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By attending a client meeting or even creating your website with magazine-worthy photos, you strengthen your personal brand and make an unforgettable impression. You’ll exude a professional and legit vibe from the get-go – unlike those low-quality DIY shots – and you’ll set yourself apart from your competitors.
But maybe you thought about booking a photo shoot, forgetting about it to this day and hoping for the best? Think again!
Pre-preparation is just as important as a photographer’s skills, and I say that as a professional personal branding photographer. So, here’s how to fix it to make the most of your investment.
Related: Want a Billion Dollar Brand? Invest in quality photography.
1. Reconnect with your brand
You can’t afford to invest in a personal branding shoot without first being clear about the purpose of your brand.
- How do you want to appear?
- What are your values?
- How would you describe your brand in three words?
This should be the first step, as it affects most of the following steps as well.
Mind you: it’s not just for you. Your photographer needs to know all this so that he can capture your photos in a way that truly represents your unique brand.
For example, to help you appear powerful and confident, I would shoot your photos from below, as this exudes an air of authority. Friendly and approachable? Then I would choose the same height so that you are (literally) on the same level as your audience.
Related: Your Most Burning Personal Branding Questions Answered
2. Be clear about the aim of the shoot and draw up a shot list
If you’re like most of my camera-shy clients, I bet your brain has already come up with a series of worst-case scenarios for this shoot. From having some spit in your teeth to suddenly forgetting how to smile, most of them are actually extremely simple solutions.
I’ll tell you the real tragedy: investing in a shoot and then realizing that you forgot that particular photo you needed for that new campaign. Ouch!
So do a good brainstorming and figure out exactly what kind of photos you need:
- Where specifically are you going to use them?
- Do you need to add text to some of them? (This will affect the background, pose and orientation)
- Are you looking for versatile photos with a monochrome background or are you trying to tell a story through lifestyle and work photos?
- What poses and expressions would complement your written copy?
- Should that particular shot be landscape or portrait?
In principle, don’t leave it at ‘I need new photos’. Put together a detailed shooting list to avoid that terrible first scenario.
Related: Getting the Most Value from Your Brand Identity Design
3. Choose the right outfits and colors
I always tell my clients to bring eight or nine outfits so they can create different looks and avoid feeling repetitive. But not just any outfit:
- Choose clothes that feature your brand’s colors and that stand out against your preferred backdrop.
- Wear in which you would meet your ideal clients. After all, your photos will meet them pretty much 24/7.
- Prioritize solid colors to create more versatile photos and opt for bold prints over small details that wouldn’t really show up on camera.
- Avoid large or flashy logos.
- Bring clothes that fit well (Hint: close-fitting outfits are usually flattering) and that you feel comfortable in. This will help you feel comfortable and more confident in front of the camera.
- Don’t forget accessories.
Related: Understanding the Power of Design and Branding
4. Pick some relevant props and a branded location
You become the star of the show, but what’s around you matters too. You can’t afford to leave it to chance.
To strengthen your brand, make an inventory of all the props you need for specific photos. Also, discuss them with your photographer, as they may already have a few in their studio. For example, my big megaphone is an all-time favorite for social media posts and launches.
As for lifestyle photos, spend some time looking for a location that emphasizes your brand values and the vibe you want to convey. Is it a casual coffee shop? An outdoor setting that emphasizes your connection to nature? Your office with a view over the city to enhance that authoritative vibe?
Again, keep colors in mind as well. Does that background go well with your outfits and brand palette, or are they at risk of merging?
5. Put your best self forward (but stay authentic)
My recommended mindset for photo shoots? Look your best, but in a way that wouldn’t shock your audience if they ran into you on the street.
Don’t go into it thinking you’re going to ask your photographer to drastically slim down in post-production. However, do plan your hair and, if relevant, makeup.
You can also have your nails done before the shoot, and how about a facial to pamper yourself and ensure the best skin?
Related: 6 positive changes when you appear authentically in your company
6. Relax and rest
Trust me: you don’t want to be all wired and on edge after a massive caffeine fix.
Try to get enough sleep and drink plenty of water throughout the week prior to your shoot. This way your skin will glow, you will be full of energy and you will not worry about those new bags under your eyes.
7. Communicate with your photographer
Have you done all the initial brainstorming sessions and shotlist? That is amazing. However, I can confidently speak for all photographers when I say we can’t read minds yet.
So before the shoot, share everything with yours, from your brand colors to the poses you need.
Like most photographers, I send out an in-depth questionnaire to make sure I brand you by the T nail, but you can always add something to it (yes, even that Pinterest mood board you spontaneously created).
Remember: a personal branding photo shoot isn’t about getting pretty pictures. It’s about creating shots that strengthen your brand and complement your overall marketing strategy. And to do that, you definitely need some planning.