How to Plan & Shoot a Branding Photo Session
What is a branding photo session, and why should you plan one?
A branding photo session is a strategically planned photo shoot that allows a creative to gain a photo bank of cohesive and on-brand photos for your website, emails, blog content, social media, marketing materials, and online shop. Anyone can plan a photo session, you just need simple photography knowledge and a plan. Instead of taking a few images here and there, I suggest doing a large branding photo session all at once, for a number of reasons.
• Keeps photos consistent
• Photos are on-brand
• Save time by doing it “in bulk”
• Go into the session with intention
Because you’re planning the entire session, start to finish, in advanced, you are allowing yourself to have images for multiple uses, and you are saving yourself a lot of time by shooting the images all at once, and editing and saving them in one fell swoop. A branding photo session ensures that you always have images on hand for blog posts, social media, marketing materials, and more. For example, if you need to add a new page to your website, you don’t need to scramble for images or take a few new ones. Instead, you already have a bank of images to pull from, and they’ll all be consistent.
Planning Your Photo Session
Plan Your Objectives and Goals in Advanced
Thinking about where you’ll be using the images will help you plan the rest of the photo session. Think about what you have planned for your business in the upcoming months. Will you be promoting a new product? Make to take photos of that product during this shoot. If it’s a digital product, plan to take photos of your tablet, phone or computer to showcase the products digitally. Do you have blog posts scheduled? Think about their topics and what props you’ll want to include in the photos. For example: If you have a “5 Best Podcasts” post planned, make sure you take photos that can be used for that post, like a shot of earbuds, or something of that nature. Planning everything out also helps you plan and purchase the props that you want to buy. Some props, like flowers or food, only hold up for a few days, so you’ll want to plan this all out strategically.
Coordinate a Cohesive Color Palette
If you have a professional brand in place, you will already have a specific color palette to coordinate your props and backdrops with. Plan props around those colors. If you have peach, mint and white in your color palette, don’t buy bright magenta flowers, as they will stick out in your photos, and on your website or blog. If you have physical products that you sell that will be included in photos, think about their colors and how they will look with your other brand colors.
If you don’t have a pre-determined color palette, choose colors that fit with the mood and feel of the brand that you want to achieve. If you haven’t already done so, make a mood board of colors that you like, images that inspire you and that match the vision of your brand. Not only does sticking with a color palette keep your cohesive, but it also makes your Instagram feed consistent and more professional looking. Purchase props that match your selected palette. TIP: I recommend choosing two accent colors, and one neutral. A few color palettes that I love right now:
• Lilac, forest green, charcoal
• Peach, mint, white
• Gold, peach, white
• Gold, navy, black
• Lilac, aqua, gray
• Navy, mint, gray
To find more on trend color palettes, go on Pinterest and search “wedding color palettes”.
Choose and Buy Your Props & Backdrops
Now that you know what your objectives are, and what your color palette is going to look like, you can now make a list of props and backdrops that you want for your session. For affordable, yet professional backdrop recommendations, check out my last post here. I recommend using props that tell a story. If you are a business coach, think about the tools that you use everyday, like notebooks, your computer, a planner, etc. If you are an artist, photograph your paints, brushes, and paper. Don’t forget to list the props that will be useful for your upcoming blog posts and marketing campaigns as well.
Photographing Your Images
Style Your Images with Intention
This goes back to using props that tell a story. Showcase your product or subject in a contextual way. This means photographing in a lifestyle way, instead of just setting everything up on a white backdrop. If you are selling products, show your potential customers how to use them by styling them within a scene. If you aren’t selling products, you can still tell a story with your photos. If you are a food blogger, include the final food’s ingredients within the image.
Not only is your goal to get a lot of images, but to also get a variety. Do this by mixing up your scene, switching out backdrops, and moving props around. Also think about your objectives again. Will some of these photos be used for marketing materials? Do you need to leave blank space for text? If you are taking product shots, you’ll want shots of the product by itself, and then a shot of it used contextually.
Photograph Like a Pro
We are hosting a free photography webinar at the end of the month, so be sure to get on our list (sign up below) to be notified. To photograph your images like a pro, you’ll want to utilize every angle of each set up. Take a photo from straight up (known as a flat lay), and from an angle. Get a close-up shot, which is great for product photos so you can show the texture and detail of the product. You’ll also want to photograph the set up in all orientations-horizontal, vertical, and square (just make sure the main contents fit within a square). Photographing each scene from all angles and in all orientations ensures you will always have the photos you need.
FREE PHOTO BRANDING WORKSHEETS
Download these free, printable worksheets to help you brainstorm your perfect branding photo session. Two files are included: one moldboard woksheet and one questionnaire. Print one for each photo project!