!

step 5: plan your outfits

If you're anything like me, you spent way too much time and money planning out your brand shoot outfits. Here's the deal -- I've found that my clients are most comfortable when they wear something they already own and already love. Try choosing an outfit out of your own closet before you buy something new!

That being said, your outfits should be a direct reflection of your brand and brand values. If you don't have something in your closet that fits within your brand identity and resonates with your ideal client, you should take a trip to the mall!

Choose 2-3 outfits that reflect who you are and who your brand is. Try to stay away from bright colors and loud patterns and send photos of your outfits to your photographer ahead of time to help them further visualize the final product they'll be delivering to you.

step 6: decide on props

Props add a little something extra to your session and communicate to your ideal client exactly what you do and how you do it. Consider using props that will convey these two ideas to your clients.

For example, if you own a clothing boutique, have photos taken of you hanging clothes on a rack. Or if you are a chef, have photos taken of you creating or plating a dish. If you are an artist, have photos taken of you with your brush, canvas, and palette.

Be careful of including too many props though -- your photographer can help you decide which ones to use that won't make the photos too "busy".

your photoshoot should be a reflection of your brand values and messaging.

When every aspect of your brand photography is filtered through this lens, the final product should be aligned, intentional, and refined. You should leave your brand photoshoot with photos that you can effortlessly use on your website, social media, and in branding materials to resonate with your ideal client.


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