How To Prepare For Your Personal Branding Session
Oh, hello BEAUTIFUL!
Thank you so much for taking the time to contact me! It’s an honor being considered for styling your brand with photos and I appreciate it very much! I can’t wait to photograph you! I cover all the necessary information about your session in this guide which I send to all my clients to ensure we are on the same page for the shoot. So let’s get started. If you could take just two minutes to answer the following questions on this link, it would streamline our communication and ensure you are well taken care of. 😊
Almost done! I would LOVE to put a face to your name right away! Please send me a favorite photo!
Below you can find a collection of tips that help you get the most out of your personal branding session. It is always customized to your needs and desires.
Please be on time!
I’m a natural light photographer, so the sun dictates how long I can photograph you. When we have a clear sky and a bright sunny day, I would definitely recommend taking the photos early morning or late afternoon when the sun is going up/down, since the light gets warmer and more beautiful for the photos. In case of overcast weather, we will adjust the session accordingly. Please make proper considerations for traffic, hair delays, and fashion emergencies! An average shoot lasts about 1.5-2 hours. The session will be rescheduled in case of heavy rain. Quick summer showers never stop me from shooting!
I encourage you to find a spot that reflects you and your business and a place you will feel comfortable. Some of the best places to have these pictures taken are the ones that have some sentimental meaning for you. These can include the place where you like working from, in the office or out of your home in a lovely coffee shop. A favorite park or an urban crawling (picking the best few blocks in the city and roaming around) always proved to be great spots. Do not hesitate to check out photo shoot locations beforehand. If you have any cool idea, please let me know. Just keep in mind that backgrounds should be uncluttered and the location needs to have plenty of natural light.
My best personal branding sessions so far are the ones where the business owner is actively involved in where she wants to have her pictures done. She knows the walls she wants to use, the cafe she wants to sit at, or the park bench that she sits on in lunch breaks. She has this idea in her head that she wants to achieve, the moment she would like to re-live. Guidance like this helps make your dream personal branding session come true. I can’t guarantee I can replicate what’s exactly in your head…but I will try my hardest! This doesn’t mean I can’t help you choose where you want to have it done, it just means that it’s always best when you choose a place that you want your business to reflect.
The key to perfect personal branding styling is a balance of colors, textures, fabrics and patterns. Make this session special! Go for casual chic or even a formal office wear look. Is it summer out? Then a breezy, summer outfit. I would like you to feel comfortable, so please wear something that fits your personality and brand - but spice it up.
Start out with a basic color palette and go from there. You can do this with a neutral and a few colorful brights, or try a softer palette that has different tonal ranges of the same shades. It tends to be easier to find the "center stage" pieces in your clothing, which can often be a good starting point. Wear colors that work well on you, nothing that might wash out your complexion. Clothing choices also mirror the location and the special feeling of the photo.
Wondering how you could add color and interest?
Accessorize and think outside of the box. Scarves, hats, flowers in the hair, jewelry, sweaters, vests, jackets, etc. – all these things can take a ho-hum image and make it feel “complete”. Don’t let the accessories overwhelm the subject or the photos though. I'd like the viewer to notice my subject and their personality first. The accessories and clothing should just complement them, not be center stage. Choose your accent colors and fill in outfits with those punches of color in accessories. Show off your unique personality with accessories! There are a few bonuses to using accessories well (as well as layers). One is that changing them up a bit throughout the session can give you multiple looks without having to do many wardrobe changes. They can also be something that the subjects can interact with… a sassy little tip of the hat, holding the ends of a scarf while running and letting it billow behind you… all these little gestures and ways to interact (and become more comfortable in front of the camera) can be made possible with styling choices. Scarves can be used in different ways like wrapped around your shoulders, as a hair piece, etc. to give an extra pop of color and texture. A laptop, stylish planner and pens with lots of happy colors become both accessories and props that you can interact with. This helps you loosen up and create more natural expressions. Sometimes just a very simple accessory can make all the difference.
How to add detail and depth?
Layers and textures are beautiful and create interest in photos. I absolutely love using multiple textures and layers, especially important when working with a color palette a bit on the neutral or softer side (with a subtle color pop here or there). When I say textures, one of the ways to achieve this is with different clothing materials and accents – tweed, crochet and embroidery details, lace, hand knit items, smocking, ribbons, ruffles, etc. Also, having different layers of clothing (that may have movement too) and accessories can add another dimension to the overall texture of the image. These details and added depth are especially important in black and white images. And it can be done beautifully with colorful brights or just pops of color here and there as well… follow your own vision and style, also looking to what fits you best.
Patterns are okay!
Patterns can add visual interest and texture as well as a good dose of personality. Just make sure that either you or your main prop is in a pattern with the other one in simple, more solid color pieces or the patterns are subtle and complementary.
Make sure you can move freely in your outfits and that you aren’t going to be pulling and scratching at your new clothes… I want you happy and comfortable, not grouchy and miserable during the shoot! Make sure that you select an outfit that makes you feel stunning and relaxed. I can’t photoshop discomfort so try to avoid wearing anything you wouldn't normally wear.
