How to Plan a Personal Branding Shoot

I’m sure we are all familiar with a branding shoot. We see brands and products we love all doing them, but what about a personal branding shoot? Everyone can benefit from one and you don’t have to sell anything to get started (CAN I GET A HALLELUJAH?). It’s all about marketing yourself, but this isn’t a blog about what personal branding is – or isn’t – it’s about all about mastering your brand and how to plan a personal branding shoot.

Still wondering what the heck personal branding is? You can check out What is a Personal Brand (And Why You Need One).

What is at the Heart of Your Brand?

First thing’s first: understanding the foundation of your personal brand.

What about yourself are you putting on display? I think there’s three things you can look at: competencies, values, and vision.

This may sound like it could inspire never-ending lists, but as lame as it sounds, listen to your heart! (when it’s calling for you…). What makes you authentically you.

For example: my ‘core’ competency in photography is telling stories. I value authenticity and community, and my vision is to help tenacious female entrepreneurs tell their story. Everything I post reflects this. Keeping these top of mind is how I reverse engineer my content and it’s a great starting point for you too.

Think about how you can speak these things through imagery; what kind of places, props, and scenarios deliver a message about who you are and the type of community you want to attract?

Can it be as simple as a coffee shop, working-on-your-laptop-shot to represent your passion for helping others? ABSOLUTELY. Don’t think too hard or too literally.

Let the ideas flow and remember: you can always elaborate with a caption (ah, the beauty of social media!).

Seek Inspiration

Make a list of accounts that resemble what you’d like your personal brand to look like. This will open up your mind to ideas you’ve never considered (and you’ll be surprised how simple they are!).

My personal brand soul sisters are Jenna Kutcher and Jasmine Star. and yes, it’s partially because they are photographers, but it’s also in the way they infuse their personal brand into everything they do. Take one look at their feed and you’re like ‘yep, ok, I GET IT’.

Location, Location, Location

One you’ve brainstormed some ideas, it’s time to source out some of the locations in your personal brand fantasy land.

Crazy about nature, but dont know any lush green gardens you can crash? Scope out a greenhouse or a florist in your area and ask if you can shoot there. Most businesses are happy to exchange their space in exchange for a social media shoutout (ooorrrr you can hire a photographer and they will often source these things for you – and have an existing lists of spots that work *hint, hint, wink, wink*.

Shot List

Now it’s time to pull everything together! Create a shot list based on the props, places, and scenarios picked out for your brand. A branding photographer will often do this for you, but it’s quite simple to put this together yourself if you’re looking to attempt this with a friend.

A shot list is crucial in remembering the exact shots you want to capture that are strong in hitting those brand elements we discussed before. Leave it to chance and you might not get what you hoped for.

I like to include a reference photo in my shot list, so you can have a very clear representation of what you’re trying to emulate. This is especially great for posing, because who has gotten in front of a camera and thought: what the hell do I do with my arms?

Consider time, location, outfit, and props when filling out your list, or steal my shot list template, which fills in the blanks for you. Just remove the information that’s in there and pop in your own!

This template also includes my branding shoot *secret*, which is to include a column for brand ‘message’. This can help prevent a lot of writer’s block when it comes to crafting those tedious captions: when you’re posting an image and at a loss for what to say, just look back at your shot list and see what message it was inspired by!

Shoot Day

Now it’s time to shoot! Plan a day where you can bang out multiple locations and outfits (batch shooting as I like to call it!) to allow you to have content for months and months to come.

Arrange something with a friend who needs photos too, but make sure you are using a quality phone/camera to avoid something that looks overly amateurish, OR, hire a photographer that specializes in personal branding. If your personal brand is tied to your business then I always recommend this. Plus, there are so many ways to use professional photos (website, print materials, website, etc.)

So if you’re ready to take the world by STORM with your brand then set up a personal branding shoot. I could list a million reasons to, but I will leave you with just this one: you deserve it!




Want to DIY your brand photos? Here are 10 photos you can easily replicate at home with a smartphone and a tripod!

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