How to Prep for a Personal Branding Photo Shoot


How to Prep for a Personal Branding Photo Shoot

I remember the way I felt the day of my first official GossBoss photo shoot. Like with a real photographer, on location, and not just my camera on self-timer or my iPhone on selfie mode. I think it took me 3 hours to get ready that day and then once my hair and makeup was finished I walked around with a stiff neck so not even a single hair would fall out of place - ha!

I was also super nervous about what to expect…

  • How would I pose?

  • How should I smile?

  • Should I “smize” (smiling with the eyes)?

  • Do I even know how to “smize?”

  • How many outfits should I wear?

  • What else should I bring?

It obviously all worked out in the end and I la-la-loved the professional photos from that day, but I want my clients to have an idea of how to prep for the shoot so there’s less nerves and more excitement! So here goes…


  1. Gather Inspo

First up - a Pinterest board, which sounds pretty typical but getting to see what type of look/vibe you expect for your shoot will help me plan as well! I will add some ideas/pins, but encourage you to pin examples of what you envision for your brand. This will help us maximize our time together and give you the images of your dreams! But just as a side note, we are not duplicating these photos and your finished product will not be an exact replica - your brand is uniquely YOU and I will showcase that.

2. Come Prepared

The prep work continues with bringing your Pinterest board to life through your style - the outfits you will wear at your shoot. Depending on what package you chose I can typically accommodate 2 outfit changes per hour. There is a private area behind curtains to change in my studio or if we are on location, I will be sure to find a bathroom or private area to change there. As for planning the outfits and accessories, I work exclusively with a personal stylist, Style by Christina, who will be able to offer a couple different options including an initial consultation, personal shopping, as well as on location styling should you desire it. Be sure to have everything set out and ready to go the night before the shoot (including your shoes and accessories) so you don’t have to worry about it the day of!

3. Glam Time

A lot of my clients opt to get their hair and makeup professionally done for their session. I have a great list of vendors on my Vendor Guide that are local to Pittsburgh. You can personally reach out to them or I can offer an intro/recommendation for the vendor that will best suit your look.

If you are going to be doing your own hair and makeup I can offer some advice:

  • Take a little extra time styling your hair. Blow dry, flat iron, curl, or whatever your “going out” or special occasion look is.

  • Wear more than your “everyday” makeup. The camera, natural lights/studio lights tend to wash out your skin tone, so going heavier with foundation and concealer is suggested. Also, a loose or pressed powder to finish out the base is encouraged to minimize oily/shiny skin. Lip color (even subtle) is a must to help pull the look together. I prefer a more bold or bright color than you would normally wear, but it’s not necessary.

  • My favorite on camera makeup is Limelife by Alcone. It is industry standard professional makeup that has been used on models working on set for 40 years. Now it is available to consumers. Here are some links to my top picks:

4. Bring Props

If you’re wondering about how to make your experience unique and personal to your brand, I encourage you to bring any props that are special to you. They can be everyday items you use for your business (coffee mug, notebook, laptop, products you use or make, etc). Or little pops of your brand’s personality (color or patterns on pillows, jewelry, scarves or other accessories, office supplies, food, gear). Props are not required for a great shoot, but I think it will help you really bring your brand to life visually if they are included!

5. It’s Ok to Be Nervous

Please know that I do not expect you to be a professional model. My job as a photographer is to direct you in a way that helps you relax, feel natural, and truly confident in front of my lens. TRUST ME, it’s possible! To help ease your nerves, we won’t jump right into snapping away. We’ll chat a little bit, make tweaks to your outfit as needed, set out any props or adjust styling the “set,” and I’ll put on some music of your choice (personally I love EDM and like to imagine that we’re at a runway show werkin’. it. out.). Lastly - wind. I like to use an oscillating fan to give you a little umph and really make you feel glamorous. I’ve done shoots with and without the wind, and WITH it the ladies I’ve worked with feel uber confident and LOVE the finished photos. ;)

I’ve been in your shoes and I know how intimidating it can be to have your photo taken (especially one associated with your brand/biz/second baby), but I hope the steps I’ve outlined above help you plan for an awesome and productive day! I am more than happy to help at any step of the way.

Interested in updating your brand photography?! I’m happy to shoot in studio or on location. Fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch!