How To: Step-by-Step DIY Brand Photos for your Business
If you’re currently setting up a website, or have recently done so, you may have run into one of two issues. You can't find the exact photographs you need to tell the story you want to tell, and/or you can't find a photo of yourself that looks and feels right with your business.
A DIY brand photoshoot is a great way to solve these issues, and it's easier than you think. If you have a phone or camera and a diy mindset, you can totally do this.
Before we go further... hiring a photographer is well worth the money. If that's where you are at right now, that's awesome and you should do that! But if you're in a different place, or maybe you aren't comfortable with a photographer, this is for you. I've put together a step by step list to holding your own photoshoot. From planning to ending up with the photos you need!
I recently held my own shoot, and I want to share with you what I've learned. What I've ended up with from my shoot are good quality, hard-working, story telling photographs for my business. Which is exactly what I needed. And since, as small business owners we each have to consider the time commitment something is, you'll be pleased to know that it only took me around 5-6 hours. That's in total from the planning phase to ending with edited photographs.
Breaking those 5 hours down, I probably spent
2 hours over a week or so gathering inspiration and planning the shoot
1 hour setting up the furniture and props
1 hour taking the photos
1-2 hours editing
DIY Brand Photoshoot Step-by-Step
Before your Photoshoot:
Sit down and ask yourself: What’s the story or message you’re trying to get across? If you have a brand strategy (which if you don't - keep your eyes peeled for a blogpost coming soon!!) reread it to make sure you're on the right track. What do these photographs need to achieve? What's your goal?
Gather some inspiration images that tell the kind of story you want to tell, that make you feel how you want your audience to feel. If you've been saving inspiration images for a while, go back and take a look at each image. What story are they telling, will a similar image work for you? This will help you for the next step.
Plan the physical set up/look. For me, I knew I wanted shots at my desk, with my computer and physical materials. However, my desk faces a wall and doesn't get direct light. So I thought about what I had in my house, the bookshelves I love, my moveable desk, my paints, so on. All these things were in different places, so I knew I’d need to create a set of sorts. I chose to set up next to a window with direct light. You may want to have a few different set ups and poses. It depends on what you need! If you're also taking photographs of objects, say for your shop, this tutorial may help.
Finally decide who will actually snap that button. Will you be using a self-timer or is someone helping you out and taking the photos? I was lucky enough to have a bit of help on a Saturday morning, but it can easily be done with the timer on your phone's camera, check out this tutorial to see how.
During your Photoshoot:
Make sure to pick the right time of day to hold your shoot. I was using a window that gets direct light first thing in the morning, so I was up early for this. If I'm honest, I'm not my loosest, most relaxed self at 8am. But I needed the light, so I rolled with it. Use the light you have.
Remember that you don't need 100 good photos. You are going to have lots of awful ones, and that's fine! You'll delete those, just focus on getting 5-10 photos you feel confident with.
If these are photographs of yourself, try to relax. I hate when people tell me to relax, but it's solid advice! If you aren't shooting at 8am like me, might I suggest a glass of wine? Enjoy yourself, have fun with it! That personality shows up in the pictures.
Start by going through and getting rid of the unusable ones. Don't worry about them, cull it down. Once you have the photos you feel good or okay about, it's time to edit. If you're editing on your phone, I think the free VSCO app is the best. Or if you have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, Lightroom is brilliant. If you're on your computer, Photoshop is the obvious choice. If you don't have a subscription, you can get a free 1 month Photoshop trial. Which should be just enough time to edit those photos. You clever sausage.
Get a second opinion, especially if they are pictures of you. We are more likely to be hyper critical of ourselves, so asking a friend or family member for their opinion is really useful. They know what we really look like, because they see us when we aren't looking in a mirror, overly aware of our own faces. So go on, ask which one's they like best!
Zoom and crop the photos to get more photographs. If you take a wideshot of something, you may be able to crop it in interesting ways or zoom in on new details to use that one photograph in more ways. Get creative, challenge yourself to find as many ways as possible you can use a single image!
Overall, this is a relatively easy and kind-of fun proccess. If you spend that extra bit of time in the planning phase, I think you'll be happy with what you can create.
Having brand photos that suit your business needs is well worth the effort. These photos, like all the visual elements of your brand identity will shape the way your customers and audience think about you. So, wake up at 8am, feel a bit awkward, I think you'll be glad that you did!