Is your brand session on the calendar?!
If you just booked your branding session, congratulations! I bet you are excited! Did you do a little living room dance party? (I can't be the only one that does that when I'm excited!?) Once you're done with your dance party, and the "freak out" feeling starts, don't panic! I can help you feel a little bit more prepared for this. So now comes the prep work! Grab your notebook and let's get you ready for your big shoot!
1. The LIST(S)
A list is going to help you really see everything you want in your session. A few lists, actually. First, you need to look at your website and get ideas of what content you feel is missing. Is your "About Me" page missing a great current headshot? Jot that down! Additionally, the "About Me" page is suitable to include behind-the-scenes style of images within your work (if you are a baker, prep work shots in the kitchen would be amazing), personal images that show you what you love (an example would be an image of you and your dog on a hike, or an image of you and your family making cookies together). Continue going through each part of your website and list ideas you think would fill each area to create a visually rich website.
Now it's time to make another list. Based on the above list, now you need to make a list of "props". Anything and everything from clothing to a cup of coffee, paperclip, and pens. This will save you so much stress when your day gets closer and you feel lost in how to gather everything!
2.Outfits and Colors
When you are preparing for your shoot, a carefully planned outfit can make a huge impact on the final outcome. Does your website have a logo and brand colors? If not, does it at least have a mood? Have you heard of "dark and moody" "bright and airy" "bold and colorful". Consider your outfits based on these categories.
If you don't have specific colors in mind, consider using neutral colors.
Accessories! Hats, scarves, handbags, jewelry, and more! A great additional accessory can go a long way to giving your image that polished finish! Take your personal taste into consideration.
3.Find Your "you!"
When you watch tv or see videos of famous people you will see personal branding all over the place! Oprah and her big hair, Al Roker and his colorful glasses, Gwen Stefani and her bold red lips!
Make something YOURS! For me, I stopped dying my hair a few years ago, and let all my silver take over. Suddenly I am getting more compliments on my hair than ever before! My hair color seems to be my "Me" - and I'm simply going to choose to embrace it! Think about you, what is your "you!"? You can find ways to make anything "you" when you embrace it and adapt it into your daily life. If you aren't sure what that might be, ask a few friends, they will have great input!
Coffee lover? Dog mom? Love Yoga? - any of these things can help guide you. A baseball cap can show off your relaxed personality, pair that with your favorite team jersey and you are making a statement!
My teenage daughter calls it n "aesthetic" A few examples she's given me: "minimalist" "hobo" "e-girl" "cottage core" (you might need to google a few of these! Remember they are coming from a teenage girl!) Some adult versions include: "sporty" "outdoorsy" "Trendy" "Timeless" "Luxurious" "Classy"
This is where the fun really starts! Recall that list you made earlier? Pull out your list and circle all the props that you MUST use! These are your main "features". Put a star by these and be sure your photographer knows these are props that represent you. (for example, in the above area, if you listed yourself as "outdoorsy", make sure you circle any of the props that are fitting to that! (hiking boots, fishing pole, kayak or a hat that fits with the feel). If pastels are a part of your brand colors, circle props that fit the color theme really well.
From large things like a surfboard, down to the tiny paperclips in your office, these can all play a role in your brand shoot!
Keep it clean BUT add all the things! Your photographer will be able to set your shoot up, but having all the tools at their disposal will really help fill up empty spots and highlight you and your personality during your brand shoot!
Is your laptop covered in comic book stickers? Do you have a few books that are a huge reflection of who you are? (maybe you are the author of one?!) Do you use notebooks or planners? Sketchbooks, rulers, tools of your trade. These need to be on that prop list!
Other PROP ideas:
- a small indoor plant in a pot that fits your theme
- textures like fuzzy pillows (if that's your thing)
- a blanket or quilt that fits your colors.
- small textures that are a part of your brand (buttons if you sew, flour and teaspoons if you bake)
- gadgets like cell phones, laptops, or work-related gadgets
- anything branded! (logos on shirts, signs, desktop nameplates
Ideally, your shoot will be set in your workspace. If that is not a possibility, a few location considerations to keep in mind:
- Good lighting! Your photographer will thank you if the location has some nice natural window light, even some smaller windows can work!
- Fits the theme! If you and your website lean towards the "light and airy", your space should not be dark woods, dark bricks, and dim lights.
- Variety! You do not want your brand shoot to have one single background. Make sure your location has "pockets" of space that will work to give uniform but varied looks. A couch or chair might be right next to a desk, but these can easily be presented as two separate areas, and still look cohesive in the final look.
- If your photographer is being contracted to more than one location, consider a few locations that fit your look, and show the "YOU" that you are after! (coffee shop, playground, gym, hiking trail, waterfront, boat, vehicle, workspace, kitchen, home.... The list goes on!)
Your brand shoot is a celebration! It is your day to SHINE! The outcome is going to show your brand off, and help draw your ideal customer to you! Go into your day with your favorite coffee in hand, and be prepared to see what a big difference good imagery does to your website and client reach.