On getting the very best from your brand photography

 
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Do you remember when business photography meant having a cringe-worthy photo of yourself, standing like a mannequin and gazing soullessly into the camera? Thank GOD things have changed.

These days, brand photography is an opportunity to express your brand's personality. To tell a story, enhance the flavour of your brand and to help engage with your audience on a level that words alone just can't. More and more, we need to produce high quality imagery for our brands: for social media, for brochures, for our website, for proposals. And whilst it's not practical to have every last photo taken by a professional, investing in a brand photo shoot is a must for all businesses, no matter the size. 

Whether the thought of arranging your photoshoot fills you with excitement or dread, there are some really key things to consider to get the very best from your brand photography.

1/ Know your style

What's your brand style? Light, bright and airy? Warm, cosy and rustic? Your brand style and choice of photographer come hand in hand. When you hire a photographer, you're buying into the way in which they see the world; their eye for composition, the way they use light, the way they edit their images. Every photographer will capture what's in front of them slightly differently, so you really need to spend time doing your homework, assessing portfolios and deciding which feels like a good fit for your brand. Bear in mind that most photographers are willing to travel, so don't limit your search to your hometown.

2/ What's your story?

What story should the images tell? Think about the mood you want your images to convey. Do you want to be seen as fun, playful and creative? Serious and expert? Inspiring, stylish and elegant?

3/ Find your location

Not everyone is blessed with a photogenic working space! It needn't hold you back. The location of your photoshoot will have a huge impact on the mood of your images. When we had our last photoshoot last summer, we knew we wanted to be photographed outside as nature has such a massive influence on our work - even though our studio is completely gorgeous. If you're looking to create a cosy, intimate feel then perhaps you could find a country pub with an inglenook fireplace and big squishy sofas? If you're looking for a cool, minimalist feel then how about hiring a converted warehouse or loft space? Think creatively! One of our clients recently booked an air bnb for their photoshoot to gain access to a venue that'd provide exactly the right feel.

4/ Plan your shot list

Photographers are generally not mad about being told exactly what to shoot, and I understand that - it stifles their creativity and restrains them. So rather than being overly prescriptive, simply draw up a list of the images you know you'll need. For example, you might want some headshots, some images of you doing your thing with clients, working on your own, images of your product and some stock lifestyle images to help set the scene. Agreeing a broad list of images you want from your shoot avoids that sinking feeling when your edited images arrive and you realise that something's missing... 

5/ Props and styling

The little details really matter. The mug you're drinking your coffee from, the books on your desk, the style of notepad and pen, the flowers and plants you might have in the background... even the style of pots and vases you choose will influence the feel. Every last detail has the impact to enhance the mood, so make it count. Really think about what you'll have around you and plan, plan plan! I love to take to Pinterest or flick through my favourite books for inspiration.

In practice

Sarah at Growthfully and Jess at Jewellers Academy have two quite different businesses with interesting parallels. Both brands exist to inspire, empower and educate their audience, but their styles are so different. Working with garden designers and aspiring gardeners, Growthfully's style is warm, earthy and muted. Her brand embraces natural texture, foliage and rustic elements. Meanwhile the Jewellers Academy brand is light, bright and feminine. Far more minimal than Growthfully, Jewellers Academy provides a burst of energy and clarity. 

Here's Jess's photos....

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And here's Sarah's....

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Isn't the difference incredible?

Jess hired Vicki Knights for her photography and Vicki nailed it. Taken in Jess's Hatton Garden studio, the images are light, bright and friendly, and perfectly capture Jess's energy and expertise.  Meanwhile. Sarah worked with the brilliant Eva Nemeth for her photography, and split her shoot across two venues - West Green and her beautiful home studio. I know that Sarah spent hours finding the perfect location but it was so worth it - West Green is lush, abundant and stylish; the perfect backdrop for Growthfully.

And can you see the difference in the props in both shoots? Jess has carefully selected sleek bud vases with single stems and an extremely on-brand pink and white mug whilst Sarah has surrounded herself with rambling ferns in earthenware vases, atop her rustic desk. 

So, what about you? Are you planning a shoot any time soon? Or maybe you've had one recently, and have some nuggets of wisdom to add? Do let me know!