As a service provider marketing your services online, your brand reputation is everything. ✨
Do the images on your social media and website truly reflect your brand? Do they speak to your audience in a way that tells them who you are, what you do, and what your business is all about?
You might be thinking to yourself:
“I use high-quality stock image photography. Does that count?
“I use images I found on the internet and in Canva. Those are enough, right?”
“I post a selfie every once in a while. Am I in the clear?”
While we love and use these methods to market our brand too, there comes a point in time that you need to have a personalized library of on-brand photos to use for your social media. You want to have access to polished, professional images you can pull from at any time to market your biz.
And that, friend, is where a brand photo shoot comes in. 💛
Why On-Brand Photos Are Important
The reason for investing in a brand photo shoot is so you can tidy up your brand. A brand is something that evokes emotion, so you want your photos to speak to your audience in a way that reflects whatever vibe you’re going for.
For example, here at Coaches & Co., we want to tell our audience that we’re here to support women business owners. ✨
The images that we use are robust and empowering — bold, strong colors and images of us featured with other women in business.
Now take a look at the images that you’re using. Remember, your content is packed with so much value, and your images need to reflect that too.
Having on-brand photos will help stop the scroll and encourage people to double-tap and reach out to you. Why? Because they’ll see your brand as something they can relate to and want to be a part of. 💁🏽♀️
So, to help you, we’re going to discuss seven tips on how you can prepare for an on-brand photo shoot!
1. Get Clarity on Your Brand Photo Shoot
The first thing you should do before your photo shoot is get clarity.
Before even thinking about the venue, the photographer, or the colors you’d like to use, you want to think about what you intend to use these photos for.
To help you in your quest for clarity, ask yourself the following:
Are these photos going to be used on your website?
Are they going to be used for Facebook ads?
Are they going to be used for a specific campaign?
This helps set the foundation for your brand photo shoot, and it helps you get clear on determining everything you’d want to do with your branding — emails, colors, emojis you use, etc.
When you get clear on what you need the photos for, it’s going to make everything so much easier for you moving forward. Trust us on this. ✨
2. Get Inspired
In order to get inspiration for your brand photo shoot, we suggest creating a Pinterest board or saved collection on Instagram.
This can be a collection of different poses you’d want to do, a particular photo style you’d like to recreate, and brand photos you admire.
Examples of different Pinterest boards or IG collections can be:
Not only will getting inspo help you plan the shoot, but it will also give your photographer a better idea of the editing style and vibe you’re trying to capture for your audience.
3. Choose Your Outfits
The next thing you want to do is plan and choose your outfits for the shoot.
This step is so important because it helps cut the overwhelm and anxiety of doing a shoot.
Because let’s be real, we’re not all naturals behind the camera.
But if your outfits are looking fly, you’re going to feel that much more confident embodying the badass business owner you truly are. 💁🏽
Planning your outfits in advance will also make sure your brand aesthetic is on point and *exactly* what you have in mind for your shoot.
When choosing your outfits, we recommend dressing in neutrals, your brand colors, or other colors that strongly complement your brand colors.
Wearing neutral colors can easily blend with any background setting in the pictures and will also match with any graphic elements on your socials or website.
Meanwhile, using on-brand colors easily lets your audience associate that image with your biz.
No matter what option you choose, you want to have a cohesive look. Your photos should add to a cohesive branding style that ties your business together and communicates that you’re a pro. 💪🏽
If you need help in this area, you can ask your photographer for tips, especially if they’re familiar with the venue you’re going to shoot at!
4. Take Photos for Different Uses
Whenever you’re doing branding shots, it’s important to have a variety of layouts.
So, make sure that your photographer is shooting your photos in both landscape and portrait mode.
This is so that you have different photos that can be used in various formats across your marketing channels.
Think about the different photos that will work for social media:
- Instagram is vertical
- Pinterest is vertical
- Blogs are horizontal
The photos that you would share on Instagram might not be used as your website photos. And the photos you use for your Facebook business page banner will be different from what you’ll use for your professional headshot. Maybe you’re even looking for a large website banner photo with lots of white space!
You also may want to ask your photographer to capture stock photo-like images: a close up of your hands, a workspace you set up using props like your laptop, a pair of glasses, your favorite pen, and a coffee mug. These on-brand ‘generic’ photos can be useful on lots of platforms, like Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, & even your website!
Whatever the case, take inventory of all the different sizes and orientations you’ll need for each channel.
When you get a variety of photos from your photographer, you’ll get more bang for your buck, as you can use the photos multiple times across different social mediums.
5. Choose a Vetted Photographer
The fifth tip that we recommend is to choose a vetted photographer. 📸
One of the most important things here is to make sure your photographer has specific experience in your industry.
