Working “Direct to Client” on a Brand 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.



Last week, we unpacked our top tips for Working with a Brand Representative. This type of relationship is often unique to larger companies and can be different from what you’re used to. So, we thought it might also be helpful to take this week and talk about something you might be more familiar with: Working “direct to client”. This relationship is exactly what it sounds like…you work directly with the business owner to plan and prepare for their photoshoot. If you’ve worked in the lifestyle photography space, this might seem like it should be second nature. You already do this with brides, families, and any other client-types you regularly work with. However, there are a few things that make working with a brand a little different. Here are some of the most important things to remember when working “direct to client” on a brand photoshoot!

This is Emotional

Remember that the owner of the business is going to have an emotional attachment to it. This stands to reason…they’ve worked hard for what they’ve built! Just stop for a moment and think about your own brand. You’ve spent some long hours and invested a lot of time, money, and energy to get to where you are. That’s exactly how your client feels, too! While emotion isn’t the main selling point for brand images, think about how you would want someone to take care of your business if the shoe was on the other foot. Speak to that business owner’s passion and let them know that you get them and their needs!

Show Them the Benefits

This might be the first time your client is working with a brand photographer. This is your chance to show them how it can benefit their business! Explain to them that their prior experience with a lifestyle photographer might be different and that your goal is to understand their needs and create imagery that is in line with their aesthetics and usable on multiple platforms. These images are not about emotion, they are strategic. Creating images that are purposeful and intentional for their business involves a totally different experience, and prepping them for that experience is going to make the whole process that much more successful!

Get a Plan

More than just taking photos, being a great brand photographer involves helping your clients plan for a successful shoot. We have a motto around here that says “we will never just show up and shoot”, and it’s served us SO well over the years. Take some time to dig deeper with your client before their shoot and ask questions like these:

  • Who is your ideal client?
  • What message are you trying to send to your customers?
  • What makes your product or service unique?
  • How will the final images be used?

When you and your client can walk into the shoot on the same page with your goals and expectations, you’re winning, boo!

Make Licensing Easy

Because you’re not dealing with a large corporation, the concept of image licensing might be foreign to your client. We ran into this quite a bit when we first started out, and what we concluded is that small business owners and personal brands are a lot like the modern bride: They want digital copies of their images and they want to use them freely! Our solution for this was to include a short-term digital use license built into the brand photoshoot package. Keep in mind that most small biz owners/personal brands are going to use their images on their website and social media platforms. They typically won’t need them for high-exposure campaigns like billboards, etc. Because of this, a digital license is the perfect starting point. It gives the client flexibility in using their photos, but it still leaves them the option to purchase a broader use license in the future. You know, when their business explodes overnight after they got on Shark Tank!

Now, we know this may seem like a LOT of work for one photoshoot! But we promise, the results are so worth the effort! If you’ve just read all of this info and are still struggling with what this process looks like for you, we have two resources dedicated to helping you become wildly successful in planning a brand photoshoot! The Brand Questionnaire and The Photoshoot Planning Template were created to help you walk your clients through a customized experience that will result in images they will love and use. Consider these your roadmap to a happy client! We hope these tips and resources give you a head start on your next “direct to client” brand shoot, friends! Go make it happen! 

working direct to client on a brand photoshoot

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