How to Prep for a Brand Shoot

Whether you’re taking pics yourself or working with a pro, you want to get the most out of your brand shoot. Have no fear!! Go through these 4 quick steps for a more intentional and successful photo shoot, even if it’s 15 minutes with your iPhone.


STEP 1: Create a Pinterest board (or Google Doc) and start pinning all the images that stand out to you (without over-thinking or judging them!!). Now take a step back and ask yourself: what colors keep repeating themselves? Are most of the images bright + airy or dark + moody? Take note and brainstorm how you can implement these colors and photography style into your shoot. If you’re working with a professional photographer, it’s CRUCIAL that you communicate your vision or you could end up with photos that aren’t a true representation of you or your brand.

STEP 2: What things are unique to you? No really, what are they? Maybe it’s your love of expensive coffee, hot yoga or those flashy red heels you wear whenever you wanna feel like a BOSS. What do people see and think of you? Now, how can you incorporate some of those things into your photos? Think outside the box - for me, it would be doing a photoshoot inside Target with my 4 kids because everyone who knows me well knows that’s our home away from home!!


STEP 3: I’m gonna be honest. This one requires some deeper thinking, but I promise if you take the time to really ponder on it, the payoff is HUGE. Take a deep breath and ask yourself: How do you want people to FEEL when they see your photos? A few common words my clients have come up with are: warm, welcoming, happy, confident, knowledgable. Write down those words and move on to Step 4 to put them into action!

STEP 4: Gather your favorite items from Step 2 and clothes that embody the look and feel of the Pinterest board you created in Step 1 - but more importantly, clothes that you feel GREAT and COMFORTABLE in. Wear a little more make-up than normal, but don’t go overboard. Someone should be able to recognize you walking down the street in your yoga pants after seeing your photos. Now that you’re all ready to go, find some beautiful light and repeat the list of words you put together in Step 3 before and during your photo shoot because (hint: this is the real magic sauce of photo shoot success right here):


How you FEEL is how you’ll LOOK. And girl, you were meant to SHINE.

I’m gonna keep it real with you: I’ve asked a LOT of women about the photo shoots they’ve loved the most and the #1 answer I get is: it all comes down to the photographer. It REALLY MATTERS who is on the other side of the camera and how they make you feel, so be choosy when booking a photographer for your brand shoot!! It’s an investment and if you’re putting in the time and energy to make the most of it, you want equal effort coming from the other side.

If you need some help going through this list and defining your visual brand, you should totally book a Free Brand Strategy Call with me. You don’t need to live local and there’s no cost - just my gift to you! It’s quick, simple and fun. Let’s chat.

Featured Personal Brand | KidArtLit


I can’t call it anything other than fate…

I was presenting at a women’s business conference in the Bay Area last summer and everyone was sharing where they were from. I mentioned my TINY town in Northern California and a woman across the room gasped out, “SHUT UP. That’s where I’m moving!!”

At the break, I rushed over to ask her about her move and found out about her amazing literature and process art subscription box company for families, KidArtLit. I asked for more info because it sounded like the perfect addition to our homeschool curriculum and ordered a box as soon as I got home.


Needless to say, my kids and I LOVED the boxes and before I knew it, Megan and Julia approached me about working together.


It’s been such an honor to tell the story of how reading and taking the time to do art with your children can bring you closer together and create memories that will last a lifetime.


The founders of KidArtLit, (and amazing boss babes) Megan and Julia, believe that a good story can be powerfully transformative and that process-based art experiences are the best way for children to develop problem-solving skills, confidence, and perseverance.


Together, they’re on a mission to make it easier for parents to connect deeply with their kids and to enjoy story time and art time the way they’ve always imagined.


Every detail of their business is intentional, down to the presentation of the box when it arrives… it’s basically like Christmas every single month when our KidArtLit box arrives!


And to top it off, each KidArtLit delivery is packaged by CSS, a nonprofit providing employment & job training for adults with developmental disabilities. The boxes are 100% recyclable and reusable - in fact, we‘ve repurposed our boxes for almost everything - art projects to storage for air-soft guns!


KidArtLit also partners with dozens of women-owned and mission-driven companies to source the best books, art materials, and activities for their families. A few recent partners include the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley, Hero Arts, and Tattly.


