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Brand Photography

15 Tips for a Successful Brand Photoshoot From a Bay Area Brand Photographer

December 1, 2023

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woman holding a peace sign with her hands and smiling at the camera by Krista Marie Photography, a Bay Area brand photographer

How to have the best brand photoshoot ever

Trust me when I say — I know that investing in a personal brand photoshoot is a really big deal! It’s a declaration to yourself (& to others) that you’re ready for MORE & that you’re going all in on your dreams. A decision like that should be truly celebrated! And because it’s such a big step, it’s important to understand these tips to get the most out of your photoshoot. AND in case we haven’t yet met, hey there! My name is Krista and I’m a Bay Area brand photographer. In this post, I’m going to share tips that I’ve learned over the last 12+ years of being a personal brand photographer. After reading this post, you’ll feel more confident, excited and READY for your own personal branding session.

Let’s dive in, shall we!?

woman smiling at the camera while working on her phone and laptop

Tip #1: Give yourself plenty of time to prep for your brand photoshoot

Honestly, spending lots of time prepping for your session is one of the most beneficial things you can do! When I have discovery calls with new clients, they often have many questions around the logistics for the photoshoot. What location is best? What should they wear? How many outfits do they need? Should they get their hair and makeup done? < –this answer is always a yes! More on that later..

In my 12+ years as a brand photographer, I’ve found that one of the BEST ways to feel confident on camera is to give yourself lots of breathing room during the planning process. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel — which means you’ll shine even brighter in your photos!

I always recommend having at least 4 weeks for prep (or more for longer sessions)

Depending on your brand photographer’s process (and the length of your session), you might want even more time to prepare. For my full-day and half-day brand photoshoots, I always recommend that clients give themselves at least 6 weeks to get things together. Since there are a variety of locations, outfits and logistics for these longer sessions, the additional time helps us create an efficient and full day to maximize their photos. For smaller brand photoshoots, 4 weeks is generally enough time to work through all of the prep and details

One woman standing in front of a desk and a different woman typing on the computer and journaling by Krista Marie Photography

Choose locations that match your brand

One of the MOST important things that you can plan for is the photoshoot location(s). The vibe of your photos will change so much depending on the atmosphere, lighting, and surrounding color palette. If you’re a coach, therapist, teacher, author, or someone who works a lot from an office — a clean, minimal indoor location might work best for your session. It allows you to naturally do a lot of the things that you do while working, and will give your audience a feeling of what it would feel like to work with you.

If you are a healer, photographer, event planner, or anyone else that usually works from an outdoor/”on set” location — an outdoor brand session might fit better with your brand. Get really clear on the vibe that you want to create so you can easily create photos to match it!

Get clear on your vision & goals for the session

Do you only want to have one photoshoot in the next few years, or are you looking to have your first (of many) future photoshoots? Knowing this will help you determine the length of session that would be best for you. It’s also important to be really clear on your brand details (keywords, colors, etc.), ideal client, business goals, and to have a good understanding of how you’d like to use your photos. All of these combined will help you create a shoot that’s in alignment with your vision!

One woman standing and smiling in front of pink wall and two women sitting on stairs outside by Krista Marie Photography

Tip #2: Choose outfits that make you feel like your BEST self

Sometimes, choosing your wardrobe can be the most stressful part of planning your brand photoshoot. As your brand photographer, I’ll always offer up suggestions for the location, best time of day, timeline and structure for the photoshoot. And while I’m always happy to assist you in narrowing down outfits, it’s important to know what clothes make you feel good.

Choose outfits that reflect your style and brand words

For some clients, they love getting dressed up, throwing on some heels and adding in a bold lip color. For others, they prefer to stick to loungewear or more day-to-day comfortable clothes. As your brand photographer, I can help you narrow down the type of outfits that will help convey the vibe that you want to create — but it’s also really important to decide ahead of time how “dressy” you want to feel. It’s also really helpful to have an understanding of your brand keywords and colors ahead of time so that way the photos feel cohesive on your website and social media. PRO TIP: Start looking for outfits early on in the planning process so you don’t feel rushed!

