Everything You Need For a Successful Branding Photoshoot

Brand photos of perfume and camera on pink background

Brand photography: what does it mean? Good brand photography showcases you, your products or services, and what you do.

In this article, we’ll go through every step of a successful brand photoshoot.

That includes fine-tuning your style, selecting a photographer, deciding locations, and creating a “must-have” photo list. Let’s go!

What Is Brand Photography?

Your brand photography tells two stories: who you are and what you do.

Your brand mission and purpose is communicated through every aspect of the photo, from the objects featured, the backdrop, and even your brand colors!

How Will Personal Branding Photography Help Your Business?

When you’re starting your own brand, you may focus on the services you offer and how to get more customers.

These are obviously what makes your business go ’round, but your visual style is important, too!

Brand photography gives your customers a clear, visual interpretation of who you are as a brand, and why they should pick you!

That’s why good brand photography is a must.

Let’s go through some of the benefits of having a personal branding photoshoot.

Branding Photography Creates Consistency

Your brand photography shows your essence at a glance. Having professional photos that align with your brand aesthetic creates consistency (which customers see as trustworthiness) across platforms.

This is especially useful for online businesses!

Your brand photos can be used anywhere, not just on your website and social media.

They can also be used for business cards, collateral materials, press packets, and more!

Brand Photos Make You More Relatable

All photos courtesy of Syd Wachs

Think about the blogs you visit while doing research for your business. Why do you trust them?

Chances are, the visual feel of their brand is consistent, which tells you they’re confident and professional.

And they probably have a clear picture of who’s behind the blog—yes, including their face!

You might be groaning, but brand photos with you in them creates a valuable sense of trust for your audience.

It also greatly increases engagement on your online platforms since the customers know the person they’re interacting with, not just mysterious pixels on a screen.

Brand Photos Help You Communicate Your Story and Mission

Another story your brand photos tell is your mission. Why do you do this? Why do you believe in it? 

By having a solid aesthetic, such as color and objects, your brand’s unique signature comes alive. You stand out from the crowd. 

Brand Photography Examples (+ Where You Can Use Your Shots!)

There are so many kinds of brand photography. Headshots, product photos, and lifestyle photos are just three of the options! 

Stock images, such as from Unsplash, can also be used to solidify your aesthetic.

For example, if you’re a writer, you may choose photos of books or notepads. If you’re a chef, you’ll want to show some of your recipes’ ingredients.

But…where exactly can your brand photography go? Here are some ideas:

  • Social media: profile pictures, posts, and stories
  • Your website and blog posts
  • Paid ads
  • Business cards and any print material
  • Email newsletters
  • Webinars, interviews, and guest speaking opportunities
  • Media Kits and PR packages
  • Features, videos, and course content

Now, lets talk about how to plan your first brand photography shoot – step by step!

Step One: Identify Your Story

The first thing to keep in mind, again, is your brand’s story. It’s probably tied into your personal story a bit, which is powerful for creating an authentic brand.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to hone in on this story:

  • If your brand was a color, what would it be? (The site coolors.co is useful for choosing a brand color scheme.)
  • If it was a song, which one?
  • How about a movie?

All of the above have specific thoughts and emotions associated with them.

Even songs can paint pictures in your mind!

With these inspirations in mind, an easy way to fine-tune your visual aesthetic is to create a Pinterest board of photos you feel best describe the vibe of your own brand.

You can always remove any that don’t fit after you build your collection!

Step Two: Browse Similar Brands and Photographers for Inspiration

What kind of photos do you need, and what works best to convey your story?

Research other brands in your industry and niche for inspiration. Write down any ideas you have!

When you run across images that really spark something in you, add them to that Pinterest board you made.

You can share this board later with your brand photographer to stay on the same page!

Step Three: Create a List of Must-Have Shots

Look at you! Now you’ve got a clearer idea of the shots that will support your brand’s story. 

Whether they’re product images, headshots, or photos of you in action, they’re all important.

Put a star beside your “must-have” photos so you know that, at the end of the day, you’ll have the ones that matter most.

Step Four: Source Props, Items, and Wardrobe

You may need props for your brand photoshoot. Before you schedule a shoot with your photographer, list out all the props you’ll need. 

Now is also a great time to plan your wardrobe, too: lay your outfit(s) on the bed and snap a photo.

These are helpful for your photographer to know in advance so they can plan for the shoot’s lighting and setup.

Step Five: Select a Branding Photographer to Work With

How do you choose a brand photographer? One simple way is to search on Instagram for your city + photographer.

