personal branding portraits of Pilates teacher instructing student

Briefing your personal brand photographer

Are you preparing for your personal brand photoshoot and are uncertain about briefing your personal brand photographer?

creative direction of your personal branding shoot

The first and most important thing to grasp about communicating your personal brand with personal brand photography is that YOU are the creative director. Its a role you may or may not feel comfortable with but you’re going to have to step into it. And it is actually easier than you think because really, what you are creating is a visual representation of yourself, your values, your passions and your offering. This is a photoshoot which must be carefully curated.

Photographers are creative people and will arrive at your shoot with an artist’s eye. But they will need to focus on you. Capturing the best angles, posing you, arranging the lighting, shooting any customised stock photography, dealing with their equipment. So they won’t have time to art direct your shoot on the day. The planning for your shoot cannot be left up until the shoot day or you will find that you do not achieve what you wanted with your images.

how to brief your Photographer

For creative directors everywhere, the key to great collaborative creative output is the brief. The brief you create for your photographer (or indeed anyone you are paying to do work for your brand) is essential so that you get what you want from them without wasting their time and your money. If you and your photographer arrive unprepared, you will never achieve what you hope to with your photoshoot. Communication is key!

For example, when my clients book me for a PB shoot, I send them a questionnaire to prompt their thinking about the visual representation of their personal brand. This acts as a brief for me, and forms the basis for our pre-shoot consultation. That way, we know we are both on the same page about the shots they want to capture, and the vibe and colours of their personal brand.

10 tips for writing the Personal Brand photography brief

So let me get you started by breaking down some things for you to consider for the personal brand photography brief:

  • Start thinking about how to illustrate the products and services you offer. If you make products, then it’s pretty easy. But if you provide a service you might have to think a bit more about that. eg if you are a writer, how do you show that?.
  • Your personal branding photos will likely also show facets of the more off-duty, personal part of your personal brand eg where you are from? What are your hobbies, tastes, likes, favourite colours, brand colours? What is your role as husband, wife, mother, father? Think of all the different sides of your life (including the ‘downtime’ side).
  • You also want to illustrate your brand values, which also sometimes requires a bit of thought. For example, how do you get across ’efficiency’ or ‘productivity’? No doubt your photographer will help you with ideas about how to visually represent your work. But you are the creative director so you need to have ideas and input on how you will show yourself. Incidentally, putting ideas on a Pinterest board or Canva board can be very helpful for sharing your ideas.
  • Then think about locations for your photoshoot: the obvious place to start is where you work. So whether that is in your own home, an office, a shared space or your local café, you will likely start there. In addition to their place of work, many of my clients also like having shots taken at locations which are relevant to them or to their business so you might want to consider that. For example, an architect may have portraits taken in their office. But they may also have a shot on location on a building site. Or in front of buildings they designed or which inspire them. Have a think about where these places might be for you.
  • And don’t forget this is a personal brand shoot so it is designed to give a complete picture of you including things which inspire you. Such as reading, walking your dog, yoga, painting or gardening. Share a list of these with your photographer.  Think about what you will wear and where might these portraits be taken? Showing yourself experiencing these hobbies can really enhance your brand story. So think about the shots that you might have of you enjoying your hobbies and passions. If you love good coffee, we might do a shot of you making coffee and enjoying it while you work.
  • Also consider who needs to be at your shoot? will it include: colleagues? partner? pets? kids? clients?
  • What is the personality/mood of my brand? Is it sexy, moody, dark? Or flirty light and girlie? Is it vibrant, colourful and creative? Masculine, serious and knowledgable?
  • What are 3 colours you would associate with your personal brand?
  • Consider where you are using the images. Your website is probably a given and no doubt they will appear on at  least one social media platform, so what is the format? Is it landscape, portrait or square? do you need negative space? Just make it make a note of that and communicate it with your photographer. 
  • And finally, consider having a videographer who would come along and film you at your photoshoot. You will find that video useful for your social media feed and any content you might be producing. Remember, document your work AND the process (including your shoot and the preparation for it). It’s all content! 

Right, that might seem like a lot to think about but the good thing is, you already have the information you need to brief your photographer. So just take the time to sit down and think this through.  And try to enjoy the process – it’s fun! 

Use this advice for briefing your personal brand photographer and you will have a productive and collaborative pre-shoot consultation which will lead you to the personal brand photoshoot you want, and the great images you need.

For further information on how I can help you with headshot photography or personal branding photography.

“Photography through the lens of a storyteller”

LONDON PERSONAL BRANDING AND HEADSHOT PHOTOGRAPHER

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