If you’re an online coach or service provider, this means working with someone who has knowledge and experience with entrepreneurship, personal branding, creating image assets for social media, etc.
This kind of brand photography is different from wedding photography or even corporate headshots, so make sure to choose someone that has experience working with folks like you.
When you vet a photographer, identify a photographer that has a significant body of work. This is not the area to save on cash and hire a rookie — your brand reputation is way too important, sis. 💛
Check out their testimonials and their portfolio, and you can even ask for references from past clients.
Something else that’s important to look for in a photographer is someone who brings the best out of you. Having a photographer who makes you feel comfortable and like you can be yourself will make a world of a difference.
6. Review the Contract
This step is so important but often overlooked by many online business owners.
You *must* (and we mean, must!) review the contract the photographer provides you.
This is a contract between you and the photographer that often includes details regarding location, travel fees, transfer rights, the cancellation policy, and more.
Make sure that you’re paying close attention to the fine print and any language around intellectual property or licensing. This ensures that you’re crystal clear on the agreement, so there isn’t confusion later on should anything happen.
Here, we’ll break down some important things to note: 👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾
There are several ways the photographer can transfer photos to you:
- Photographers may transfer ownership of the photos to you outright.
- Photographers may provide a license to you without a licensing fee.
- Photographers may provide you with a license for a specific amount of time.
In the last example, if you wish to continue using your photos past the initial licensing period (say, one year) you would need to pay an additional licensing fee to continue using those photos.
Do not forget to check out this important clause, or you could be on the hook for some serious coin. 💰
If you decide that you do want to own your photography outright, make sure you communicate that to the photographer. If you will retain the rights to the photos, get clear on how the photographer will be able to use the photos.
- Will they still be able to use the photos on their website?
- What about on their social channels?
⚠️ The No. 1 tip you must know about ownership is this. ⚠️
Even when you hire someone to capture your photos for you and your business, it doesn’t necessarily mean you own the copyright to those photos.
Just because you’ve hired and paid someone to create brand photos for you, does not mean you own those copyright assets. 🙅🏽
Even if you planned the whole thing, styled the shoot, and they simply snapped the photo — they own the rights to that content.
The only way that a copyright asset can be transferred to you is if the owner and creator expressly transfers ownership to you.
This must be done in writing and is typically done through a contract. Again, make sure that you’re reviewing the contract and any terms and conditions, and be specific when you reach out to the photographer if anything is unclear.
What if the photographer I want to work with doesn’t provide a contract?
First of all, if the photographer doesn’t have a contract, they’re giving us some major #redflagvibes. 🚩
If the photographer that you’d like to work with doesn’t provide a contract, you can do one of two things:
✔️ Explore hiring a different photographer. You want someone who takes their business and your content seriously.
✔️ Or if you are really keen to work with them, grab our independent contractor agreement, fill in the info regarding the photoshoot & photographer, then ask them to sign it before you pay & book the services. It includes the clause necessary to transfer ownership of the photos to you, as the owner of the copyright assets.
No matter which option you choose, you MUST get all of the terms and conditions around your new business assets in writing. ✍🏽
7. Get an Extra Set of Helping Hands
Finally, our last tip for prepping for your brand photo shoot is to see if you’re able to bring along an assistant to help you for a couple of hours.
Consider asking a helpful friend or relative that you trust (#nofrenemiesallowed), or hire someone for the day. There are a ton of personal assistant services available in major cities, or maybe even local to you if you live in a smaller city!
It’s not a must, but it can make things a bit easier for you if you do have an extra set of hands to help you make sure everything goes smoothly.
This person can help you prep before the shoot by bringing the clothes or props that’ll be used, keep track of any communication between you and the photographer, and/or assist with making sure you look great before and during the shoot.
Because, for real, there’s nothing worse than almost getting the perfect shot but you’ve got a flyaway or your shirt needs to be adjusted. 😩
Having another person on set to catch these details makes all the difference. You don’t have to worry about the small things or stress about making sure everything is in place.
All you have to do is to show up and be your best self to take amazing photos. 💃🏽✨
And if it’s not in your budget to hire an assistant, see if you can bring along a trusted relative or friend to help you. Just make sure to treat them to lunch afterward. 😉
We hope this post has given you valuable tips when you’re preparing for your own brand shoot. Using any of these tips — and especially all of them — can help your shoot be successful.
Excited to keep building your brand? Check out our ready-to-use, lawyer-approved, plug-and-play legal contract templates, so you can put yourself out there while staying Profitable & Protected™✨
*The information presented in this blog post is for educational & informational purposes only. This should not be a substitute for customized legal advice from a licensed professional in a private setting. If you need legal advice, please consult with an attorney. This is not a law firm.