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Leaves Shadow

How to start your Brand Photography Business

Brand Photography 101

Here's the deal, we all know how important photos are in the age of social media and content marketing. And because of that, there is a huge opportunity for photographers to tap into that market with personal brand photography.

Gone are the days of the stuffy old headshots on a neutral background. Today, it's all about capturing the essence of the brand and allowing that to shine, so business owners can more effectively reach and connect with their target audience.

If you are passionate about portrait photography, or even if you are already a professional photographer looking to branch out, brand photography just might be for you.

Let's dive right in and uncover the steps to building your very own brand photography business!

Building your Photography Skillset and Knowledge

If you want to rock the world of brand photography, you gotta have a solid foundation of photography skills. That means sharpening your technical chops, understanding how to frame and light your shots, and getting the hang of post-processing.

When it comes to the technical stuff, you need to know your camera inside out. That means nailing the settings, exposure, and focus to consistently capture killer shots that impress your clients at a moment's notice

My settings: I generally don't go lower than a shutter speed of 1/250 (unless adding intentional motion blur, and keep my aperture between F1.8-F2.5 depending on what I want in focus. I set my ISO at whatever I need to keep my shutter speed at the above setting.

Composition is key. To master the art of composing your shots well, you'll need to consider framing, perspective, and the rule of thirds. This takes time and experience, so get out and shoot constantly. Experiment, study other brand photography that you are drawn to and figure out what about it speaks to you. Learn how angles can change the entire feel of the image and use that to align with your client's branding.

Lighting is arguably the most important element in a photoshoot. Since photography is essentially painting with light, it is so important that you understand how light works with your camera and how even a subtle change can make all the difference. So, whether you're working in a studio or chasing natural light, you need to know how to manipulate that light to set the tone and feel of your images.

But hey, it's not just about photography skills. You also need to understand marketing and branding. Get to know your target audience, their tastes, and what makes the brands you work with special. This way, you can tell captivating visual stories that make an impact. Oh, and don't forget to communicate clearly with your clients and use questionnaires to get all the juicy details. It's all part of the game!

Photography Equipment and Gear

When it comes to gear, you've got to make the right investments. With a gazillion cameras and lenses out there, it's crucial to pick ones that suit your shooting style and won't break the bank. I recommend looking at things like image quality, resolution, low-light performance, and the ability to capture fast-moving action.

Once you have the right camera body, You'll need some lenses. Lenses, in my opinion, can be even more important than the body itself and are likely where you will want to spend most of your budget. The environment you're shooting in determines what kind of glass you should get. Snagging prime lenses with wide apertures is like unlocking a secret superpower—they let you control depth-of-field like a boss, resulting in some seriously stunning visuals.

Lighting equipment is also a big deal. If you're rocking a studio setup, studio lights are your ticket to ultimate control over intensity, direction, and quality, giving your images that pro touch every time.

On the flip side, mastering the art of natural light can add a dose of authenticity and organic vibes to your photos. Don't forget to play around with light modifiers like softboxes, reflectors, and diffusers to achieve those perfect lighting effects. It's all about experimenting and finding what works for you.

My gear: Camera - Nikon Z6ii; Lenses - 35mm (my workhorse), 85mm (used for portraits when I have space to back up), 28-75mm (rarely used - generally when capturing events); Lighting (only when necessary) - GODOX SL200II 200W LED Video Light, NEEWER 2-Pack 2.4G LED Video Light, and a Nikon speedlight that rarely comes out of my camera bag.

Photo Studio Setup and Props

Having a killer studio space may be the perfect setting for your business. Now, not all of us can have a dedicated studio (we can dream, right?), but when you do, there are a few things to consider. First off, think about the available space, lighting needs, and the overall vibe you want to create. It's all about crafting that perfect environment to capture your client's brand.

