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8 steps to planning a successful branding photoshoot

What to expect from your branding shoot planning session (and why it’s so important!)

Could we do a branding photoshoot without a planning session? Sure we could! We’d get some nice generic shots of you fake-laughing with colleagues, reading a book or drinking a coffee at your desk. No planning needed and I’d be in and out in an hour. But what would be the point? I mean, do you really want branding photos that don't say anything about your brand?! Or marketing photos that have nothing to do with your marketing strategy?

As a professional branding photographer in Edinburgh, I want to give you photos that’ll really make a difference to your business. I want to identify your key marketing pillars and get to know your dream clients. Understand your business of today, and talk about your dreams for the future. I want to look at your business together from the ground up. And then build it up stronger than ever. 

It sounds intense, but it’s really not! It won’t just be a ‘facts and figures’ business call, it’ll be relaxed, friendly and- dare I say it- inspiring! And while every planning session is different, we’re sure to cover the same key aspects of your business. So just so you know what to expect, here’s the 8 main steps of our branding photoshoot planning session.

1. Let’s get to know each other

Whether it’s relaxed family photography or a stylish branding photoshoot, the relationship between you and your photographer is key. If you look awkward or stiff, it’ll show through in the photos. You need to feel comfortable in front of the camera, so the photos show you looking calm, happy and natural. And that can only happen if you feel confident to be yourself around me. 

So of course we’ll dig deep into your business and talk strategy eventually. But I also want us to have a chat, have a laugh, make friends, talk about our lives and our hobbies. I’ll listen to your fears and learn what makes you tick. So when the time comes to have your photoshoot, we already know each other and you won’t feel awkward when I start shooting. I’ll know you and how to get the best out of you, and we can get natural, relaxed photos from the very start.

2. The two things that set your company apart

There are two main things that set your company apart. You, and your unique offering.

One of the main aims of branding photography is to give your brand a face people can recognise. We want them to see a real human that they can get to know, like and trust. We want your personality to shine through in every photo. And any shot that isn’t completely unique to you is an opportunity wasted. So before we get into your business, I want to get to know you. And then when we’re planning out our shot list, we can make the most of every opportunity to share everything that’s wonderful about you with the world.

But personality is only half the story. After all, we’re not just selling you, we’re selling what you’re selling! Understanding what sets your unique offering apart from your competition is key to any marketing strategy. So whether it’s the incredible service you offer, a unique product or a clever design, let’s talk about what makes your company special. This is your chance to rant and rave about how amazing you are! 

3. Brand ethos, identity and image

When we’re creating your branding photography, we want the visual brand to be cohesive with your brand values. 

So when it comes to talking about your business, we’ll start at the very beginning. From how and why you started the business. Where you are with your business now, and where you see yourself in the future. We need to show your customers what drives you. So they can feel like they’re a part of your story. We need photos that celebrate your contagious passion for what you do, and invite customers to share your passion with you. 

And once we’ve got a clear understanding of what your brand values are, we need to create a visual brand identity to match. We’ll chat all about how you want your brand to come across in relation to your brand story and ethos. What kind of brand ‘personality’ you want to have, what your brand voice would be, and what kind of aesthetic would suit who you are.

When customers see your branding photos, they’ll make an instant judgement based on what they see. And we want every single image to drive your brand identity forward, creating an instantly-recognisable brand persona that ties in with your brand values. 

4. Painting the picture of your dream client

OK, this is where it gets really fun! Together, we’ll build up a 3D picture of your dream client. Because if we’re going to create images that’ll catch their eye and draw their attention, we need to know who they are and what will persuade them to buy. 

So let’s get specific. Their job, their home life, their hobbies, their buying habits, their motivations, their fears. We’ll talk about what they’re looking for in a brand, what will attract them to you, and what could potentially deter them from choosing you. The better we understand them, the better we can direct your marketing at the right people. 

And once we have this ‘dream client avatar’, everything we do will be aimed directly at them. 

5. Marketing pillars

Now we know who we’re aiming at, let’s talk marketing strategy. 

First of all, it’s important to note that different marketing pillars work better with different kinds of photos. For example, a website photo would need a different resolution and a different aesthetic to one you might use on Social Media. So in order for you to really get the most out of your branding shoot, we need to get a full understanding of how and where the photos will be used. 

We can have a chat about what marketing’s been working for you, what hasn’t and why. We’ll go through where you’re at with your business and what your next steps will be. Maybe you need to build awareness, launch a new product or increase engagement with your customers. Whatever your next step will be, the photos you’ll need to support it will be different. And if we both know where you want to take your business, we can create photos that’ll help you get there.  

Together we’ll come up with a strategy that’ll have the biggest impact on your business going forward. Then when I’m building our shot list, I’ll know exactly what kind of shots you need and where they’ll be used. Without this step, we’re flying blind. But if I know what the photos will be used for, I can make sure every single shot has the potential to drive your business forward. 

6. Let’s make you a film star!

Videos are an incredibly powerful marketing tool. If you’d like to diversify your marketing beyond your full branding photography package, I can also create a lovingly-edited, short promotional film to support your marketing strategy. 

And this could be anything you like, so feel free to get creative! You could introduce yourself and your team for your website’s home page, promote a new range of products. Or tell the story of your brand for your about page or social media. If you’re interested, we can have a chat on our call about what would have the biggest impact on your business, and plan the film together. 

7. Planning the photoshoot

Now it’s time to get really specific! After our call, we’ll work together on a full shot list of everything we need to capture and what marketing pillar it's for. Whether it’s website images, social media content or brochure and product photos, if we know exactly what we need to capture, we can hit the ground running on the day. 

We’ll decide on locations, outfits, how you want to look and come across, as well as any specific physical needs I should be aware of. 

You know the saying, ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’? Well we’ll have planned this thing to a tea and will go in with all guns blazing! With all the groundwork we’ve done and all the time we’ve spent together, your day will be fun, relaxed, and completely focused on what you need to drive your business forward. 

8. Ongoing support

From the moment you book me, I’m all in on your success. And this doesn’t end with me delivering your final bank of photos. Anytime you need help or support, I’m just a message or a phone call away. 

From in-depth marketing advice to just a few little tips on how to format photos, feel free to reach out and I’ll do my best to help. I genuinely want to see you succeed. And if I can help make that happen, I will. 

Branding photography in Edinburgh and business mentoring sessions

When I first started working through my planning sessions with my clients, it was purely so I could ensure they were getting the most from their branding shoot. But so many people told me the planning session was just as valuable to their business as the photos themselves! So I decided to start offering business mentoring as well. 

If you’re completely lost at sea implementing everything, or if a monthly dose of support and accountability would help you move your business forward, I’d love to work with you on a more regular basis. Take a look at my mentoring packages and see if you think any of them would be a good fit for you.
If you’ve already booked me as your branding photographer, I can’t wait to have our planning session together! If you’re looking for a branding photographer in Edinburgh and you’d love to work with me, get in touch today and let’s have a non-salesy chat all about you and your business.

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