Part of the picture perfect branding process at Eleanor is bringing brands to life through photography with real, local models and trusted photographers. This is why we always suggest that our clients invest in a custom shoot created specifically for their brand. If you want your consumers to take your brand seriously, then having a custom shoot is an easy way to step up from amateur to professional. Remember, your branded content lives in the digital world where your audience can access it anytime, on multiple channels. Your website and social platforms should all look and feel the same – they should be branded with your style and high quality imagery.
Stock photography certainly has its place, but building a brand requires a personal touch. Your clients need to see you, your team, and your products and services where they live – in action.
Seize the Photoshoot
Since the cost of a photoshoot is typically a concern, we would like to capture some ways for you to get more bang for your buck and more use out of your photos down the road. Trust Eleanor, we have seen it all: the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is all about preparation and thinking ahead.
Choosing a Photographer
Not all photographers are created equally. Check out their websites, their social media channels, and ask around.
- How are they to work with?
- Do they care about making your clients look and feel good during the photoshoot?
- Do they come with their own lighting and backdrops?
- Do they edit?
- How long is their turn-around-time?
- How much do they charge compared to others? (There is such a thing as “too good to be true!”)
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to go with someone else, if things don’t go well.
With that said, we love and appreciate our photographers and we also know they can make or break a photoshoot – and your clients’ buy-in – so once you have chosen your photographer, love them well. When scheduling a shoot, start with them. Check their availability first. There is nothing more frustrating than scheduling a whole team of people, only to find out your photographer is not available. Work smarter, not harder – as they say. Once you have a date locked in – preferably 2-3 weeks out, at least – it is time to create a mood board and get your shot list or headshots on a schedule.
How will Photos be Used?
We suggest scheduling headshots in 10 minute slots on a Google sheet. We email it out to everyone involved in the photoshoot – making sure the link allows for editing – so they can schedule at their leisure. Be sure to consider opening it up to upper management first, or consider that front desk staff may need those lunch time slots. Also, some will need reminders to sign up.
Photographers need direction too. They are great at what they do, but they are not mind readers. Let them know exactly what types of photos you will need. Carefully discuss out how you plan to use the photos, and think ahead. Do you need doctors interacting with patients or hotel staff with patrons? How about the whole team working together in a meeting or casually chatting against a beautifully branded interior wall? If you plan to highlight services, you might want photos of your clients providing said services. Respect the time of your clients by thinking through your shot list, giving a detailed schedule, and sticking to it.
We don’t always need everyone in the same uniform to get great photos, but we want them on brand. Give your clients a mood board to direct their wardrobe selection with your brand colors and example images for the direction and level of professionalism you are going for. Otherwise, some will come in a suit and full hair and makeup, while others will come in jeans and bedhead. Also, give them tips, like:
- Iron your clothes.
- Bring options if you are not sure about what looks good.
- Jewelry, yay or nay?
- Remind them to come “photo ready”- in case you don’t have a stylist or makeup artist in the budget.
Remember, they don’t do photoshoots everyday, you do. This experience can be very uncomfortable for clients, though necessary, and they want your expert direction. It is your job to make them comfortable, so the photos are fabulous!
Props and Clothing
Depending on the photoshoot and the budget, it might be a good idea to rent clothing and have hair and makeup on hand. If you don’t have the budget for that, there are little things that help. We have a photoshoot survival kit with items like hairspray and brushes, mirrors, a curling iron and clothing iron, dry shampoo, a sewing kit – you get the idea. There is nothing worse than not having what you need and getting photos that are less than great. Preparation is key.
In communicating this photoshoot, focus on clear, concise emails with all the information, and limit the amount of emails sent out.
- Email One: Send to all who will be photographed to find the best date. It includes dates already approved with the photographer and shows the time frame. Majority wins.
- Email Two: Includes the mood board and the spreadsheet for time sign-up with tips for coming “photoshoot ready”.
- Email Three: This is a reminder about the upcoming photoshoot. It should be sent three to five days in advance and should give directions and specific room assignments, and a shot list, if necessary.
- Email Four: This is a day-of email with the same information from email three and a line or two about how much you look forward to seeing them.
- Email Five: Includes proofs from which they will choose their favorites and a quick thank you.
Last, but not Least
We highly recommend that you do a photoshoot every year, at least, to keep your brand fresh. Photoshoots are a large part of what we do at Eleanor during our branding and marketing process and we want to help you execute your photoshoot.
We know that cost can be an obstacle. This is why, in moving into our new space, we also created an affordable, comfortable place for photographers to rent on their own, or to use with us on our projects. We rent by the full or half day; call us for details, 402-477-2721 or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.