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April 5, 2022

Episode 052: How to Prepare for Your Branding Photoshoot with Erica & Jon Hayes

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Do you need new branding photos? Whether it’s simply time for updated photos or you’ve never had photos taken for your business, don’t stress. Because, today, you’re going to find out how to prepare for your branding photoshoot!

Erica and Jon Hayes are a husband and wife branding photography team. From working with clients like the Chicago White Sox, Soft Scrub, and Amy & Jordan Demos, Erica and Jon have the expertise to deliver any creative entrepreneur brand imagery that increases brand awareness and builds trust with their ideal clients, which translates into an increase in revenue.

Erica and Jon are passionate about creating brand imagery that is compelling and intentionally crafted to reflect the vision, goals, and unique messages that their clients have for their businesses, as well as teaching other photographers how they can become branding photographers and do the same.

If you want to strengthen your brand through imagery, keep reading (or listening). In this episode of Priority Pursuit, Erica and Jon explain why branding photos matter, what a branding shoot is, and how to prepare for your branding photoshoot.

Why do branding photos matter?

As a creative entrepreneur, it’s of the utmost importance that you define your brand, which is your unique message that communicates to clients who you are and what you have to offer.

Need help defining your brand? Tune into “Episode 007: How to Develop & Communicate Your Brand as a Creative Entrepreneur”!

According to Erica and Jon your branding imagery supports your marketing strategy, because branding photos are an intentionally created set of images that reflect who you are as a business and the message you want your clients to receive. In fact, these images can communicate with your prospective customers and begin telling your story way before your prospective customers ever read a word about your business or a piece of content you’ve created.

Basically, branding photos matter because they tell a story to your clients about your business and the products or services that you offer that words cannot always tell. And, as Erica and Jon explain in this episode, branding photos have a tangible, monetary value, because these images can help increase brand awareness and instill familiarity and trust in your business. As a result, branding photos will more than likely translate into an increase in revenue for your business.

What is a branding shoot?

Now that you’re more familiar with what branding photos are and why they matter for your small business, let’s talk about what a “branding shoot” is and what it entails.

In simple terms, a branding shoot is a photoshoot where you work with a branding photographer to translate your brand into imagery that clearly represents the unique message you want to send to your clients and prospective customers about what you do.

The purpose of a branding shoot is simply to give you images that will help you strategically share your business’s story—AKA how you can solve your customers’ problem.

While there are a lot of photographers out there, Erica and Jon stress that it’s important to specially work with a brand photographer when you have branding photos taken.

While wedding and lifestyle photographers have an established style or aesthetic, a brand photographer’s job is to cater to your business’s aesthetic and strategy—which includes producing and editing images in a style that reflects your brand, styling products and props in a way that conveys your brand message, displaying your products at their best (e.g. making sure labels are being clearly captured and avoiding glares), and strategically showcasing your brand through images.

Now, how often you schedule branding photos entirely depends on your needs. For example, Erica and Jon have clients who have branding photos taken quarterly as well as clients who hire them to gain images for a new website, campaign, or another one-time project.

Regardless of how many images you need or how you need to use them (more on this shortly), at some point, your business will likely need a branding shoot.

How do you prepare for a branding shoot?

Okay, it’s great to know why branding photos matter and what a branding shoot is, but now you need to know exactly how to prepare for your branding shoot.

Erica and Jon share that preparation and planning are key, because when you prepare and plan well, you’ll be able to ensure you get the exact images you need to share your message and reach your business goals.

And, to help you have branding photos that serve you well, Erica and Jon offer the following steps on how to prepare for your branding photoshoot:

1. Define who you are as a brand.

This first step may seem really basic, but it is a crucial one because every other step builds  upon this step. Erica and Jon explain that defining your brand means that you know who you are as a brand, the clients you want to reach, and how you want to reach them.

When your brand is clearly defined you’ll be able to clearly communicate with a branding photographer what kind of imagery you want to create to represent your brand.

For example, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of colors you would like to associate with your brand, what kinds of images your ideal clients will respond to, and other imagery preferences you have (e.g. bright-and-airy photos, studio-lit photos, etc.).

A clearly defined brand enables you to zero in on exactly what kind of brand imagery will best represent your brand, which will guide you into the next step in how to prepare for your branding photoshoot.

