top of page

How To Prepare for Your Brand Photoshoot with Examples - Ep. 29

Updated: May 22

Something that gave my business an instant facelift was investing in my first personal brand photoshoot and how it was the face-lift my website and Instagram needed.

Great imagery is highly underestimated. When you run into a website or grab a brochure with stock images the experience is extremely unemotional. If you run into a website or brochure with professional branded images you immediately gain trust and confidence in that business. You might even think if their own business looks this good imagine what they can do for me.

A brand photoshoot is a game changer for your business. You can use your photos on your website, social media, proposals, slideshows, anything and everything. It's an investment that will make you look more professional, and elevate your online presence and social media posts.

For branded photos that are full of brand strategy, this is how a brand/web designer prepares a brand photoshoot (with examples) for a successful brand photoshoot.

Let's dive in.

1. Get Brand Clarity: Figure Out Your Brand Style

If you don't have brand guidelines in place for your business I would suggest figuring out your branding first before getting photos taken. This way your brand photos are intentional and on brand. If you're looking for a cheap and quick way to brand your business in minutes I do have a $17 Brand Kit Canva template there are 10 different styles on there you just choose one that resonates with you and you're able to edit the brand kit as you please.

I also have a Branding Kit Template FREE as well.

But if you're looking for something more involved and love to design and want to be a part of the design process for your brand I have a DIY Brand Yourself Mini Course for less than $300 which is a steal for being able to have branding that is 100% unique to you and can never be found on a template. It's the exact same method I use for my clients for a brand that stands out and is anything but cookie-cutter.

To keep your photos on-brand, you really just need to have these basics sorted in your branding: your target audience, color palette, and brand vibe.

2. Create a Mood Board


I love creating mood boards to gain clarity for the creative direction of a logo, brand or in this case a brand photoshoot. The simplest way to create a mood board is to create a Pinterest board and pin photos that resonate with your target market, are within your brand colors, and represent your brand vibe. Creating your mood board with these 3 things in mind will also help narrow down the types of images you pin.

Let's use my brand as an example. My target market is small businesses who want personality-filled brands that stand out, my color palette is my signature blue, black, and white and my brand vibe is Alaskan, layered, edgy, and aesthetic.

For my color palette and brand vibe I'm pinning images of people in nature to show off the Alaska part of my brand, with lots of blues from the water, and sky. Edgy shows up in editorial poses and facial expressions, this could be images of women confidently sitting in a chair or smizing into the camera. Aesthetic can be photos where the photographer takes images at different angles that are far from ordinary. Can you start to see how everything is coming together when you use your brand vibe as the creative direction for your mood board? Let's say that your target audience is between the ages of 50 and 75, they will relate more to photos that are completely different from what would appeal to a teenager. It's all about capturing the right visuals for your specific audience. The older generation would probably enjoy photos that evoke a sense of togetherness or maybe portraits that capture genuine expressions and emotions. Teenagers on the other hand would enjoy vibrant and colorful images that stand out and capture their attention or maybe action shots and dynamic imagery that show a lot of energy and excitement. Think about it, you will probably never see an assisted living brochure with images full of bright neon colors, nor would you ever see a magazine for teenagers with serene, monochromatic landscapes on every page.

3. Define the Purpose of Your Photoshoot and Figure Out Where You Want to Use Your Photos

When it comes to design it's really helpful to think of the end result first. This way everything you create is intentional and you have the proper sized file or elements for the project. I want you to think about what you are going to use the photos for.

If the photos are for my website I need to tell my photographer to include a lot of landscape images so I can use them for the background sections of my website. If you're using the images for Instagram then portrait images are the way to go since that's the optimum size for the Instagram newsfeed and reels.

If you know you're going to be putting text over the images to create graphics you can also tell your photographer to leave 'white space' next to you so you have a place to put your text and you don't have text covering your face.

4. Choose Your Photographer

There are so many talented photographers out there the best way to choose is style. Everyone has a different style, light and airy, moody, commercial, whoever you choose make sure they match your brand vibe. Don't expect a light and airy photographer to shoot moody editorial images for you. That's not their forte and you can't expect them to change their style to match your brand style.

Then of course you can choose on price as well but also keep in mind that this is an investment for your business that you can use over and over again and you can use it in multiple places like your website, social media, blog posts, ads anything and everything. I 100% would choose someone with the best style for my brand vibe over someone's price any day. If you're in Juneau, Alaska Sierra at Wild Iris Studios has shot all my most recent brand photography and she does a great job every single time, I highly recommend her.

