HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF BRAND PHOTO SHOOTS
Yes, hiring professional photography can be a pricey investment, especially at the beginning stages of your new start-up that's not quite making it but faking it like you are. I totally get it, and know you all realize the value in the photos but can wonder - "how worth it will the shoot really be? Will we shoot for hours and come out with 10 photos I post a lot but that's it? Will they really help my online appearance at all, and if so for how long?" I say those things because I too have thought those very same things. I've been lucky to have shoots done for myself by fellow photographers and many times have experienced that the shoot sometime doesn't go very "far". I post the handful of my favorites through Instagram over a week or two, but after that I decide the rest look so similar and move on.
So, I want to help avoid this little situation. I want you to create an experience that will really propel you forward throughout the year. Maybe that's with me and I'll get to capture your brand but even if not, take these tips with you. Keep them in mind, store them away, and pass them on. The frugal bargaining spirit within me views every situation with a microscope asking "how can I squeeze every last drop out of this?" If it's good, let it be great. If it's inspiring, let it be moving. You're spending your hard earned money and investing your priceless time. Make the most of it!
ONCE A YEAR // schedule a photo shoot for ONCE a year with a photographer who will offer you multiple hours that day, rather than just one. Yes, it'll be at a higher rate but it's just once rather than a lot of little shoots many times through your year. If planned and executed correctly, the images captured at that one shoot can last you the year and set the style tone of your branding as well.
STRATEGIZE // photo shoots should be planned out properly just like any event would have a timeline. You will maximize every minute of it rather than just walking around unsure of what you want to do next during the time frame you've booked with the photographer. Your photographer should be directing you and taking a lead as well so that no minute is squandered, but if you have one that is very go with the flow and less type A (sooo not me), you will want to have a clear vision and plan to keep it all moving!
DIFFERENTIATE // there is absolutely no reason to shoot for 1-2 hours in the same outfit at the same setting doing the same type of thing. Your photographer is going to capture verrrry similar images no matter how your pose/position changes. It's inevitable. The coloring in the photo won't vary, the background won't really vary, and you will end up with a gallery in the end that you use a handful of images out of. This is not the photographer's fault, it's more of yours if you don't utilize the opportunity and differentiate yourself and your surroundings during the time shooting!
CHANGE OUTFITS - if your photographer allows you to, change outfits multiple times. Keep it simple but change both your outfit and hair up many times so that it appears to be different occasions. With me, you can change however many times you want! Hopefully the outfit changes don't take up much time but ultimately, it's your booked time that you are welcome to spend however you like! Here's some of my ideas on different look combos that would transition easily:
Denim button down (tank hidden underneath), fun skirt, mules with hair down
Tank from underneath paired with a cardigan or jacket thrown on, slip jeans on under skirt (all about easy outfit changes that are many in public!), stylish tennis shoes, hair down
Switch tank and cardi for neutral tee, same jeans and shoes, hair up
Finish with dress of your liking (casual or fancy, whatever is on brand for you) and your favorite casual or dressy shoes to match - hair however you like
CHANGE SETTINGS - whether you are shooting in a coffee shop with your laptop or in a studio with a full desk setup, do NOT stay in that one place the whole time! If this is a shoot to use for your brand simply as content, you need to move to 2 or 3 locations at the very least. This can be as simple as switching your outfit to go out on the sidewalk by the coffee shop you start in. Shooting in a studio? Wrap up early in there so you can go outside and snap photos there too. Utilize the different areas of the studio that may look different. It's all about conveying the idea that the pictures were taken at different places on different days.
TALK TO YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER // make sure your photographer knows very clearly what you need the images for, what you want to get out of the shoot, how many images you'd like to have (although rate may change, but let them know!), etc. If they don't know why you're shooting, how can they know what to capture? Are pictures of yourself smiling super important or are pictures of your hands in action a priority? Do you want closeups of you handling your products over pictures of yourself full body in the shot? We can only know what you tell us and if you don't say anything about these preferences, we're going to use our best judgement to create beautiful shots BUT let us know! It helps up both utilize our time in the best way possible.
BE PREPARED WITH PRODUCT & PROPS // if you are in a creative business, bring along things that can help to portray that creative vision easily. If you are shooting in a blank slate studio, there's only so much we can do with you against a wall or sitting in a chair, even if you change outfits. Maybe you need to bring along your desk (or shoot in a studio that has one available... better alternative). Bring the candle you like to burn as you work, your journals/sketchbooks, any smaller equipment you use to do your job, and of course all of your inventory if that's part of your business! Simply be prepared and again, have a plan. Coffee mugs (even empty), little folders, decorative baskets, plants (real or fake), and pens are great and easy options to bring along.
Hopefully these tips will help you be better equipped for a brand shoot if you've been planning on scheduling one! I've spent way too much time personally on shoots I didn't utilize to their full potential, so that's why I'm blogging on this topic. Find a photographer who truly "gets" this overall idea so you're on the same page. If you're interested in scheduling a shoot together, let's chat!