Side note: Your branding photographer will absolutely give you other ideas. Once they’re familiar with your brand, ideal audience, and business goals, they’ll be able to take charge of your shoot and likely give you images that are better and more true to your brand than you ever imagined. Erica and Jon certainly do for their clients!

2. Determine where you need to be able to use your photos.

We all know that anyone can snap a photo with their phone, put a filter on it, post it to social media, and that it will attract attention. (Well, it will possibly attract attention depending on multiple other factors.) But, chances are, you have photo needs within your business that are going to require more than just cell phone images.

Erica and Jon emphasize that a branding photoshoot is all about intentionality so that photo needs within your business can be met.

For example, do you need photos with a specific composition for your website? Are your photos for a special campaign? Are you needing some social media material for the next few months?

Before your branding shoot, make a list of all the photos you need and where you’ll need to use them. This will help ensure your shoot results in the images you actually need and help your branding photographer serve you well.

3. Decide what kind of style you want for your photos

Okay, friend. Now, you get to have a little fun and get creative. According to Erica and Jon, in this step, you’re going to pull out all the stops to decide the kind of style you want your photos to have—in terms of both aesthetic and the story being told. And, the more variety, the better!

Erica and Jon emphasize that you don’t want a bunch of images that all look the same. This means when considering the style you want, think about different props you can use, how you can use them, what you’re wearing in the photos, or how you’re interacting with your product.

For example, when planning what to wear, Erica and Jon recommend preparing at least three to five outfits per hour of your branding shoot.

Erica and Jon also share that clients want to see you working and how you create your product or service. For example, if you make earrings, you’ll likely want to show the process of how you make your earrings and not just have photos of your finished product.

With more variety in your photos, you’re going to make your audience feel connected to you and want to know more about you and what you do. And, Erica and Jon add that the more variety you include, the more areas of your business you’re able to market.

4. Send your photographer examples of branding photos that you like.

This might seem a little awkward, but Erica and Jon highly recommend creating a folder of photo examples you like and sharing this folder with your photographer. As Erica and Jon explain in this episode, providing visual representations is actually really helpful for the photographer who’s doing your branding shoot.

When you give your photographer a photo (e.g. a photo with a pose you like ), they can translate all you’ve talked about up until this point into an image and understand exactly what you want to create.

Think of it this way. If you really want a hairstyle like your favorite actor and you told your hairdresser this, they might have a general idea of what you’re asking. BUT, if you bring a photo of your favorite actor wearing that hairstyle, now your hairstylist has a visual and knows exactly what you want.

Start preparing for your brand photoshoot!

So, I’m hoping that by now, you’re feeling like you know how to prepare for your branding photoshoot and that the steps Erica and Jon shared are ones you can follow easily.

Your brand is a one-of-a-kind message that communicates to your clients and potential customers who you are and what you do. And, with a strategic, eye-catching collection of photos that represents your brand well, you will be able to increase brand awareness and draw in your ideal clients to keep growing your business.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started with your preparation and planning for your branding photoshoot!

Want to hear more from Erica & Jon?

If you’d like to hear more from Erica & Jon, you can find them on Instagram at @ericaandjon, on Facebook, and at

Also, please know that you can absolutely hire Erica & Jon as your branding photographers! Simply reach out to them via their website. When you work with Erica & Jon, they will personally walk you through every step shared in this episode of Priority Pursuit and help you create amazing branding imagery that tells your brand story.

Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Writing Your Marketing Guiding Statements. 7 videos to help you clarify your messaging so that your marketing will actually work!

Leverage Kelly’s marketing experience, insights, and leadership to grow your business.

As the founder and chief marketing strategist at Treefrog Marketing, a co-host of the Priority Pursuit Podcast, a StoryBrand Certified Guide, and fractional chief marketing officer, Kelly Rice has spent more than two decades helping small businesses take their companies to the next level by providing trustworthy leadership and building effective marketing strategies and systems.

She has dedicated her career to helping small businesses succeed because she knows, firsthand, how hard they work to make their communities a better place. 

Still, many people undervalue the strength and ingenuity of small businesses, but not Kelly. She believes they deserve to have a marketing partner and strategy that works as hard as they do.

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