You’ve dreamed long and hard of a creative business all your own. You’ve worked your tail off to make it a reality. You’ve developed this awesome brand that you’re proud of, and now, you’re ready to take those brand photos. The photographer is hired, the date is set. Now what? Now, you get ready to rock that brand photo session. Here’s how:
Know your style
I know what you’re thinking. Hey, good call Captain Obvious!
No, but seriously.
In our businesses, we talk endlessly about branding, consistency, authenticity, and having our brand be a reflection (at least in part) of who we are. So this begs the question: If we don’t know what our personal style is, how can we effectively brand ourselves? The short answer: we can’t.If we don’t know what our personal style is, how can we effectively brand ourselves? Click To Tweet
Allow me to offer a personal example. I used to be a wedding photographer, and believed that in order to be a success (and having no idea of my personal style—I swear, if I ever buy another boring sweater again…), I needed to develop a brand that was sweet, pretty, and a little bit preppy. I mean, hey… a lot of successful wedding photographers had that vibe going on so it must work, right? Wrong.
The reason that style works for those wedding photographers is because that’s who they are. Their personal style is sweet, pretty, and bit a little preppy. It worked because it was authentic. Potential clients went to their website, loved the vibe, met them in person, and it clicked! Potential clients of mine liked the vibe, met me in person, and probably thought… Who the hell is this tattooed chick in a boring sweater? Confusing, right? Not a great approach to business or my brand.
So what did I do? I scrapped it all and started over.
I realized that wedding photography isn’t me. I didn’t even like the idea of having a wedding myself (courthouse for two, please!). So, moving on. I identified what I really wanted to do (brand photography) and ran with it. A huge part of that was figuring out who I was, owning it, and identifying my personal style. Because you can’t be authentic in business without first establishing those key elements.
To learn how to cultivate your own personal style, check out yesterday’s podcast with Tiffany Ima. So much good info in there, it’ll make your head spin. In a good way.
Choose a setting for your brand photos that works with your personal style
Pro tip: If your personal style is cowboys boots, belt buckles, and button downs, do not go for an urban backdrop in your brand photos. Unless you’re a blogger who’s niche is country in the city.
What’s your personal style? What kind of locations reflect your vibe?
- If your personal style is kind of alternative and your brand has a hip, urban vibe, you might want to seek out a cool graffiti wall for your brand photo sesh.
- If you’re an earthy sort with a flower child vibe, you might go for a wooded setting or a meadow.
- If you’re fashion forward and your brand is all about being on trend, seek out a hip and trendy neighborhood for your shoot.
- If your personal style is a bit grunge and your brand reflects that, find a cool old dilapidated warehouse to take your photos in.
As a brand photographer, I am a big fan of finding awesome environments for brand photo sessions. It’s so much cooler than shooting in a studio. Nothing says outdated and uncreative like brand photos taken in a studio. Also, I recommend avoiding coffee shops. It’s a very overdone vibe in brand photos and won’t help you to stand out like the awesomeness you are.
Choose your outfit(s) for your session carefully
The clothes and accessories you wear for your brand shoot should be the epitome of your personal style. They should embody the vibe you rock on a daily basis.
But it’s also important to consider how clothes translate on camera. Some fabrics and materials wrinkle and crease very easily. I can assure you that if you have a wrinkle in your shirt in your brand photos, it will be all. you. can. see.
Keep your accessories to a tasteful minimum. Photos are two dimensional and can look too busy very easily. If you’re carrying a cute bag, wearing a trendy scarf, big hoop earrings, hot shoes, bangles, a fedora…. the eye will have no sweet clue where to go in the photos. Keep it simple with a few carefully selected, non-overpowering pieces that compliment your wardrobe.
Make sure that your outfit doesn’t cause you to blend in or conflict with your surroundings. If you’re shooting in a meadow, you’ll want to wear a contrasting color to make sure that you stand out against the scenery. If you’re hitting up that graffiti wall we talked about, you’re going to want to avoid loud patterns in your outfit because that wall will be bringing the noise (and the funk) to those photos.
Make sure it’s comfortable. If you’re not comfortable—either physically or mentally—with what you’re wearing, it’ll show in photos and it won’t be cute. Select something that makes you feel amazing and you’ll look amazing. Trust.
Talk to your photographer
I cannot stress this enough.
If you don’t communicate your style, personality, and brand values with your photographer, how will he/she have any idea how to capture you?
It’s absolutely imperative that this conversation takes place. I’ve heard from one too many entrepreneurs who were disappointed with their brand photos because they didn’t have this talk with their photographers, and in the end, the photos just didn’t reflect who they are.
Your photographer should initiate this conversation, but if they don’t, you need to before the shoot. Most photographers arrive at photo sessions with an idea of what to shoot, how to direct, poses, etc, so you definitely want to make sure your photographer has had a chance to consider your style and brand.
Invest in hair and makeup.
If you’ve invested the money in hiring a photographer for your brand photos (and you should!), you don’t want to waste it on lackluster hair and makeup.
Unless you’re amazing at doing your own hairstyling and makeup artistry, pick up that phone and make an appointment! Now. Do it.
Oh, and make sure your hair stylist and makeup artist is also clear on what your personal style and brand is all about as well. You want your look to be on point.
Rock it, own it, be proud of it.
Last, but certainly not least: ROCK IT.Confidence is far and away the most important thing you should wear every day. Click To Tweet
Be confident in your style and in your brand. The fashionistas of today could wear a burlap sack down the street and be confident about it, and the next day burlap sacks would be the latest trend in fashion. Confidence is far and away the most important thing you should wear every day. Be proud of your style and how it communicates who you are and what your brand is all about. Your confidence will translate better in photos than anything else I’ve written in this article. You, my friend, are HOT. Now go get ‘em.