How to prepare for your brand shoot
I know it’s a big step for many entrepreneurs to book a brand shoot, and often at considerable investment for their business. A brand shoot is something that you want to make sure you feel fully prepared for, to ensure that you get the imagery out of it that you need for your business.
So, I thought I’d share my top tips on how to prepare for your own brand shoot…
1) Know your brand and ideal client
Understanding who your ideal client is, who you’re actually serving is the foundation of your business. Not knowing this and having this person clear in your mind will mean your message and branding is confused. People won’t understand what your business is about and everything you put out there for marketing will be lack lustre. You can’t be all thing to all people, so be clear in who your client is. From this, your brand will grow – align your brand values with your ideal client. A brand is not just a pretty logo, it’s the whole package – your values, your mission statement, you beliefs, all wrapped up in the visuals. But if you don’t get the fundamentals right, then what you have is that disappointing Christmas present that had a pretty bow.
2) Have your strategy in mind
Knowing what you want to achieve for the month, quarter or year will help you know how these images will be used. Are you launching a new course, creating a new product, going to be speaking at a big public engagement and know you need a PR shot? All of these things should be mapped out in your strategy and will help set the tone and focus for your shoot.
And if you’re not sure where to start with your strategy then now is definitely the time to refine it whilst we are at the start of the year. Read this post on the blog by Lisa Johnson Coaching for some pointers.
Using this strategy and your plan for the next few months or year, you will now be able to work out where these images will be used. Are they for social media? Do you need to have space for overlaying some text? Are they for your website and therefore have to be a certain orientation?
3) Create a moodboard for your brand shoot
Only do this once you know what your strategy is and what the aim of the shoot is for! Do not go running loose on Pinterest without having done steps 1 and 2, it’s a sure fire way to confuse your messaging and lose valuable time that could be spent doing something that will make you money!
Now that you have step 1 and 2 completed, start collecting images of things that inspire you and that align with your brand values and aesthetic. This could be locations that reflect where you work, props that may help tell the story, or images of other people that just shout out to you. This moodboard will become the inspiration behind the shoot, it’s not there to replicate image for image.
4) Location location location!
No, not the TV programme, using your moodboard, work with your photographer to decide on the location (or multiple locations if it’s a longer shoot). There is scope for creativity, you may spend half your time working in a coffee shop to escape the chaos at home, but does your local coffee shop align with your brand, or do you need to look for a coffee shop that has the right vibe? You may create your designs in your home, but if you’re currently undergoing building renovations, again, this may not align with your brand and be the right environment for a shoot, so consider hiring somewhere instead. If the great outdoors is calling to you, or the city vibe is fundamental to your brand, then consider the time of the day (for busyness), the time of the year for the seasons and of course, in the UK, a wet weather plan!
5) Clothing, hair and makeup
Many of my clients worry about what to wear for their shoot and my biggest piece of advice to them is to wear something that represents their brand BUT that they feel comfortable in. For instance, I wouldn’t wear a dress to my own brand shoot as I would spend the entire time pulling the hem down and feeling awkward, instead you’ll find me in skinny jeans and some form of top or jumper.
I’m actually looking at teaming up with a stylist to be able to provide more help in this area for my clients so watch this space.
Having your hair and makeup done professionally, not only makes you feel pampered and lovely on the morning of your shoot, but also means that you are perhaps more camera ready than if you do your own makeup. The makeup artists I work with are used to creating natural camera ready looks that will last the full duration of the shoot and will enhance what mother nature gave you. Creating the best version of you for the camera.
Don’t forget the accessories such as bags, jewellery, scarves etc and also don’t forget your hands as chances are they will be in the shots from time to time, so consider a manicure or at the very least some moisturiser on the morning to stop them looking dry.
6) Props for your brand shoot
Depending on the aim of your shoot, you may want to include some props to help tell the story. This could be your tools of the trade, materials you use in your courses, work in progress designs to show the process or even just things to style the scene, I have had clients bring their own mugs to shoots because it’s more on brand than the ones on offer in the coffee shop! If you create a physical product then definitely think about how you incorporate them so that your clients can see them.
7) The night before your brand shoot
Get all your shoot bits ready – pack your outfit(s) and props, make sure you know where you’re going and then relax. You have booked your brand photographer presumably because you trust them, so know that you will be in safe hands. Get plenty of rest and make sure you’re hydrated.
I hope that’s helped you prepare for your brand shoot. The more you prepare and understand your business the more you will get out of your brand shoot. Treat your brand shoot as an investment in your business, it’s helping create your “storefront” in an ever growing visual world.
Until next time,
I’m taking bookings for the end of February and into March, so if you’re looking at having a brand shoot, then I’d love to hear from you to see how we can create images to help you get visible.