Your studio will need the right gear. Adjustable light stands are a must-have if you're more than just a natural light studio. They give you the flexibility to position your lights just right for that killer shot. Having a range of background options on hand lets you cater to different brand styles and create the right mood.

You may also want to curate a collection of props that amplify visual storytelling. Whether it's product-related, decorative, or mood-setting, these props will take your images to the next level. Most clients bring their own props, but if you've got a studio, having a few extra options for them to choose from is a sweet value-add. It's all about those little details that bring the brand's story to life.

Building a Brand Photography Portfolio

When it comes to attracting aligned brand photography clients, having an gorgeous portfolio is a must. Ditch any photos that don't make you shine like the diamond you are. If there's even a question about whether that image should be in there, it probably isn't your best work - find another!

How do you fill your portfolio with stunning shots if you're just starting out?

Collaborating with local businesses is a fantastic way to gain experience, expand your network, and show off your work. And hey, if your business is still starting to take root, offering trade shoots is totally cool. You can trade your photography skills for exposure and permission to use the images in your portfolio AND gain something from them in return, like a treatment if they're a massage therapist, for example. When doing these swaps, make sure that you maintain a high level of control of the images and the overall shoot, as they will be in your portfolio for others to see your work. You want the images you add to your portfolio to speak to your own brand as much as your client's.

Speaking of, let's dive into personal branding and self-promotion. Developing a unique style that screams "you" and consistently flaunting it in your portfolio is key. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn are great places to show off your work, connect with potential clients, and establish your online presence. Keep your portfolio fresh, and engage with your audience by sharing behind-the-scenes stories, photography tips, and success stories from your clients. It's time to shine!

Photography Legal and Business Considerations

When you're starting your brand photography business, it's important to take care of the legal and business side of things. It may not be the most glamorous part of the job, but trust me, it's essential.

First things first, register your business with the appropriate authorities. You want to be legit, right? Pick a business name that's catchy and true to you. Don't forget to do your homework. Make sure you're all good with the permits and licenses required in your neck of the woods.

Now, let's talk insurance. Unexpected events and accidents happen, and the last think you want is for damages to ruin the party, so get yourself some liability insurance. It's there to cover you when life throws you a curveball during a photoshoot. And, oh, remember those model releases and usage rights agreements? Yeah, they're the real deal. These little guys ensure you have all the permissions you need to use the images for promotional purposes - which you are totally going to want!

And, of course, we can't forget to talk about contracts and agreements. These are your secret weapons for setting expectations and protecting your rights as a photographer. Cover all your bases. Spell out the project scope, deliverables, payment terms, and usage rights. A solid contract builds trust with your clients and saves you from any pesky misunderstandings along the way. It's all about smooth sailing and happy clients!

Branding Photoshoot Pricing and Packages

Alright, let's dive into the nitty-gritty of pricing for your brand photography business.

First things first, do your homework. Take the time to dig into the market and snoop around your competition's pricing. It's like detective work but way more fun. This research will give you a clear picture of where you stand in the market and how you can position yourself competitively. Take into account things like your experience, expertise, the value you bring to the table, plus the demand in your local market. And listen up, my friend, don't you dare underprice yourself. That not only hurts you, but it damages others in the industry. Let's keep things fair and valuable, shall we?

Instead of charging by the hour, I recommend focusing on the unique needs and goals of each client. To simplify things for your potential clients, create some packages. Each package can have its own perks and goodies. Offer options like different shoot durations, the number of images they'll receive, and any extra services you provide, like retouching or image licensing. And hey, why not spice it up with cool add-ons? Give them choices, but keep it as clear as possible!

Set those prices with confidence, and don't forget the value you bring to the table.

Brand Photography Marketing and Client Acquisition

Alright, let's talk about the online world and how to make a killer impression with your brand photography. Trust me, a solid online presence and a professional website can work wonders in attracting clients and showcasing your skills.