5. Create a Shot List, Think of Ways to Add Your Brand Personality

In addition to the mood board, you can also create a shot list so you are getting all of the shots that you need. For example, I know that a lot of the time I want to shoot outside away from a lot of trees since green is not in my color palette. This one time I knew I wanted to get into the water so that was high on my shot list. Another time I knew I wanted some flat lays with my laptop and business cards, just think about what photos you need and accompany them with the mood board when you send your ideas to your photographer. That way you're both on the same page and you both have the same vision. Other things you wanna think about when making a shot list are location and the time of day. The time of day is really going to make a difference in the lighting of your images if you want to stay away from oranges and yellows in your brand images then don't shoot right before the sun goes down. If you're going for a commercial look with a lot of shadows and bright lighting then shoot earlier in the day when the sun is high in the sky.

6. Choose Your Outfits Based on Your Brand Color Palette

Then the fun part is when you get to choose your outfits and decide how many outfit changes you want. If possible I would choose at least 3 outfits so you can get the most out of your shoot. When you're choosing your outfits make sure that the color of the clothes is within your brand color palette. By only wearing your color palette that is what's going to tie your brand images to your branding. For example, during my photo shoots, I only wear blues, whites, grays, and blacks because they are neutral with the blue, and that way when I use that image on my branded website it will look cohesive. If I was wearing a red dress in my images that would look really off-brand and clash with my branding since red is outside of my color palette.

What I used to do when I was first taking my brand photo shoots I would collab with a small clothing store here in town where I would borrow some clothes to wear for the photoshoot and in exchange I would give the owner all of my images so that she can use them as well. It's a win win, she gets photos of a model in her clothes that she can use wherever and I get new clothes that are on the brand in my images.

7. Choose Relevant Props and Locations That Are on Brand

Top 3 photos: examples of props • Bottom 3: examples of on brand locations

Props in your photo shoot are really fun and it really does add a professional business element to your photos. I've done a lot of photo shoots with my laptop or talking on my phone, writing on my iPad or in a journal. I also designed a fake newspaper that works really well in my photos that you might have seen. I've used it for multiple photoshoots, it's definitely gotten a lot of good use out of it. When you're thinking about shoot locations I want you to limit locations that are within your brand color palette. If you see a really cool purple wall but your color palette is all neutrals then that image is going to look really off-brand when you implement it into your branding. I don't like to shoot in a lot of places that have a lot of green because that clashes with my blue too much and that can limit where we shoot outdoors since where I live has a lot of trees. But there are some ways around it by asking the photographer to darken the trees or reduce the saturation so it's more on brand. Or I just avoid using that image on Instagram where it could clash on my profile grid and use it for a blog post cover, poster or brochure instead.

8. Have Fun on Your Shoot Day!

The most important thing is to have fun because if you don't, it's probably going to show in your images. It's hard to have fun if you don't feel confident in yourself so feel free to practice in the mirror if it would help you.

I remember my first photo shoot I practiced a lot in the mirror just to see what my face would look like and what angles work better for me, it definitely does help.

Another thing to remember is that it's going to feel awkward and you just have to deal with it. When I used to coach cheerleading the first basketball game is always super awkward. You're expected to smile, cheer, stunt, rally, and if you go out there and half-ass your moves with no smile on your face and you're obviously uncomfortable its going to look bad. You might as well fake it till you make and do your moves full out with a huge smile on your face

It's the same with your photoshoot. You've never done it before, so you're going to feel silly and insecure about your posing, your face, your body positions but I'm here to tell you just fake it till you make it, do your poses, make your faces, just do it regardless of who's watching.


1. Get Brand Clarity: Figure Out Your Brand Style

2. Create a Mood Board

3. Define the Purpose of Your Photoshoot and Figure Out Where You Want to Use Your Photos

4. Choose Your Photographer

5. Create a Shot List, Think of Ways to Add Your Brand Personality

6. Choose Your Outfits Based on Your Brand Color Palette

7. Choose Relevant Props and Locations That Are on Brand

8. Have Fun on Your Shoot Day! Incorporate these steps into your brand photoshoot prep, and you'll be well on your way to creating a memorable and impactful brand presence. Don't underestimate the power of great visuals in making your business stand out. Here's to a successful brand photo shoot and a more captivating brand identity!

Talk to you later and happy designing.

ps. Don't forget to check out these Brand resources

Z Squared Studio is a Brand and Web Design Studio based in Juneau, Alaska. Check out or follow me on Instagram to see how I use my branded images Check out these personal branding photoshoot ideas


Z Squared Studio is a Brand and Web Design Studio based in Juneau, Alaska. Check out for custom brand design, logo design, or web design. Or sign up for our DIY Brand yourself Mini-Course if you're ready for a stand out, scroll stopping brand without hiring a designer.


bottom of page