As female creative entrepreneurs, we have an opportunity to build rapport with our clients in mere seconds through our visual communication. A compelling brand aesthetic and authentic imagery will speak volumes before a single line of copy is read. I believe that having personal branding images that communicate your values and personality can create connection and establish trust with customers who haven’t even met you yet.
Preparing for a photo shoot can be somewhat overwhelming, however! So I’ve taken some of the guesswork out of things by providing some suggestions for styling your outfit and tailoring your workspace or head shot location specifically to your brand. While our main interest is featuring YOU and what you do, your clothing choices and office decor will speak to who you are and will influence the feel of your shoot. So have fun with your style and show us who you are!
Wear something that is professional but also very you. While it should be consistent with your brand aesthetic and values, it doesn’t have to be what you’d wear on a typical day. Your branding session will have an editorial feel and we want to highlight you at your very best. So feel free to shine! Think speaking engagement, client meeting, or even cocktail party! Be bold with your style and don’t be afraid of bright hues in small doses, which will make your photos pop!
Solid colors and very simple patterns are photographic gold. Bold and small patterns can be very distracting in photographs. That being said, this rule can always be broken, so if you’ve got style and see an awesome dress or top in a daring pattern, by all means go ahead. Just stick to solids or simple patterns for the rest of the items.
Choose your colors wisely. Be sure not to wear something outside of your brand color palette, except for neutrals. You don’t have to be in your brand colors from head to toe, but it’s smart to incorporate them into your wardrobe in small doses and never to choose non neutrals that aren’t part of your palette. (BTW, I always consider animal print a neutral so rock those leopard heels!!) We want consistency in all of the imagery, and curating color is a key way to do this.
Slightly fitted clothes translate better to photographs than baggy ones. While we want to keep it professional, highlighting your form tastefully photographs well. Do, however, avoid anything that feels too restrictive or requires a lot of fussing. Know your body type and what will highlight your strengths and draw attention away from flaws. Wear fabrics that won’t cling to every curve, particularly if you are self conscious of a certain area. I also recommend not wearing a sleeveless dress or blouse unless you LOVE your arms. This is an area that tends to be challenging for most of us women, and while we can do some Photoshop magic, we do want you to feel confident as you are!
Plan on two outfits. One should be dressier and perhaps a bit glam – a pretty blouse, pants and heels, a killer dress, or a smart blouse and skirt combo. You can never go wrong with a classic black dress or a white blouse and black pants. And the second can be more relaxed, but think of it as casual chic. It should still be slightly elevated than what you’d wear at home. Jeans and a blouse with heels is a classic and go-to casual chic look. Or even throw in a colorful blazer or a black one with leather detail and you’re golden.
Fine tune the style of the pieces you choose to match your brand aesthetic. If you’re brand is classic and modern, you’ll have better luck at J. Crew or Club Monaco, but if you’re kind of boho chic, Anthropologie will be your best friend. If your brand is free spirited and casual, flowing fabrics will really help to capture movement, while a shift dress or A-line will say sophisticated and smart. If your brand is trendy, you can play a bit more with popular styles.
Put care into the details! Accessorizing your outfits with things like handbags, jewelry, watches, jackets, scarves, headbands, killer heels or boots can create a very stylized look. Color, texture, and layers are important. There will be many detail shots that include aspects of your outfit while we feature what you are doing.
8-27-12 Lynne Bredfeldt of Park Hyatt for Coach and The Everygirl
Scour Instagram and Pinterest to get ideas on what looks will suit your brand style! Follow fashion bloggers and stylists to see find outfits that will be professional and fun at the same time. Give yourself time to shop. Hire a stylist for a virtual styling session or personal shopping. Check out Rent the Runway to find elevated looks that portray your brand but you don’t necessarily want to buy. (A word of advice with RTR, however: always have a few back up options picked from them or elsewhere as sometimes what you want becomes unavailable at the last minute.)
Still not sure? Email me with photos of what you have picked out or bring multiple options to the shoot. We can always make a game time decision if you have several choices!
The venue we choose for your session will also add a lot to the aesthetic of your shoot. Unique locations can give context to your business and personal life and help you connect with your ideal client. Look for boutiques, cafés, co-working spaces, or even an AirBnB that fits the energy and look of your brand. Do you love cooking? Find a kitchen setting and style it up with cooking accessories and a glass of wine. Do you love exploring and dining out, or do you frequently meet your clients at your city’s hot spots? Let’s shoot at your favorite restaurant! Are you a shopaholic? Let’s find a boutique or two that matches your style perfectly. Are you a nature lover? Let’s go to your favorite park – and don’t forget your yoga mat!
Meaningful props also add personality and give you something to do with your hands. Bring your iPad or laptop, your phone with that stylish case, your favorite coffee mug or that fabulous handbag you’ve been dying to show off. Here is a more thorough list of props that can help add context to your shoot:
Business cards or stationery
Coffee/tea mug – something that you use regularly and/or something pretty. If it doesn’t match your brand colors or aesthetic, however, it’s better to leave it home. Coordinating the colors of your clothing and props to be consistent with your brand is key.
Bottle of champagne or wine as well as glasses, if consistent with your brand
Notebooks/ notepads that incorporate your brand colors. Zazzle is a amazing resource to order customized items like notebooks and coffee mugs to fit your brand.
Floral arrangement (This is a great way to get in a pop of that brand color. Or if you want to keep it neutral, even white hydrangeas look great and are very affordable!)
Candles – another really great way to add pops of color and/or fill a desk or coffee table
Smaller books for the desk- books that hold meaning to you and/or are visually consistent with your brand – think fashion, yoga, painting, cooking, travel. Business and inspirational books are always a great option, too.
Book to hold and read, if that suits you
Any coffee table books that you may want to use
Clock/lamp, if desired
Any other desk or coffee table trinkets
Framed art of various sizes to put on bookshelves or a desk as well as lean against the wall, if desired
Your fur baby! Yes, I’m serious! If you have a pup or cuddly cat that loves the camera, this brings SO much personality and connection into a photo. How can you not trust someone who loves animals?!
Whatever you decide to do for your photo shoot, reach out as you are in the midst of the planning process. I’ll be here to give feedback and help you style your shoot in way that reflects your brand and personality authentically and beautifully!