How to prepare for a professional photoshoot

6 Steps to Prep for a Professional Business Photoshoot Until I did my first professional photoshoot, I didn’t truly understand its value. I mean, I have friends who can take great pictures. And with an iphone, the photo quality can be fabulous. So why spend the money on a professional photographer? I’m talking about a professional business photographer. After doing my first one, I now see how having the right photos can be a game changer for a business. Your overall presence and credibility are instantly heightened. Your products are visually enhanced and your services are elevated in quality. This is the message that comes across to your potential customers when you have professional photos representing you and what you do. Here are the steps you should take to make the most of this investment. Keep in mind, the overall goal is to drive more business (dollars) into your company. Here’s where you start. Define the purpose Determine in advance how you will use the photos. Here are some options: • On your new or updated website – home page, product pages, “about you” pages • In sales and promotional brochures – trade shows, mailings • Incorporated in the product itself – labels, courses, books, instruction manuals • For an important business announcement – new product launch, new store location • For your social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterst, LinkedIn This is a big list and I’m not suggesting you cover all of this in one session. What I am saying is to think of the one or two areas you’ll want to focus on for a specific goal. Ok you’re in … so what’s next? Follow these Six Steps so you get the most out of this investment as possible. 1. Choose your photographer • Check in with your local Chamber of Commerce or other organizations for references. You can also get recommendations from other business professionals. • When you have a short list, interview them. Describe your vision to see if the photographer can create the photos you want. You also want to get a “feel” for whether you’ll work well together and that they understand the direction your photos should take. • Don’t forget to talk about timing and costs. 2. Determine your photoshoot sites Figure out in advance where you should take photos to best represent your message. This may be at your office, a customer’s location, or even the local coffee shop (if that is a place where you conduct business.) Wherever you go it should truly represent what you do. Being authentic is key. • Identify the location(s) • Visit the site in advance to get an idea of photo scenes. • Obviously you’ll ask permission if you’re going to be at a customer’s place of business, but even in a coffee shop or some other public place, make sure the owner is aware of your intent. You don’t want any issues to arise the day of the shoot. Time is money and any miscommunications can throw your schedule totally off kilter. 3. Put together outfits! • Choose clothes, shoes, and accessories that make you feel good -- you probably have them right in your own closet. It is not necessary to spend money on a new wardrobe. • Match colors and styles to your brand (see Rookie Mistakes) • Plan which outfit you will wear at each location. I’ve gone so far as to take photos of each one. • Consider various outfits for photos in “different seasons” (see Rookie Mistakes) 4. Create a timeline for the day of the shoot • Schedule the whole day including prep time, travel to locations, and lunch. • Determine the order of locations and how much time you’ll spend at each stop. It is also polite to inform the owner of approximately when you’ll be arriving. No matter how courteous, you are a photoshoot is disruptive to their business. (A nice added touch would be to take some photos of their products/shop and give as a thank you.) 5. Decide in advance what shots you need at each location • Headshots – A must! Present yourself in the most professional way! You only need a couple. This should not take a major portion of your time. • Product shots – What do you sell and how is it used? • Action shots – What do you do and how do you do it? BUT not just your face… o Shots of your hands using the tools you use to create your product. o If you’re a coach, how about shots of your hands on your laptop, phone or a book? o Social Media pictures are not as obvious and what most people miss. Here are some ideas for pictures that are perfect for text overlays:  Photos of tools you use throughout your day. Your laptop, a stack of books, a baking pan, gemstones, gift basket ribbon …  Photos with you off center so that the photo can be used with thought bubbles or other text. Perhaps you’re holding your hand to the side or pointing up or down. Check out Facebook and Twitter for good examples of this concept. • Photos of and with your employees. Who else is answering the phone, making your product, etc. • A group photo of your entire staff for the About Us page on your website. 6. Photoshoot Day! Time to Pretty Up! Show off your true … and most professional self. Keep in mind that you will look different through the camera lens, so enhance and make sure you look your best. Get your hair and makeup professionally done. Get a manicure. Go ahead – I give you permission to be self indulgent! Rookie Mistakes Here are some things I learned that I did differently the second time around. I just finished my second photoshoot and probably could have held off a little longer had I know this my first time!  Wear colors and styles that align with your brand. If your brand colors are black , yellow and white, then photos of you wearing pink or lilac don’t work. If your business style is formal, then sloppy jeans may not make sense. You get the point.  Stage photos that can work in different seasons. Your photoshoot may be in the fall, but get some winter, spring, and summer photos to use throughout the year. Your outfits and props can help to create seasonality. Alternatively, wear outfits that work for all seasons.  When selecting your locations, consider reflections and lighting. Too many mirrors or chandelier crystals are bad for the camera. Too many or too few windows can cause light or dark spots and shadows.  Make sure you like the pictures that you’re getting. Check with the photographer as you go so you know you’re getting what you need. Do not move on until you are satisfied that there will be good photos for you to use. We are so fortunate that, with technology today, this can be done in seconds. A professional photoshoot can be a lot of fun but it is also exhausting! If you follow these steps you’ll have a much smoother time and your day will result in photos that you’ll be able to use for at least a year … and many much longer. Bonus Tip! My photographer is Cyrissa Carlson of Immerse Photography. I was fortunate to get her on my podcast where she explains tricks you can use to ensure you look great in your photos. Take a listen here. Hopefully I’ve convinced you that a professional business photo shoot would make sense for your business, then now is the time to go do it! You know how to prepare, you know the photos you need, and you know the mistakes not to make. Smile … it’s your turn on camera!

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