How to Plan a Brand Photoshoot as a Small Business Owner

Krystianna Pietrzak

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Are you wondering how to plan a brand photoshoot? You’ve found the right post.

Planning a brand photoshoot can be a complex and time-consuming enterprise. As somebody who has planned numerous photoshoots for my own business as a website designer, I know that the process requires careful thought and preparation. In this blog post, I’ll share with you my tips on how to plan a successful brand photoshoot.

In short, successful planning is about creating an achievable set of goals and then executing them with care and precision while staying on brand. We will go through all the steps necessary for planning your own brand photoshoot, which will enable you to capture stunning images that are exactly what you need for your business.

Keep reading to learn how to plan a brand photoshoot, or listen to the podcast episode below.

How to Plan a Brand Photoshoot

Make sure you have your branding first

So, very first thing, make sure that you have your branding first. Don’t even bother getting a brand photoshoot if you don’t have your branding completely made.

At least have your colors because you don’t want to show up for your brand photoshoot for one set of colors and then later down the road, decide, “Actually, I decided I want to be rainbow now… I don’t want to be neutral anymore.”

You really want to make sure that your brand photos mesh with your brand completely. So first things first, get your branding done, whether you’re doing that on your own or you’re hiring a brand strategist to do that for.

Two girls standing next to a white wall.

Find a photographer that you vibe with

The next thing we always do is find a photographer that you vibe with. So a lot of people might say to do this later on in the process, but we recommend doing this earlier because then you can decide if you’ll stay local, if you want to travel, if someone will be traveling to you, and then you can also see what is and is not included in your photographer’s package.

So we’ve worked with a different brand photographer for every shoot we’ve done, mostly just because we move a lot, so it just makes a lot of sense for us. But each photographer we’ve worked with has offered different things.

So, for instance, our spring photo shoot that we’re doing right now is one that included a whole bunch of help with planning out the creative direction and picking different places to have the photos taken and help with the props and everything, while other ones we’ve done were a little bit more like us taking the lead and everything like that.

Every photographer kind of has their own method when it comes to things like that. So definitely find your photographer first so you can see what is and isn’t included, so that you can see what’s on your to-do list.

Find your inspiration

Once you do that, then head over to do some research on places like Pinterest and find ideas that you like. So we always do this by making mood boards, sort of the different locations that we think could be really cool, different poses we like, various props that we like, and we try to separate them by theme.

Because most photographers, if you’re doing, like, a full brand photo shoot, will have three to four different looks that you can have. So that could include whether it’s completely different outfits or completely different themes or even having completely different locations, things like that.

So definitely make a Pinterest board. Again, not to copy but just to find inspiration so that you can sort of start to kind of dive into the overall vibe that you’ll be going for your photo shoot. And again, make sure that it matches your branding and your brand messaging because your visuals should 100% connect to your messaging.

Two girls sitting on a curb outdoors.

Pick outfits that match your brand colors

Next, work to pick outfits that match your brand colors, but decide where you want to take your photos so that you don’t blend in with the background.

So when it comes to picking outfits, we really recommend buying clothes early. So we’ve made this mistake before in the past where we’d wait till the week of the photo shoot, and we’d be like, all right, cool. Let’s start buying stuff.

Then you go to the mall, and they have nothing that you’re looking for. So buy earlier! Once you book your photographer and you’ve decided on the locations, you’ve got your Pinterest board, and you know what you want to buy; buy as soon as you can because, trust me, a lot of things like that will start to stress you out if you wait too long.

It’s much better to not feel rushed… and we’re sharing that from personal experience.

Make sure your clothes are ones that you are comfortable with

Next, really make sure that you’re buying clothes that you feel comfortable in. So don’t wear a suit jacket, for instance, just because everybody else is and you feel like that’s what an entrepreneur should look like, just because that’s what you’re seeing. You will look awkward in the photos.

So we actually wore suit jackets, but they were too big. So, like, our last set of photos, we had orange and blue suit jackets and we thought they were gonna look so dope, but we both accidentally got them in a size too big for each of us.

And it was, like, too late because we bought them too late in the process to have time to return them and get new sizes and everything. So they ended up looking awkwardly large on us. And I feel like you can see it in our faces, like, that we look uncomfortable.

So really just buy things that you’re comfortable in. Like, we’ve personally found here at Inkpot, we are most comfortable in like jeans, t-shirts just because that’s what we wear. Or even sweatsuits. We love a good matching sweatsuit combo for a photo shoot. So, again, make sure it’s something that you feel comfortable in and that you feel authentic in.

Two girls chatting and smiling outdoors.

Find tons of on-brand props

Find tons of props. So try to find things that you use on the daily, whether it’s like laptops, maybe you always have a coffee with you, maybe you can bring your coffee, maybe you have a podcast, you can bring your podcast mic, things like that. So you can also find things too that are related to your personality, things that fit your brand.

Please though, do not do that dumb newspaper idea. Everyone is doing that lately where you get like a branded newspaper. So many people are doing it. I feel like everyone’s been doing it for like three years now.

Or the wine glasses, so many people do the wine glasses. Or everyone’s getting like the same minimalistic chair for their photo shoot. And if you are, that’s totally fine if that matches your vibe. But I just feel like I’ve seen it so much that I think it’s worth it to really just try to push it just a little bit further and try to figure out what you can do that’s a little bit different, a little bit more scroll stopping, just so that you can really stand out from the crowd, because you really don’t want to blend in.

Make a checklist so you can prep

And our last piece of advice is to make a checklist or get some sort of planner or something so that you can include everything about your photo shoot so it’s in one place. So we actually did this in Notion. We created an entire notion dashboard that we shared with our photographer for our spring shoot, where we listed out every single scene, so every location, then we listed it out.

We actually uploaded photos of our outfits for each location. We have things uploaded for all of our props we have like lists of everything just to make it super easy so that when we are packing for the photo shoot, it’s all in one place and we can triple check that list and just make sure that we have everything we need.

Final Thoughts: How to Prepare for a Brand Photoshoot

Bringing it all together, planning a brand photoshoot can be time-consuming and difficult if you don’t have the tools or the right mindset.

However, by following a few simple steps to ensure that your photoshoot is successful like researching photographers, setting up a budget, scheduling ahead, and preparing yourself and your team for the shoot itself you can make sure that you get the most out of your photoshoot.

Planning ahead for your brand photoshoot may be extra work now, but it will certainly pay off in the future when you have beautiful photos to utilize for advertising, branding, and promotional material.


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