The Creative Process of Brand Photography pt. 2

You’ve connected with the brand, aligned with their mission statement and nailed down the brand’s message. Now you’re wondering, “What’s next?” In the following steps, I’m going to guide you through the preparation process. This is crucial for shooting day. So, make sure you have a pen and paper — you’re going to want to take some notes!

Step #4 - Polishing the details

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This step is exactly what it sounds like. It’s all about organizing and ironing out the fine details.

First, you’re going to look through all your emails about the project and organize the details in a word document or in a notebook. You want to do this so you can reference back to it later on.

Then, you’re going to establish the overall theme of the shoot. If you asked the brand about their preferred theme in Step #3, then this should be quick to find in your notes. But if you haven’t figured it out yet, don’t fret! Email the brand with the following questions:  

  • What’s the style of the campaign (e.g. professional, tropical, casual)?

  • What emotions do you want to be expressed in the images?

  • What color palate or tones do you expect the images to have?

Finally, the duration of this step can take anywhere between 24 hours to six weeks. It all depends on how fast the brand needs the project done.

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Step #5 - Find the models

When I started doing brand photography, I didn’t have a list of models. I had to improvise and ask a couple of my friends to model products for me. Were they professionals? No. But with my guidance and a few Pinterest pictures, we were able to figure it out. The reason I tell you this is because many of you may just be starting and I don’t want you to think that you need 10 of America’s Next Top models to have an amazing collab. Asking your friends for help until you compile a list of models is totally okay! Remember, you can always ask the brand if they have models that you can work with.

This is how I compiled my list of models:

  • Instagram. There are so many free-lancing models on Instagram. Thoroughly search for models that align with your business and live in your area.

  • Friends. If your friends know how to model, officially ask them to model for your shoots!

  • Shoots. If you meet a model at a shoot, ALWAYS ask for his or her contact information and add them to your list.

If you already have a list of models:

  • Send your list of models to the brand and ask them to pick the models that best fit their campaign.

  • Make sure you have a contract with the models. It needs to address attitude and the set rate per hour.

Step #6 - Location. Location. Location.

The struggle is REAL when I’m trying to find the perfect location for a brand shoot. For me, lighting makes or breaks a location. If I’m trying to capture airy and tropical tones, the lighting can’t be dark and moody. It just doesn’t work!  

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If you’re struggling with finding a location, here are some tips that will help you out:

  • Zillow is your best friend.  Don’t be afraid to call and ask for permission to shoot at houses listed on Zillow.

  • Talk to a project manager. They’ll be able to help you find million-dollar homes that match the brand’s style.

  • Ask the brand. Sometimes they have connections to people that can give you access to dreamy homes.

  • Ask your friends. Their homes might have the style you’re looking for.

A heads-up for brands:

  • It is very likely that you’ll have to pay a deposit for a location. Make sure you talk to your photographer about this step before locking down a home.

To brands & photographers:

  • Choose your location wisely. Often times, a location might not work depending on the aesthetic of the campaign. If you want a campaign with clean and muted tones, shooting at a location with a bunch of greenery is not ideal. Ultimately, the location needs to fit the brand’s vision. A brand may not always understand this and that’s okay! This is where the photographer steps in with their expertise and offers a better alternative.

    Word of advice to the brand: Trust your photographer. They have your best interest at heart.

The secret to a successful collab is to have healthy boundaries. This is how both of you will get the best results.

Look at you! You’re almost ready to shoot for a brand campaign, you just need a few more steps. Every step in the creative process is fun, but next week we’re going to be talking about the SUPER fun stuff.

Schedule a reminder, turn on your post notifications, do whatever you have to do but you’re not allowed to miss out on next week’s post!


Christine & Alondra

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