How to Prepare for a Personal Branding Shoot

How to prepare for your personal branding shoot in 7 steps

Running an online business is no joke. To build a recognizable online brand, you’ll need to plan a personal branding photoshoot. But how exactly do you do that?

For starters, your old selfies and go-to pictures just aren’t going to cut it. 

In my business, I constantly use pictures of myself in my designs, on my website, and on my social media feed.

After I launched, I realized how important it was for me to have professional-looking photos that would represent my brand well and resonate with my ideal clients.

So what did I decide to do?

I hired a professional photographer, and I did my research on how to plan for a personal branding shoot.

I’ve done the work and planned two shoots to date. Needless to say, I’m happy with the results!

Photoshoots can seem daunting and you may wonder if they’re worth the cost. I’m here to guide you through this process step by step, so let’s dive in!

Find Your Personal Branding Photographer 📸

When it comes to personal branding, it’s important to work with a photographer who understands you.

First, I recommend starting with this step so that you can schedule your branding shoot ASAP – the sooner, the better!

If you have a photographer in mind already, go ahead and set up your shoot as soon as you can. Be sure to sort out payments too.

If you don’t already know a photographer, search Instagram for photographers near you. Do your research here by checking out his or her feed to get a feel for their overall aesthetic. This step is important because it’ll give you a sneak preview of what to expect for your pictures! 

If you can’t find one that matches your vibe, try The Knot or Wedding Wire. Although not every wedding photographer is open to doing lifestyle shoots, some might surprise you! 

If you can’t pick between 2 or more photographers, ask some key questions about:

  • Their prices
  • Where he or she is located
  • The number of outfit changes allowed
  • Typical turnaround times (especially if you need some pictures ASAP)
  • Time constraints (30 minutes, 1 hour, etc.)
  • The number of locations allowed
  • His or her artistic process

These factors will ultimately help you confidently make your final decision.

Finally, be sure to handle your photographer’s contract and invoice in a timely manner.

Create a Personal Branding Inspiration Board 📌

Your inspiration board is your opportunity to get really creative!

To help your photographer capture your vision, share a mood board that reflects your personal branding accurately.

Be yourself and search for poses and settings that speak to your personality!

Simply search Pinterest for branding photoshoot poses and pin what speaks to you. Oh, Pinterest – what would we do without you?

You might find that you’re pinning lots of similar photos. In that case, stick to a certain theme to give your photographer a clear idea of what you want.

Upload photos to a folder on your Google Drive to share pictures with your photographer down the road. In my experience, this folder was SUPER helpful during my session and ensured that no poses were left behind!

Decide on a Location 📍

Now that you’ve found some inspiration, it’s time to decide WHERE you want your shoot to take place.

Your photographer may have access to a studio with some fun backdrops and props of her own to play with. Alternatively, you may need to provide a place on your own.

For me, I set my first shoot up at one of my favorite industrial wedding venues, Venue 102. 💕

The owner, Andrea, kindly allowed me to freely utilize the space in exchange for tagging her in my photos! I recommend reaching into your network to see if you can pull off a similar opportunity. 

If you #WFH often, it may be a good idea to simply have the photoshoot take place at your house. If your apartment or home is too messy, consider renting a shared workspace and alert them ahead of time about your intentions.

Keep in mind any key elements that you’ll need access to for your poses. For example, if you want added dimension, having stairs to work with is just what you need.

Sitting on stairs for personal branding shoot

I work on my computer often, so I wanted to include some pictures of me at a desk. Try to think ahead before you finalize your location! 

Plan the Details

With your photographer, setting, and poses in place, it’s time to plan your little details! In many of the Pins you’ll see on Pinterest, models will have some sort of prop with them.

While you want to have some pictures of just you, it’s important to have props on hand too. Plus, it gives you something to do with your hands! 😂

Ricky Bobby: I don't know what to do with my hands

Think of things that your audience knows you for. Always talking about your coffee addiction? Bring along a coffee mug or your favorite Starbucks drink. ☕️

The point of a personal branding shoot is to help your audience see your personality. Think of props that will help you tell that story. 

