You are on a mission you have an idea to take your business to the next level and you need to elevate your marketing and look of your business! Your Instagram needs an uplift, your website has old images taken from a cell phone, or maybe the professional image you had captured in college is what you use to promote your brand. So you research ( scroll through Instagram and troll all the #hashtags #BestDallasPhotographer #DallasPhotographer #BrandingPhotographer) and you find the best Photographer in your area that all the Influencers, Bloggers, and Entrepreneurs are using. After all, they are successful and look at all the interaction they are getting, you can do that too! Social Media and Websites are after all the top ways to market in this day and time. So you take the leap you send emails and messages to your chosen Photographer ( ME, come on you knew that was coming 😉 ) and your time and date are locked in ! So you hang up so excited ( or close the laptop )but then…. then you realize the reality. This shoot has to be epic, you want capture the attention of your potential clients and panic takes over, ( I am not judging , I have been in this business for almost 8 years and I do the same thing, panic mode central right here.) What am I going to wear, what do I bring, what shows relatable but professional, what do I do with my hands? I am sharing with you tips to prepare for your Branding Session and to ease your worried mind and make it a blast and impactful for your business and overall brand!
1. What Are Your Intentions for Your Branding Session
Are you photographing products, starting a new business, or are you needing to introduce yourself in a new light? If it is all the above… My recommendation is to break these sessions up into several. Do not overwhelm yourself at first by trying to squeeze it all in. Pinpoint each branch of your brand specifically.Start with photographing yourself, you are the face of your brand and clients love that! They want to build a relationship with you and entrust the person who they decide to spend their hard-earned dollars with. I know you may be uncomfortable at first but the positive feed back will be well worth it. No worries, it’s not like your old school Professional Headshot, those days are gone! This is you in your favorite coffee shop, in your office, in your location of work, or on the gorgeous streets of your local city that you are found planning, designing, and paving your business’s future. These images I call tangible and relatable. If you are sipping coffee at the local coffee shop, most likely your client will be so excited as they love it too and it makes them feel like they are in your circle, and face it you are!! We all are! Tell them that story that your business is easy access and right in their backyard ! In step 5 we will discuss the follow-up sessions that are recommended to tie in specific product and business imagery. You have a product or service to sale and after that tangible aspect of giving your business a face. Giving them an actual person that’s behind the successful business you will begin to share the details of what you offer through imagery and create an impactful brand. Remember people buy what they need and pay all the extras for experiences and feelings!! Let’s give them all the feels!!
2. Wardrobe/ Products/ Props that you will use for your Branding Session
Wardrobe: I suggest Three Outfits 1. Professional/Dressy Look 2.) One On Trend/ More Relaxed Look 3.)Hobby, who are you away from work. Your Professional look outfit is one that your clients or customers most commonly see you in. During your professional look , guidance on posing and adding a little more lifestyle touch will be up to your photographer. We will suggest unbuttoning your sports coat, relax hand in pocket while walking, or sitting at your desk interacting with an object on your desk. Interaction and movement will help keep your professional attire more approachable and easy to relate to. Not the stiff old school cheesy stuff, no one believes that and in fact it could be a little intimidating. Of course there is a time in place for those images but choose what your market is looking for and be precise with your precision. Trendy Look is a little more relaxed, this is the in style trend of jeans, top, glasses and your favorite coffee mug style!! What you would wear to a brunch!! This gives a little more insight into your personality… Ok remember the Fridays at school your teacher would wear their favorite jeans and sneakers and it was like a whole side of them you’ve never seen? They would be sporting some really nice kicks, and it opened the door to the Teacher to become really relatable, like wait you have a life outside of here, ?! It made them human , it made them real, and hey they were just like me! That is our goal here! Who are you? Can I relate to you? If Sneakers aren’t your thing then go with YOUR style!! Hobby Look…. Okay you ask how can my hobby be a look? It is, do you love a favorite sports team ? Run in marathons? Love to Run and workout! Adding touches of what you are passionate about will keep minds captivated and interested! After all showing clients you are committed to your health speaks highly of you… ( I may or may not be chomping on olives as I type this, I mean that’s healthy right? Aww Commitment to things I love 😉 )
Products & Props: I always tell my clients, I would rather you bring way more products and special items that best represent you or from your business than that feeling of wishing you would have or I should have….. bring it, we may use it and if not set it to the side for your next session or idea. As the photographer and listening to your main vision for your session will all be discussed in your initial consult but when you put things in action things may be altered to come across effectively. I ( or your chosen photographer) will direct you in product placement. Oh come on you’ve seen it!! That perfectly placed item in a Blockbuster movie, yhea thats what we will do!! That perfectly placed Starbucks cup ( of course you tag them on social media boo you make their cup look good) BUT Remember the first initial session is about you, but we still want your business products or services represented just not shoved down their throat we are building a connection first. So we will strategically place your products and props in the chosen location we have planned for your branding session. Your favorites Books, Glasses, Drinks, fav pillows, throw!! You name it there are no boundaries! Why? Because we make the rules here ! This is your vibe and brand we’re creating and producing!
