When to Start Planning Your Brand Photoshoot

Preparing for your Photoshoot


I don’t know about you, but when I get an idea, I’m ready to start it ASAP! I like to leverage the momentum of a new idea and act on it right away! But like all good things, brand photography takes time.

There’s nothing impulsive about branding photography. The imagery you use for your brand is intentional and strategic. It’s specifically chosen to achieve a goal: attracting your dream clients, establishing the know-like-trust factor, and giving you visibility.

So that’s why you’re often hearing that brand photographers are booking several weeks out. There’s more to the process than just setting a date and showing up somewhere with a camera!

Here are five things you’ll want to consider when planning your brand photography session:

1. Schedule Coordination

When do You Need Your Photos? 

Do you have an upcoming launch? When does the project on your new website start? What do you need to market your seasonal offers? 

I recommend looking ahead for at least two months.

For example, if you need photos for a launch in September, you should consider booking a shoot in July or early August. This means you should get in touch with a photographer in June so that you can get on their calendar in mid-July or early August!

If your holiday launch kicks off in November, you’ll want to have a shoot in September or early October, so contact your photographer at the beginning of September or earlier.

Look ahead on your calendar to see what might require new photos so that you’ll have a library of beautiful, on-brand images exactly when you need them!

Scheduling a Hair and Make-up Artist

Makeup artists book up quickly, especially during the wedding season and summertime. When the weather is nice, everyone wants photos! 

We might need to contact several makeup artists to find one available on your shoot day or be flexible with our shoot day to accommodate your makeup artist of choice. Build your timeline to accommodate wiggle room for schedule changes. This way, you’re not stressed out if you need to move your session a week or two later!

Studio & Venue Rentals

Studio rentals and venues often book up several months in advance. If there is somewhere specific that you want to have your photoshoot, it’s wise to book early! 

Team Members

If you are part of an agency or a team, you might want to include your team members in the shoot. Planning to accommodate their schedules requires flexibility and coordination. If your team is virtual, you might need to fly them in for the shoot. Give yourself time to arrange this!

Including Models in Your Photos

You might want to include “clients” in your shoot if you are a service-based business. You’ll need to find friends or hire models to pose as clients and work the shoot into their schedules too.

Photographer’s Schedule

And last but not least, consider your photographer’s schedule too! Many of us limit the number of clients we take each month so that we have enough time and energy to:

  • provide a fantastic client experience,
  • have enough time to learn our client’s brands,
  • complete all of the planning, and
  • ultimately achieve images that capture our client’s personalities, stand out from their competition and fit with their brand.

This means we might be completely booked 1-3 months out! So make sure you factor your photographer’s schedule into your planning too.

2. Planning so Your Photos Will Resonate with Your Brand

A lot of planning goes into a good branding photoshoot. If your photographer just shows up on the day of your photography session with zero planning, the photos will often fail to resonate with your brand. Not only is it a waste of time and money, but you’ll likely have to re-shoot with another photographer!

Brand shoots should be designed around your brand strategy and brand identity. And your photographer should have a clear understanding of your brand before taking your photos. 

I dive deep into my clients’ brands in several ways. I start by sending them a brand questionnaire, which helps me get a good feel for what the brand is all about and their photography needs. I then create a custom Pinterest StoryBoard with ideas on shoot locations, outfits, props, and poses. Then we meet virtually to decide which of those ideas to prioritize and how we’ll schedule the session to achieve as many of those ideas as we can.

If you haven’t yet considered how and where you will use photos, and how they’ll contribute to your brand identity, you’ll need some time to work on that piece of the strategy. Images play a critical part in your brand identity and elicit an emotion from the viewer! When your audience sees a photo on your website or social feeds, they immediately assign meaning to it and attach it to your brand. We design your brand photoshoot to create imagery that elicits the emotions you need your audience to feel at certain touchpoints and pieces of content. We also look at creating images to support your upcoming blog posts, social media captions and articles. That takes planning!

3. Consider the Weather

The weather factors into your photography session in two different ways:

The Weather is Unpredictable.

If your shoot is outdoors, we’ll need the flexibility to move our shoot date if the weather isn’t cooperating. Because we’re busy business owners, that might mean pushing it to the following week or two. If we are already on a tight timeline, this could be stressful for you! It’s much better to add wiggle room to your schedule.

The Weather is Seasonal.

The weather is better, and the trees are prettier, during certain seasons. You also want to ensure you get outdoor photos when the weather is nice and not -40 degrees Celsius!

Here in Calgary, things start turning green and blooming in mid-late May. June to August is a fantastic time for an outdoor brand shoot since the weather is much nicer than winter, and the parks are stunning!

Also, consider whether you would like certain backdrops, like a field of sunflowers! Sunflower fields usually bloom around mid-late August and early September. Or, perhaps you’d like the autumn colours in September.

By October, most of the leaves have fallen off the trees and it starts getting cold outside. 

Winter shoots are possible but often need to be rescheduled due to frostbite risks. They also limit your wardrobe to winter coats too!

4. Sourcing Outfits & Props

Don’t forget to include time to source your outfits. If you’re ordering clothing online, you’ll need to allow for shipping times and possible returns if something does not fit right or does not work as you hoped.

Your photographer will help you brainstorm a list of props you’ll need for the shoot day. Some of these things might be tricky to find if they are custom.

Props and outfits are important details to your brand photos. It’s important to get them right!

5. Post-shoot Work

Now that you’ve had your photography session, you need to consider the time it takes to process the photos. Brand shoots can last up to a full day. In that amount of time, I can take almost 2,000 photos! That is a lot of pictures to go through! 

After each shoot, I back up all the images, which takes time. Then I hand-cull each photo. That means I’ll go through each picture by hand and decide if it’s a keeper or not. Once that process is complete, I load up the images in your proof gallery. Once you’ve chosen your favourite photos, then I begin editing. On average, galleries are processed and delivered within three weeks of selecting your images. Factor the image turnaround time in your planning!

Remember this rule of thumb: call your photographer six to eight weeks before you need photos for your launch or project! Fantastic, on-brand photos take time and planning!

Free Resource!

Looking for a way to stay organized? Check out my free brand photography checklist HERE. It’s designed to help you avoid that frazzled, frantic feeling before your photography sessions!

Want to Learn More About Brand Photography?

Click the link HERE to learn more about it and how you can work with The Small Business Photographer.


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