Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Showing up to a client meeting or even creating your website with magazine-worthy will reinforce your personal brand and make an unforgettable impact. You’ll give off a professional and legitimate vibe right from the start — unlike with those low-quality DIY shots — and stand out against your competitors.
However, were you perhaps thinking of booking a , forgetting about it until the day and hoping for the best? Think again!
The preparation beforehand is just as important as a photographer’s skills, and I’m saying this as a professional personal branding photographer. So, here’s how to nail it to get the best out of your investment.
Related: Want a Billion-Dollar Brand? Invest in Quality Photography.
1. Reconnect with your brand
You can’t afford to invest in a personal branding shoot without first being clear about your brand’s purpose.
This should be the first step as it’ll influence most of the following ones, too.
Mind you: It isn’t just for yourself. Your photographer will need to know all this so they can shoot your photos in a way that truly represents your one-of-a-kind brand.
For example, to help you come across as powerful and self-confident, I’d shoot your photos from slightly below as this inspires an air of authority. Friendly and approachable? Then I’d opt for the same height so you’re on the same level as your audience (literally).
Related: Your Most Burning Questions About Personal Branding, Answered
2. Be clear on the purpose of the shoot and prepare a shot list
If you’re anything like most of my camera-shy clients, I bet your brain has already come up with a range of worst-case scenarios for this shoot. From having some lettuce in your teeth to suddenly forgetting how to smile, most of them are extremely easy fixes, in reality.
I’ll tell you the real tragedy: investing in a shoot and then realizing you forgot about that specific photo you needed for that new campaign. Ouch!
So, do a proper brainstorm, and figure out exactly what type of pictures you need:
Basically, don’t leave it at “I need new photos.” Compile a detailed shot list to avoid that dreadful initial scenario.
Related: Getting The Most Value Out Of Your Brand Identity Design
3. Pick the right outfits and colors
I always tell my clients to bring eight or nine outfits so they can achieve a variety of looks and avoid a repetitive feel. Not just any outfits, though:
Related: Understanding the Power of Design and Branding
4. Choose some relevant props and a location that’s on brand
You’ll be the star of the show, but what’s around you matters, too. You can’t afford to leave it to chance.
To reinforce your brand, run an inventory of all the props you’ll need for specific shots. Discuss them with your photographer too, as they might already have a few in their studio. For example, my big megaphone is an all-time favorite for social media posts and launches.
As for lifestyle pictures, spend some time looking for a location that emphasizes your brand values and the vibe you want to give off. Is it an informal coffee shop? An outdoor setting that highlights your connection to nature? Your office with a view of the city to reinforce that authoritative vibe?
Once again, take colors into consideration, too. Does that background work well with your outfits and brand palette, or would they run the risk of blending together?
5. Put your best self forward (but stay authentic)
My recommended photoshoot mindset? Look your best but in a way that wouldn’t shock your audience if they were to bump into you on the street.
Don’t go into it thinking that you’re going to ask your photographer to slim you down dramatically in post-production. Do, however, plan your hair and, if relevant, makeup.
You could also have your nails done before the shoot, and how about a facial to pamper yourself and guarantee the best skin?
Related:6 Positive Changes When You Start Showing Up Authentically in Your Business
6. Relax and get some rest
Trust me: You don’t want to show up all wired and on edge after a massive caffeine fix.
For the entire week leading up to your shoot, try and get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water. That way, your skin will be glowing, you’ll be full of energy and you won’t start stressing over those new bags under your eyes.
7. Communicate with your photographer
Done all the initial brainstorming and shot list? That’s great. However, I can confidently speak for all photographers when I say that we can’t read minds just yet.
So, share everything with yours before the shoot, from your brand colors to the poses you need.
Like most photographers, I send an in-depth questionnaire to ensure I nail your brand to the T, but you can always add to it (yes, even that Pinterest mood board that you spontaneously created).
Remember: A personal branding photoshoot isn’t about getting pretty pictures. It’s about creating shots that reinforce your brand and complement your overall marketing strategy. And, to do that, you definitely need some planning.