Hello pretty friends. I've recently had a few colleagues start stepping into the world of stylized product and branding photography. I also have a lot of entrepreneur friends and branding seems to come up a lot. I've really enjoyed our discussions regarding how much goes into shooting branding images and thought... you know, this really needs a blog post!
With audiences on visual and informational overload, it is more important than ever to stand out... to be worth a stop in scrolling. To achieve technically correct images that are in keeping with your brand is work, but worth it! In working with so many instagram beauties and local brands who realize this (and whose main goal for a booking a photoshoot is instagram content), I've had to learn how to shoot for the grid. So today I'm sharing tips you might find helpful, whether you are branding & shooting DIY or a pro looking to add product branding to your portfolio.
1. Define your brand and be consistent! Your brand should have a set of carefully selected defining elements. If you don't have any idea what I'm talking about, take a look around you (if you are in a space you love). Take pictures of things you love about your brand and then head over to gomoodboard.com. If you're a pro, a version of this is done with a brand during your initial consult and you should be sure to work this into the price, because branding imagery is not just about showing up to take pictures. When I visited Lenox Cupcakes for our pre-photoshoot branding consultation, I took note of the exposed brick, a creamy distressed textured wall and pops of pink and yellow. I asked her to show me some of her favorite platters, plates and coffee cups used to serving. I noticed that she has plants on the tables. I poked around in her kitchen for often used ingredients and favorite tools. I double checked with her that she was happy with these elements of her brand that she had no intention of changing these elements in the near future. Now, when I shoot her branding imagery, I incorporate those elements repeatedly. This helps you to convey your brand to your audience and achieve consistency on your Instagram Grid and on your website.
2. Style with a combination of your chosen existing elements and supplement with coordinating props if needed. I bring any flat lay boards that coordinate with the brands aesthetics; I always keep marble, white, black and bubble gum pink. and I purchase others if and when they're needed. After getting to know a brand, I can shop for props more effectively and I have a ready to go moodboard for those times I bring in a set stylist (I love bringing along Andrea Richardson over at Beautiful Wild Designs... she came to the shoot featured above. Follow her on Instagram or check out her website).
3. Now it's time to arrange. When you've completed producing the image, you are not done. Now you have to artfully arrange the squares. I prefer to arrange them in advance, using an app like Later. This helps me place repeating brand elements intentionally.
What are the defining elements of your brand? Ask a friend to take a scroll through your Instagram and describe it using only three words. Are those the words you want people to associate with your brand? I hope this has been helpful for you... I'd love to hear about your brand or experience shooting branding images in the comments below!