by Danielle Andrews, President and Co-founder of WPIC Inc.
In the preceding Blog Post I talked about Why Wedding Pros Need to Have Branded Photos.
Just like a wedding or styled shoot requires planning, a great and successful Branding Shoot involves a lot of preparation and planning.
What is a Branding Photoshoot?
Branding Photos are photographs that represent a business visually. A Branding Photoshoot is a way to capture a bunch of photos that visually tell your business story.
Establish Your Why
Before you start designing your Branding Photoshoot, you should figure out what you hope to achieve. Will you be using these photos for Social/ Are you going to include them in a Blog? Are you going to populate your website with the photos?
What do you want to show and what image do you want to project in these photos? Because really, branding photos are image photos. They are glamorous, beautiful photos showing exactly the you that you want to show to potential clients and business partners.
Create a Design or Mood Board
This can be as simple as grabbing inspiration photos on Pinterest and putting them together in a folder, or more elaborate with a physical Design Board or Canva Mood Board. it is important to keep the overall look of your Branded Shoot in mind so you achieve the exact results that you are hoping to. Having a Design board will help you with everything from choosing props and flowers, to outfits.
Elements of a Branding Photoshoot
Since you are showcasing your business, you need to be putting your best, professional, foot forward. That means:
- Hiring a professional photographer
- Professional clothing that you would wear for meetings and at weddings
- A couple looks/changes of clothing
- Professional nails, hair and makeup
- A great backdrop/setting
- Your brand colors
- Floral arrangement/s
- Relevant props
- Great poses
Professional photos are a must. You are trying to convince potential clients to take you seriously as a professional, so therefore, your photos need to be professional. From lighting, to flattering angles, and a clean polished look, there is no alternative to working with a professional photographer. Find a photographer whose style of photos you like, discuss the costs, any extra fees, how many edited photos you will receive, and what the turn-around time will be. Pricing varies widely, and some photographers offer packages that include studio rental and a professional hair and makeup artist, others will have an hourly rate, others a flat fee. From photography outsourcing agents like Shoot My Travel, to Exclusive Headshot Photographers, to Wedding Photographers, and Photography Schools, we have tried them all. It all comes down to finding a photographer whose style you like and who will make you feel comfortable in front of the camera.
You probably won’t be putting together branding photo shoots more than once a year, so have a few different looks, from your clothing to your matching accessories. Make sure that the clothing you choose for your Branding Shoot matches the level of client you plan to work with and that you feel great in the clothing. You’re going to be moving around in a variety of poses and if you are not comfortable in what you are wearing, or are worried about how it looks, it will show in your photos. Keep the colours within your personal brand, or at least complimentary to your brand colours so your photos will match your feed and website. You might want to show your look on the day of the wedding, in meetings and then your day to day office look.
Hair, Makeup, and Nails
Even if you do not usually wear full makeup or get manicures, remember that you want to show your best self. Odds are, your hands will be featured in photos holding props, so even if you only get a coat of clear polish, having your nails and hands professionally manicured will project the best image. Likewise for your hair and makeup. A professional makeup artist knows what makeup looks best on camera, and they can do your makeup as glam or as natural-looking as you’d like. But make no mistake about it, everyone needs professional makeup in their branding photos. (Yes men, even you should have a little mattifying and emphasis of those cheekbones.) Your hair always looks best when you leave the salon, so why not complete your amazing look with a blowout on the day of the shoot?
The setting for your photos is as important as every other aspect of your shoot. Look for somewhere with character and the vibe you are going for. You might want to take photos outdoors (just factor in wind, sunlight, shadows, and weather can not be controlled), in your home office, at a neighbourhood cafe, at a wedding venue, or the photographers studio. Another option is photography studios that you can rent by the hour. Most cities have these available and they are modern, bright spaces, with perfect lighting and great furniture and some props available. The for these studios range in price from $80-150 per hour. If you get your photos taken around a certain holiday, they might even have the space professionally decorated in a theme.
It is important to incorporate your brand colours in to your photos, because these are after all, branding photos. You are going to be using these photos in your marketing and promotion, as well as in Social Media and on your website. They need to blend in well with your other marketing for a consistent, cohesive look. Your branding colours can appear in props, backgrounds, furniture, clothing, or accessories. Little hints of your colours is all you need.
Whether its a small flower in a vase, a potted plant or a full out flower wall, flowers are an important element of your branding shoot since you are a wedding professional. Flowers make anything prettier, and shout wedding professional in your photos.
Using props is another way to show personality and style in your branding photos. Some props that you may want to include are:
- a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer
- your emergency kit
- stylish file folders
- a nice pen
- an attaché case
- a datebook/planner or desk calendar
- decorative desk accessories
- your headset/walkie talkies
- flower arrangements
- champagne or wine, with appropriate glasses
- wedding books or magazines
- tea cups, coffees mugs or travel mugs
- wedding cake, mini cakes, macarons, meringues, donuts or other wedding treats
- a glue gun if you’re crafty
- your apron if you wear one during set up
Pinterest is a great resource to find professional and fun poses. You can search for branding photos, professional poses for women, professional poses for men, fun work poses, or take a look at what other wedding professionals have done for their branded photos. Build a little folder of the poses that you like and practice them in front of the mirror. Put together a visual shot list for yourself or save the poses on your phone to reference at your Branded Photo shoot so you do not forget what the pose looked like.
Your photographer will undoubtedly have some suggestions for poses as well. Listen to them, they know what looks good and what others have done in the past. They want you to be happy with your photos and look the best you can look too!
So now is the time to relax, play some music, have a little drink of the prop champagne if you need it to relax and have fun with your photo shoot! You planned, you prepped, you’ve practiced, and you have surrounded yourself with elements that scream YOU! You are ready for your close up.