Please don’t wear sneakers… unless we’re talking about some funky Converse that go with the feel of the session. The choice of shoes can make or break an outfit. Slipping on a pair of hip, distressed boots or some colorful ballet flats can tie everything together and complete the feel of the session. Think about coordinating those bright and colorful shoes with other accessories and clothing in the photo.
Wear shoes that are comfortable! Or, at least bring them with you. You can always bring your oomph shoes and you can switch between your fancy shoes and your comfortable ones. You don’t want to give out 30 minutes into the session because your feet are throbbing.
Don’t date yourself
Keeping a timeless look extends the life of your photos. This is more of a personal choice, but I tend to choose clothing that is timeless, perhaps a little vintage in style… but whatever is your style, make sure your choices won’t look terribly dated years from now (or months in the case of some quickly passing trends). I personally love to use softer or neutral tones (with a color pop here and there) and classic shapes, then add interest with accessories, layers and lots of interesting textures. I also happen to love bright and colorful as long as it’s not obnoxious or distracting from the subject’s personality and face. Of course, this is a personal choice and many of you will choose to go all out in the latest trends, thinking of their clothing choices as a sort of time stamp in their images.
Think about your location
Make sure your wardrobe complements the surroundings. Also, consider how well the colors and patterns in the wardrobes will stand out against the backdrops of your location. Many times I suggest you select a location first and then create the wardrobe, accessories and props to fit with the vision you see for the surroundings and session vibe you want to come out of it.
A few don’ts…
Many of them obvious no-no's but important to include again as a refresher.
- Avoid anything with logos, graphics, characters, labels, etc. These tend to take the “finished” look of a professional portrait down a few notches, can be distracting (who wants people to first notice the Nike or Gap logo before your beautiful smile?) and will date a photo quickly. There are, however, a few instances where a more stylized graphic on a shirt can look good if it fits the vibe of a photo.
- While trying to stay current and fashionable, do avoid obvious trends that will be dated soon. You can do fashion forward while still remaining timeless.
- Shiny fabric or shiny makeup. Let’s keep the metallic clothing, circa 1984, at home for personal shots.
- No bright white socks and no sneakers unless we’re talking about something fashion forward and simple like Converse or Vans. And also be sure to remove watches or jewelry not complementary to the session’s look.
Sure! We can usually fit one outfit change into a session (as long as you’re comfortable getting dressed in the back of the car, a public toilet, or behind a blanket or a tree in the park).
If you need help selecting clothes for your session, a quick option is to just have them email me a few quick phone shots of the outfits you are considering so I can lend a little guidance.
Subtle props to enhance and add meaning
It's always fun to bring along props. I believe every personal branding session is a good combination of models, props and scenery. I want every branding shoot to look like it could be in a magazine, so feel free to bring things along that really reflect your fantastic personality and business. Think about subtle props that blend with the vibe of the session as well, but keep them simple and meaningful. The list is endless! Just don’t let the prop be an odd distraction – make sure it “makes sense” being in the photo and blends well with the whole vision you had in mind for the shoot. Maybe we won't use all, but it's better to have more than regretting not bringing any of your favorites.
Think about where the images will be displayed
How will the images be used? There are endless combinations of showcasing them both online and offline. Think about coordinating the colors of your logo and website with your clothes and style of props. Which part of your website would you like to use the images on? For instance the about me page, newsletter for clients, blog posts, social media profile and cover photos. Maybe for some places you would like to use a vertical image, while you might need a horizontal one for thank you cards. Make a list of all the ideas where you would like to show the "personality" side of your business.
Confidence boost with professional hair and makeup
In my previous experience photographing women, they always want to feel pretty and confident... and sometimes spending a little extra time getting ready achieves just that. Mani/pedi? If you’re in doubt, and if it’s within your budget, go for it. I'm not saying you should do this at all! But it helps you feel a little more 'done-up' for the shoot and boost your confidence.
If you need a trip to the salon, be sure to let the hair cut grow out a week or so in order to look most natural. The opposite goes with hair dying. If it's growing down, I would suggest you go and refresh its color for the session.
Getting a great night’s sleep is so much easier, and more flattering than photoshopping away eye bags. Rest and relax! You’re going to have so much fun!
Not feeling well?
Please contact me at least 24-48 hours in advance if you are sick and you won’t be able to come to your scheduled session. Although the session fee is not refundable, if we can reschedule your session within 14 days, a new session fee is not required. Thank you for helping to keep me healthy too!
After your session
I will provide you with 50 artistic, professionally retouched digital images in 14 days. Depending on the image, black and white conversions will also be included. You will receive a private link via email to your own personal web gallery where you can view your photos. They will be available for downloading for 5 days. I do not give out the RAW files.
I think preparation is a key as it can make or break a portrait session, and I would really like you to be happy with your new photos! Here you can find a lot of suggestions for clothes, props, different types of locations and posing. Most of all don't forget to bring your smile, relax and have FUN! 😊
I think that's it for now, but please feel free to contact me should anything else arise. Again, I'm so excited and can't wait to see you soon!
Intimate Weddings + Elopements
Storytelling Lifestyle Family Photography
personal branding photography
Based in London.
Have passport & love to travel!