How to Plan a Successful Branding Photoshoot

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We're professional photographers, Mr + Mrs and Mom + Dad. We like to share insights into our industry and empower other photographers to build their biz.



Have an amazing idea and vision for your brand photoshoot in your head, but struggling with how to bring that vision to life? You’re not alone! More often than not, our clients come to us in that same conflict – knowing what they want their photos to look like, but uncertain about exactly how to get there.

Not only are we used to working through that process with our clients, but we also know the difficulty firsthand in planning our own branding photos. We make it a point to have updated photos taken often because we believe what we preach – that powerful and intentional imagery is one of the most effective tools for digital marketing! As we prepare for our own photos, we work through the same process to make sure that we get the most out of the time and investment. So here, friends, we’re sharing our tips on How to Plan a Successful Branding Photoshoot!

Identify Your Goals

The very first step in planning for an effective branding photoshoot is to identify the goals for the session. Planning for family sessions is relatively simple because you already know the goal for the session – capturing photos of well-styled people being a family together! Figuring out the goal for a branding session however can be a little more complex as intentionality is key to success.

Are you wanting to showcase a product or service? Do you want to show potential customers a behind the scenes look at how your brand produces it’s goods? Do you want to communicate a particular theme or cause behind your product? These are the decisions that need to be made before any other planning takes place.

Consider Your Style

Once you know what you want your photos to convey, it’s time to start planning on a more detailed level. If you have established branding, it’s time to bring all of that to the forefront to ensure that your photos reinforce your brand. Consider the color palettes, font types, and style of your brand as you plan important steps like locations, props, and wardrobe.

It’s easy to accidentally bring things together that work against your brand if you aren’t thinking of reinforcing your brand as you plan. If your brand is modern, shy away from farmhouse or shabby chic venues. If you use bright colors across your website, incorporate those into your clothes instead of sticking with neutrals. The conscious effort will make all the difference in the way your photos work with your existing brand.

Plan for Variety

After planning according to your brand, planning for variety is the next most important step. We’ve had individuals mention to us their disappointment from previous photoshoots where multiple looks hadn’t been planned for. Having variety is key to making sure that your shoot results in images that can be used for a long time.

There is no such thing as TOO much variety when it comes to planning. You can always choose to not use a look or location that was planned for, but the opposite definitely isn’t true. If you don’t plan and bring an extra outfit with you, there’s no way to make one appear! In our own branding photoshoots, we typically bring anywhere from 10-15 outfits for a 2-hour session – so have options!

Have a Plan

When it comes to being effective with your time, creating a solid plan for your shoot is essential. Now that you’ve established your goals for the session, considered your brand style in your planning, and ensured you have plenty of variety, it’s time to bring it ALL together. Creating a shot list for your session is key! In order for us, as your photographers, to catch your vision and bring it to life, we need a little helpful direction. Having a shot list benefits you and us. It gives us a road map for the photos you need to receive from the session and makes sure that all your hard work and planning delivers you the photos you need!

The goal of a shot list is to be as specific as possible. If you need a horizontal photo split 50/50 for a header image on your site, include that detail! If you want a photo of you looking off to the side laughing, make sure to write it down. If you want to make sure you’re wearing your blush maxi with your nude, studded heels and that adorable sun hat while holding an ice cream cone in front of a particular whitewashed wall while you smile and laugh to the side….you got it….put it on the shot list!

Now, we have to be honest, we know this all sounds like a lot of work. From top to bottom, our tips for preparation can seem a little overwhelming at first. The best strategy is to take each step one at a time. After all, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. We believe in you – and trust us – you’ll be celebrating your savvy planning skills with post photoshoot high fives and celebration cocktails after you watch your vision come together!

“But Erica and Jon, I seriously can’t plan like this. I can barely plan ahead for what I’ll eat for lunch tomorrow, let alone this detailed planning for my photoshoot!”

We get it. Planning and styling isn’t for everyone. That’s why we decided to not only empower our clients with helpful guides like this one but to offer our planning and styling services as well. Whether planning isn’t your mojo or you simply can’t find the time, we’re here for you! Take a look at the experience we offer our clients to create a perfectly planned and expertly styled brand photo shoot!

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  1. […] important it is to create variety in your brand photography sessions. If you have read our blog on How to Plan a Successful Branding Photoshoot, you’ll understand that planning for variety is an essential part of your shoot. Although, keep […]

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