You’ve got a personal branding session coming up, and guess what: it’s not at your own location. Cue the panic! How do you bring everything that you could use to represent your brand to a shoot at another location? Do you hire a bus? Semi-truck and trailer? Spend 3 days carefully packing your Toyota to fit as much as possible?

You won’t need a Uhaul for your next shoot, I promise.

No. You don’t. Because ultimately, your session is about you. You are your brand! So we need you to show up. Of course, props do help tell your story. So let’s break it down to what you may want to consider bringing to your next branding shoot.

Step 1: What photos are you needing/hoping to get?

This is one of the most important steps, if you ask me! If you can pinpoint your why for doing the shoot, and you can make a list (or screenshot images for inspiration) of what types of photos you’re looking for, you’re going to be well on your way to deciding what to bring along!

Example: Let’s say you’re offering a new course in flower arranging, what you will bring to promote this will likely be different than if you’re preparing a promo for a winter workshop for kids.

Step 2: What do you use on a very regular basis?

Ask yourself that question. While you’re at it, ask yourself these questions too! What do you use daily? What do you need to make sure your business runs efficiently? Make a list!

Examples: cell phone, computer/tablet, coffee, your vehicle, a blazer, agenda, notepad, etc.

Step 3: What do you offer?

Think about what you offer. What is your best selling product, or your most sought-after service? Is there something you want to highlight specifically in the next couple of months? What kind of tangible items can you bring along to represent these goods and services? Brainstorm, and add them to your list!

Examples: a photographer could bring a camera, prints, business cards, class material (if they offer a course). A bookseller could bring a couple copies of a best selling novel, and/or an underrated book they want to highlight. A fitness instructor could bring some new gear that they’re highlighting, yoga mat, or sneakers in order to give a demonstration.

Step 4: Think colours!

Does your brand have any specific colours that is represented somewhat frequently? You may want to consider including these colours into your growing list of items to bring along.

Example: if a gym’s logo, signage, and interior boast of a bright blue with white lettering, these colours will ideally be brought along in some way to the photo session.

Step 5: Anything you’ve missed?

Now it’s time to step back and think of anything that you’ve missed. Food? An incredibly valuable employee/partner that is key to making your brand run smoothly? Any branded attire or merchandise? Take a peek at your list, and ensure that you’ve got everything that you can think of that physically represents your brand. Be sure to add it!

Examples: Suzie Jane Photography and Prints did not have “floral arrangement” on her list, but this is very representative of her brand, especially as she is often photographing summer weddings, and flowers/romantic tones are on point with her brand.

Step 6: Narrow it down!

Now it’s time to sit down with your list, and see how much you can condense or combine together. I recommend bringing between 3 and 4 items along to your branding session, depending on the size. Bringing your list down can be hard, but combining things together can be an easy way to kill two birds with one stone. Here’s an example:

As you can see, not all of the items that were originally on my “Prop Ideas” list were included in my final decision of what to take along. That’s ok! I considered what could be condensed (like incorporating my brand colours and my branded t-shirt into my wardrobe for the shoot), what was key to me running my business (my camera & flash, laptop and light stand), and ensured that my personal items (like my phone, business cards, etc.) were with me in my purse.

When narrowing down what to bring and what to leave, I considered the following:

  • portability: how easy is this to take along and move from my vehicle to the shoot location?
  • versatility: am I able to use these items in several different ways, allowing for a variety of shots?
  • on point: is this on target with my brand and what I’m trying to represent?
  • size: will these things take away from the me in the photo? Will this be too much or distracting?

Not every brand is the same. Not every photo session has the same goal. If you’re not sure what to bring, touch base with your photographer! They will likely be more than happy to help. Something to keep in mind: this is not the only opportunity to have a photo session done. You can always schedule another session at another time if you are struggling to scale down what to bring. If you’re struggling with finding things to bring, again, chat with your photographer! A cell phone, laptop (or tablet), and a notepad and pen can go a long way!

If you’re looking to be a real keener and be extra prepared and thoughtful, check out Pinterest, or other professionals in your industry to get some inspiration!

What two things would you bring to a shoot that would be unique to you/your brand?

As always, any questions? Give me a shout! Until next time,

Amy Holloway

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