The day-of details and getting rid of pre-shoot jitters
As someone who's behind the camera majority of the time, I can totally empathize with folks that haven't had an official photo or video shoot experience (this isn't your elementary's yearbook photo after all!). Your first proper shoot can be just as nerve racking as it is exciting. Even though I've helped many clients with making sure they're set up for success on their shoot day, I even have to remind myself of this guide for when it's my turn to get in front of the camera, so you're definitely not alone.
Here's what I walk through with my clients when we plan for their big day:
When we first meet for your consultation, we talk about the overall vision you're looking for: what the purpose of the content is for, align your brand and the vibe, and determine the types of locations we'd need to shoot at to bring it all together.
Once we determine what the content is for, then we collaborate on how we want to align your brand with the vibe of what your want your content to look like. We do this a variety of ways, but we primarily use your brand guide to figure out things like attire, props, and locations.
Before we get into attire and props, we have to figure out which location(s) are going to be a huge asset in setting the ambiance for your shoot. Is it at your favorite cafe, local beach, or even in your home? If you're unsure where the best location would be, we can come up with a few places that we've been to before or scout for new ones!
What To Wear
The best type of clothing I recommend for a typical personal brand shoot would be sticking to solid colors and very simple designs (such as stripes or graphic tees). That way no matter the environment that we're in, 1) the visual focus point will be on you overall and 2) can provide the most versatility when changing outfits and locations. When it comes to shoes, always bring a comfortable pair to walk around in along with your other ones that are outfit coordinated.
I learned an easy tip to accessorize your outfit, no matter what style type you have. Accessories could include jewelry, bags and luggage, hats, or shoes.
Tip: if your clothing style is mostly solid colors, having a statement piece or two can spruce up your outfit such as bold earrings or necklaces to a messenger bag or purse. If your style is filled with patterns, simple accessories help complete the look rather than distract from the main attraction of your outfit.
If you have brand colors, coordinating outfits that reflect them would make your album look more cohesive with your website and other business assets. Good news is that if you don't have an official set of brand colors, we can figure out what we can utilize from your wardrobe. More often than not, you might have a color scheme already in your closet!
When it comes to hair and makeup, I usually suggest coming as you would on a regular day. Unless the shoot's vision is meant to be more formal, style your hair and put on makeup that's considered your "every day look."
At the end of the day, we want you to be as comfortable as possible. Come as the most confident version of you!
What to Bring
Service and product based business will likely require different types of props. Be mindful that you don't necessarily have to buy additional props for your shoot. You could simply use what you have handy at home or borrow from a friend. Here's how I usually break it down for clients:
If you're service based, identify the top five tools you use that reflect your brand. For inspiration, here's an example of what I would bring to my shoot:
Camera and favorite lens
Planner or notebook
Kindle or favorite book
If you're product based, have the products that you've created and 5-10 props as assets. Let's look at another example, say you make leather goods. Here's what I'd recommend to bring as asset props:
tools you use to create your products
complimentary items (say you made a leather bound notebook, bring a couple of pens and pencils)
a model (be you, the creator, or someone you know or hire. Refer to the "what to wear section" for this)
Getting Rid of Jitters and Feeling Confident
By the time your shoot day comes, we would've had plenty of communication to set you up for success. There's just one problem: you've gone through all of these steps to prepare and can't help but feel super nervous (or you find that you have a new task to tackle - the obnoxious zit that comes up the day-of any important event. Literally my life all the time).
Having to get in front of the camera is still awkward if you're not used to it. Have no fear: even with all of that preparation, we go through a couple exercises on the day of your shoot to make sure you're comfortable and confident:
The first exercise we go through is running through exactly what and where we'll be shooting and the type of shots I'm planning to capture for you. This helps to give you peace of mind that my focus is completely on you, your brand, and what you offer.
The second exercise is test shooting. This is where we hit two birds with one stone by 1) testing that my camera settings are correct for the environment we're in and 2) this gives an opportunity to show you right from the start what I'm going to be capturing for the rest of the shoot. My clients have even liked how their test shots came out, so I include them in their gallery!
The last thing I do is show you how your photos and videos are turning out during the shoot. That way if you have any immediate feedback, we can utilize that time more effectively and you have a better idea on what your gallery is going to look like.
I want to stress that I didn't create this guide out of thin air. I took my experience of working in clothing stores (before the corporate world) and blended it with fixing my clients' problems coming into their first photo or video shoot. My first-time clients have told me walking them through this takes so much pressure off to look "picture perfect" and more authentic!
Are You Ready To Book Your Shoot?
Branding photography and videography doesn't have to be as complicated as it may seem. With the right person who's truly dedicated to you AND your business will make your experience so amazing that you'll want to have them be your dedicated photographer/videographer. How awesome does that sound?!