How To Take Your Own Branded Photography

11 March 2017

With relaunching my business and website, I decided it was about time to think about rebranding. Once I had a logo, a colour palette and many design elements, I knew I needed some branded photography that was able to attract the right kind of clientship as the rest of my branding.

I've looked into investing into a professionally-done brand photoshoot, but with running a business on a limited budget and also knowing a bit about photography myself, I ended up deciding to try and do it myself.

Today I'm sharing the tips that helped with creating a cohesive images set for my website and brand, and some ideas on how to do your own brand photography without the help of a professional if you're a semi-expert...

A DIY guide on how to take your own branded photography

Define your budget

This might sound obvious, but you’re considering to take your own branded photography because you’re on a budget. Have a look around and see what your favourite photographers are offering and consider why and how that package is not in your budget.

Let’s say your photographer is charging €700 and you decide to try and DIY because that’s out of your budget. But:

  • you need to invest in a good camera
  • you have a pricy location in mind
  • want to buy all the props

...than maybe it was worth trusting a professional instead, with all the above already included in the package.

I already had a nice camera to start with, knew how to use it and edit my pictures, I didn’t have fancy plans regarding the location or the props; that’s why doing my own branded photography seemed the perfect solution at this point of my career.

This is not to say you shouldn’t invest into a professionally-done photoshoot if you’d like to, but it’s handy to define a specific budget and try and stick to it when buying props and tools.

Find your inspiration 

Look online for branding photoshoot examples: see what people with a business similar to yours is doing with their photography, define what’s working and would translate nicely in your particular situation.

To me, being able to browse through different business websites, especially young female freelancers, did the job. I also found very inspiring following brand photographers websites and social media handles, to gather ideas and see if that would’ve worked in my case.

If you have a favourite brand photographer, definitely have a look at his portfolio for inspiration. Especially if you have no idea where to start.

If you’re rebranding and you’ve been running a business for a while, chances are you’re already familiar with your competitors and with their imagery. But if you’re just launching, it might be helpful to do some researches first: create a Pinterest board, or even save the Instagram pictures that instantly speak to you when scrolling a feed.

Stick to the branding 

If you are considering to do a branding photoshoot, it’s probably because you have started (re)branding your business and need imagery for your website, social media, products and stationery.

When I work at a branding project with a client that’s planning to have a brand photoshoot soon, I always suggest to wait until he has his brand’s colour palette defined.

Whether you’re rebranding on your own or you’re working with a designer, do consider that your brand photography should fit nicely in your brand board, of course. The whole purpose of branding is not surely taking some pictures and base the rest of the design on that!

While branding is not only design but a togetherness of all the elements, it’s good to start from the bases. Once you have your colour scheme and brand’s personality defined in your head, where to start with you branded photography will instantly become clear!

Gather all the props

When looking for inspiration, you’ll start thinking about the props you need, what you have and what you don’t have that would make your pictures look more interesting and personal.

Give yourself a couple of weeks to think about it properly and decide what you want to use in your pictures: thinks tools or materials you use in your business daily. Anything that can help with understanding what you do for a living usually works pretty nicely.

And then consider what you have and what you don’t have, and decide if you want to invest into it. I immediately knew I wanted to create interest in my pictures with some greenery, which I decided to invest in. I also bought a couple of more props with my brand’s colour palette into mind, so that I knew I was going to create cohesivity and nothing in my pictures would have looked out of place.

Get the right equipment 

Do consider that you’re going to spend several hours doing your own photoshoot, and, if you’re working in the Winter months, you might not have the weather and light on your side.

I like to shoot with natural light and, with deciding to do my photoshoot in February, I had to wait a couple of weeks for the lighting that I imagined. Based on the period of the year, the current weather situation as well as your location, you might want to decide to invest in studio lights.

I didn’t feel the need to, however I do suggest getting a couple more tools like a tripod, a wireless remote and/or a wi-fi adapter if your camera doesn’t come with built-in wi-fi: they’re life savers, especially when you’re spending 3-4 hours trying to take some perfect pictures!

There’s nothing more frustrating than needing to get out of your pose to check the camera display each time you take a new set!

Define your ideal client

When planning your brand photographs, it might be helpful to have a clear idea in your mind of the clients you want to get on board with your rebranding and try to speak to them directly with the way you take and arrange your images.

Having a precise idea of your ideal client is fundamental when branding just in general. With photography as well as contents, it can be helpful to imagine said client browsing and interacting with your texts and imagery.

Also think about what you personally like and what instantly speaks to you in particular. In my specific case, my ideal client is a young male or female freelancer launching or rebranding a creative business... which is basically what I was doing myself at the time!

That’s why I found so helpful to think about what I myself would have liked to see on a website: what’s the thing in photography that would make me want to buy from another creative?

With creative businesses especially, I love seeing the behind-the-scenes, the work in progress, the tools and materials used, the way a product or service was originally born. I believe these are the kind of pictures that tell a story, and my ideal client would most likely enjoy this kind of story too.

Think in pages or products

When I work at a website for a brand or even design stationery materials like a brochure or flyer, the very first thing I ask the client to do, after providing him with a colour palette and some basic design instructions, is to send over the contents and images that I should be working with. This is because I want to design something for that specific situation and not find a one-fits-all solution instead.

When planning your own branding photoshoot, think about where the images will go ultimately: are they for your website? Or for a brochure? Social media?

If, for example, it’s for a website, it can help to have already put together the texts for your pages, have a clear idea of the number of pages you’re thinking to create, and how many pictures per page you need.

This will help you concretise a real number of images you actually need: the amount you want to end up with is at least twice that much, just to have versatility in case the original plan doesn’t work out, or to have cohesive images to use in collaterals and on social media. It’s important to have versatile images that are from the same set but not too repetitive.

Defining a number will help you understand and plan how much time you need, which props and what type of photos you’re thinking to include. Thinking in pages or products is also helpful when deciding what kind of props to use or if you’re going to be in your own pictures or not.

Find a location

For me it was pretty simple, as my plan was to create a set of images that explained my work, showed my workspace and felt pretty realistic to what I do on a daily basis.

I did considered to shoot in a location that’s different than my office in the beginning though, and the options are endless and for any budgets. You’ll surely be able to find a photoshoot studio near where you live, or you can also consider renting a flat or a room for the occasion (check out Airbnb, just to give you one example).

Although I ended up shooting in my own office in the end, if you believe your space doesn’t have the lighting you’d like in your pictures or the furniture doesn’t look right with your branding, you can definitely look out for a location that fits nicely without needing to spend a lot for it.

Giada Correale brand e web designer donna per business al femminile
Bonjour, hello!

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  1. Ciao Giada,

    grazie per questa guida utilissima!

    Ci sono aspetti mi era già capitato di valutare mentre a molti altri non avevo mai pensato. Purtroppo spesso, all'inizio della propria attività, non si ha nemmeno il budget minimo per dedicarsi a questi dettagli (che poi tanto dettagli non sono, anzi), ma seguendo i consigli che hai dato si può tranquillamente fare da soli in attesa di potersi affidare ad una professionista.

In this article:
Giada Correale brand e web designer donna per business al femminile
Bonjour, hello!

I'm Giada Correale, brand and web designer of Miel Cafè Design graphic studio. I design intentional and editorial brand identities and web designs for heartfelt women-owned businesses. 

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A creative atelier curating brand and web designs for women-owned businesses.
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