3. Location Location Location
Returning to step number one. What are your intentions for this shoot? Modern Look, Light and bright, deep and moody look? Precision and image use is key here at this very moment when deciding the location of your shoot! Okay so here we go , we’ve got our outfits picked out!! The closest is a disaster, shoes are thrown from one end to the other, but that’s ok success is on it’s way, and you’re going to look amazing! After all no one can see in your closet from Instagram! So with each outfit decide where are your places you like to be or most of want to be!! Where do you have business meetings at, is there a certain restaurant or is there a Hotel you absolutely just love and think Oh my stepping out the front door in my favorite business attire is exactly the location and vibe that I want for my business. Why is this important to do location research? You wouldn’t necessarily wear your suit to a farmers market, okay well if you have, maybe but I wouldn’t recommend it, as this would be location suggestion for your trendy or hobby look!! Key is to make sure you tell your photographer what represents your look and we most certainly can assist you with location ideas or will research the ones you have picked out so we can be fully ready to capture YOUR look and correlate with your vision!!
4. Organization for a Smooth and Solid Session
Organization is the utmost important aspect to an amazing shoot! The photographer is generally focusing on lighting, clarity, and all the little gadgets on our Cameras to make sure our job on the technical end is 100% quality! We will be fully prepared, batteries charged, and all tools ready to focus on you! Even with consultation details, we rely on the client to be fully focused, so that with your contribution during the session is a success. This way when you open your final gallery you will see the brand you work so diligently on looks amazing and you are exploding with excitement to share it with the world. Have your ideas written out or emailed to the Photographer what outfits, accessories, will be at what location or have your own little shot list ready . The photographer will throw in their professional opinion but the more prepared you are the better the photographer can focus on creating your amazing content. Have all your items nicely organized to bring with you so that quick changes can take place so that you have more time shooting than changing. If you are rattled , unorganized, or lose something in a panic, it will reflect in your confidence and personality in front of the camera. Consider bringing an assistant to help with any larger items or bigger plans you may have came up with for your session. After all, time is money for all involved, the quicker you can capture the quicker you can share with the world your excellence.
5. Your Plan of Action with your Imagery
EEEEEK the moment you have been waiting for ! You received the email and your gallery is ready for viewing! Oh I love this picture , wait this one, this is the one!! Slow down gorgeous, before posting and even before receiving your gallery you need to have a plan of action on how you will want to use your images. In what order will you post, and what will those images link to, to properly tell your story or promote you in the best light . After all you worked very hard to get to this point, don’t blow it by making a mediocre posts of “oh this was so fun look at me”, because well that just defeated the whole purpose. Pinpoint If you are promoting a product, new business, be sure to use the images that are accompanied with great content to direct your ideal client to the sole purpose and reason you invested in capturing stunning photos of your fabulous self.
6. Follow Through:
Now listen closely when I tell you, your story isn’t over. This isn’t a sales pitch this is truth! Don’t stop creating content, don’t leave your audience hanging! Don’t build them up with amazing content for a week and resort to the outdated posts you were doing because you’ve used all your favs already! After your first session is done think closely about your product and service and plan another precision and precise session to follow up with in 3-6 Months. I have clients that shoot Weekly, Biweekly, Monthly, and so on. This is common, we live in a social media world, love it or hate it. You can reach a new level with your marketing and I am here to help you achieve that goal. Now that your initial shoot and foundation images are captured, you can add some spice and detail! Have a client be photographed using your product, or meeting with you , or you interacting with them at the newest hot spot or newest project you have taken on, the sky is the limit! Your clients will eat up the insight you give them by making them feel apart of your success, after all , they are!
Some other Helpful Hints for a Successful Branding Session:
I hope these pointers have helped prepare you for your Branding Session and that you knock your session out of the park while taking your business next level!
All opinions and Images are that of my own , Copyright 2018 Audrie Dollins
If you would like to collaborate please email email@example.com
Images captured for : The Beauty Beau, Stephanie Taylor Jackson, Adair Photography, Lori Hogg, A Blissful Nest, Tanya Foster Blog, Cassie with Hi Sugar Plum, Gabby Dalfen, & The Baggage Claim .
I'm a professional Influencer + Brand Photographer and Marketing Strategist that curates content to elevate your online and social media presence that results in an increase in sales.
Audrie built a reputable career as a photographer and marketing strategist. My favorite conversations are filled with truth bombs that focus on the grit of Entrepreneurship and the realities of marketing in today’s demand.