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.

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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!!

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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):

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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.

What's your WHY?

I threw the whole stack out the window as I buried my head into my hands and sobbed uncontrollably. I was so overwhelmed with emotion I could hardly function…

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Looking back now, I feel horrible for my poor mom who handled the situation with so much grace. I was a senior in high school and senior pictures were EVERYTHING. I had showed up for my session with several outfits, I had done my hair, my make-up, all the things. While we were taking the pictures, I remember feeling uncomfortable, but I couldn’t have imagined what would happen when we came back to see the proofs…

I literally HATED every. single. one. of them. Have you ever seen a picture of yourself and been so shocked that it was YOU (NOT in a good way)? Well, that’s how I felt about every single image the photographer had taken. I’ve been insecure about my looks since I can remember. I’ll never forget a boy in 2nd grade making fun of my teeth, and the feeling of shame and sadness that quickly rose up inside me. I’m sure sadly, many of us have similar memories. Being completely comfortable and confident in my skin is something I’m still working on and one that has been debilitating at times. And it was in this moment of looking through my senior portraits that brought all of those insecurities to the surface.

My mom was so patient and kind as I worked through the pain of visually experiencing so many personal insecurities at one time. She talked with the photographer who charged her for another session (oh my gosh - thank you mom!!) and I ended up with one image I didn’t completely hate. I need to find a copy of it to show you because… my HAIR. You gotta see it to believe it.

ANYWAYS. Fast forward a few years and a somewhat better hair style... I had always had a passion for photography, especially after my first child was born, but what I realized more than anything - was that I loved creating POSITIVE experiences for my clients. It brought me so much joy to create an experience where they could feel relaxed, confident and beautiful - because I quickly discovered that however someone is FEELING while having their picture taken, is exactly how they will LOOK. Which totally explains why I looked so unhappy and insecure in my senior portraits.

Women in particular are SO HARD on themselves. The comments I hear when women are looking through their images make my heart hurt - probably because they’re familiar lines I speak them to myself.

My mission is to help the women I work with FEEL the way I see them, which is:

  • EMPOWERED

  • STRONG

  • CONFIDENT

  • FULL OF LIGHT

  • BEAUTIFUL

  • PASSIONATE

  • WISE

That’s my WHY. That’s the fire inside that continues to push me forward in my work - because I believe in it’s importance and I believe that the BIGGER part of my job is the EXPERIENCE I create for my clients, not just finding the right angle and snapping the shutter.

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Remember WHY you started this whole business thing in the first place? I’m guessing that WHY is the same thing that continues to drive you day after day to show UP and do the work.

Are you sharing THAT story with your audience? If not, they’re totally missing OUT and so are you friend. In fact, I’m so serious about this that I want you STOP whatever you’re doing, pause and reflect for a moment on your journey up to this point and the story behind your business. And before you try to tell me it’s not exciting or inspiring, read on.

Here’s an excerpt from the book that inspired me to share MY story today… IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE, READ THIS:

“Can we resist the fear-based tendency to make our work abstract or overly complex and instead trust that our lived experiences, insights, and natural ideas are enough to bring to the table? Often THAT kind of authenticity and vulnerability is what is needed to move hearts and create change. Quite often, that is also what will cause us to be noticed, to be respected, and to receive the opportunities we desire.”

- Tara Mohr, Playing Big

As I’ve taken the time to ponder on my own story, I realized how motivating and deep rooted it is for me… so deep that I had almost forgotten. And what a shame that would have been.

TELL YOUR STORY.

And if you want help doing it in a beautifully visual way, I’d love to help you out.

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.  

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Featured Personal Brand Session - Salon Ski

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"True belonging is the spiritual practice of BELIEVING and BELONGING to yourself so DEEPLY that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness.  True belonging doesn't require you to CHANGE who are; it requires you to BE who you are."

- The absolutely magnificent and genius Brene Brown

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I can't think of another human who exemplifies this more perfectly that this BOSS BABE right hurrrr.  She knows WHO SHE IS and with that power, she is changing the world. 

Welcome, my friends, to Salon Ski.

Owner, mama, and motorcycle chick Heather always welcomes you with a smile and although she doesn't hold a degree in psychology, she comes pretty close to the real thang.  We always joke that what happens while you're in the chair, stays in the chair. 

You'll almost always find a crowd in the salon - people are drawn to the warmth and positive vibes, can't blame them.

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Written on the front door as you walk into the salon is SEE THE BEAUTY IN EVERYONE.  It truly is a space where you feel comfortable, beautiful and loved.  Bits of confidence-boosting reminders to see the beauty in YOURSELF are sprinkled throughout the salon...

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She's honest and cuts to the chase, but behind her fierceness is the warmest and most compassionate heart I've ever known.  She stands for truth and will drop everything to help someone in need.

Heather also happens to be a hair GODDESS - an artist and chemist when it comes to creating colors, angles and cuts.

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She has the hair of a Victoria's Secret model and even though everyone I know envies it, she's always wished she was a brunette.  

She's a reminder that making other people FEEL good about themselves has a trickle effect.  When you radiate light, people can't help but be drawn to it.  And she knows that sharing her light doesn't take away from it, but instead allows it to shine even BRIGHTER.

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See the beauty in everyone.

Want me to help you tell the story of YOUR brand?  Are you ready to take your brand to the next level??  Personal brand images that accurately tell your story and speak to your ideal client have the potential to reach your followers like NOTHING else.  Let's make some magic together. 

Click the button below to find out more!