How to Plan for a Brand Photoshoot

If you’re committed to investing in a professionally designed website for your business, it goes without saying that having professional brand photography is going to be an essential step as well.

Recently, I did a brand photoshoot for my brand and in this blog post, I want to walk you through my whole preparation process: How to keep the shoot on brand & vision, outfits, shot list, what to bring, location, costs and other important lessons I’ve learned. Typically I would organize all of this information (including for branding clients) on Notion and pin Pinterest, but feel free to use any platform. Just ensure everything is on one page so it’s easy to access on shoot day!

So let’s get right into it. But as always, if you’re more of a visual person, watch this video instead.


Steps to plan your brand photoshoot Day

1. Define your brand, create your mood board, pick your photographer

First things first, all things drill down to your brand strategy. Whether you are working with a brand designer/strategist on this or planning this for yourself, it’s important that everyone involved with the photo shoot is clear of the following:

  • What does your business do

  • Your mission & vision (your why)

  • Who is your ideal client

  • Your brand tone words (describing the mood & aesthetic of your brand)

  • Your brand colors

With all of this information, it’s time to create your mood board. Not just any mood board, but one that specifically visualizes the right style of photography. For example, if your brand is soft, feminine, positive, bright, then your mood board might consist of photography styles that are brighter, lighter, and airier. This will help you drill down a photography style that suits your brand best.

When choosing a photographer, you want to make sure that the photographer’s portfolio is similar to the aesthetic that you have chosen. Check out their website, their Instagram feed or even reach out to them and send them your mood board to see if that is something that they can achieve.

2. Plan your outfits

Get on Pinterest and start pinning away your favorite outfits. Keep your brand aesthetic in mind and pick a variety of outfits that showcase your personality. For example, choose an outfit for each of these scenarios: A badass boss, a casual day out, your professional work-from-home outfit, and maybe even something a bit dressier.

If you book a photography studio, you’ll most likely pay by the hour, so it’s important to maximize your time by having all of your outfits planned out in advance. It can also get quite chaotic on shoot day if you’re hoping to get multiple outfits in, so choose them all in advance and list them out so you know exactly which outfits will go first to last.

I chose one outfit for every 30-45 minutes but keep in mind that photoshoots tend to take longer than expected, so prepare accordingly.

Try on all your outfits beforehand at home so you know which will fit the aesthetic the most, whether anything needs tailoring or if you’re missing any pieces. Take photos of each of them and upload them to your Notion board so you know which pieces to use for which part of the photoshoot. Remember to include any accessories like belts, hats, shoes and jewelry in these photos.

Tip: Group your outfits by the undergarment you’re wearing for each so you don’t need to constantly change everything.

3. Put together a photography shot list

Before you put together your shot list, make a list of what you actually need your photos for. Are you using them for your website, for Instagram posts or Instastories, for blog posts or GIFs. Each of these requires different types and formats of photography and your photographer needs to know all this before your shoot day.

Then compile your shot list! Inside my shot list, I included specific shots that I needed for my business. For example:

  • Celebrating a launch

  • Professional headshot

  • Working on my laptop

  • Talking on a zoom call

I also created a separate Pinterest board for more creative poses that I wanted to try so that we all have it on hand on shoot day when we needed some more inspiration.

4. Compile a checklist

Start a checklist with everything you may need for the shoot. Whether that’s your clothes, notebooks, pens, laptop, a tripod, or your water bottle. List it all out to make sure you grab everything you need but most importantly, bring everything back home with you! Here are a couple of things I also brought to my shoot that you might not have thought about:

  • Lipbalm

  • A hand-mirror (to check your makeup)

  • Fashion tape

  • A tide/bleach pen

  • Pins for clothes

5. Find a location

For my clients, I like putting together a location guide that covers cute coffee shops, photo studios, or AirBnb to rent out for their shoot. For my photoshoot, I ended up going to a photo studio! It is typically going to be a bit pricey to go with these paid options, but in my opinion, it was definitely worth it. My specific location included incredibly helpful resources like clothing racks, steamer, beautiful furniture, and props, and every corner was just beautiful to shoot. All of these details make shoot day just that much easier!

6. It’s shoot day!

Now that you’ve done all your research and pre-shoot planning, it’s time to pack your bags and reference this photoshoot plan and get those shots baby!

How much does a brand photoshoot cost?

The two biggest expenses of a photoshoot is going to be your photographer and your shoot location. Prices can vary quite a lot in these two areas but just as a reference, this is what I ended up paying for my shoot:

My photographer: 680 Euros (~$800 USD)

My photoshoot studio location: 200 Euros (~$240 USD)

There were also some smaller expenses such as outfits and getting them tailored. When getting new clothes for the shoot, make sure you purchase outfits you can continually wear and feel comfortable wearing outside of your brand photoshoot too.

Tip: Make sure your clothes are fitting properly. It might not make a big difference in your day-to-day, but it makes a huge difference in how it looks in photos. Spending a little extra to tailor your pants perfectly will be a worthwhile investment!

3 lessons I learned preparing for my brand photoshoot:

  1. Wear your favorite outfits first! My photoshoot ended up taking longer than expected and because I left my favorite outfits to last, I didn’t actually get to wear them!
  2. Bring fashion tape! You want to feel relaxed on your shoot, so don’t let a fashion malfunction make you feel uncomfortable.

  3. Have fun and be relaxed! Make a fun playlist to help you relax and enjoy the day so you can bring across the vibe you’re going for in your photos.


Purchase my Brand Photoshoot guide & Organizer for Notion

Notion for Entrepreneurs

I also use Notion to streamline everything else in my business. So if you’re a business owner, keep reading! In fact, I’ve consolidated over 8 different apps and tools that I use to use all into one space on Notion. What might surprise you though, is that Notion has even replaced apps that I used to use for my service-based business. As a brand & website designer, it’s important for me to feel productive, stay organized, and create a collaborative space for me and my clients. So I’ve created a unique eco-system on Notion that includes a Client Database (CRM), an Internal Project Space, and a collaborative Client Portal. It’s custom, and unique and impresses my clients every time!

If you’re curious about this system, I teach it in my newest course, Client HQ: Streamline Client Project Management with Notion.

Atelier Oost (My photoshoot location in Amsterdam):

Yaira, my photographer:

Hey there!

I'm cheryl, the one behind this blog!

I'm a designer, brand expert, YouTuber, and avid traveler from Vancouver, Canada. 

I quit my fancy corporate 9-5 a couple of years ago, hopped onto a plane and started Made on Sundays along with my new mindful lifestyle in Amsterdam. 

Today I serve thousands of female entrepreneurs around the world, helping them clarify their brand story, design the brand of their dreams, and confidently show up to their soulmate clients.