I'm a branding photographer living in Charleston, South Carolina, a lover of eating strawberries, and my obsession is teaching others how to live a life they love.

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How to Plan a Brand Photoshoot

Jul 11

In my new blog series Camera Confidence, I’ve been addressing the fears we have in front of the camera and how to combat them! Last week, I started off with a How To Pose for a Photoshoot guide, and this week I’m talking all about how to plan a brand photoshoot. I also wrote a post The Top 5 Questions I Get Asked About Planning a Photoshoot back in April- a great place to start!

I am behind the camera so much that I forget I need to be in photos! Last month, I did two photo sessions with photographer friends Zheng Chia and Kate Thornton in downtown Charleston. Both shoots were such good reminders of what my clients go through when planning their shoots. I’m always adding to the ways I help my clients figure out what type of photos they want, where they want to shoot, what to wear, etc. because I know how overwhelming it can be.

Being very type-A, doing the prep work for a big project or shoot is essential in easing my nerves. When I know what to expect and I’ve done my homework, I feel much more confident in the outcome. My goal in laying out these steps is to show you what the process looks like, and things I found helpful when planning my recent photoshoots!

How to Plan a Brand Photoshoot

1. Gather Inspiration on Pinterest

My favorite part of the shoot planning process in finding inspiration! I love going on Pinterest to find inspiration for poses and interesting shots. I’ll pin anything and everything that draws my eye, whether it be a portrait, interior shot, print, or outfit. If I like the color or emotion, I’ll pin it! Don’t hold back!

I am always adding to my board Branding Shoot Inspiration to give people a place to start. I also recently created a board called How to Pose for posing inspiration. I’ll be adding more boards like this for you soon!

2. Scope Out Locations

I do photoshoots all over Charleston for clients, but I wanted my photos to be taken in a place I don’t always go. I spent about an hour one evening (during the time we’d be shooting to get an idea of lighting) driving/walking around downtown to find some new great spots for photos. It not only gave me ideas for my own shoot, but I found new places I’d love to take clients to. Plus, a walk downtown is always so refreshing!

Overall I searched for spots that had great lighting and backgrounds that would match my brand colors and vibe. It was also helpful to find an area that was versatile- I didn’t want to be walking or driving too far way in between spots.

Woman in navy and white striped dress in front of a pink house with teal shutters

2. Brainstorm How You’ll Use the Photos

It helps to have an idea of how you’ll use the photos from your shoot when planning. Do you have a spot on your website that needs a horizontal image? Do you have a blog post coming up that you know you’ll need a specific photo for? Write some ideas down so you have these in mind when shooting. I wanted new photos of myself to post on Instagram, but I also had a few blog posts in mind. Having an idea of the final product helps direct the shoot.

3. Plan Outfits, Hair & Makeup

When I’m having photos of myself taken, I always think about my brand when choosing what I’ll wear. Generally, my closet is filled with items that already match my brand’s vibe (Hunter might say I have too many navy and white stripes in my closet)! For my shoots with Zheng and Kate, I chose a few simple options. They were pieces I loved, so I already knew they’d be on-brand and comfortable. I chose a casual dress, a fun graphic print dress, and a jumpsuit I feel fancy in!

For one of these shoots, I conveniently scheduled a haircut earlier that day so my hair would be blown out. Sneaky sneaky! Scheduling hair & makeup takes so much of the pressure off if you don’t want to deal with it. For my other shoot, I did hair & makeup myself and it went just as well!

4. Plan Props

For my shoots, I kept it simple and brought my camera along. My camera is always with me, so it felt essential for at least a few photos. I created a list of popular props to bring to your shoot in this post to get your ideas flowing! I love when clients bring along a laptop, their favorite bag, or an adorable puppy friend!


Figuring out how to plan a brand photoshoot can be overwhelming, especially if you’re going about it for the first time. Thinking ahead to develop ideas can make a huge difference – and remember I’m always here to help! Got more questions? Leave them in the comments! Read these additional blog posts that will set you up for an awesome shoot!

  1. 3 Tips for Professional Portraits
  2. Modern Headshot Essentials
  3. 3 Tips for an On-Brand Photoshoot








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