How to Plan Your Next Photoshoot

Director: melissa Series: Business Lessons, Business Processes

Need to take new brand photos for your business, but aren’t sure where to start? Don’t worry. I’ve got you!🎯

The first time I had my brand photos taken, my dear friend took them for me.

I got my hair cut that day, so it looked waaaaay better than my normal “wash it and brush it” style. I didn’t really give much thought to my outfit, and I did my own make up.

We didn’t have a plan, and it worked out. Here are some shots from that photoshoot.

The photographer I used for my new brand photoshoot (more on that in a minute) even complimented me on them.

That was the only time I’ve had pro photos taken, and it was five years ago.

Getting photos taken is a great investment in your business, but I always had a million lame excuses for not getting new ones.

  • There’s acne on my chin.
  • I don’t have the time.
  • I’m in my 30’s, and I’m a mom, and I’m not really sure where to shop for my outfit, especially since my favorite store closed in December.
  • I’m not at my goal weight.

I’m sure I could add to that list, but you get the picture. (Pun totally intended.)

Earlier this year I attended an event, and ended up teaching on the stage, without fancy hair and make up. After that event, I realized that people value what I have to teach and share, no matter what I look like.

Right then and there I realized it was time to get new photos.

And I’m going to share *exactly* how I did it, so you can take my process and make it your own. šŸ™‚

1. Hire the *perfect* photographer to take your brand photos

There’s an * around the word *perfect* because just like when you hire anyone, the perfect photographer for me might not be the perfect photographer for you.

In January, I posted a to-do in my Basecamp account for my assistant to do some photography research. Here’s a screenshot of the to-do:

I asked her to search for a photographer with a great eye for light, and was good at styling photos. I wanted to do a 2ish hour shoot, with outfit changes in two locations. I also wanted digital access to the photos and the option to get the rights to use them.

I asked for a list of photographers, their cost, with a link to their website and photo samples.

After I got the list, I reached out to 3 of my faves. I hired Shana Drake, a local photographer in my city. When I saw the words “Wherever there is light, one can photograph” on her website, I knew she was a perfect match for me.

She was super prompt with her reply. I mentioned a few insecurities I have, and she assured me that she’d show me the shots as she was taking them so I would be 100% comfortable. Score!

2. Schedule your brand photo(s) session and book your location

Scheduling the shoot was easy, but I couldn’t make up my mind as to where I wanted the photo shoot to be. I *really* wanted it to be in my home, but it isn’t quite camera-ready.

And I’d want nothing in my house to be out of place. Living with kids in sports 7 days a week doesn’t make that easy, so I decided to save myself the headache.

Shana had access to a studio with great natural light, so a few days before the shoot, I asked her to book it.

3. Create a brand photo inspiration board


Pinterest is a great resource for creative inspiration, and I looked for shots that I’d like to use for my new photos.

I looked for different poses I could use, because I wanted to appear confident, beautiful, and fun. I also looked for different outfits I could wear. Once you define your brand style, you’ll get a good idea of the type of persona you want to portray.

4. Select your brand photo attire

In full disclosure, I’m not a stylist. If you have the budget and need for a stylist, I highly recommend that you hire one.

I brought 4 outfits, 4 pairs of shoes, jewelry and a bobbi pin for my hair so I could pin it back if I wanted. I ended up wearing 3 outfits.

And all 3 of the outfits I wore were clothes I already owned, with the exception of a blazer I borrowed from my bestie. I stuck with black because my main brand color is black, and made sure I had a unique necklace with each outfit.

Brand Photo Melissa Burkheimer

Brand Photo Melissa Burkheimer


5. Prep and pack your props for your new brand photos

While I was pinning, I unexpectedly found a ton of inspiration for different props that I could use for my photos. As I mentioned above, I’ve been collecting random things like film reels, vintage cameras and more for years, and I thought they’d be perfect for this shoot.

My goal is to help people make their rebrand feel like a movie premiere, not a reality show, so the movie props fit nicely.

I brought flowers to use as a visual representation for “standing out.” Because when you rebrand, you want to stand out, not blend in.

And I brought magazines and notebooks for a couple of flat lay shots, which I already had around the house.

The donuts were a last-minute buy from the grocery store that my family enjoyed after my photo shoot.

6. Schedule your haircut (or blowout) and nail appointment early

Clear your schedule for the entire day of your photo shoot if you can. And schedule your haircut/blowout, pedicure, manicure, blowout, make up, and eyebrow wax before your photoshoot.

I scheduled my hair appointment early, and luckily my hairdresser does make up.

But I never got my nails done, so I painted them in my car…the morning of. So take it from me, don’t wait until the last minute. šŸ™‚

7. Make a list of everything you need to bring and pack it the day before your photoshoot

Make a list of everything you need like props, clothes, jewelry, make up and anything else that you need for a successful shoot.

I bought a few more props for flat lay photos, but I forgot them. 😞

8. Bonus: Hire an assistant to come with you for the photoshoot

I didn’t actually do this, but I wish I would have. An extra set of hands on deck to help with things like carrying in my basket of props would’ve been great.

9. Bonus: Share the behind-the-scenes scoop using social media

A photoshoot is a perfect thing to share on social media to give your audience a behind-the-scenes look at the photos.

Sharing the process on social media as it happens wasn’t really an option for me because my focus and energy was on my photoshoot.

This is something that an assistant could do as well.

10. Bonus: Make a list of must-have shots before your photoshoot

I didn’t do this, and I wish I would have. I’m going to schedule another photo shoot in a few months with some more specific creative shots.

I already know what they are, and I need a body double to make some of them happen. (I’m looking at you, seester!)


What to do if you have any type of body shame

I’m not a photographer, and I’m not an expert on body confidence. But I’m a woman; who has some great features and I have some flaws. Some flaws bug more more than others.

I was lucky enough to find a photographer who was patient with my insecurities and made me feel super comfortable.

I was pretty adamant that all photos were taken from the chest and up. And we used props to hide areas that I may not want to show in a photograph.

I did take a few full-body shots that I’ll use on occasion. 😇


All the (pic) credit in the world goes to my photographer. She was open to my ideas and brought them to life.

Hiring a photographer to take your brand photos taken can be an exciting, scary, experience, but doing it will uplevel your brand.

Find someone you know to take photos for you the first time if you don’t have a budget. (That’s what I did!). There are plenty of photographers just starting out and students who’d love to take your photo for the experience.

I’m just like you, an entrepreneur who wants to help people and upgrade my brand photos. Having good brand photos is just a piece of having a great brand, but it’s a step in the right direction.

And now, Iā€™d love to hear from you. Do you have additional tips to share that I missed? Do you have a story to share about your photo shoots?

CommentsLeave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Those are some great shots!

  2. Hey Melissa,

    Woahooo awesome shoots you have there!

    I sincerely liked the creativity in them… Way to go!