Helping female entrepreneurs elevate their brands and businesses visually is what LIGHTS ME UP and working with KidArtLit is no exception. I absolutely LOVE what they’re putting out into the world, especially the important message of using art and books to connect deeply with our children, something that’s very dear to my heart. Hearing how implementing these images in their marketing, website and social media has impacted their success is such an inspiration and a testament to power of STORYTELLING IMAGES.


Co-founder Julia said, “Brandilyn helped orchestrate a photoshoot that was professional, well-designed and that really met our needs as a business. She listens so intently and is such a creative thinker in the way that she processes what a business needs. It’s really unusual to have a photographer that instantly feels like somebody you need to have on hand all the time. Brandilyn is someone we work with every month now helping us produce images for our company so that we always have fresh, new photos that we can use at the drop of a hat! Whether we are re-designing a website or planning a big marketing campaign, we know we have the images that are not only going to meet our needs, but that will TELL OUR STORY. She’s a joy to work with!”

If YOU are ready to:




…then you definitely need to book your FREE BRAND STRATEGY CALL today where I’ll help you clarify your visual brand and go over how I can help you take your business to the next level!!!

Why you can't afford to NOT tell your story

We all have a story to tell.  Most of our stories are quite messy, often crazy, a touch dramatic and so, so beautiful.  It's within these stories that make up what we represent and who we are.  And WHO we are is what people fall in love with.  They fall in love with our STORIES.  


Our stories create connection.  And that connection creates TRUST.  

As a entrepreneur, you can't afford to NOT be telling your story.  Because as we all know, it's connection and trust that converts followers into paying clients.  And even if someone never becomes a client, CONNECTION is what life is all about isn't it??  As humans, we literally crave connection alongside basic survival.

So, creating a connection through sharing your story is really just another way to SERVE your community.  


And I can't think of a better or more beautiful way to share your story than through images.  In fact, images are more influential in shaping the EMOTION and FIRST IMPRESSION of a brand than ANY other aspect of your business.

Think about it, you're scrolling, scrolling, scrolling... does another #SELFIE stop you in your tracks?  Nope.  Now, how about a beautiful image that perfectly captures the heart of what you do???  THAT sure stops me from my mindless scrolling.  #thankyouverymuch

As a personal brand photographer, telling stories through images is what I DO.  A common question I get is "What exactly is a story?"  As it pertains to personal brand photography, a story is one detailed aspect of a personal brand.  I'll give you a few examples.


I'm currently working to build my personal brand (come follow along!), and I've identified 5 aspects of my life aka: personal brand that I want to focus on: 1. being a wife and mother 2. my obsession with all things self help (heyyyy Brene!)  3. the fact I end up in Target wayyyyy too often 4. my love for travel and 5.  my love for chai tea lattes.

Now, in each of these aspects, there are many stories that could be told.  Being a wife and mother - one story could be me homeschooling my four children.  Another story could be me finding humor in the day to day with my #realifeyo images.  And yet another story (all part of one main aspect of my "brand") could be my husband and I walking along the beach in San Fransisco where we had our first date.

You can see how the possibilities are endless and obviously each brand will have different aspects and stories they want to tell and focus on.  But essentially, a story is one specific, detailed portion of a brand, as told through images.


As another example, Jadah Sellner is a rock-star online community growth and business strategist (among many other things!) who focuses on building a business tribe from a place of LOVE.  One main aspect of Jadah's personal brand is being an introvert who loves building intentional communities.  One way she does this is with her Love Over Metrics Business Growth Mastermind, which includes a couple in-person business retreats.

Images of Jadah leading her tribe of female entrepreneurs at a retreat helps to tell the story of an intimate community of women who are building their businesses, supporting each other and taking massive action to reach their goals and biggest dreams.  Again, this is just an example of ONE story Jadah might tell all under the aspect of building intentional communities.


She also has a beautiful podcast that focuses on leading with LOVE that features some super wise guest speakers along with herself.  Images of Jadah recording her podcast are yet another example of one story she might tell of her larger brand aspect of being a leader and entrepreneur.


It's images like these - authentic, high-quality, on-brand images - that create a deep CONNECTION with your tribe, and enable you to more clearly tell your story.

I hope this clears up what a STORY is as it pertains to personal brand photography and why having images that ACCURATELY tell your story is so, so important.

You have a personal brand, whether you realize it or not.  The questions is: are you happy with the story your brand is telling?

If not, I can hook you UP.  Let's make some story-telling magic together so you can spend more time doing what you LOVE.