Updated: Mar 24
Today, more than ever, it is SO important to capture authentic branding photos for your business. In this short article, I share my insider secrets for how I help my clients get the best, most lively, and authentic photos. There is no time to waste on boring images that match everyone else! It is vital to have something created that screams whatever your brand needs to scream.
The Facebook and Instagram world we live in give us an overload of images and ads to look at—you need to be sure that people will stop scrolling and be interested in what you are offering. You can only get that with authentic and show-stopping branding photos. Read below to see a few ways I help accomplish this for my clients!
This brief was written for photographers; however, established brands and businesses can use it too as a way to help find, and book, the right photographer for their branding photos.
Create a vision board for your clients using Pinterest. Add ideas for posing, pin some of your own work, and select photos that match your clients’ branding colors and brand personality.
This practice is something I personally do! After I connect with clients for a brand consultation call, I then add them to the board, allowing them to cull it more specifically for their needs.
ILONA'S INSIDERS TIPS TO AUTHENTIC BRANDING PHOTOS:
1 // FOLLOW YOUR CLIENTS
Before your branding call together, check out every social media page and website your client has to gather your own intel about who they are. Look for what defines their brand and find what their platforms are missing in terms of images.
2 // PLAN A SUCCESSFUL BRANDING CALL
Plan ahead for your branding phone call to make sure you are asking all the right questions specific to your client’s brand, look, and brand personalities. Analyze what they need for their business to get to the next level using the photography you can provide. Anticipate their photography needs, challenges, and end the call by stating your plan for helping them get there.
There is no need to waste time asking generic branding questions that do not apply to your client’s brand. After doing your research you will know exactly which questions are applicable or not. After years of hard work, I developed a tool that helps me do this successfully every time—a branding questionnaire. In fact, I believe in it so much, it is available for you in my shop HERE!
3 // VALUE YOUR WORK
This is a subject that I cannot talk about enough. I have met so many tired, overworked, and burnt-out photographers—and I was once there myself. You need to value your work so that you can bring value to others. Too often photographers will charge ridiculously cheap prices and then deliver lower quality photos to their clients because they are simply overworked.
When you charge what you are worth, you work harder for your clients, get less burnt out, have more time to get creative on their behalf, have greater patience in answering their questions, invest more time into thinking of great questions to ask them etc. Charging fair market value prices, along with specifying your niche, will help you bring up your standard of planning, shooting, and editing without getting burnt out.
4 // CREATE REAL LAUGHTER
What a simple but strong factor for capturing authentic photos. I make my clients laugh out loud. Even if they must fake it by starting with saying "ha- ha – ha," it shortly turns into tummy crunching, eye wrinkling, and relaxed clients.
I do not stop there though—which is IMPORTANT! After I get clients laughing and feeling joyful, I take time to fix a few things to make sure the photo is a bit more flattering, but still authentically them: I typically adjust their posture slightly so it doesn't look like they are curled over too tightly; I will ask them to open their eyes a little wider; and I will direct them to push their chin up and out just slightly for a beautiful neckline.
5 // SHOW YOUR CLIENTS A PREVIEW
Clients are investing a lot into these images, and you want them to feel and look their best. I am always one to think my clients look amazing and to assume that I am good to move on to the next pose; however, I have learned it can be beneficial to give the client a preview of photos on the back of my camera since they do not always see themselves the same way I do. I hear so many photographers say they do not allow previews during the shoot and it makes me clench my jaw a bit thinking about the opportunities they are missing out on.
You can learn a lot from a client’s reaction and from their input about what you are capturing. They might be self-conscious about a certain thing and want to redo a pose. Showing them previews can also give them some different ideas for things to try, thus adding great variety to what you will deliver in the end. Previews can give clients an extra boost of confidence too seeing how great they look—which can go a long way for the rest of the shoot.
6 // SHARE PROOFS
I cull all the images after a shoot and let clients pick out their favorite photos from the remaining proofs. A client's top choices might be very different than ones you would select. Save yourself hours of time, and the frustration of editing photos they end up not using, by delivering just the right number of images your client needs. Edit only what they chose and pay for. Focus on editing those selected photos to perfection, instead of just slapping a filter or preset on it. I have created presets that I use based on where and how a photo was taken; but after applying it, I adjust it for lighting, fix any distractions, and use the brush tool extensively to create the final result.
I have been a photographer for ten years now and I have learned so much over the years. These are some of my basic steps for how to nail a branding shoot for my clients—I hope they help you too! My main mantra is to stay humble and always open to learning. Once you master a few things, challenge yourself to learn a few more. Never stop investing in yourself as a business owner and your work will naturally start to reflect that!
Here is to my first blog post ever! I am so excited to start teaching and sharing more with you!
Multi-published creative brand photographer in the
Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex.
-Blog Post Edited by Mandi Ann