How a Professional Photographer creates a Branding photo session

Visual Branding Sessions by Sally Ullman Photography

What makes you stand out from your competition? How do potential clients find you? What role does a professional photoshoot play in establishing your Brand?

These are the target questions to ask when attempting to establish a BRAND for your business.

Few business owners understand the need to provide their businesses with more comprehensive use of photography to succeed in keeping customer attention in the ever-changing world of social media- make your business stand out! Here is how you can be different!

One of the key elements in establishing a Brand is the visual imagery required to make your business attractive to others and differentiate your business from others just like it. This is you creating your unique business identity or “business personality”.

You can achieve this BRANDING look by engaging a professional BRAND PHOTOGRAPHER. 

FIRST, do you have a brand?

It is essential you have established your Brand before you start to use specific images for this brand by hiring a Branding Photographer.

Once your Brand has been established talk to a Branding photographer and begin the process to design the visuals to support your business.

You may need someone to design a logo or write advertisements that engage content specific to differentiate you in your market. Branding photography is a partner with any design your business establishes.

Every impression of your Visual Brand has value. Viewing it with consistency builds memorability and Brand recognition allowing you to get the most value from your advertising and promotional dollars.

This is the essence of Visual Branding with photography. This Brand personality creates a consistent visual message for everyone. This is the key to communicating your brand effectively. Now create the images that support your Brand.

When you face tough competition only the most impressive images will work for your Brand.

What is a Branding Photographer?What is a Branding Photographer?

A Branding photographer is not any photographer.

A Branding photographer knows that you are looking to be unique and memorable in your field of business or expertise. They know you may need to discover what makes you unique and that may require that you, the business owner, establish a relationship with a graphic design or marketing firm first.

Not every professional photographer can provide a business owner this expertise for you, so be critical of the skills you are seeking and interview photographers.

A Branding photographer, once chosen by you, should also first interview you about your business and by doing so establish perimeters such as:

Is this about a building or place of business, your location, or about the employees?

Is your business representing a product?

Is this product proprietary only to your business or can they find the same product in many other places?

Are you a sole proprietor or work with a staff?

Will this staff be important to show your customers, therefore the need for group or individual photos?

What are you wearing, what are you all doing in the photo, should we show where you work, or should this photo session be more for identification purposes?

RESEARCH other businesses like yours first and share this differentiation with the photographer.

How many photos will you need?

Never use just 1 photo to represent you or your Brand- ask for a photo session that will result in you owning a series of photos to use throughout social media, advertisements, and all other areas you may need to utilize for your business awareness. Be prepared to invest financially in the creation of these important distinctive images.

Let’s summarize:

  1. Your Brand must be established first.
  2. You researched your competition.
  3. Your Brand has a unique quality(s) to enable the Brand photographer to use for visuals
  4. You interviewed Branding photographers NOT just any professional photographers.
  5. You want a series of photos to use.
  6. You are gathering ideas of what will represent your business best.

Further Brand differentiation before the photo session

A Branding photographer once hired, will now hone the image format they are creating for you.

How many photos?

Studio or location or both?

Where will you use the photos?

Is color playing a role, in background, clothing, or postproduction retouch?

Talk about all of this first.

Creating the photoshoot

Once the perimeters for the shoot and location including the number of photos you will use are established; let’s further identify some details for the photo session.

If people are in the session, what will they wear? Brand means there is a distinct look you are representing.

Should the photographer coordinate hair and makeup artists?

You must look professional; this is not a snapshot of you -it is you at your best!

Sometimes a wardrobe consultant is brought in or a personal shopper.

All clothes need to be ready, not wrinkled and they must fit well. While this may seem obvious, I have personally been in many photog sessions where this was not planned well.

Maybe you have company shirts with your logo, is there a color that you wear or wear to identify the business.

There should always be a picture of the owner and it should be taken in the business environment, the studio, or the location like a city or area you represent. All the above could be backgrounds for the shoot as they create interest in our business and help differentiate you.

All of this helps create your Brand personality.

This should be a goal for the Branding Photography session.

The Session:

You picked your location, studio, place of business, or geographic region for the shoot to take place.

Arrive ready to be photographed or whatever pre-arrangements have been made.

If this is a studio session.

If a makeup artist is being used, it is preferable to have the makeup applied in the studio, so the finished look is tested under the studio lights.

This way, you have the time before the shoot to get to know your photographer and the photographer gets to know you if you have not met in person before. Also, the clothing can be reviewed before the makeup session starts as well as the types of backgrounds available can now be reviewed in person with the selected clothing in hand.

Planning like this makes everything coordinate in advance of shooting.

 If this is a Location session:

The same rules apply if shooting on location although I often have the makeup artist utilized in my studio first before we arrive on location.

Things to consider about locations:

Lighting must be as you want it- consult with your photographer about this before the day of your shoot. Tine of day for your availability and coordinating to the location light is essential.

You do not need to be a lighting expert, so let this blog help you understand the importance of lighting on location by asking if the photographer you will be using

Is skilled at natural light, fill-flash, or external flash units. Have examples of each type of lighting shown to you first so you understand that their skill is comprehensive for ideal results.

The Branding photographer should be skilled (and only select one that is skilled) in all types of lighting.

If on location, the photographer brings the lighting to you, whether this is an indoor or outdoor shoot.

COST considerations:

As mentioned before, when you face tough competition only the most impressive images will create excitement about your product, your brand.

Only creative images will make your Brand stand out – consider that a good use of color, impressive images used with your brand logo to attract clients.

If your marketing budget has already been established, this is the time to create the images that will be used for at least 2 years so understand the amount of time and the use of your budget for this purpose. Be prepared to update the images frequently for your benefit.

Sessions costs will vary based on geographic area, hours you are using the photographer, and elaborateness of the shoot. You can present your budget in advance and any good branding photographer knows to ask this first before plenty of ideas are exchanged.

The photographer’s expertise and knowledge of other clients like you should be respected.  You are not wanting the same old photographs you have already seen, so be prepared to pay for the creative input you are asking for. This is not a time for the use of stock photography images.

The interview with the photographer will provide upfront considerations for all of this and establish a range of costs.

Allow yourself to work within a cost range from the photographer because spontaneity may occur during the shoot and lead to unexpected images no one could foresee. The range gives you the opportunity to expand the shoot at the last minute. I am often surprised at how the energy during the shoot yields many spontaneous great results.

I often establish a range for the client and then before a session comes to an end, I ask the client if anything else came to mind that we need to shoot. The time involved in your shoot should be estimated in advance of the day of shooting.  Two to four hours is usually sufficient but there are no rules to timing as each person and business is unique.

Consider hiring Sally Ullman Photography to help separate you from your competition by allowing me to create unforgettable, imaginative photos of yourself, your product, or your business. Sally is a skilled and award-winning Branding photographer available for consultation or planning your Branding shoot.

Contact Sally Ullman Photography for a FREE consultation for your Branding photo session.