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how to style your personal branding photoshoot

You’ve booked it! so Now how do you style your Personal Branding photoshoot?

Since it is something I have quite a lot of experience with, I want to help you out with some hints and advice on thinking about how to style your personal branding photoshoot. 

So, you have accepted that you are the creative director for your brand. And hopefully, you have briefed your photographer on all the essential elements so that they are prepared. (Read my blog entry on briefing your photographer if you are unclear on this.) You’ve worked out locations. Have thought about participants. And decided what sort of images you need eg, orientation, shape and white space.  You’ve worked out how to communicate your products and services. As well as thinking about the colours that you associate with your brand and the personality of your brand. And finally, you have thought about any brand talismans that represent your personal brand. All that is left is to style your personal branding photoshoot.

Curating your workspace for your Photoshoot

Best to start with location/s: think about the location in which you’re planning to have your shoot. Usually, your work space will be the first port of call, so: what does it look like? Is it uncluttered and tidy? Does it scream ‘productivity’! Or does it look messy and disorganised?  In other words, does it look its best? Is it representative of your personal brand and the way you wish to portray yourself? If not, it will need a bit of a tidy up…

And once you’ve done that, let’s think about how you will style your workplace. For example, if you have a journal or a  notebook and you are going to include it in your photographs, perhaps it’s worth buying one that looks really beautiful (and perhaps ties in with your brand colours ) which will look brilliant sitting on your (decluttered) desk. 

Props for your photoshoot

Next, let’s think about curating those props, e.g laptop, phone, notebook and pen (think about what these look like) dog lead, coffee mug or china tea cups. Plus depending on your work, consider which props show what you, do or provide visual cues. For example, a drawing board or concept boards (if you are a designer). Or a rack of clothes (if a clothes designer or stylist) or your instrument (if you are a musician). Make sure all of your props are clean (or buy a new one if it’s beyond redemption.

If you produce written work, think about printing it out and having it stacked neatly on your desk so it can appear in some shots. Also if you like scented candles and in your ideal office you burn one every day, then you might want to put one on your desk and burn it during your shoot. If you have houseplants, consider whether they might look attractive in your work area. Also, flowers are really worth investing in for your photoshoot and make every picture look better. Just take a little time to look at your workspace, imagine it idealised and then make it look like that!

I promise you, this attention to detail will really pay off in your photos. Remember it is about putting your BEST foot forward, so you owe it to your brand to take this time. Just as you would take time to declutter and buy flowers if you were having photographs taken of your home before you put it on the market.

Final photoshoot details

And then drill down a bit further to make sure everything looks its very best. For example if you write and have a pot of pencils on your desk, you may wish to buy a bundle of brand-new pencils and have them all sharpened and looking immaculate and uniform in their pot. Or if your dog sleeps in his bed next to your desk and he is going appear in the photos, make sure the bed or blanket is clean and the dog is groomed. 

Don’t forget your brand talismans e.g. things that represent your interests, your working space, where you are from, where you live, what you love. These aren’t just props representing your work, these are little cues as to your personality. For example, my brand talismans would include my black cocker spaniel, my collection of elephants, and my art books. So a personal brand shoot with me would include these items and they also feature regularly in my Instagram Stories. They are the things people associate with me when they think of me. And they just make me a bit more memorable and give a little bit of personality and brand differentiation.

Dressing for your personal branding shoot

Dressing for your shoot always requires planning. The first rule it to wear what makes you feel great. If you are confident in what you wear that will always come off in the portraits. Naturally your choices should embody your brand personality. For example, if you run a creative business, it might be a little out of context to wear a buttoned-up business suit in all your photos. Not that you can’t look professional, just probably not business formal. If you are a performer, it’s likely you will not want to dress like someone who has an office job.

You might find that your brand colours were chosen because they are the colours you favour and therefore you might have clothing which reflects this. And that’s fine – it’s a visual cue. But really, don’t make that a goal. Choose clothes that make you feel great and reflect your personality. Arty and whimsical, global boho chic, professional and sober, whatever your vibe, wear what makes you feel confident. 

And if you don’t trust yourself to style your own clothes, recruit a stylish friend and ask them to help you put together outfits. Snap a full-lengththat photo of each and have a look at the ensemble – don’t leave that up to the day of the shoot. Without a doubt, your photographer will be able to help you choose between two pairs of earrings at your shoot, but you should arrive for your photoshoot with all outfits planned down to the shoes, underwear and jewellery. Your outfits should be clean, pressed, hanging up in bags and ready to go.

 If you want more detailed advice on what to wear for personal brand shoots, I have written a blog on this subject.

And finally, cue up some music that makes you laugh, smile and relax. Nothing will get you more in the mood than that and your photographer should be happy to play that for you during your personal branding photoshoot. Now have fun!

“Photography through the lens of a storyteller”

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LONDON HEADSHOT AND PERSONAL BRANDING PHOTOGRAPHER

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