I love brand photoshoot day. For one, it means we get to hang out with megababe photographer Georgia de Lotz all day, and as a blogger of 12+ years, I feel pretty relaxed in front of the camera.
Secondly, it’s an opportunity to spend time with the whole Studio Cotton team, doing something a little different to our day-to-day office tasks.
Thirdly (and most importantly) it means we end up with loads of fresh, cohesive, high quality imagery that we can use across our website and marketing.
I can’t wait until our new office is finally refurbished and redecorated, partly just because it’ll be a lovely place to hang out and work, but also so that we can have beautiful up-to-date photographs that reflect the current Studio Cotton brand.
What’s a brand photoshoot and why does it matter?
A personal brand or lifestyle brand photoshoot aims to capture what a (really good) day in the life of your small business looks like.
As well as lots of candid shots of the team, we like to see the clutter of your small business life – interiors, shelfies, grabbing a latte, and defo typing on a laptop.
A brand shoot is really important for all businesses, big and small. Amongst other things, it’s very hard to make a website look good if the photos aren’t serving. Same goes for your social media accounts.
It’s smart to go into the photoshoot with a good idea of what you want the results to be, and we’re here to help you know where to start with our 6 brand photoshoot tips.
1. Act natural
Capture the team doing the things they do day-to-day around the workplace; meetings, making coffee, phone calls, designing, watering plants. This all helps to make the business feel as human as possible.
We utilised every corner of our old office for our brand shoots, including the lounge area and even the little roof terrace for a few outdoor shots.
We’re a pretty chill web design studio, sometimes we’d take meetings on the sofa or work together on the big communal table with the sunlight streaming in, and we wanted photography which reflected that.
To get more photos of us in action, Aime wrote down some instructions such as “show someone something on your phone” and “hand someone a glass” and we picked them out of a hat.
Aime wanted to add in that this activity is officially called Speed Posing, and you can even save yourself some hardcore planning and support Studio Cotton by spending £3 on our new Speed posing for brand lifestyle photoshoots printable PDF.
However, don’t do things that you wouldn’t normally – like intimidatingly cool poses, overly businessy handshakes or fake smiles, a group high five… if you wouldn’t do it in your day-to-day business life, don’t do it in your brand photos.
A brand shoot gives more context to your small business, and lets people know what your vibe is, so don’t fake it or over-act.
2. Get handy
Get plenty of photos without people’s faces in – eg. hands typing, writing, sketching, holding mugs, holding design boards. They’re often overlooked in shoots, but they are great for social media and filling up the website without faces everywhere.
This type of brand photo is also good if someone leaves the team, as you can still use the photos of their hands without it being weird.
These photos stay relevant forever, and they’re a lil more alive than photos of just notebooks, pens, laptops, tools etc that aren’t being used.
3. On-brand accessories
Make sure you have a selection of accessories that are on-brand to use in your photography, as it really helps make the brand shoot more cohesive. There’s nothing more jarring than a brightly coloured mug on an otherwise neutral-toned website.
Whichever things you use in your daily small business life, whether it’s pens, pencils, notebooks, an iPad or phone in an on-brand case, mugs – anything! If you can get it in your brand colours, do it, or leave it out of the photos.
4. Breathing space
Ask your photographer to capture photos with as much space and breathing room as possible. Photos that are nice and zoomed out are really useful to have for both website use and social media, as well as using them for backgrounds.
They’re super versatile photos to have, as you can crop into details – it helps especially with utilising images on websites.
5. On-brand clothing
Encourage your team to wear clothes that are neutral or as on-brand as possible, and try and avoid too much black if you can.
Send the brand palette to your team, with a loose dress code. For our last brand shoot in March 2022, the dress code was “nicest comfortable casual” – aka clothes that make you look and feel really good, but are still comfy and relaxed.
We don’t have a strict dress code at Studio Cotton, so it wouldn’t make sense for the team to dress super smart, but it also wouldn’t look right if we were too casual, y’know?
Encourage your team to wear clothes without obvious logos or branding, and steer clear of jazzy patterns too.
6. Create a brand shoot document
Before our last brand shoot back in March 2022, Aime created a very handy document for the team and Georgia to look through before the shoot.
It explained the type of photos we wanted and needed for use across our website, blog posts, and social media, with examples of what works and what doesn’t, which was really handy for all of us.
The document also gave a list of “pish we do in the office,” preferred processing, and the dress code with suggestions.
This was super helpful for all of us, as it enabled us to look cohesive without being too matchy-matchy, and we knew what we were meant to be doing with very little effort. As you can see, it really paid off.
Hope you’re now feeling a little more ready to plan your next brand photoshoot. If you need to find a photographer but don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered with that too…
Have a read through our blog post 8 brilliant UK photographers for your next brand lifestyle shoot – we’ve compiled a short list of photographers from all over the UK who have their prices on their websites 🙂 how handy!
This blog post is a good read too: 6 very big things a brand new top-of-the-range website can’t fix in a small business (spoiler alert: one of them is bad photography).