Learn How to Get the Most out of Your Website's Personal Branding Photoshoot
& Walk Away with Photos You Can Actually Use!
Whenever a client of mine hires a photographer for a branded photo shoot, one of the first questions I get asked is, “Do you have any tips?” … And the answer is YES, yes I do! While you may be wondering what makes me — a brand strategist and designer — qualified to offer my two cents, let me assure you that getting your designer’s perspective on your brand photography is a very smart move. We may not know the difference between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera, but we can absolutely tell you how to align your photography with your brand and ensure that you walk away on shoot day with photos you can actually use for your website!
See, any good photographer is going to back me up here: Brand photography isn’t just about taking super cute photos of you while you work. It’s about capturing and honoring the visual vibe of your brand with the help of a skilled photographer, on-brand color palette, and strategically styled details. In addition to representing your brand accurately, it’s equally important that your new photos work well with your website from a design perspective.
“Brand photography isn’t just about taking super cute photos of you while you work. It’s about capturing and honoring the visual vibe of your brand.”
Let’s Slay the Website Photoshoot Game
First things first: Choose Your Photographer Wisely
I’m going to start with the obvious: You’re going to need to hire a photographer. But not just any photographer! Is your brand vibrant and light with lots of white space? Moody and editorial? It’s absolutely critical that you take your time exploring portfolios and finding a photographer whose artistic style is a good match for your brand. For example, I’m a sucker for the dark and moody aesthetic, but my brand is as colorful as they come, so it’s important that I hire photographers whose aesthetic is loud and colorful.
In short, the photographer you choose has the power to make or break your brand aesthetic. Let’s make sure you bring your brand’s A-game from the start by choosing a photographer whose visual style aligns with yours.
Keep Your Eye on The Prize: Focus On Your Color Palette
Speaking of color, your brand’s color palette matters more than you think! A strong, consistently-executed color palette serves as a hallmark characteristic for your brand. Have you ever been scrolling through Instagram and seen a post, ad, or story and immediately recognized who it belonged to without first reading the user handle… just because you knew that color palette and visual aesthetic? Yep. It’s THAT kind of subliminal voodoo I’m talking about. You want that. How do you get it?
Choose 2-3 of your brand colors to use consistently during your photoshoot.
Wear them and accessorize with them!
Keep the overall color palette of your outfits simple; Stick to solids vs. patterns unless otherwise recommended by your photographer, and go with neutral colors (except for those in your color palette — this will help your brand colors to stand out).
Keeping the overall color palette of your session relatively neutral will allow your brand colors to lead as the life of the party in your images. This is key to achieving a consistent, on-brand vibe throughout your website!
Don’t Miss A Beat: Write Out Your Small-Biz Shot List
As your designer, there’s nothing worse than having to tell you that we can’t use any of the photos from the shoot you’ve spent loads of time and money on. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: In web design, different types of images are used to achieve a certain look and feel. Banner images, for example, are often used as backgrounds with written copy floating over the top. And in order for us designers to ensure that the photo doesn’t compete too much with that copy, it’s important that banner images have white space and/or areas that are out-of-focus (i.e. bokeh effect). It’s also important that banner images are in landscape orientation to avoid awkward cropping. To make a long story short, there IS such a thing as ‘best practice’ when it comes to choosing photos for your website. Ideally, you’d leave your photo shoot with…
Detail, lifestyle and portrait shots (think styled accessories vs. images with human life)
A styled mockup or two designed to support your portfolio or shop, if applicable (a mockup is a styled image with an element that can be changed out; for example, an artist might use a styled frame mockup to showcase her artwork)
A healthy mix of images in landscape and portrait orientation
Lots of images with copy space (i.e., room to overlay text in a way that doesn’t compete with the image itself)
I know that keeping track of ALL THE THINGS can be tough, so my advice would be to put together a “Shot List” for your photo shoot that highlights all of the things you want to capture. And remember, your photographer is the pro here — don’t forget to ask them what they’d recommend, and don’t hesitate to lean on them either! Most importantly? HAVE FUN!