So you’ve done your research and found the perfect photographer. Now all that’s left is to waif for the big day to come, put on a big smile and look gorgeous.  Well, not so much! Planning for your photo shoot can be a bit of a daunting task in itself, and you find yourself starting to worry that you don’t know what you need.  What do you ask for, how to you explain it to your photographer without sounding like a madwoman?  The truth is, as with most things, getting the most of your photo shoot comes down to strategy and planning. 

Here are a few simple things you can do to clear the lines of communications between you and your photographer, and make sure you get everything you need out of your upcoming photo shoot. (By the way, Amy shared some awesome tips in Wednesday’s post that tie in to this as well. Check it out here!)

Getting started. Think about why you’re getting these photos taken. Is it because you have a new website being designed and you need great new photos for it? Do you have a year of upcoming events and you need headshots to go with speaker bios and promo material? You’re finally getting ready to launch your signature program and you want to give it a fresh punch of style and a great design? Excellent! There’s your starting point.  In knowing what your working toward, you can work backward to ensure that you’ve got all the bases covered, and you can ensure that nothing gets missed. 

Once you know the why, you can start thinking about the specifics, and your upcoming photo shoot is an excellent opportunity for you to build up a toolkit of useful photos that will last you a good year – with the right planning.

So back to the why… Say you’re getting a new website designed. What do you need for that site? You’re going to need a couple of great headshots, some action shots, some styled photos and some generic stock, yeah? So why not get your photographer to capture all of those for you at the same time. That way you won’t have to spend hours combing through stock photography sites looking at the same photos that you see on every single website in your industry.  By getting your own custom shots you guarantee that your site will be one of a kind, and you can be sure that great photo you chose for the cover of your mastermind promo doesn’t show up as the opt-in photo on another person’s site.  With me so far? Super!

Let’s look at it a little closer.  Think about your upcoming year, and make a list of everything you’ve outlined for launch.  You’re going to need visuals to go with those, right? You’re going to want to have images that can be used in promos, on covers, for widgets, sales pages, etc.  Take a look at what you’re already using, or have a look around the web and see if you can find some great samples of photos you like, make a folder and save a copy of them. You’re going to share these with your photographer when you have your consult/planning call.

Then think about your marketing content calendar (You’ve planned out your content calendar, right? If you haven’t, my friend Maggie Patterson has a fantastic planner designed to help you with that. Hop over to her site and grab yourself a copy and get to it!)  Once you have an idea of what your monthly themes are, think about some visuals you might want to go along with them and add them to your list.

Obviously you’re not going to want to go all out and plan fully costumed shot set-ups for these things. Your goal is to get some styled, generic images that can be used over and over, that will tie into your brand.  Think things like computer keyboards and a pretty vase of flowers, think a great coffee cup and a notebook. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be true to your style.  If you’re a visual artist, think shots of art supplies, canvases, etc. By far, the most advantageous part of getting your own suite of photos taken is the money you’ll save. Think about every $25 photo you buy from Stocksy to go along with each blog post. It adds up quickly, doesn’t it? Suddenly that $500 investment in custom photography doesn’t seem like much – especially when you consider that your images will be unique to your brand.  One quick note: don’t expect your photographer to re-create these images – it’s just to give your photographer an idea of the style you like, and let them take it from there.

So now that you have a clear idea of the kind of photos you want and you have some samples to share with your photographer, have a chat with your designer. Find out what some of their needs are. Will they want photos from different angles? will they want super close-ups or photos with more space for working? Chat with them about your visual branding and colors to make sure you can choose some clothes pieces or office accessories in colors that compliment your branding. The key is to tie everything together.  If your brand colors are pink and gold, then naturally, you’re going to want to throw a few pops of those colors and a complimentary color in there.  You can’t leave this to your photographer to take care of. Grab a basket and start piling things into it that you think will work.  Once you’re on set your photographer can stage everything so that it will look great in photos, and she’ll know how to make it look authentic (and not overload every shot with all the things!)

Plan a couple of outfits (Amy talked about this, too!) because when the time comes for your shoot, you’re going to want to have some shots repeated in different clothes.  See what you’re doing here? You’re getting double or triple the photos at one time! Smart, eh?! By mixing it up in the wardrobe department you’re essentially getting two or three photo shoots at one time, and you won’t have to use the same photo for everything – maybe you have one set of photos for your main web content, and another set for your mastermind material. The best part, the setting is the same, so they’re all consistent and tied to your visual branding… pretty smart, eh!

I can go on and on telling you things that you can do to prepare, but you don’t want to turn into a micro-manager. Knowing what you need, having the bits and pieces from your end together, and giving your photographer a checklist of photos you need to get started will have you on the right track to get the most out of your photo shoot.

Here’s a sampling of my own recent photo shoot to give you an idea of the various shots that I’m going to be using in Hello’s materials this coming year.


We’ve even created an awesome checklist for you to use as you’re planning out your photo shoot. You’ll want to go through this and share it with your photographer before your shoot so they know what they’re shooting.  The checklist breaks your photos down into 3 main categories and provides a list of must have shots for each category. Of course, there’s also space to add your own must have photos as well.

Get your FREE copy of our Brand and Website Photography Checklist by signing up below now!


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