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A red dirt girl from Oklahoma turned mountain woman, with a camera in tow. Kayla is a wedding & brand photographer based out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Tulsa, Oklahoma. She documents love and brand stories with a natural style and loves the candid, authentic moments. 

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  Kayla

8/26/2020

What is Brand Photography?

What is Brand Photography & How it Elevates a Brand

Good question, I am here to answer: What is brand photography? Why is it important? And, why is it beneficial  for a small business or brand? I’m so excited to answer any questions you may have! Because ultimately, brand photography can be one of the best investments you make in your business! 

First, brand photography allows you to have personalized images created that are catered to your brand! These images illustrate who you are, why you do what you do, and how you do it. It also makes certain to pair with your overall aesthetic and values.

What exactly is Brand Photography? What it is & what it isn’t:

Brand photography is so much more than just head shots or portraits. In fact, I’d advise shying away from photographers whose “brand photography” seems to just consist of headshots and portraits. Showing your face is not as impactful as illustrating your whole brand!! It’s totally a pet peeve of mine when I see photographers and their clients only have images of their face. It is crucial to bring to life the how, what, and why behind the story of each brand!

There are a couple critical elements in brand photography that must be considered. For example, All elements of the branding visuals should be consistent with one another and these elements should be true to who you are and what you offer. 

Why Brand Photography is Important?

Brand Photography plays a crucial part of branding as many people want to be able to visualize your products or services and get an idea of who you are. Having professional photography will help build trust with your clients/customers as they view your offerings. 

Brand Photography of Jewelry

Here’s an example: you are getting ready to hire someone and invest in their business. Would you rather hire the professional with quality images, website, and branding or would you hire a person with cell phone selfies and an inconsistent messaging? I think we’d all prefer the first option!

This realization hit me hard a few years ago when I started hiring others. It became crucial to me that I choose those who are actively investing in their business and show professionalism (along with an appreciation for photography!)

What Brand Photography Does for your Credibility

 Overall, I have invested thousands in different designers, photographers, copywriters, business coaches and more, and the one constant was that each of them had strong branding! Each of their personal brands showed their professionalism, their values, who they are, and why they chose their path. 

For all of the mentors and businesses that I have invested in, they had established beautiful brand stories that I felt instantly connected to. Their brand photography helped me know that their style and values aligned with my own and that we would be a great fit!

How to Hire a Brand Photographer

So, how do you know which brand photographer to hire? 

Well, it first starts with taking a look at your own business. You want to know what types of photography fits you and your brand –  is it dark and moody or bright and airy? Is it natural and deep in light or is it bright, eccentric, and edited? 

If you have a bright, energetic brand then you need to choose a photographer who shares that style and energy. I always recommend to make a board with images that you love, and that also match your brand and style. Once you analyze those, then it will make it easier to see what photographers’ style will best align with yours. For example, with my photographic style I try to be as natural as possible. I don’t edit a lot or have higher contrast or saturation. I almost always only shoot with natural light and love to incorporate the landscapes and nature into my clients’ sessions. My clients are those who adore and value sustainable living, science, or a passion for the outdoors, oftentimes they’ll even work these tenants into their businesses. They prefer to be as natural and candid as possible, and often, it will be uncomfortable for them in front of the camera… but hey, ME TOO! That’s why I am hiding behind the camera, haha! 

Still a little confused on knowing if a photographer fits? Let me give you an example of a few professions and clients of mine and how we jive:

1. House of Perez – Food Blogger 

For Kacey, we wanted to not only show who she was, but also the style that she keeps around her. For our session,( and this was a BIG full eight hour day session) I came in and styled her living space to help create an aesthetic that aligned with her brand, goals, and overall style. 

However, like most photoshoots, there was a bit of a challenge. Her new house was actually under renovations, so the dining area did not portray her brand or what her house would eventually look like. Luckily, her living room did! 

So we moved her large dining table into the living room and set up! This was essential because we were able to capture a brighter, clean aesthetic rather than a dark and rich one. This brighter feeling matches consistently with her brand, so it was essential to make the decision to move spaces. 

Brand Photography in your Element

Her kitchen is more of a dark and rich tone, which we sadly couldn’t trade out. Instead, we tried to incorporate as much natural, bright light as possible! For this portion of the session, I stayed away from full views and focused more on what she was doing, as well as her supplies and notes. Afterall, she is a food blogger, so we needed to be able to capture how she cooks, showing off fun little details along the way. 

Lastly, she also is developing a garden so she can incorporate healthy, self grown veggies and florals. Because of this brand focus, we captured additional images out in her garden while picking some herbs and florals she was using in recipes that day. 

Brand Photography Prepapration

Speaking of recipes, how the heck did we capture multiple recipes during the same shoot?!? Well, we created a menu prior to the day. To help with timing, I asked Kacey to have certain items premade and organized into tubs so that we could quickly, and efficiently, shoot each recipe. In scenarios like this, it is crucial to know which items must be captured actually being made, and which steps of the recipe aren’t as crucial to photograph. 

