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How to Prepare For Your Branding Session

Business

How do you prepare for a branding session you ask?

Well, I’m not going to sugar coat this one: preparing for your branding session can be a lot of work!

From helping my clients plan their branding sessions with me, to having my very own branding sessions, I can tell you that it takes time and effort. What I can also tell you is it’s worth every single second! Branding photos are great to use on social media and help keep your feed cohesive. They are also beneficial for your website; my smiling face on my about page sure gets a lot of views and it’s one of my top viewed website pages!

Having a branding session is almost always the next move for a growing business. If you’re ready to get the most out of your photoshoot, here are four steps on how to prepare for your branding session:

STEP ONE

The first thing you need to know when preparing for your branding session is: YOUR BRAND IDENTITY?

What is a brand identity, you ask?

Your logo, brand colours, visuals, brand voice, ideal client, and brand values are all part. These will come into play when it’s time to figure out how to prepare for your branding session. For my personal branding sessions, I want my images to feel fresh, light, and bubbly. This is a direct translation of my brand identity, and who I am personally. If I had dark and moody images, they wouldn’t reflect or compliment my brand.

STEP TWO

The second step is to know exactly why you’re doing a branding photoshoot.

Is it because you need an updated headshot?

Do you need more content for social media?

Have you been taking all of your own photos but don’t have the time now?

Perhaps you have no idea, but you at least realize that quality photos are important for your business. All of this is why I have an in-depth process including:

1. My Brand Identity Questionnaire to help you discover your brand identity
2. A 30 minute Strategy Consult to plan your branding photoshoot
3. A detailed Branding Guide that includes the four steps in this blog, as well as outfit inspiration, shot list planning tips, location ideas, coloured backdrop options and so much more!
4. A easy to use Strategy Spreadsheet that helps you organize your shot list, outfits and props into a well laid out plan

Together, we’ll bring your brand to life with photos of your business that feel genuine and authentic, attract your ideal clients and keep your brand cohesive!

STEP THREE

The third step is to start working on pulling together a shot list of what you want to photograph!

This is absolutely essential to a successful branding photoshoot. The more you prepare, the more you will get out of your session. If you’re one of those who aren’t quite sure just what to take photos of, that’s okay! Think of the core values of your business, and the message you’re trying to portray through these photos. Do you have any social media captions, blogs, or emails you plan to share? From there, think of the images that would support those.

More great ideas to think about are:

  • your process from start to finish
  • the client experience
  • your workspace / location
  • behind the scenes
  • your life outside of work
  • hobbies you and your clients share
how to prepare for your branding session graphic designer

STEP FOUR

You have your brand identity, you’re clear on why you’re doing a session, and you’ve got a shot list – yay! The next step is to start preparing your props, outfits, and locations aka the fun stuff.

outfits

For each photo idea on your shot list, you want to to have a different outfit ideally. Why? This will ensure your gallery of images has lots of variety. Variety is key if one of the main reasons you’re getting a branding photoshoot is for social media.

For a one hour session I suggest 4-5 outfit changes, but I’ve photographed up to 8 before! The goal is to make it seem like you’ve done multiple sessions on multiple days. Nobody has to know that we’ve done it all in a one-hour session 😉

For your outfits, the first goal is to feel comfortable. If you’re uncomfortable and consistently pulling at your clothing, it will kill your confidence and that energy will come through in your photos.

You also want to make sure that your outfits match your overall brand identity visually, physically and emotionally.

Is your brand a jeans and tee kind of aesthetic, or do you want to come across as formal? Are your brand colours bright and vibrant or light and pastel? Referring to my own brand, I pick outfits that are in my brand colour palette (check that out here!) and on the casual side to compliment my brand identity. I want my clients to learn that I’m personable, down-to-earth, and inviting.

props

Props are easy to overthink. My best advice is to think realistically. What would you have on your desk for laptop photos? Perhaps a coffee, water bottle, glasses, day planner, phone, cute pen, sticky notes etc.

My second piece of advice is: if you’re thinking “uhhh, maybe?” just bring it! Worst case scenario, we don’t use it. Props are help make branding photos look more authentic. They are also important to support your brand identity. If you have a mug with a saying on it that’s “so you”, bring it. If it’s your brand colours, definitely bring it!

The props that you bring for your branding photoshoot will all depend on the shot list that you created in step three. Some of the most common items my clients bring to branding photoshoots are:

  • mug
  • coffee / tea to fill the mug
  • day planner
  • laptop
  • notebook
  • fancy pen
  • products, if applicable
  • cellphone

location location location

After you’ve done all this work, you’ll need to decide what the perfect location is for your session. Do you need to be outside? Inside? At a coffee shop? Do you need a kitchen atmosphere? For a one hour session, I suggest 2 locations maximum. Choosing multiple locations also depends on their proximity, the time of day, and how many outfit changes you have.

Here are some great options if you’re completely stumped on a location for your session:

  • book an AirBnB
  • head to a local photography studio
  • use a show home 
  • rent a local yoga studio
  • use a family member or friend’s home

now you’re ready!

Finally, after all of that preparation, you’ll be ready for your branding photoshoot! Phew! It’s a lot eh?

If you’re feeling a bit anxious still, don’t worry! Every single person has those same excited/nervous feelings before their first few branding sessions, myself included.

A few more great tips, I can share as a branding photographer are:

  1. Bring a friend to help you stay organized so you can focus on being the model
  2. Bring a bluetooth speaker with your favourite playlist to help you feel more comfortable and at ease
  3. Don’t be too shy to bring food or drinks to help your session feel like fun! Wine, doughnuts, you name it…
  4. Make sure you have fun, and I mean lots of fun! At the end of the day, you want to be relaxed and show your true self in these photos.

I hope by now you’re feeling super duper confident on how to prepare for your branding session. If you have a few more questions you can always send me a quick email! I’m happy to help.

PS, want to know how to prepare for a branding photoshoot from a digital marketing perspective? Click here to read my friend Wandermint Creative’s take on how to prepare!

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