If you’re reading this article, you want to know how to plan a brand photoshoot. You know a brand photoshoot is important and that a well-executed brand photoshoot will really help you stand out online, but the whole idea of planning can definitely feel daunting. Trust me, I get it!

As a photographer who has had the privilege of working with a variety of different brands, influencers, and creators, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformation that high-quality, purposeful photography can bring to a brand’s engagement and goals. I’m here to share what I’ve learned today to make sure that you can truly get the most out of your brand photoshoot. 

In this blog post, I’ll guide you through the essential steps of planning a brand photoshoot that will truly resonate with your target audience. 

How to Plan a Brand Photoshoot

Get clear on your goals

Before you really start to plan out your brand photoshoot, you have to take the time to get clear on your goals. Even when you reach out to a photographer like me, one of the first things we’ll ask is what you’re hoping to achieve with the photoshoot.

Is this photoshoot for you to show off new merch you’ve created? Are you working with another brand and need help showing off clothing through imagery? Are you just getting some content for Instagram or even a publication you’ll be featured in?

Having a well-defined goal makes sure that we’re actually getting purposeful shots that contribute to the objectives you have with your marketing. By skipping this step, you’ll probably still end up with great images, but they won’t do as much for you.

Going along with this, you’ll also want to try to get clear on if you’ll be needing anything beyond just still photos during your shoot. For instance, the photos throughout this post are from my awesome client, Alicia, a copywriter who works with startups. Alicia’s session included the addition of GIFs, which can be fun to use in marketing (especially on a website)! This is one of the many things that I can add on to a brand photoshoot to help you make the most of your content. 

Know your brand visuals

A woman sits in a cozy room holding a stack of books in front of her face, including titles like 'The Art of Non-Conformity,' 'The Copy Book,' 'The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid,' 'The Startup Owner’s Manual,' and 'The Monocle Guide to Good Business,' indicating a theme of entrepreneurial and creative inspiration.

If you want to have a great brand photoshoot, you also have to know your brand visuals. You’ve hopefully had at least some type of brand identity created if you’re a business owner, or if you’re an influencer, you at least have somewhat of a personal brand that can be tapped into throughout the photoshoot.

The #1 piece of advice I can give about brand visuals? Make sure you at least have brand colors and know the mood of your brand. This can ensure consistency and will help to guide A LOT of the rest of the brand photoshoot, like locations, props, and even lighting. 

For instance, my brand colors feature fun pops of oranges, yellows, and blues. If I were to have a brand photoshoot, I could utilize these pops in small ways throughout my photos, or lean more into the black/white side of my brand.

Create a moodboard

Now comes the fun part! Once you have your goals and know your brand visuals, it’s time to get creative. Creating a moodboard for inspiration – never to copy – can help to guide the overall direction of your photoshoot. This is one of the easiest ways to help a photographer like me know the sort of vibe that you’re going for. 

Create a collection of poses, images you love, locations, and more using a place like Pinterest. Another great way to find inspiration is by tapping into other industries. For instance, find architectural photos you love, search for interior design, or even fashion, to find some fun marketing inspiration that may not have been done within your own industry. 

Identify your audience

A young woman sits thoughtfully on a modern white couch, wearing a bright orange and pink mesh top with classic blue jeans and black platform shoes.

When it comes to how to plan a brand photoshoot, it’s so important to also be clear on who your audience is for this specific session. This may vary depending on your goals that you worked out earlier. It’s important to know your audience so that I can make sure to produce imagery that would resonate with exactly who you are trying to reach.

As an example, very different imagery would resonate with a Gen-Z audience than a millennial audience. 

Select your location carefully

Locations are another one of the most fun parts of planning a brand photoshoot. The setting you choose can change the entire aesthetic and mood of your images. You want to pick a place that feels on-brand and matches your brand’s colors and vibe.

A fun and colorful brand might not be able to reach their target market by doing a photoshoot walking the streets of NYC, while a very luxe fashion influencer may not connect with their followers by standing in front of neon street art.

For my client Alicia, we did a photo session at Studios by SK, a gorgeous green space in Greenpoint, which was perfect because the colors in the studio matched Alicia’s brand colors. The location helped to enhance Alicia’s photos instead of detract.

When it comes to locations, be sure to always check to see if permits are needed for the locations. Some places require permits that you’ll have to reach out for in advance.

Coordinate your outfits

Selecting outfits can also help or hinder the effectiveness of your marketing efforts in your brand photoshoot. Outfits convey a lot more about your brand than you think! They have the power to set the tone, highlight the lifestyle and values your brand represents, and ensure consistency with the aesthetic of your brand.

Try to pick outfits that won’t clash with the location you chose. Start by pulling some outfits that match your brand colors and mix with some neutrals so that it’s not too much.

Choose props that are meaningful

GIF of a person setting down a peper next to other graphs.

When it comes to props, you don’t want to have them just to have them. However, I like to suggest having them if you’re in a creative medium of some sort, like an artist, copywriter, or even fashion influencer.

You want to choose props that will actually showcase the values of your brand, highlight specific product features, or even evoke a specific emotion from your audience. You can also pick props that are in line with the lifestyle that your brand is promoting. 

When in doubt, start by thinking about the items you use every day as part of your process. Is there anything specific that sets you apart from others who do the same? Is there an item that you can bring to help show this?

For Alicia’s session, she brought some graphs to show how she works specifically with start-ups and cares about the ROI when doing their copywriting.

And don’t worry, we don’t have to use your props in basic ways, either. There’s ways to get creative even with a laptop as a prop that doesn’t include you just sitting and typing in every shot!

Hire hair and makeup artists (if needed)

If you want to go all out with your brand photoshoot, then hiring professional hair and makeup artists can be a great investment. They are experts on how different styles, colors, textures, etc., can add to your overall brand look.

Plus, if you want to have the extra reassurance that your hair and makeup will look great for your photoshoot, then it’s usually worth the investment. If you’re ever not sure about who to work with, ask your brand photographer, as it’s pretty likely they have a few recommendations!

Capture behind-the-scenes content

Last but not least, bring your own phone tripod and be sure to capture some behind-the-scenes content during the actual photoshoot when the time comes. Your audience will most likely love to see this and it can help you get even more ROI from your shoot.

To make it even more fun, consider showing some tidbits of you planning for the brand shoot leading up to the actual day. They’ll love to see you picking locations, outfits, and more.

Are you ready for your own brand photoshoot?

Well, there you have it! Now you know my best tips for how to plan a brand photoshoot. Whether it’s your first photoshoot or your fifth, I hope that you got some great information out of this article. Let’s make this one your best brand photoshoot yet!

If you’re still looking for some lifestyle brand photos for your own brand, click here to get in touch.

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How to Plan a Brand Photoshoot for Unforgettable Brand Content

GIF of someone flipping a book.

April 12, 2024

I’m an NYC photographer who is more than a little obsessed with documenting your looking-good-feeling-even-better moments.

I’m Francesca!