How To Prepare For A Portrait/Branding Shoot
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Monday, January 28, 2019
By Taylor Boone Photography
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Photography is the art of producing meaningful images one shot at a time. With considerable amounts of labor necessary for producing a successful portrait shoot, knowing how to prepare for one can save time, energy and money. Bright lights, inconvenient posing, and ample smiles: a photo shoot can be just that. But with the right steps, both the photographer and client can expect to walk away with quality photos. 



Confirm Your Shoot Date 

So you’ve booked your shoot! What next? We have confirmed your session’s date, time, and location. As the client, now is the time to ask any last minute questions or express any worries. Remember, you hired us because we are the expert in this field. Feel free to be honest about any concerns, as our goal is to provide a memorable shoot along with a variety of pictures and video. We will adjust to weather if need. Having a backup plan is key.

  • Utilize weather sites and applications, be aware of potential weather changes in the forecast.
  • Additionally, designate a backup location or future date in the event of necessary rescheduling.


Location, Location, Location

Location is the most important aspect of your portrait/branding shoot. This will determine the overall theme of the shoot, what you should wear and the appropriate materials for the setting. Be aware of certain locations, both outdoor and indoor, that suit a variety of tastes and themes. Places such as nature reserves, state parks, or downtown locations will typically be free of charge but are open to the public, we may have photobombers to deal with. Other venues hold service fees (or permits are required) for using their landscaped areas or rooms, so feel free to discuss those options with us. Once your location is selected, do a walk through during the same time of day as your shoot, another key element. Are you squinting? Is it bright or dark? Be creative with nooks and crannies you find, and note the more attractive areas with evenly lite are the better. Familiarity with the location is key to photo shot success. If we need to check location prior that can be arranged.



Make a Checklist

Preparing a checklist is key prior to any photoshoot. Include items you own as well as specific ones you may need to purchase in advance. As you round up the materials listed, make note of unexpected changes that can occur. Remember Murphy’s Law: anything that can happen will happen! Toiletries such as deodorant, tissues, bandaids, and water will always come in handy no matter the location, time of day, or person. More specifically, based on your location, humidity, insects, or any other outside element may inhibit your shoot success. If there exists a slight chance of needing an item, note it and pack it.


Have a detailed shot list. What key things take place in your work that needs to be photographed? What sets you apart? Details, details, details are key to branding and create a strong story for your ideal customer!




Assemble your outfits as soon as possible. Aim for clothing that allows for both comfort and confidence! This is KEY!

Once you know which pieces work well together, set aside an additional outfit for the purposes of a wardrobe malfunction or simply a different look.

 Gather pieces typically worn to business meetings or conferences, and stray away from distracting jewelry.

Hosting a casual company photo? Coordinate with co-workers in the office to decide on a specific color being worn or the theme of the picture. Consider shoe type and wardrobe color based on the location and time of year. For shoots booked during warmer times at outdoor locations, consider white and pastels to avoid perspiration issues. Portrait shoots occurring throughout fall and winter seasons should be accompanied with clothing that provides more protection from the elements.

Plan accordingly.



Props and Inspiration

Have any special props you would like to include? Signs, books, chalkboards, couches, chairs, laptops or any other item you wish to be photographed has the potential to truly add to the photograph. Not only will they deliver uniqueness according to your personal style, but the props will provide a more authentic feel.

Planning a theme for the portrait shoot? Select items that coincide with it! Brainstorm ideas of props you feel would best capture the essence of the session. Bringing along props aids in the creative process of both.

Social Media websites like Tumblr and Pinterest are perfect for generating the perfect inspiration for your photography session! If you choose to select a theme, use search engines on these sites to help filter through. The key is to make the idea into your own. Don't go too far away from what you do and who you are.

Incorporate hobbies, memories, your job, or anything that contributes to how you envision the picture/video.

Preparation ensures confidence both behind and in front of the camera. Keep these tips in mind when booking your portrait shoot!

Have any tips of your own?


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