Investing in a visually stunning and user-friendly website is an absolute must. It's like your virtual showcase, so make it count. Show off that impressive portfolio, highlight the services you offer, and don't forget to sprinkle in those sparkling client testimonials. Oh, and don't neglect the power of search engine optimization (SEO). You want to be the shining star when potential clients hit that "search" button.

Networking is a game-changer. Get yourself out there by attending industry events, workshops, and seminars. It's a prime opportunity to mingle with potential clients and build relationships with fellow pros. By engaging with local businesses and rocking those networking events, you not only get to showcase your work but also open the doors for referrals and exciting collaborations. Building strong relationships and collaborating with graphic designers, web developers, or marketing agencies can even lead to cross-promotion opportunities. Remember, teamwork makes the dream work!

Photography Client Communication and Relationships

When it comes to communication and relationships with your clients, clear and effective communication (and boundaries) is a MUST. During those initial consultations, take the time to truly understand their vision. Dive deep into their expectations, brand identity, and goals for the photoshoot. Talk timelines, deliverables, and budget, and make sure everyone is on the same page. It's all about those crystal-clear terms and conditions.

And don't underestimate the power of exceptional customer service. It's the cherry on top of the brand photography cake. Be responsive, be proactive, and be attentive to your clients' needs. Address their inquiries with lightning speed and go the extra mile to ensure their satisfaction. Deliver their images in a timely manner and create an experience that leaves them smiling from ear to ear. When you provide outstanding service and build strong relationships based on trust, you're not just capturing their brand, you're capturing clients for life, and setting the stage for those sweet referrals. You may even want to set up a referral program so past clients can earn a discount!

Continued Brand Photography Education and Growth

Now, let's talk about growth. Owning a business is a lifelong journey. Attend workshops, conferences, and seminars to learn from the best in the industry. Soak up those insights into the latest techniques and technologies. And don't forget about online courses and tutorials—they're absolute gold mines for expanding your knowledge and honing your craft. You may even consider focusing on 1:1 skills with a brand photographer further along in the journey than you are - they can provide custom tips and help hold you accountable.

Remember, growth comes from stepping out of your comfort zone and experimenting. Challenge yourself to try new approaches, explore different styles, and fine-tune your techniques. Embrace feedback from clients and peers as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Keep that curiosity burning bright and stay open-minded, always seeking inspiration from various sources to keep your work fresh and innovative.

So there you have it, my friend. Rock that online presence, nurture those relationships, and never stop growing. It's your time to shine in the world of brand photography!

Kickstart your Brand Photography Business

with the ABCs of Brand Photography mini-course!

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Want to book a brand photography mentoring session?

I know from first-hand experience that it can be tempting to shelve the camera and find another way of paying the mortgage.

But here’s the deal: you don’t have to scour the internet to track it all down yourself.

​If you're feeling stuck and need some guidance to fine-tune your skills, improve your portfolio, grow your brand photography business, and attract your ideal clients WITHOUT spending hours on research, how about we have a chat?

​A 1:1 mentoring session is the ultimate way for you to pick my brain so you can walk away with custom advice and resources to help you grow with confidence.


Have a look at my FREEBIES to feel more confident on camera!

How to start a Brand Photography Business Pinterest Pin with photographer in photo


Photographer sitting on black stool surrounded by plants.

Hi I'm Kayleigh - compassionate brand photographer & lover of green tea, travel, & all things plant-based

I live on the NW coast of England near Liverpool but I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and traveled for YEARS, shooting everything I saw in the 100+ countries I visited - deserts, icebergs, cliffs, fjords, you name it! 


Then I started photographing people, which quickly turned into a passion. Over the years the more I got in front of the camera, the more I replaced past timidness with acceptance and self-love.


I've seen this shine through in my clients as well and it brings me so much joy helping other leaders around the world show up boldly and unapologetically to connect with their communities and grow their businesses.

And I absolutely love teaching other brand photographers how to hold the space for these shifts in their clients as well!


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