Have you ever spent time just looking around the web and seeing what other people are up to? Who am I kidding? Of course, you have.
We all do it, whether we realize it or not. When it's 11 pm and we really should be getting to sleep, but for some reason, we are still hanging on the couch surfing the web or mindlessly scrolling and double tapping.
The next time you find yourself scrolling, I challenge you to pay closer attention to those sites or profiles or photos that make you stop and take a look a little longer. What is it that caught your attention?
Seeing how others use visual stories to make you stop in your tracks is my favorite way to train my eye to what works and what doesn't. Because we all already filter. I mean, with the sheer amount of stuff we see every day, it's literally a defense mechanism of the brain to filter and go on autopilot.
Your brain doesn't want to be fatigued, so unless something is unique/ pretty/ unexpected/ interesting, it doesn't even hit our conscious radar. When you find that you're ready to start planning for your branding photo shoot, you want to knock their brain out of the "everything is the same here, move on" autopilot to the "hey, this is interesting to me, I'm gonna stop and take a look a sec" curiosity side of the brain.
Tips for planning your brand photo shoot.
1) What is your brand message or tagline, and how to keep that idea present in all images?
If you are taking the time to create branded images for your company, you want to start with your brand message . If we start with the feel of your company and what emotion you want to evoke when your prospective client sees the image, then we have the main path of where to start for your photos.
If you have a super relaxed, creative, modern type of feel for your company, it's not going to make any sense to take photos w/ vintage props or stiff, conservative attire will it?
For this first step, I always love to go and create a private Pinterest board of images that have the same look and feel that you'd like to convey. It's a great starting spot to get the creative juices flowing! Pin images for type of lighting you like, type of styling, the overall looks, and whatever inspires you. Pin ideas that convey the look you want. We won't by copying these images, but we will absolutely use the Pinterest vision board as a launching point.
2) What style of images would fit your brand?
What type of company do you have? If you are in a creative field, then showing who you are is just as important to what you do. As who you are is what will distinguish you from others doing that same thing. Some ideas for styles are: lifestyle images of you working/creating/planning. Showing some of your processes.
If you are a product or store based business, images of products, photos that inspire the environment and feeling your store or products have that make people feel a certain way. Also for stores, images of the store, the staff, the type of thing they will expect to see in the store can also be super beneficial!
Remember you want people to think of you when they see these photos even when it isn't specifically on your website! For example on the photos below, I have a thing for Oreos and on my wedding website www.rebeccaellison.com I talk about Oreos and even name my packages after these delicious cookies. It makes me stand out from all those other photographers, and I wanted to show my goofy side, so when I was getting my own branding photos, we made sure to incorporate both my love of Cookies, and my penchant for mismatched socks. See?
3) Have a vision of what you want to convey in the images and a plan of where you'll use the images and how.
Get specific here. Once you've thought out just what type of images you want to use, think of all the places you could use the images and what type of images would be best in those areas. These are all common places to use your brand images.
- About Me / Headshots
- Instagram / Facebook
- Blog Content
- Any printed collateral (business cards, brochures, flyers etc)
The kinds of images you'll use for these different scenarios will differ, so make sure you've thought out where you'll be using the images, and what you want to convey in each of the platforms. The images will be different, but will all still need to be cohesive.
Also, each platform has different requirements for dimensions of images, so make sure we know what way to shoot so your images can be used where you want them. For example, does your website have a lot of thin horizontal images on it while you scroll? Are these going to be used on Instagram where a square is the best option, or will you post on your blog and then want to make sure the image looks good when it is linked on Facebook and they have a horizontal crop to the thumbnail image.
If we shoot with intention and purpose of using specific images in specific places, you will find a ton more value in these photos than if we just willy nilly shoot.
4) What color palette should you aim for that will remind of your brand?
It's just as important to keep your brand colors in mind for your photos. Even if it's something simple like the shade of your nail polish or the color of the notebook you have in the photo. If it can subtly relate back to your brand colors, it should. This way people will start to recognize your use of those colors and will think of you when they see them. All your props should have a similar color pallet that will complement your website.
Start sourcing props with the right feel and colors. Think about the backgrounds and if you don't have anything that is right, create your own backgrounds. You can easily by a thin 4x4 board from Home Depot and paint it the color of your brand for easy backgrounds. The great thing about doing this is that it will be great for your branding shoot, but also for continuing use for social media posts in the future too!
You want people to see your images, click on your website and have it all feel familiar!
5) How much of your face will we be seeing?
Do you want people to connect to you specifically? If your company is run by you, yourself, and yep...still you, then, surprise! You are important and will be a driving force to why people work with you. So get out from behind the curtain, and show folks who you are and why you are amazing. It isn't just your service or product, that will get people to pull out the plastic, it's how they connect to you as a person too.
So figure out how much of you and your life you want to share, and then let's share it! Showing who you are is super useful for social media posts as well as your about me, and things like behind the scenes for a blog post or newsletter!
6) Plan plan plan
Create a spreadsheet of where you want specific images and what type of thing you want to convey in that spot specifically. Note the ideal image orientation / crop and what the visual story of that moment is. Then we can shoot for that specifically. If we walk in knowing exactly what we want and where it will be used, we can get you the images that will be of best use throughout your entire brand! Win win!
If the idea of creating a spreadsheet stops you in your tracks, don't you worry, I've made one for you! Just get it here!
Get this free spreadsheet to help you plan your exact brand image needs!
As you can see of these branding photos of me (to the left to the left) , I use the color teal alot in my branding, so I found a notebook that was similar to what colors are seen on my site. I propped the desk with cute things that you would see in my office including an old school camera.
I want you to connect with me and trust me, so I have to show you who I am which is why all these photos have my face. Top photo is me with a camera, because... well if that's not obvious, I can't help you lol. Photos of me working w/ props at my desk and of course the last photo, the shirt says "Wake me when winter is over" which sums me up perfectly along with a goofy look, glasses on my head and my phone in hand. A pretty classic look of me every day (minus the messy bun, because no one needs the visual confirmation of the mess my hair usually is!)
When I had these branding photos taken, I knew I needed my face on my site more, as well as Instagram and options for my blog, so we shot with those intentions in mind. Also thanks to my amazing pal Barbie Hull for the branding photos here.