What is a Branding Shoot?
It is a series of portraits that can tell a story either about either yourself, or your business. It is not a product shoot, which is an entirely different photographic setup.
The idea behind a branding shoot is to give your potential new client a visual idea of what your business does. And while you may assume that everyone knows what you do, they may not always be aware of the process. While everyone is familiar with a sugar bowl, for example, many may never have seen a handmade bowl being turned on a pottery wheel. Once someone has seen the process of turning and glazing the bowl to painstakingly painting every detail on, the questions about the cost of the bowl will stop.
Ideally, the photographs are unique and customised to your personality and brand.
Photographs convey emotion, giving the viewer a chance to 'feel' your brand in a well-executed photograph. This is far more powerful than words on a page, or cold-calling. We spend money on wedding photography - but not enough on photographs that could get us the business to pay for the wedding in the first place.
Including your personality is so important. The subject in the pic below could never have posed in a suit and tie - it would not have resonated with his brand, and his clients would be unable to connect his service offering to him:
Why Book a Branding Shoot?
You are your brand's greatest asset. You are the person people connect with. If you have spent money on your logo, your marketing strategies and your advertising, this is an extension of your brand presence. Particularly now, people crave connection. It is not enough to know the name of the person you are ordering from - people want to see who they are dealing with as well. And if you can't invest in yourself, why should anyone else?
Showing up in your business- in all aspects, adds credibility
It gives you the Opportunity to be Intentional about your Business:
I always chat with my clients before their shoot. We bounce ideas around, the odd Pinterest board is shared, looks and locations are discussed, and discussed again. Make-up artists and stylists enter the fray. The flow of the shoot is planned and analysed for ease of hair and clothing changes. My point is that these shoots do not just happen. Booking a branding shoot means that the client already has - or is getting, through this process- a very clear idea of the look and message they want their business to convey.
Friendly and relaxed? Professional? Formal? More than one look? It really gives you the chance to consider who your ideal client is, and how best to meet them where they are, through your style of photographs. It also knits together your brand, as you now have images that are in a similar style across your website, newsletters, e-mail signatures, launch e-mails and brochures.
Should you include other people in your shoot? This depends very much on what you do. In a smaller family-owned manufacturing business, it may be once to include the people you employ as well, while a mommy-blogger may wish to include her children in some of her pictures. A business coach, however, would prefer to be in an office environment on their own perhaps and keep it strictly business.
You may take an epic selfie. But a branding shoot isn't just a headshot. It's part of the story. The purpose of the branding shoot is not just to show people what you look like. The purpose is to invite them in. Show them your process. Give a behind the scenes glimpse, perhaps some shots of you or your team in action. People are inherently visual. Once they can see what you do or how you work, they can decide to do business with you. They'll get a feel of your style, your offices and your professionalism
You will Save Money:
This sounds counter-intuitive, but think about it. At your shoot, you will be photographed in a number of different outfits, areas, styles and possibly locations. When a picture of you is required urgently for a press release or Social media update, your pics are there, ready to be sent. No more wasting time trying to find an available photographer, make-up artist and suitable clothes at the last minute. Or worse, trying to crop yourself out of a group photo you were in at your cousin's wedding - five years ago. I often spend time chatting to my clients about their desired outcomes from the shoot. and also advise them to think of any future blog posts or promotions they may be thinking of running so that we can perhaps shoot a shot specifically for that.
You Will Never, Ever Photograph Yourself the way a Professional will:
While there are those people that are able to act and perform in front of the camera, the reality is that most of us (myself included), are not comfortable with being the focus of attention. Particularly not when the results could be seen by everybody. We are all naturally more self-critical, so leave it to a professional rather. A photographer who deals with people will be able to pose you in a way that flatters you. They will ask you to move your hand a fraction to the left, to tilt your face down...or up depending on your facial structure. Trying to take selfies is a little like buying a lotto ticket. You may not be happy with the result, and unsure of how to correct the pose to improve it. Hiring a professional allows for a great experience, and will actually save you time in the long run. A professional shot also allows for fewer distractions - no family members or staff pulling faces as you try and take the perfect photo. Just focussed, undivided attention from professionals, and once you are done, you are done.
Standing in front of the camera is a daunting process, but it will take your business to the next level. It adds to your professionalism and your connection to both your offering and your clients. It puts a face behind the name, and people do business with people, not businesses.
If you want to seem professional, hire a professional
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