Kacey’s brand also has a heavy feature on tablescapes and florals, so we had to make certain to incorporate some of that into her session too! We pulled all the elements of the day together by using a beautiful centerpiece she created and featuring it on a bright tablescape. After shooting some of the table by itself, we made sure to illustrate her hosting skills as she used the table setting as a showcase for all of the YUMMY recipes she made that day. 

This entire day included so many elements that stayed true to Kacey’s brand. That’s why it’s important to a photographer that you feel connected to, as they can take some of the ideas that are inside your head and put them together in one fabulous shoot. 

2. Mara- Mountain Top Yoga 

Mara had recently moved back to Wyoming from the Denver metro area, it’s crazy to think of Mara in such a busy area as she is so calm and grounded which then places me in a quiet and peaceful space when I am in her presence. Because of that, it seemed so important to capture her among nature where we can all find ourselves grounded. She is an incredibly hip and fun soul, but also an elegant, natural woman. I soon found out that she is also incredibly skilled with her poses and absolutely amazing with bends and inversions! I had never illustrated those types of poses before so I needed to keep in mind that some of my angles and creative images might not always be the perfect pose. Because of that, I tried to capture a variety of not only creative images, but also ones that would show her full talent and poise.

Each Brand Session is unique to the Entrepreneur

To make this shoot happen, we decided on an hour and a half session ( I don’t know if you have every tried to do yoga for hours on end but it is EXHAUSTING) she chose a few outfits and I decided on three locations in close proximity to get several views but not take up too much drive time.To insure that I was able to show her skills, we repeated many of the same poses over to make certain that they were captured perfectly. Let me tell you, being upside down at a higher altitude is NOT easy, but Mara did it with grace and expertise. To this day, this is still one of my favorite shoots, from the beauty of the land and nature around us, to the artistry and beauty within yoga, I fully respect all that nature and yogis teach us. Namaste 

Here, you can see the diversity in her skills along with some fun details.

Tracy- Wyo Flower Farm

Tracy is a woman after my own heart! As soon as I heard about her, I instantly reached out on instagram as I am a lover of florals and was thrilled to be able to have locally grown flowers! It is amazing how many friends and business connections I have made through Instagram and she is one of my favorites!

For her session, we chose to shoot in the morning as it is cooler and that is when she cuts the  florals for bouquets. The harsh light rises quickly though so we would only have a few hours to capture her session. This easy to do with being at only one location and no outfit changes. We keep it simple and fun, mostly focusing on what she does while featuring all of the varieties of flowers and greenery growing in her greenhouse and around her property. By the way, Tracey and her hubby who is an architect designed their greenhouse. It is seriously mesmerizing and I wish you could see how gorgeous her house is too! 

Brand Photography That Speaks for Itself

The light was warm and bright that morning, much like her personality and the branding for her business. I really wanted to be able to capture and show off how she started her day – picking the beautiful flowers that she works so hard to grow. 

Bouquets are made of so many varieties, so she has many plants growing in her greenhouse and around her property. It was important to make sure that we highlighted as much as we could, while staying true to her brand’s feel. Simple, elegant, and colorful. 

I loved chatting with her and capturing the natural moments while she cut various florals and greenery. You might notice her smiling and laughing in some of these as we talked about love, motherhood, and the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur. 

So once you find a brand photographer, what goes into your brand photography session? 

Well, you should be planning out your session, from start to finish, with your photographer. One of my first steps after booking a client is sending over a branding questionnaire. This is critical for me to be able to understand them, their business, brand aesthetic, and their goals so that I can provide the deliverables that they need for their business. 

After receiving the questionnaire, we dive into the details of the session. Here are some example details that I try to work out during this phase:

  •  Do you need location styling? What about  hair and makeup or a wardrobe stylist? 
  • Are there any specific vendors that could help to capture everything perfectly? How do we coordinate with them?
  • What types of images do you need? Are they mostly for social media, websites, advertisements, or where will they be used?
  • What is the venue that we are shooting in? Do we need to have multiple locations?
  • How many outfits do we need to plan for?
  • Will we be trying to capture any products and creating flatlays?
  • What needs to be done to ensure that the images work alongside any copy from your copywriter and or branding from your designer? 
  • Are there deadlines? 

There is a lot that can go into a branding session depending on what you and your business needs.

Sometimes it really can be a simple shoot that only takes 2 hours. But other times it might be a full day (or even two!) The main thing is that we are able to illustrate the who, what, and why of your business, while aligning with your budget and creating a worthwhile investment! 

Have more questions? Send me a message, I would love to answer them for you!

Want a little inspiration form a few of my favorite brands and entrepreneur essentials? Check out:

  1. […] When you examine these things, you will have a better understanding of how you want your brand to be captured! I always start off with a deep dive into a clients brand with my questionnaire and then a planning session. It’s always helpful when my brand photography clients come to me with either a mood board and/or a brain dump of words, phrases and ideas related to their brand before we jump into planning! We always create our own mood boards and details for the branding together but having a vision before we start really helps. You can also ready more  on my blog about What Is Brand Photography  […]

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