Whether you’re just starting your coaching business or you’ve been going for a while, at some point you’re going to want to have some professional photographs taken of yourself to use on your website, social media and to form part of your brand.
Photoshoots can be scary and exciting in equal measure! I’ve had over 6 professional photoshoots for my business over the last few years and each time I become more and more happy with the results because I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t when it comes to planning and taking part in the shoot.
I’m also in the process of planning a new shoot for the autumn so it’s been fun to go through this process for myself again – here are tips to help you get the most out of a branding photoshoot for your coaching business.
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FIND A GOOD PHOTOGRAPHER TO WORK WITH
It took me a while to find a photographer who I really gelled with and whose style was right for me. Make sure you check out plenty of examples of their work and get a feel for their style. Also look for testimonials and reviews and make sure that their package is going to give you what it is you need.
It can be worth seeking out a photographer who specifically does brand lifestyle photography as they will be more likely to understand what it is you need as opposed to a wedding photographer for example.
I worked with some lovely photographers but on reflection their style didn’t quite fit with my brand. I now work with Rachel from RJM Photography who I just love, she always gets what I’m going for and I love the results!
WRITE A BRIEF
Writing a brief at the start that includes exactly what it is you want can be so helpful. How will the photographs be used? On your website, social media etc? How many images do you need? Landscape, portrait or square? How do you want the photographs to feel? Be as detailed as possible with your brief and share it with your photographer.
CONSIDER THE STORY YOU WANT TO TELL WITH YOUR IMAGES
This is a recent tip I got from Fiona at The Brand Stylist – she suggests that you think about the story you want to tell with your images. What do you want your images to communicate with your ideal clients? Think about your messaging and niche and how you can tell a story that blends with that through the use of your branding images.
Think about how you live day to day, can you tell a story about that using images, for example shots of you exercising, cooking, working?
What results do you help your clients achieve? Can you tell a story about that through your images?
LINK YOUR LOOK AND FEEL WITH YOUR OVERALL BRAND
Your photographs should also link into the look and feel of your overall brand. Share any brand assets (your logo, colour palette etc) with your photographer alongside the brief and your inspo board – more on that in a sec.
Your photos don’t have to be matchy, matchy, but you definitely don’t want anything in them to clash with your brand. For example if I was wearing a lime green top in my photos, or a blue scarf it would totally clash with my brand which is more warm toned.
CREATE AN INSPIRATION BOARD
Hop on Pinterest and create a board for your photoshoot and then pin any inspiration for the shoot to it. Think about pinning examples of images with the exact poses you might want to be in or the exact set ups as well as other images that inspire more of the look and feel. You can also create a section in your board to pin outfit options and props as well.
THINK ABOUT YOUR OUTFITS AND PROPS
The clothes and accessories you wear as well as any props in your image can really make or break a shoot so make sure you really consider them in advance. Try on different options and take selfies if you find that’s useful in choosing the right outfit. Chat to your photographer and get their feedback and ideas too. You’ll probably want 3-5 different outfits for a shoot so you can get some variety.
When it comes to props, think again about that story you want your images to tell. Perhaps its food items, crockery, plants, flowers, notebooks, pens, glasses, throws, a laptop, candles etc. You don’t have to buy everything new, see what you can lend from friends and family too.
It might also be worth asking your photographer to take some photographs of your prop set up – like some flat lays or still life type shots to complement the images with you in them. This can often be helpful to add some variety to your website and social media and so you don’t feel like every single image has you in!
PICK YOUR ENVIRONMENT
You can have your photos taken in all sorts of places, again, consider the story you want to tell. Perhaps it’s your home, garden, a coffee shop, park, the beach or woods. Some people even rent out posh Airbnb’s (although check what I say below when it comes to manufacturing fake authority!)
I’ve tended to favour my own home for my shoots as most of the decor works well with my branding. Sometimes I’ve covered a table or sofa with a cloth or throw to make it more in line with the brand – get creative!
Chat to your photographer as well, they often know of great places locally you can use for shoots.
WRITE A SHOOT LIST
This is something I’ve done for my last couple of shoots and it’s been so helpful in getting the exact shots I wanted. Basically it’s a list of each individual shot you’d like to get on the day. You’ll want to note down the place you want the shot taken, what you’ll wear and the props and how you want them styled.
Do have a chat with your photographer and come up with this together, they’ll often have ideas you would have never thought of!
MAKEUP AND HAIR
Decide if you want your makeup and hair done for the pics. I’ve had my makeup done professionally for one shoot and if I’m totally honest, while she did a great job it didn’t really feel like me. Now I tend to do my own makeup but get my hair done professionally when I can (I didn’t have it done at the hairdressers for the photos you’ll see here on the site and I regret it!)
ON THE DAY OF THE SHOOT
On the day, try and make things as relaxed as possible. I know it doesn’t always come naturally but try and have fun being photographed! Make sure you have drinks and snacks and are as organised as possible so you don’t get stressed.
If you have kids, get them taken care of for the day. In my last shoot I wanted an image of us as a family in the garden so the kids were around for the whole shoot and in hindsight this was a bad idea! I could hear Freya screaming upstairs while I was being photographed downstairs and I can definitely see it on my face in some of my pics!
Sometimes it can be helpful to have a friend around on the day of the shoot too – they can help you feel more relaxed and support you with any running about making cuppas or getting things ready, then you can just focus on the photos!
DON’T BE AFRAID TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Maybe because I spend a lot of time looking at other people’s branding photography but it can sometimes feel like there’s a sameyness going on especially in the coaching world. The typical Macbook and drinking a coffee images (and yes I know I have these too!) are pretty much done to death at this point.
How can you be different with your images? How can you take risks?
Kelly Diels talks about the Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand and how certain kinds of imagery can be problematic. A lot of status quo imagery in the coaching world is rooted in creating a false story of authority and privilege. How can you tell a different and more unique story? Can you look outside the coaching industry for inspiration?
If you’re wondering how you can use your brand to help you stand out and attract clients then check out my free workshop The Aligned Client Attraction and Marketing Masterclass below:
So there you have it, all my tips on planning a lifestyle brand photoshoot for your coaching business! I’d love to know if this has been helpful, pop me a comment below!
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