I hate being in front of the camera. I don’t like to be in the spotlight, which is why I became a wedding planner. I work well behind the scenes.
Ever since I started my business in 2017, I heard about the importance of doing a branding photoshoot, i.e. professional images that represent a business visually, but I avoided the idea completely as I’m extremely camera-shy. Over time though, I learned how powerful these images can be through my colleagues and research. This is not the same as a wedding styled shoot where you create a mock wedding set up with a guest table design, models in wedding attire, and wedding decor.
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Professional branding images are more than just headshots. They are strong visuals that represent a person, their business, and their overall vibe. These images are important because potential clients want to know the face, or faces, behind a company—they want to connect and relate to others. (Side note: On the rare occasions I posted an image of myself on my business channels, I noticed more likes, comments, and engagement on those posts than any others!)
So I finally bit the bullet and did a branding shoot. And guess what? My branding session turned out to be fun, comfortable, and gave me more self-confidence than I ever expected! Why? I put a lot of thought and planning into it. For anyone considering doing a branding photoshoot—and I think every wedding planner and business owner should do one—I strongly suggest the following tips to make it a fruitful experience.
Not only should you like their work, but make sure the photographer’s personality clicks with yours. You want to work with someone who will make you feel confident and comfortable. It’s also important to find out how many edited images you’ll receive if you get to choose them in advance, and how long it will take to get those final images over to you.
Do you love the outdoors, or do you prefer a more controlled indoor setting like a studio? If you decide to have your session outside, watch the weather. Rain isn’t the only worry—a windy day can make it difficult to keep your hairstyle in check and too much sun can have you squinting in photos. If you have your session inside, find out what items, if any, are available to use such as furniture, a decorative wall, etc.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to choose and style your outfits in advance. Make sure those clothes complement your figure to make you feel good. You’ll be standing and sitting and doing all kinds of random poses throughout the shoot, so you want to feel as comfortable as possible in your outfit and accessory choices to have the best results.
I recommend doing at least two outfits and two sets of accessories to get a couple of different looks going. On the flip side, don’t do too many clothing changes as you’ll get tired of being in front of the camera after a couple of hours.
Props are a great way to express your brand’s personality, and they add a lot of texture to your images. Props can range from items in your workspace to event décor. Consider what items represent you and your business and bring a few along to your shoot. I always have coffee and my laptop or iPad with me, so I used those items in my shoot to show my professional side, but I also brought a plant, magazines, and a wedding planning wine glass to show my fun side. Other things to consider using are your clipboard, stylish desk accessories, wedding books, or a fresh flower arrangement.
Your brand colors should be considered in every area of your shoot, from your props to your outfit & accessory choices to the location(s) where you do your images. That doesn’t mean your brand colors need to be plastered everywhere but having pops of your colors in all of these areas will make the shoot more thoughtful and cohesive.
Whether you get dolled up on a daily basis or not, I cannot encourage you enough to get your hair, makeup, and nails professionally done for your branded photo shoot. You won’t have to worry about doing it yourself, and you will look fresh and put together for your photos.
If you don’t usually wear a lot of makeup or get your hair done, you can ask your artist/stylist to do a more natural look. Providing images of what you want is also helpful. The same goes for your nails. Even if you don’t wear polish, get a clear coat on your hands and feet, so everything looks trimmed and clean.
You may still be nervous when the time comes to get in front of the camera, so I suggest having some of your favorite music playing from your phone to keep the atmosphere fun and to eliminate any awkward silences during the shoot. If you need more courage, consider the liquid kind if that’s your thing. If you decide to have an alcoholic beverage, drink something light, and keep the quantity to one to take the edge off. And don’t forget to use a straw so you don’t mess up your makeup!
This is a guest post from Maya Devassy Tarach. She is the owner of Preoccupied Bride in Evanston, Illinois. Maya plans weddings for couples throughout the Chicagoland area, primarily in the city and Chicago’s North Shore. She recently won The Celebration Society’s 2020 Designers’ Challenge.
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