Branding sessions are some of my favorite photography sessions. Being able to work with other businesses, hear about their work, and capture their passion in action is such an incredible experience. I recommend branding sessions for every small business as they can truly take your business to the next level, but where do you start? I put this guide together to answer that question and get you started on planning your own branding session.

What is a Branding Session?

Before we can plan and prepare for your branding session we’ll need to go over what it actually is. A branding session is a photo session all about you and your business.  There’s so much beauty in every small business.  My job throughout your branding session is to document the beauty in the action of creating.  This can look like a number of different things.  The way you move in your environment, the actions taken to create your product, or even the tools you use on a day to day basis.  All these details and really everything that goes into your business’ operations are what we’ll capture during your branding session.

Planning Your Branding Session

Choosing a Date

The first step of planning your branding session is to decide when you’ll have it. I recommend scheduling the session at least a month in advance so you can have all the time you need to prepare. This includes things like props, outfits, and other general prep which we will cover later in the article. If you need more time though, OR if you are set on a specific photographer don’t be afraid to book your session even further out. Take into account the seasons and weather as well if some of the work you do is outside so that you’re comfortable for your session and prepared for different weather conditions.

Choosing a Photographer

Book a photographer for your branding session that matches your brand identity. Do you want bold and true to color tone, light and airy, fine art closeups?  Pay attention to more than just the editing style.  Pay attention to how their images make you feel when looking through them. Does that feeling match the one that you’re hoping to capture and promote for your business? Find a photographer whose work not only impresses you but fits the style that you’re going for for your brand.

Choosing a Location

Deciding on a location for your branding session can be a little easier for some businesses than others. If your business requires larger tools and a very specific environment for day to day functions, you’re going to want to invite your photographer into your space. For a business where you create baked goods or smaller handheld items that don’t require machinery, renting a studio space can be a huge plus as you’ll have a clean background for your session. If you’re able to make a studio space work for your branding session I recommend it, but working in a space you know and are comfortable in also has its benefits!

Create a Game Plan

Set yourself up so that you know exactly what you want once your branding session is underway. Make an inspiration board on Pinterest with different poses and photos you love, look at past content on your Instagram that has performed well, and look ahead to see what kind and how many images you’ll need in the next 6 to 12 months. Having a game plan going into your branding session will save you a ton of time and you’ll end up with more clear and purposeful photos for your business. It also reduces the stress for you and your photographer as neither will have to be thinking of these on the fly.

Preparing for Your Branding Session

Outfit Prep

Plan out and prepare exactly what outfits you’ll be wearing for your session so that they are ready the day of. The week of your branding session make sure that your shoes are broken in and comfortable, your clothes are clean and steamed, and every outfit has been tried on and fits you. Make sure that when you try on your outfit you put on all pieces of the outfit at once and really pay attention to how they look. You should love the outfits from all angles, they should be comfortable and you should be confident both with how they look on you and how they reflect the image of you and your business.

Prepping Yourself

Outside of your outfit you will want to make sure that you prepare yourself for your session as well. If you are getting your hair cut or colored, do so a few weeks before your session. Test and try out any new makeup that you plan on wearing for your session in advance. Wear it with your outfit to make sure it matches the look you’re going for and make sure your skin doesn’t react to it. Lastly, the day before your branding session eat foods that are tried and true for you so that you set yourself up to have a great session the next day.

Prepping Your Props

This step is hugely important for branding sessions so that you aren’t spending too much of your session’s time waiting for things to happen. As an example, Alex cooked cinnamon rolls for her branding session. She had baked some beforehand and brought them to the session so that I could photograph her decorating those and later photograph her making some from scratch without any time spent waiting for them to cook. Plan ahead as much as possible and set up the different stages of your props if possible to make your branding session run smoothly.

Packing for Your Branding Session

The night before your session you should pack all your props and lay out or pack any outfits that you plan to wear. Have everything ready and double-check that you have everything you need so that you’re not rushing in the morning, or worse missing something you need at your branding session. Every business will have different things they need but in general, you’ll want to pack and prepare your clothes, shoes, props, tools, products, and anything else you can think of that goes into your business’ process.

Have Fun!

Lastly, have fun during your session. I love branding sessions as they are such an amazing way for different business owners to get creative and showcase the passion and career that they love. Have fun with your photographer, let your passion for your work show, try to stay loose in front of the camera, and make the most out of your session. As long as you take your time preparing and planning for your branding session you’ll be set!

Now that you know what all goes into a branding session and how to set one up for your business it’s time to get started on the first steps. Decide on a date and head over to my contact page to book me as your photographer for your session. I’d love to work with you and capture you doing what you’re passionate about! If you’d like to see more of my work from past branding sessions head to this page here.

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