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.
If we were to line all of our clients past and present up and ask them what the single biggest struggle was for them with brand photoshoots, the sounding majority would be saying (or screaming!) that creating variety in a single shoot is the biggest challenge! This is especially true for personal brands that are looking to create a month or more of content from a single brand shoot. But we have good news, boo! IT CAN BE DONE. All it takes is careful and intentional preparation. To help you get started, we’ve outlined our three steps to create variety in a brand photoshoot, so let’s get started!
Before an effective brand shoot can take place, you first have to connect with your client and understand their goals for the shoot. Sometimes this is hard for the client to articulate clearly. They’ll often have ideas and a vision for the overall look and feel of the shoot, but since they aren’t photographers they don’t know what it takes to make that vision come to life. That’s your part friend! It’s what makes you the expert!
Take the time to actively listen and figure out the goals they have for the shoot and any specifics they have for the project; then move on to the next step – Pre-Shoot Logistics.
Now you are armed with the information you need: your client’s hopes for their dream brand photoshoot. In order to make those dreams come to life, you have to start connecting the dots from the planning phase to the logistics phase. Those great ideas you brainstormed with your clients aren’t going to come together on their own! Locations need to be selected and permission given, wardrobe needs to be sorted out to make outfit changes quick and easy on the day of the shoot, and a timeline needs to be put together so you stay focused the day of. This all happens during the pre-shoot logistics phase. You really can’t be too detailed here, so have fun putting all of the practical pieces in place.
This is likely what you expected to see first in this blog – creating a shot list – right!? This step is so important, but oftentimes we see people try to create a shot list before taking care of planning and logistics (<— if those steps even happen at all). Only once you fully understand the client’s vision and have all of the details cemented in place can you effectively create a shot list that will facilitate the variety you and your client are looking for and be sure to be on-brand.
We like to break the shot list into different scenes or concepts. For example, if we were working with a local entrepreneur who was also a wife and mom of three we might plan to photograph her in two settings: one at work and one at home. Those two settings would be separate concepts.
Once you have the concepts planned out, start working on the actual shot list for each concept. While the shot list for each can vary a bit depending on the message you are trying to communicate, we had some go-to standards that we include in almost every shoot. They are the shots that ensure we leave our clients saying ‘Wow!’ and never disappointed with the amount of content they receive.
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