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5 Tips for Planning a Successful Branded Photoshoot

I’m chatting about a little more of a blogging & branding focused post on the blog today! Over the summer, I decided that it was time to redesign R&R so the brand grew with me. If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ll have noticed a new logo, a fresh website redesign (hello, magazine format!), and… some new photos.

Of me. That’s right.

Cover photo and this photo by Jenna Sparks Photography

One essential part of the branding process is to have cohesive set of images that can represent your brand. And some of those pictures might need to be of you. Eep!

I’ve always hated being on the other side of the camera – I’m much more comfortable behind the lens! So when it came time to plan a branded photoshoot, I knew I had to call my friend Jaime from South On Broadway to help me plan the shoot! Jaime is a marketing and styling expert and I am so grateful that she agreed to help me!

Planning a successful branded photoshoot required us to plan on 2 key areas.

  1. Defining your brand’s style.
  2. Outlining the visual story you’re wanting to tell.

Defining your brand’s style.

The first step was to put together an idea of what style we wanted from the shoot. We envisioned a light and food oriented (because, duh) shoot with pops of color. We put together our inspiration by creating a shared Pinterest board. You can check ours out here!

Jaime was the marketing, styling, and inspiration expert! You can read up on her tips for styling, planning a consistent aesthetic across the shoot, and making a mood board here. Check it out, she’s sharing some real gold!

Photo by Rachel Nichols from The Fond Life

Define your story.

Once Jaime had planned the styling of the shoot, it was important for me to define what I wanted from the photoshoot. What story did I want to tell? What do I need to accomplish this?

For R&R, it was important for me to show my love of making connections with people over good food. That’s why we decided to do our photoshoot over dinner!

Planning out these steps resulted in a successful photoshoot and I learned so much along the way! Below, I’m sharing my top 5 tips for getting great results at your next branded photoshoot.

Photo by Jenna Sparks Photography

1. Hire a professional.

But, actually. Tripod and self timer photos might work on occasion, but if you want a decent set of high quality and consistent images, invest the money in hiring a professional.

Professional photographers understand how to make the most of the light in your location and how to achieve the “look” you’re planning for in your images. At the end of the day, you want to look your best and a professional can make that happen.

When working with a professional photog, be sure to find someone that has a portfolio with a style that is similar to the brand aesthetic you are looking for. If you’re looking for bright and airy images, a photographer who specializes in darker, moodier images may not be the best fit.

We decided to take photos at two locations and I hired my friends and professional photographers, Jenna Sparks and Rachel Nichols to do the shoot.

2. Plan your budget.

Investing in a branded photoshoot is like investing in a logo. There are some costs associated with it that you should plan for so you can get the most for your investment. Here are some costs that I considered when I planned this photoshoot:

  • Outfits
  • Photographer
  • Props
  • Distance / Driving Time
  • Location Fees / Permits

You’ll want to plan a budget that fits your needs and results in a set of images you can use over and over again.

Photo by Jenna Sparks Photography

3. Scout a location.

Location plays a huge part in telling the story you want to tell. You’ll want to check out several locations that have the same vibe and decor you want your brand to convey. There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when scouting –

  • Light: If you’re going for a light and airy look, you’ll want to find a location with lots of natural light, neutral and light backgrounds, and some shade. Avoid locations with tungsten (or orange) lighting, no shade, or harsh midday light. Remember that light can change as the day goes on, so visit a potential location at the time you are expecting to do your photoshoot so you get an idea of the light that will be available.
  • Traffic: When scouting a location, it’s important to keep in mind that other people might be around! You’ll want to consider areas that have natural barriers, like a fence, bridge, or wall that will keep passerby from wandering into your shot. Time of day can also affect the amount of traffic at a given location too.
  • Permissions: Take into consideration that certain locations require permits or permission before you do a photoshoot at the location. You may have to pay a venue charge or acquire a permit.

Because R&R has such a heavy focus on food, it was only fitting for us to do the photoshoots at two local Denver restaurants. Thanks to the Bindery and Hedge Row for allowing us to use your spaces! We worked with the teams at the restaurants to make sure it was ok to photograph there and made sure that we didn’t interrupt normal business operations for their team. Sometimes that means doing a photoshoot at 7am!

When scouting locations, think outside of the box. You can rent a hotel room, visit a local park, or check out HomeStudioList – an airbnb like experience, specifically for photoshoots! (One of my friends from college started the company – such a cool idea!) The opportunities are endless!

4. Mind the details.

How many times have you taken a photo and then realized you had a hair tie on your wrist? (Um.. me in all my wedding pictures… OOPS) Or that your nail polish was chipped? Realize that when you are planning a branded photoshoot, you’ll also want some detailed shots of the scene. Take care of the details!

You’ll also want to consider what “props” help tell the story you want to tell. Talking about social media? Think about including your cell phone in some photos. Talking about planning? Show case your favorite planner!

Photo by Jenna Sparks Photography

5. Plan a shot list.

What shots tell your story? Food shots? Closeups? Come up with a list for your photographer so you don’t miss a shot you really want.

Think about shots outside of the typical headshots. You can get pictures of your hands, from above or behind you, pictures that are more artistic. Define a list and work with your photographer to understand what number of shots is realistic for the budget you set.

Photo by Rachel Nichols of The Fond Life

Ready to plan your first branded photoshoot? Let me know how it goes in the comments below! I’ve got more exciting resources coming your way… so stay tuned 😉 Some exciting news coming in the next few months!!