How to Plan Your Next Brand Photoshoot

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I'm Jen -  A web designer and strategist who has made it my mission to equip and inspire entrepreneurs to build a brand and business that allows them to live life on their terms.

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Feel like your visual brand is looking a bit unprofessional and inconsistent? A major part of this might be your brand photos. If you’ve struggled with pulling together different images of yourself from free headshot sessions, conferences, etc. It’s definitely time to plan your own brand photoshoot. Investing in professional brand images is one of the best investments that I continue to make for my business. During my latest shoot, we created enough diverse content that I’ve easily been able to utilize throughout my brand over the past year.

The best part is that the shoot itself is only half the fun! As a creative, I love the planning part of a photoshoot and finding ways to incorporate my style and story into my brand imagery. I know it can also be an overwhelming process if you’re not sure where to start. Today I’m sharing the exact process I used to make sure that my brand shoot went smoothly, and resulted in the exact images I needed to bring my brand to life. I also created a brand photoshoot checklist and timeline to help walk you through the exact process from beginning to end!


Creating a Pinterest board or mood board is typically the best place to start. This will be the first building block to all of the other decisions you need to make. Once you know the overall tone and feel of your brand photoshoot, it will help you to select the best photographer, location, and clothing choices. Pinterest is a digital playground full of great ideas, but it’s important to remember that you simply want to stay inspired. Start by curating a collection of images that resonate with your brand’s style, colors, and mood. Don’t forget to mix and match a variety of images. You’ll want to pin everything from clothing choices, to location, and poses. 

As you put together your board, don’t forget to stick to the aesthetic of your brand or the specific story that you’re trying to tell with this shoot. When I create a board, I like to save any image that captures my attention in the moment, and then go back through to trim it down based on the overall theme. Try to keep a final selection of 20-40 images that really resonate with you, and then pull your top 5-10 favorites to a style board to help guide the next steps.


Finding the right photographer can definitely take some time, so I recommend starting this process early. You’ll want to book your photographer 3-6 months before the shoot. It may take you a few weeks to find the best fit. It’s important to find a photographer that you can work with for each future shoot to keep your brand images and style consistent. So don’t rush this process. I recommend working with a photographer that specializes in branding. As a former brand photographer, I know that it’s a completely different mindset and workflow then shooting a family portrait session or a wedding. 

There’s a few things you’ll want to look for during your search. I always consider the photographer’s shooting and editing style and ask to see a full gallery of their work. It’s important that their style resonates with your own brand style or that the photographer is willing to make changes according to your individual shoot. Second, you’ll want to make sure they’re strategic.

The purpose of a brand photoshoot is to have specific images for your social media, website, and brand collateral. The photographer should have a process in place to help create this plan so that nothing is overlooked.  Finally, find someone who makes it fun! The best part of a brand photoshoot is that it’s a day out of the office! All of your feelings will come across in your photos. So make sure that you’re relaxed, excited, and working with someone who can bring out the best in you.


A photoshoot is already a big investment, from the photographer to the clothing and props. But if there’s one area you don’t want to cut corners on, it’s the location. The location you select will make or break your shoot, and this can be a difficult decision to make. The reason you want to book your photographer before the location is because they should be able to help guide you on choosing the perfect spot! If the photographer is local to you, they probably already have several places in mind that they can recommend. If not, they should at least confirm if a location would be a good spot for a photoshoot.

Choose a location that has great light, matches your brand aesthetic, and offers a few minimal background opportunities. While the location helps to tell the story, you don’t want that to be the entire focus. A cluttered background will distract from the image itself and create inconsistency with the other images across your brand. Think ahead to how you’ll use each image in each location. Do you need a location that offers a blank wall so that you can add text? Or maybe you need two locations so that you can create both lifestyle and studio images? Go back to your style board as you find the perfect spot!


Creating storylines for your photoshoot will help to make sure that you’re being super strategic about your time and investment. So what exactly is a storyline? It’s basically an outline for each mini story you want to tell within a specific shoot. Each storyline may be related to the brand as a whole. Or they might be more niched down to a new product or service that you’re preparing to launch. 

While it’s important to have the standard storyline that shows what you do, don’t forget about the intentional images that tell more about who you are and how you stand out from the competition. That might include specific images in a location that inspires your work, or how you personalize custom pieces. Maybe you want to include images of your product on the shelves in a local boutique, or props that are unique to your personal branding. I recommend coming up with 2-3 storylines per major photoshoot. 

From there, you’ll want to outline the must have shot list ideas that you’ll need within each storyline. In order to create this shot list, go back to your Pinterest board and start by reviewing some of the poses you want to work on recreating in your own way. Then review your website and consider any image refresh or updates you need to make. Be specific as you create this list, does the image need to be horizontal with white space on the right side for text? Do you want to include a certain prop where the focus is on your workspace with you out of focus in the background? Your photographer should help with this part of the planning process. But it never hurts to get a head start and outline those have-to-have images to make the most of your investment.


It’s time to finalize all of the fun details. I like to get a head start and make sure I’m fully prepared so that it’s an enjoyable process.  There’s nothing worse than being stressed and trying to tackle this step at the 11th hour. Go back to your initial style board, and use the same template to put outfits together. You want to make sure that everything is a perfect fit for the creative direction you originally outlined. I like to make an “outfits only” style board so that I have specific guidelines around what I want to order. I’ll even go as far as to take screenshots of clothing items and make sure each piece is a perfect fit before I order! Select outfits that are still true to who you are so that you both look and FEEL your best.

Don’t forget to include as many options as your shoot allows. This will help your images to have a longer shelf life, because they won’t feel like they were all shot on the same day. I recommend 2-3 different pant options with plenty of tops that I can rotate out. Don’t skip the details, if you’re one to accessorize, changing out a necklace and earrings can go a long way as well. Small props can also be helpful and give you something to do with your hands for the occasional “non-working” shots.

When it comes to hair and makeup, it depends on the shoot. For most personal brand photoshoots, it’s typically best to keep things neutral. Most shoots are meant to be a realistic representation of who you are as a business owner.  Typically, that doesn’t involve a full-glam look. That doesn’t mean you can’t hire a pro! Just make a plan and don’t forget to do a practice run before the big day.

I hope this helps to make your next brand photoshoot a fun experience. Be sure to check out my own brand images across my website and Instagram. And don’t forget to grab the brand photoshoot checklist and timeline before you start planning!

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Hey, I'm Jen

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My husband calls me Jennifer, but everyone else calls me Jen.
I started my first online business and blog way back in 2015, when I just knew I wanted to do life differently. I've always had a notebook full of scribbles and really big dreams. While my business has shifted a bit along the way, my love of this online industry has stayed the same.

And I have the skillset of being able to build a strategic website to thank for that. I truly believe that with anything is possible with a domain name, and a little web design magic.

Meet Jen


Inspirational content for the dreamers and the risk takers. Inspired by the simple things in life.