How To Determine Which Branding Photos You Need

One of the most common things I hear from a potential branding photography client is THIS:

“I don’t know WHAT kind of branding photos I want, really, but I do know I NEED new photos.”

I often hear about entrepreneurs hiring a photographer to snap a few pictures of them, their products, their space, or whatever else they can think of on the day of the shoot. But when an entrepreneur does not have an actual goal in mind for how they’ll be using the photos they are investing in, they just might end up with a set of pretty photos which they are never going to use. That is a waste of time, and a waste of money. Which isn’t exactly what you want when you’re trying to grow your business!

With that in mind, here’s a quick list of my top tips to help you figure out which photos you actually need for your personal brand or business:

1. Know Your Target Market

No, it’s not “anyone who will buy my s&?t.” Because if you are trying to sell to everyone, and to appeal to everyone… you’re not selling to anybody. Think about companies and people who are trying to please everybody. Don’t they have the most boring and basic vanilla-looking stuff?

Take a minute to narrow things down and precisely identify who your ideal client is. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be better able to reach them through the visual content you create and use. That way, the ideal client you’re trying to reach will recognize themselves in your brand. You’ll be relatable and they will understand you’re speaking directly to them.

They will take better notice of what you’re saying and what you’re selling. People respond best (and BUY) when they get the impression you are speaking directly to them. You must figure out who your people really are, and what you can do to make them feel you’re saying their name so they will pay attention to you. And buy your s&?t.

Knowing your target market will help you shape the look and style of your photos, including things like the actual location for the photoshoot, the type of model used, the clothes you/they will wear, and props to be used in the images.

2. Create A Plan For Where And How You Will Use The Photos

Will these new photos be used to update your website? Fantastic. The rule of thumb from web designers is that you include at least one image per webpage, not including the banner/hero image if you’ve got one of those at the top of the page. Photos stop users from scrolling, and your top-notch copy converts them into clients/customers.

Need new photos for your social media channels? Wonderful! Do you have a content strategy in place? Are there any upcoming promos or campaigns you want to share? Knowing this ahead of time will help you determine what photos you need to go along with that messaging. Thus, you won’t desperately try to match a set of pretty pictures with your copy. Develop your ideas and set your caption topics first and then get the photos you need. Does that make sense?

Will you use these photos for upcoming print ads or a magazine feature? Think of this ahead of time to stretch your marketing dollars, as most print ads/features have specific layout/framing you’ll need to consider. You must know if you need a vertical, horizontal or square image, and if you need to leave enough “negative space” in the image for text overlays.

Knowing how you’ll be using your photos will help you and your professional photographer create a more thorough shot list. That’s an excellent way of making the most of your time and marketing dollars.

3. Create A Shot List

Don’t get me wrong here. In no way am I suggesting that you dictate each + every angle ahead of time. Let your photographer do their thing – after all, that’s why you’re paying them the big bucks! But if you go into your session with a better idea of the results you’re looking to achieve, and can convey what your true needs are to your photographer, they’ll be able to help you create a shot-list to make your personal branding photography session pain-free.

Here are some things to consider when creating your shot list:

You must focus on your target market—make sure the images you create appeal to them.

What location and mood best show off your brand – who you are, what you do, and who your ideal client is? If you’re selling products, where might your customers purchase, keep, and use them? If you’re selling services, what does that look like?

What personal elements can you pull into the photoshoot to help you better connect with your potential clients?

Is it possible to showcase you hard at work? People love to get a secret behind-the-scenes look or to see things in progress.

Don’t be afraid to shine the spotlight on the most important part of your brand – YOU!.
People want to know who they’re actually dealing with. Smile!

Get detailed shots of items your ideal client would connect with, or items/tools used in your work. For example, if you sell cakes you bake and decorate yourself, get photos of your utensils, bakeware, kitchen, ingredients, etc. If a particular recipe book has inspired you to launch your food business, get a shot of you reading it while you eat one of your creations.

Are you selling products? Position them with lifestyle elements to breathe life into them. Work with your photographer to create scenes by placing your products with other items, being held and being used. According to various studies, photos that incorporate human elements drive more engagement than a straightforward “catalog” shot set against a plain background.

There you have it. Use the 3 steps detailed above to help you figure out precisely what type of branding photos you’ll need. Doing so will make you much more confident when you step in front of the camera.


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