The Ultimate Guide to Booking a Brand Photography Session

Guide to Booking a Brand Photography Session

Booking a brand photography session can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. As long as you have a good idea of what you’re looking for, and a photographer who understands you and your needs, it can be fun to plan.

I’ve wrote this guide to give you some notion of what to expect. It might seem a lot, but once you’ve received your shiny new, unique brand images that are customised to your business, it will all be worthwhile.

Here are some things to think about when booking your brand photography session.

Your brand colours and values

Before you even step in front of a camera, get clear on your business’s message, brand and values.
This will be a big help to you when coming up with ideas for the kind of stories you want to share in your images.
You want to attract clients who have the same or similar values as yourself, and your marketing message will reflect that.
If you value family, freedom, authenticity, honesty, philanthropy, or any combination of merits, make sure they feature in your brand stories.

Choosing a photographer and their values

Finding a brand photographer can sometimes be as overwhelming as finding a new paint colour for your walls. There are a lot of us about!
A quick ask in a Facebook group or business forum leads to a plethora of recommendations or suggestions from photographers and their clients, so how do you narrow it down?
Are they local?
Are they available at a time that suits you?
Do you like their work?
Do their values align with yours?
If you’re in the habit of supporting local businesses, but they live 300 miles away at the opposite end of the country, and are happy to drive down instead of putting you on to a photographer who lives within ten miles of you, is there a mis-match?
Maybe you get along great with them, but their images are all light, natural and airy when you want something darker and edgier to match your brand.
Don’t feel like you have to go with the first photographer you meet, but find the right one for you.

Locations and travel

Where would you like to have your session?
Do you want to have some images at home, in your garden, or would you rather head to the beach or park for some nature shots, or perhaps a funky little independent coffee shop in town? You can have a mixture to give some variety.
Even if you feel your home office is too cluttered or small, but you’re desperate for some shots in there, it’s workable. We just need a corner or a space to be tidy for an hour or so for the photography.
No one needs to see all the furniture and paraphernalia piled up in the other corner. Unless you want to share an amusing behind-the-scenes, of course!
Depending on which outdoor locations you choose, is there a straightforward route between them? Does it make sense to go to the coffee shop en route to the park, or would you prefer to do the outside shots first, then go for a hot drink and a warm up at the cafe?

Time and date

When you’re booking your brand photography session, here is another consideration. If you’re getting some images taken in your home, when does the light come into the room?
Ideally, you want to be at the opposite side of the house if the sun is blazing in through the windows, casting harsh light and shadows across the room. This can be a deciding factor as to whether to hold your session in the morning or afternoon.
Shady days with diffused, soft light spilling in through the windows is actually a more pleasing aspect.

Schedule

Try to pace yourself. It can be tempting to go all-out at a particularly photogenic location, but it can impact on the time you have at another.
Your photographer will help you work out a schedule for each location and the travel time. Maybe you might even be able to car-share.
It could also depend on whether your friend / partner / children / dog needs to come along to appear in any of the photos, if they feature in your stories. More on that, later.

Shot list or Pinterest board

Now that you have a time, date and place for your session, what do you actually want to say with your photographs?
Maybe you want to showcase your frenetic but fulfilling family life, as it’s something that your clients can relate to.
Perhaps you’re keen to demonstrate small, sustainable changes in your personal lifestyle and how they can apply in business.
You could show how your service has helped people overcome their problems and gain confidence.
Whatever you decide, put together a shot list or Pinterest board for reference. Your photographer might even set one up for you.

Family members, friends or pets

Are you involving anyone else in your images?
Whether it’s your partner, children, pets, or roping in friends as client-models, are they happy and comfortable with what’s going to happen?
Hopefully they’ll have their outfit planned and ready to go on the day. They can bring any props with them that represent them and what they do on a daily basis.
The good news is that none of them will need to show up for the entire session, so there is always room for manoeuvre as to when the dog gets fed, walked and brought in for their time in the spotlight.

Props

Find as many relevant props as you can to use during your session. It can be anything from a favourite mug (the more irreverent the better!), to something relating to your business, a travel memento, or something that makes you smile every day.
If they match your brand colours, that’s a bonus, but don’t worry if they don’t.
Flowers, plants, notebooks, technology and books are all ideal to have on hand during your at-home part of the session.
For the outdoor locations, a travel mug, water bottle, laptop, or anything you use in your business would be useful.
Props that are unique to you not only help you tell your story. They provide something for you to anchor yourself with, to keep your hands occupied.

Outfits

Choose what you’re planning to wear to your session carefully!
I wrote a whole blog post about it recently, but here are a few pointers.
Be comfortable. That gorgeous dress that you saw online and “just had to buy for your session” might turn out to be itchy, tight, or have a mind of its own when you try it on. Go with what you’re familiar with. This goes for shoes, too.
Choose natural materials if possible. They allow your skin to breathe, unlike manmade materials which can trap perspiration. But be aware of how easily your linen dress or top creases.
Be on-brand. Try to find clothes that feature your brand colours. Please don’t rush out and buy a top in every shade, or every kind of top in one colour! If your wardrobe is mainly neutrals, find accessories, jewellery, scarves or belts that give a pop of colour to your outfit.
Layer up and down to keep warm on cold days, and cool on hot days.

Back-up plan

Of course, after all this preparation, there’s still a chance that things could go wrong on the day!
Weather can be inclement, to put it mildly, so be prepared. If it’s raining, is there a backup location with some shelter nearby? Even a bandstand or a large tree would give some protection. If the weather is too severe, there’s always the option to rearrange.
Bring an umbrella with you. A clear, see-through one, a bright rainbow one, or a solid brand colour would do nicely to brighten up a grey day.

Phew!

I think that has covered all my tips for booking a brand photography session. By finding a photographer you trust, and who gets you and your business, you will have a blast. They will guide you through the process, give advice and answer any questions you have.

Whatever your business, and wherever you are with it, investing in brand photography is a way to step up and be noticed. Your message deserves to be heard, so find someone who can help you tell your story.

PS:

If you enjoyed this blog post but prefer a pdf guide, then I’ve made one for you! This workbook guides you through the same process, but I’ve included space for you to make your own notes and jot down your own ideas for each section.