I brought my laptop, a coffee mug, candles, my letter board, wedding magazines, and a gold and marble analog clock. Most of my props were things around my room that I could easily transport. These items made for some beautiful flatlays that I am very happy to have on hand now. 

Personal branding props

Can’t think of anything? Click HERE to access my free guide to picking props and poses!  

Pick Your Outfit 👠

When it comes to your outfit, make sure that it’s on-brand and something you feel comfortable in. It’s easy to feel self-conscious in front of the camera, so wear something that you feel comfortable in! It’s your job to wear the clothes, not the other way around.

I definitely don’t walk around in a pink jumpsuit with pink pumps and a big ol’ hat every day, but I loved that outfit and felt like I could rock it in front of the camera.

For my second shoot, I wore a gray denim dress and my signature red boots. Two very different looks, but I felt that they both reflected my personality well in different ways.

Ask your photographer how many outfit changes you can have. If it fits in your budget, I recommend having multiple outfit changes so that you can share more pictures on your socials. No one will know they were taken on the same day, and it’s great for personal branding! 

Everyone knows being an outfit rememberer is WAY worse than being an outfit repeater!

Outfit repeater Lizzie McGuire

Shopping !! 🛍

Ahhh, need I say more?

Now that you know what kind of outfit you want to wear, it’s time to hit the store. Take a friend with you to gas you up and keep your eye on the prize!

I went to Target to pick up a few props (candles and a cute on-brand clipboard) and my outfit. Seriously, when I tell you my jaw dropped when I saw the blush pink denim jumpsuit… I mean it. I GASPED. 

We all love #tarjay, and I don’t need to explain why! They have tons of affordable and chic clothes that are great for all body types. 

Alternatively, go to your favorite store that has clothes that make you feel like a million bucks. 💸

Get Ready the Night Before 🌚

For the sake of feeling less overwhelmed on the day-of, do yourself a favor and plan ahead the night before. 

Practice your poses. Have a makeup trial. Lay out your outfit and accessories!

Package up your props too or have them loaded into your car already if you’re worried about forgetting something. 

Look up how far away your shoot is so you give yourself plenty of getting ready time before your commute. Believe me – I drove 4+ hours to Tulsa and back for my shoot, and I wished I had more time! 🚗

What should I expect the day of the personal branding shoot? 🌞

It’s showtime, babe! Now is your time to shine! 

Give yourself one last wink in the mirror and take a deep breath.

You are going to look beautiful and have so much fun! 

Your photographer will make you feel comfortable and give you instructions on how to pose based on your requests. Don’t worry – it is his or her JOB to make sure you look great. 

The time goes by fast, so speak up if there’s a last-minute pose you really want to capture.

Finally, ask your photographer what the next steps are. Try to wait patiently for some awesome sneak peeks in the next week or so!

Conclusion 🤩

So there you have it, babe! 

In just 7 easy steps, you’ll have stunning, professional pictures that represent your brand well online.

To recap, you’ll need to:

  • Hire a photographer
  • Create an inspiration board
  • Choose a location
  • Plan the details
  • Pick your outfit
  • Go shopping (!!!)
  • Prepare the night before
  • Trust your photographer on the day-of

Remember, I am always here to serve as a resource to you! If you need help with any of these steps, feel free to reach out to me on my website HERE.

Finally, check out my galleries from my two photoshoots with Danielle Holsey and Jordan Taylor for extra inspo. PS: Be sure to check these amazingly talented ladies out if you live in Oklahoma City or Tulsa!

Sign up below to receive my free guide to picking props and poses!

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I'm Calla Hamlin, a native Texan girl in love with all things weddings and online marketing for girlboss entrepreneurs. Now, I'm sharing my passions to simplify wedding event management for the lovebirds and the pros! 

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