We're Erica + Jon, professional photographers, Mr + Mrs and Mom + Dad. We like to share insights into our industry, behind the scenes and stories about our life and chips + salsa obsession.
We always like to say a brand shoot has two parts: the planning and preparation and the actual execution on the day of the shoot. It’s 50 / 50 for both…but they’re not mutually exclusive. They’re inclusive. It’s kind of like going to a resort and ordering two pina coladas…one for each hand of course! You’re relaxing on the sandy beach away from all worries in the world and your server comes back with your two dinks. Hurray! If one of the drinks you ordered comes back great and the other is half full missing the standard garnish of pineapple and maraschino cherries, you will most likely be disappointed and, let’s be honest, some of you might even pull a Karen. I mean after all…who on earth FORGETS THE PINEAPPLE! The same analogy goes for our clients. Don’t forget the garnish to the work you do. Take pride in it because that is exactly what sets you apart. If you do not plan and prepare and give that part 100%, it directly impacts the way you are able to execute for your client.
One of the BIGGEST things we stress is being prepared for a shoot. To be prepared is already half the victory. Today we are going to unpack a few ways to show up prepared to serve your client and create a great experience.
Being successful in brand photography comes down to intentional planning. This doesn’t mean “winging it” like you may have done for your high school speech class or that time you decided you were too good to ask for directions and added an additional 2 hours to your drive PRAYING you wouldn’t run out of gas!
Brand photoshoots are WAY more than just showing up and shooting. It’s taking the time to truly understand the brand, coming up with inspiration for the shoot, and making sure you have gas in the tank. Some people will use pinterest to prepare and others, like us, will use questionnaires to plan and style the shoot. It’s the photographer’s job to pay attention to the details because the ultimate goal is to capture and convey a message. Having a shot list and photo inspiration prepared and agreed on between you and the client in advance really helps make sure that the vision is on point. At the end of the day, you are shooting content that will represent their brand well. If you’re looking for a great resource to pull those things together and show it to a client in a stunning way, check out our photoshoot planning template for your next shoot!
Ultimately you NEVER know what you’re going to run into. Macgyver has been making creativity sexy since 1985, so we often have to think “WWMD?” What Would Macgyver Do? Trust us when we say that we have come up with some pretty creative things over the years to make sure our clients felt good and that we nailed the perfect shots. When it comes to your gear bag, would you rather be the one that always comes through with a solution and keeps a shoot going? Or would you rather be standing there embarrassed because something happened. Let’s say a lightstand failed and you didn’t have anything there to jerry rig it together for the photoshoot. That could end your shoot, or at least really kill the momentum! So be sure to show up prepared for the little odds and ends. Coming prepared will make sure you can avert any emergency situations that pop up, and most importantly….you get to be the hero! Here is a list of the essentials we make sure to bring with us on every shoot:
Nobody likes to have the camera on them. Let’s face it, we aren’t shooting the Kardashian sisters and very rarely do you work with somebody who is a full time model and just so natural in front of the camera. When the camera is flipped around on us…we freeze. We literally don’t know what the heck to do. The last time we had our photos taken somebody told us to do the “Notebook lift,” and even though we have walked through it with clients multiple times we had no idea what the heck we were doing!! It was a major fumble on our part because we were nervous and on the side of the lens we’re not used to.
Our clients are going to feel the exact same way, so it’s sooo important to put ourselves in their shoes! You client will likely be nervous, stressed, and overwhelmed coming into such an important shoot. This is their brand afterall! It’s their livelihood and income! During shoots we need to create a positive environment for our clients by being constantly reassuring and talking a lot. When we shoot we like to show our clients photos throughout the shoot to make them feel more comfortable and ease the unknown of what the pictures look like. It’s PRICELESS seeing their face light up with joy and helps us keep high energy during the shoot.
High Energy = More Fun
More Fun = Better Photos
We love playing fun music because it lightens the mood, gets positive energy going and gives us a reason to DANCE! We’re just grateful clients keep coming back to us and are accepting of Jon’s bad dance moves!! Our go to for music is our Wonderboom Bluetooth speaker. We don’t leave the house without it when going to a shoot. You’ll always be picking up good vibrations from Erica + Jon!
Showing up prepared for your shoot with the planning done and being there ready to solve any issue that may come up is crucial. It creates an atmosphere for your client that allows them to feel comfortable, safe and build trust in you as the photographer. Showing up prepared will not only elevate your client experience, but the end product that you’ll be able to deliver to really solidify your professionalism as a brand photographer.
Cheering you on for your next brand photography session!