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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 uniform. They are also beneficial for your website, my smiling face on the about page sure gets a lot of views!

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: WHAT IS YOUR BRAND IDENTITY?

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 photo shoot.

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 meet with all of my clients in person, if possible. We talk about why you want a branding photoshoot and your brand identity. Then we’ll bring your brand to life with photos of your business that feel genuine and authentic!

STEP THREE

Start working on pulling together a shot list! This is absolutely essential to how your branding photoshoot will go. 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
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. The next step is to start preparing your props, outfits, and locations – the fun stuff!

outfits

For each “shot” on your shot list, you want to aim to have a different outfit. 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 it will show in the photos via your expression and your body language. You also want to make sure that your outfits match your brand identity visually and professionally. Is your business a jeans and tee kind of aesthetic, or do you want to come across as formal? Referring to my own business, I pick outfits that are light in colour and more on the casual side to compliment my brand identity. I want my clients to see my style of photography is light and airy, and that I’m personable, down-to-earth, and inviting.

props

Don’t overthink this one. My number one piece of advice: if you’re thinking “uhhh, maybe?” just bring it. The worst-case scenario would be to realize a prop would be the perfect fit, and you left it at home. Props are there as a support for 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, bring it.

Of course, the props that you bring for your branding photoshoot will all depend on your business. Some of the most common items for my clients are:

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

location location location

Of course 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 an hour session, I suggest 2-3 locations max. That all depends on the distance between each spot, 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! And don’t worry, every single person has those same excited/nervous feelings before their session, myself included. A few more great tips I’ve picked up being 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 knowledgeable 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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