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If you're in the business of online business, then you'll know that visual content and branding is key to getting known, sharing your point of view, connecting with those around you in a quick, fun and dynamic way.  Back in 2015 I updated and upgraded the photos that I use across my social media, website and everywhere else I have visual content.  It was something I'd been wanting to do for some time but I also wanted to make sure that I knew exactly what I wanted.  Being a brand and business strategy coach, it's important that I get it right.  It was so much fun and it's been very empowering to have a suite of images that I love and am proud to go to market to continue to build my business and brand.  Saying that there are also a few lessons I learnt along the way that I thought I'd share with you! If you've got a shoot coming up then take a read but most of all – enjoy!!

1) Know your brand personality

What is my brand personality? I hear you ask.  Well, your brand personality is the way in which you convey who you are and what you do in your business.  Much like people, if I asked you to describe your sister or best friend you may say something like – she's really outgoing, bright, vibrant, fun and a little crazy. Your business brand will also have a personality or a way you want to be perceived by others.  Now you may be a big personality or maybe you're shyer, but depending on your business and what you do, you need to think about what type of brand personality is going to position you in the best way to connect with your ideal client.

For me as a business and brand coach, I want to be visible, bold and bright.  It's absolutely part of my own personal brand but it's also what I love about helping others when it comes to being seen and heard. In an ever-crowded market, working out your own unique look, feel and voice it critical. Remember that being clear on your brand personality will also mean people know if you're for them or not.  I know that not everyone wants to be bold, but then I may not be the business coach for them.  (Note that bold doesn't always mean loud and out there).

2) Get clear on what good looks like

Now that you know what your brand personality is, it's time to get really clear on what that means to you, how you envisage it looking and what look and feel you want for the overall shoot. 

A great way to get clear is to create a Pinterest mood board. I created one that I then shared with my photographer so that she knew exactly what I wanted on the day.  It meant that we could look for venues that were reflective of my brand personality, brand colours and where I would get the type of shots that were right for me.

Look at the format of your website, social banners and whatever else you use and understand what type of shots you need.  As my website banners are long and narrow, I knew I needed a lot of landscape images that were not close up as I would need to take the top third and bottom third out when putting them into a banner format.

I also put together a mood board of all of the expressions, hand gestures and positions that I wanted to have for specific content posts.  For example a fun one for welcome posts in my Facebook Group, images for sales pages and Facebook Ads.  Think about what you use your images for and then list them so that you can capture it all on the day!  Also explain this to your photographer so that they get what you're trying to achieve and can deliver that for you.

3) Pick the right photographer

Choosing the right photographer is the key to a successful shoot and as with everything, there are definitely different levels of quality with different photographers.  I would also say you get what you pay for.  Get recommendations, prices, look at websites of photographers, portfolios and testimonials.  Be very clear on what you want and if this photographer is going to give it to you.  Some photographers have a certain style about what they do so make sure it aligns with yours.  Speak to them, ask them lots of questions, get comfortable with everything because if you don't have rapport it's going to be harder on the day to get the type of shots you're looking for.

Ensure that you understand what the price covers as well.  Agree the price upfront so that there aren't any surprises along the way.  I also find that getting price sorted up front makes everything more relaxed throughout the process.  When things are unresolved it's just awkward.  Understand the fine print – How many shots do you get? Is it all of them? Will they do retouching if you want that?  Is that extra or part of the price? When will you get the shots after your shoot? How long will the shoot take?  Is there anything they want you to bring besides yourself and your outfits?  Will they sort hair and make up or do you need to do that?
See – there is a lot to think about!

4) Give it the time it needs

One thing I definitely learnt from my shoot was to give it the time it deserves.  I rushed and I wished I had given it more time as I potentially missed an opportunity for more images. Saying that I'm beyond happy with all my images, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.   Also be sure that you'll be happy with hair and makeup on the day.  I actually went and got my hair and makeup done professionally and before I arrived at the shoot my hair had dropped out, which was super annoying.  Either get someone you've had before and have been happy with or have a contingency plan. I brought hair tongs with me so that when my hair dropped I quickly plugged them in and did some curls and got on with the shoot. Also, things like having you own foundation and lipstick so you can reapply is key.

I took around 8-9 outfits so that I had options based on the backgrounds we were shooting against.  Before your shoot, find outfits that are in line with your brand personality and colours, outfits you feel comfortable and great in and the right accessories, shoes and whatever else you need. Go fully prepared and ready to change quickly into outfits you love!

One big tip for your shoot day is to get in the mood. There is nothing worse than taking an hour to warm up when you have limited time.  I played music in the car on the way and I'm not afraid to say I did a bit of car seat dancing and singing to get me in the mood. You want to get to the shoot, be ready and hit your action button.  Have fun, make the most of it – this is you creating a brand that shines as a beacon to your ideal client.  It's a reflection of what you're trying to build and more, so really bring your A game!  Do what you need to do to get in that head space as well.

5) Be Loud and Proud

So you've put loads of effort into getting your shoot just right.  You've paid the money, spent the time and crafted what you wanted.  Now what?  Now it's time to be loud and proud.  You didn't do this so that you could shy away from putting yourself out there.  Just a few tips on this – Update all your website shots, social media images and banners, start using these images in your advertising and other branding efforts.  By using these images you're starting to create consistency which is really important.  Remember that if you're in a service based business then people are buying YOU when they purchase your services so make sure you put yourself front and centre whenever you can.

If you'd love more information on how you can build a business brand that creates serious impact then make sure you check out how we can work together HERE!
Happy photo shooting!!

Credit: My photographer for my recent photo shoot was the lovely Fi Mims Photography

How to Prepare for a Branding Photo shoot




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