One woman smiling on a couch using an ipad and another woman smiling sitting on a blue chair by Krista Marie Photography

Online vs. in-store shopping

I almost always recommend that clients shop in-person for their brand photoshoot, whenever possible. While it’s so easy to order items online, it’s hard to plan for shipping delays, incorrectly sized items, or having something just not fit/sit right. Not to mention it just adds more to your to-do list when you have to then return the items that didn’t work out. I have a handful of stores that I always recommend to clients, depending on their style and the look that they want to create. You also always have the option of working with a professional stylist — which makes the wardrobe planning process even easier!

Utilize Pinterest to gather some outfit and styling ideas

Part of every brand photoshoot planning process with me includes the creation of a Pinterest vision board. It’s not only helpful to decide on the vibe that you want to create, it’s also helpful to find outfit ideas that you wouldn’t normally think of. Don’t be afraid to start pinning away some outfits that you like so that you have an idea of what to look for when you start shopping.

Tip #3: Get your hair and makeup professionally done

Trust me on this one — it’s really important! We already talked about how investing in a brand photoshoot is a really big deal — so be sure to maximize the session by splurging to get your hair and makeup done. The best makeup artists know how to make your makeup feel natural to you — so ask your photographer for their artist referrals or spend some time doing research for artists in your area.

One woman drinking coffee on a couch and another woman walking outside and smiling by Krista Marie Photography

In-home hair and makeup vs. going to a salon

While you can absolutely do either, I always recommend that clients have their hair and makeup done at home. There’s typically a lot going on the day of the brand photoshoot, so the less non-necessary travel you can do, the better. A lot of stylists will come to your home for a small fee — so be sure to ask!

Know what you like & don’t like

This one is so important! Be sure to have a few inspiration photos that you can show your hair and makeup artist the day of the photoshoot. Usually you won’t get to see your makeup until it’s (almost) all done, so you want to be sure to communicate what you’re looking for clearly before they start. It’s also important to know ahead of time what types of hairstyles you want to have throughout the brand photoshoot. Optimize for a natural style to start (with your hair down) so you can easily put it up or do something else with it later on in the photoshoot.

Woman smiling at the camera outside and sitting on top of a car by Krista Marie Photography

Hydrate and prep your hair & skin before the photoshoot

This one often gets overlooked, but it can make a really big difference! Your makeup will look more natural if you (and your skin) are well hydrated. I usually recommend really focusing on this at least 1-2 weeks before the session. The same goes for your hair! Treat yourself to a hair mask or something equivalent to rejuvenate it a few weeks before your photoshoot. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself — it’s all a part of the process!

Tip #4: Practice posing in front of your mirror!

This one might feel silly, but it can be really helpful! I often will ask clients if they have a preferred “side” of their face, or if they have a preferred way of smiling (with teeth/no teeth/laughing/etc.) When you spend some time practicing some natural poses ahead of time, you’ll have a clearer picture of what you like and don’t like as much. And no need to go crazy here! Just practice a few poses sitting, standing, walking, and anything else that feels natural.

Keep it fun!

What angles do you love most? What kind of smile feels most natural to you? Do you have a preferred side of your face? It can be really easy for us to focus on the things we DON’T like about ourselves — so I really encourage and CHALLENGE you to find things that you DO love! Start practicing lots of self-love and challenge yourself to see you as your loved ones, friends and clients do.

Woman drinking green smoothie in a kitchen and dancing in front of a green door by Krista Marie Photography

Practice posing in your outfit(s)

This is even more helpful because you get more clarity on how comfortable you feel in your outfits. Do you find yourself constantly adjusting one of your tops/shirts? Maybe it’s best to skip and not bring it along. If you find yourself struggling to move easily in a pair of jeans, try to find another pair that feels more comfortable and allows for more movement. Notice how you feel in each outfit and how easily you can move and be free!

REMEMBER: The key is to keep it FUN!

At the end of the day, you are choosing to invest in yourself and your growing business — and that is a REALLY BIG DEAL! Keep it fun and stay focused on allowing yourself to feel like your most confident and vibrant self. You are magical in every way and your photos will help show your future clients just how amazing you are!

woman smiling at camera in front of a white wall

Book Your Own Brand Photoshoot Experience:

If you’re looking to capture beautiful brand photos that will elevate your business, I’m your girl! As a bay area brand photographer, I travel all over for brand photoshoots (and will even travel all throughout California & abroad!) I work with heart-centered business owners and service providers to capture their unique brand — and I focus on capturing photos that showcase your brand story.

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