Choosing the right props, locations and styling for your brand photo shoot
In part 1 of this planning guide series we covered how to create or review your brand identity as this sets the tone and style for your photos. In part 2 we thought about what specific images you need and where you will use them. This 3rd part is the exciting bit, it’s about planning your shoot location(s), props and styling your photos! So make a cuppa, get your mood boards and follow these tips for making sure your brand photo shoot produces engaging and emotive brand images!
The location(s) you choose for your brand photo shoot should be appropriate for your products or services and should contribute to the story you’re telling. Do you want to document your processes and show where you work, or do you want to focus on showing off your products in a lifestyle shoot? Maybe you deliver services and you want to inspire your audience to become clients by creating motivational or inspiring imagery based in nature. Maybe you just need some simple images of you chatting with a client in a cafe?
These options are all possible locations to consider:
- your own workspace
- a client’s/customers workspace
- favourite cafes, hotels or meeting spaces
- woodlands, the beach, public parks & gardens etc
- maybe your home or a friends house would be perfect, an AirB&B, or a collab with a venue!
- my studio! It’s spacious, light, well equiped and has coffee 🙂
Props are the extra items we use in photos to help tell your story, evoke feelings, create mystery, or pique interest. They must add to the story, suit your brand and not detract from the main subject. They can add interest by shooting through them, particularly foliage & flowers, or round them, like doors, chairs, low walls etc. Props can also help ‘frame’ a subject within the photo, thereby drawing attention to the main subject more easily.
Make a list of what you can use, e.g:
- plants, flowers (fresh or dried), vases, pots, glass jars.
- trays: wood, metal, seagrass, fabrics – tea towels, voile panels, curtains, blankets etc.
- notebooks, pens, teacups or mugs, candles, tools you use.
I have a range of props available in my studio too!
You need to be clear on how you want your photos to look. They need to really sing about your brand, your products or services.
Does a light, bright and airy look suit you? Or a rustic, earthy look? Do you want your images to be very evenly lit with minimal (but natural) shadows, clean and bright or do you want the lighting to add to the story or feeling? Bright sunny light with harsh shadows from a glass or bottle can feel very summery, even tropical. Such images are bold and make a statement. Or do you want the light to be softer, more delicate like that created using voile panels, landing on you or your products then tailing off into the darker part of the room? Light plays a big role in creating the feeling of a photo and it needs considering as much as the props and location.
Choose props that suit the look you want, consider their textures and colours too. Textures can make a photo feel cosy or stark. Can we choose props or locations that include your brand colours?
What to wear!
The most important thing is to wear clothes that you feel like you in, and that you feel confident wearing. If you feel good, it makes a difference to how you hold yourself and how you come across to others. Wear what your audience, your clients are used to seeing you in but also clothes that will give the impression you want to give.
Colour plays a big role too, wear what compliments your skin tones, wear the colours that show your personality and those that make up the colour palette in your branding. You don’t need to wear all the colours of your brand colour palette! Choose one or two of your main colours or just one as an accent colour. For example, you may wish to keep your clothes simple with an easy to wear navy blouse and loose trousers. You can add a brand colour, say orange, in a scarf, jewellery, bag, nail polish, shoes, headband or even your notebook, laptop cover or the venue you’re in (the photo in my head here is a business lady at her desk or a cafe). You get my point though right?
You’re more than welcome to bring a change of clothes to sessions with me, or using cardigans, jumpers, coats or scarves it’s easy to create a new ‘look’ quickly.
Add to your shot list
Now you know where your photos will be taken and what props you need (if any) you can add these details into the shot list you wrote earlier (see part 2).
e.g. portrait photo showing book on coffee table in centre with cuppa to the left & armchair side to the right, windowsill with plants on in the background. Evoking calm, peace & cosiness. The story of a 5 minute break. For Instagram & blog post.
This example has a lot of detail that you may not be able to list, or wish to list, for each image, or group of images. Your session could be split into creating groups of images e.g. ‘me at my desk writing’, ‘the tools I use as a flatlay’, ‘lifestyle images of my books’, ‘me gather inspiration outdoors’ etc.
My point is, you need to have a shot list for your brand photo shoot, whether its a rough idea or a detailed shot list is up to you.
Now it's time to capture your brand!
Now you’re clear on your brand identity, what images you need, where you’ll use them and how you’ll style them to be engaging, you know you’ll create images that will work hard for your brand. Go have some fun!