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  • Writer's pictureAlex McClain

Getting the Most Out of Your Branding Session

Updated: Jan 25, 2022

Branding sessions are one of my favorite types of sessions to shoot. I enjoy getting to know business owners and the story behind their brands. I also enjoy being able to help bring their vision and their story to life through captivating visuals.

Believe it or not, a good branding session requires proper planning. It requires being strategic in bringing together elements that help truly tell the "why" behind your business. When working with me on your branding session, here are a few things I like to keep in mind when planning with my clients:

1.Telling Your Story: The purpose of a branding shoot isn't just to get photos that you can share on your website and social platforms, but it's to ultimately create visuals that help tell the "why" behind your business. Branding photos help to capture the personality of the business and create visuals that make your brand more engaging. Use these visuals to strategically tell your story and show your audience what matters most when engaging with your business.

2. Props: I recommend bringing props that give insight into your business. Bring props that give a behind the scenes look into your creative process. I recommend bringing props that help better visually tell your story and refer people back to your why. Bring props that will showcase your business and your personality. Props can include anything from a laptop, notebook, pen, paper, cellphone, cameras to your actual product or service you sell.

3. Location Matters: Every branding session location will be different depending on how you want to tell your story. I recommend picking a location that will lend itself to the environment of your day to day business. Whether you decide to use a studio, an outdoors location or a private indoor location pick a spot that also gives flexibility with your backgrounds and settings. Pick a location that will best suite the overall personality of your brand.

4. Plan for 2-3 Outfits: This recommendation can vary depending on the industry you are in, but I generally tell people to plan for 2-3 different looks. One look that's always essential is wearing what you would meet a potential client in, or wear what you would wear to a business meeting. This look tends to be more on the professional side. Sometimes it's more business or business casual. Think a day in the work office. The other looks I recommend are outfits that are more casual, what you might wear everyday while doing things behind the scene in your business. These looks tend to be more causal. It can be something as casual as a cute top and jeans. It really just depends on your business and your industry and the overall image you want to present to your audience.

Also when it comes to clothing, know what flatters your body. You can wear something fitting, but also be sure it's comfortable. Solid colors work best. I tend to stay away from patterns as they can be tricky on camera. I also recommend staying away from "trendy" fashion because it could "date" your photos and sometimes people use branding photos for a year or two before getting new ones.

5. Hair and Make Up: I recommend that your hair is styled neatly and professionally. This again, can also depend on your industry. Especially when it comes to certain style and colors. I recommend going with a style that's going to be most natural to you and your business. You want to make sure your hair doesn't cover your face too much and also picking a hairstyle that could be versatile. If you're able to wear it both up and down in a style that adds versatility to your photos.

When it comes to makeup for a branding shoot, less is more goes a long way. In a branding shoot you never want to overdue your makeup or go too full glam. You want to make sure your makeup enhances, but doesn't overpower or become distracting in your photos. While makeup can also be subjective depending on your industry I recommend going more natural and sticking to more neutral tones. Avoid harsh contours and highlights. Getting your makeup done professionally is highly recommended.

6. Posing: I always tell my clients not to focus on posing. My goal is to catch you in your natural state of doing what you love to do. Don't force a pose if it's uncomfortable. Don't overthink it, just enjoy the session and trust your photographer. If you have inspiration poses, share ahead of time and those can be used to create ideas during your session. I also like to put on music when I can and tell people to relax and the rest will come naturally.

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