How to Prepare for Your Own Branding Session
Would you believe that it took me FIVE YEARS of full-time photography work before I hired another photographer to take brand photos of me? Sure, Mark and I have been a part of our fair share of couples sessions, or have modelled for various friends or students in a photography program, but hire someone to take photos of me solo? Nope, never happened until this last year.
For most of my career, Mark’s been the most incredible resource for me when it came to taking any brand-related photos, but with the more content that I began to create, as well as the obvious introduction of our children into the mix, finding any stress-free time to plan and execute a photoshoot for myself became increasingly more challenging to do. Even if we planned to just grab a couple of shots whenever we were out and about, we still always ended up rushing home for a nap time, or having to stop to feed one--or more--of us before we all got hangry. It became increasingly obvious that it was time for us to ask for help, so that’s what we decided to do.
Asking for help in any area of life or work is hard; but if becoming a parent has taught me anything, it’s that we cannot do everything on our own. Part of the reason why asking for help is so hard though, is because it’s hard to trust anyone other than ourselves, especially when it comes to something like creating images that accurately represent ourselves and our brand. But, at some point our need for help is going to outweigh our fear of trusting, so if that’s where I’m meeting you today, then let me do my best to walk you through how I aided in planning out my own branding shoot.
First of all, don’t just find the best deal or price out there; put in the time, do your research, and invest in yourself.
The right photographer isn’t just going to fall into your lap, so get out there and start browsing social feeds until you start finding styles and vibes that you connect with. It’s important that whoever you choose has a style that reflects a bit of your own so that the images that you create together fit seamlessly into your own social feeds or website. Plus, when we find someone with a similar style to our own, we’ll often find that we connect with them better human-to-human as well.
Create an overall vibe or moodboard—physically or mentally—for what you’re hoping to create during your shoot.
It’s important for you to know why you’re having photos taken in the first place, so that you can verbalize to your photographer what you’re wanting and needing from them. A moodboard doesn’t just mean the sorts of images that you want captured, but it should also reflect the overall vibe for your brand; for me this included things like my logo (and other small elements that are incorporated visually into my branding), clothing textures and colours, interior design inspiration, and whatever other elements that represent what you imagine in your mind. Photographers are often visual people, so it’s important to show them what you’re wanting on top of explaining it to them verbally or via email.
Ask if they’re open to getting together beforehand so that you can not only just meet to ensure that the energy feels right between you both, but also so that you can get a feel for their thoughts so far for your session, as well as share your moodboard and ideas.
Although it’s important for you to have a good sense of what you’re looking for, I want to also iterate the importance of putting your trust into your photographer as well; be sure to let them know that you trust their creativity and what them to feel like they have the freedom to do their thang. Nobody does their best work under a laundry list of constraints and must-have-photos. Now is also a good time to ask your photographer if it’s okay to have a little list of must-have shots (especially if you’re capturing stock images) that you can have with you to ensure that you don’t miss, or if they’d rather go entirely with the flow during your time together. This is obviously dependant on the type of session that you’re hiring them for, but is just another moment where open communication is important and encouraged.
Then comes the outfit planning and thinking of whatever other elements you’ve chatted about incorporating.
For me, this was coming up with four various outfits--two for one location, and two for the second location--all that reflected my new branding. This is another great time where your moodboard will come into play; use what you’ve put together to pull colours, textures, and other visual elements into real life and incorporate those into your choices.
Now all that’s left is to drink your coffee, show up, and trust the process.
Take your time to sink into the experience, breathe deep, and be okay with releasing control to another creative, if only for a little while. Personally, I still can’t believe that it took me this long to hire someone for myself. I’m excited to see and hear how this experience goes for you, and if you’d like to sit down with ME and put your photo-trust in me, I would be absolutely pumped to sit down with you and get a vibe for the branding images that you’re wanting to create.