From the results, you can easily browse the work of photographers in your area to see who would fit best with your style.

It’s very important that the photographer you choose is someone you feel you can relate to, that way you’re relaxed on the shoot day—which, of course, makes for the best photos!

Step Six: Work With Your Photographer to Determine the Right Location

You may already have an idea of where you want to do the photoshoot. Your photographer will also know great locations, so you can work together to pick the best ones.

If you’re shooting at home or at an office, it’ll give you time to get any necessary permissions, clean the area, and set up the props.

This prep work makes the shoot infinitely simpler on the day!

Step Seven: Show Up For Your Personal Branding Shoot and Have Fun!

Congratulations! The legwork is done, and now it’s time for fun. You’re going to get the photos that help make your brand even more relatable, trustworthy, and confident.

Stepping in front of the camera may feel daunting. You can always practice at home: try on your outfits and have a mini-photoshoot with yourself using your smartphone to determine which angles (and smiles) work best for you.

It may also be fun to hire a professional makeup artist or hairstylist to look and feel your best!

Don’t forget to take deep breaths before and during the shoot. You’ve got this!

Conclusion: 7 Steps for the Perfect Brand Photos

Now you know the importance of strong brand photography to create trust and tell a story, as well as how to plan and prepare for a shoot.

From deciding your brand colors, gathering visual inspiration, and planning locations and props for the big day, you’ve got the hang of making the most from a personal branding photoshoot.

These images will serve you well in years to come as your success grows. And just remember, even though brand photos are a professional asset, you should relax and have fun!

After all, you’re breathing your brand to life with images for the world to see!

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Wondering if you should spring for a branding photoshoot? Learn why they’re helpful, and how to plan one in seven steps!

Creating Flatlay Photography for Products: 8 Insider Tips

flat lay photography on aqua background

Want to switch up your aesthetic or showcase your products and services? Flatlay photography is a fantastic way to do both!

In this article, we’ll go through the whole process of creating a scroll-stopping flatlay product photo. First, we’ll brainstorm the visual story, arrange your objects, and then edit the final photo.

And even if flatlays aren’t part of your style, this is a great process to follow when fine-tuning your photo styling skills, too!

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What is Flatlay Photography?

A flatlay is a photo of objects taken from directly above. 

You’ll organize props and your main subjects on a flat surface, then stand directly over it to snap the picture.

The props are used to tell a story and create a feeling based on that main subject. Common main subjects of flatlay photos are books, clothing, food, art, and other small- to medium-sized objects.

Flatlay photo
Photo by @tehteredandtold on IG

Flatlay Photography Set-up: A Checklist of What You Need

Before you gather the equipment for your flatlay, here are some things to consider:

  • What color scheme do you want your photo to have? If you want some inspiration for color combinations, use the free color palette planner coolors.co.
  • What will the main lighting source of your photo be? Natural light is best for flatlays, so you might set up near a window or even outside.
  • What will your background be? This could be a hardwood floor, your desk, a patterned cloth, or whatever best fits the aesthetic you’d like to create in your flatlay. Make sure it’s a clean, flat surface.
  • What will you stand on to take the photo?

This may seem like a lot, but don’t let that stop you. It’s so much fun to experiment with different backgrounds, lighting, and color combinations!

Once you do one flatlay, you’ll know exactly what to do next time.

Now, let’s gather some essential items:

  • Your primary object (the “hero”)
  • Props: think about how your photo’s main subject makes you feel, and pick props that help tell the visual story.
  • Light sources: you can also “dress up” your photo by having a secondary light source, such as fairy lights or candles. 
  • Textures: for visual interest. This could be a scarf, crumpled paper, ivy vines—anything!
teacup on white surface with scattered tea leaves
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

How to Create a Stunning Flat Lay Photo (8 Tips!)

You’re ready to take stunning flatlay photos for your brand! Let’s start with the story behind your photo and create a set based on that.

Create a Story for Your Photo

A great flatlay photo is much more than throwing some objects down and snapping a picture. Each element helps tell the story of your main subject. 

The props should add to the overall vibe you want the photo to have.

If a book is your main subject, think about what objects showed up throughout the story that were important: perhaps a map or a key. 

If your focus is a cake, some measuring bowls and a spoon may work.

Set Up Your Surface

It’s time to build your set! You may choose to set up on the counter, table, or floor. Make sure to clear any clutter and give it a good wipe-down before arranging.

The background is a key element in the story of your photo, but if you don’t like it as is, don’t worry.

Example: if you’re featuring cookies but don’t want to show your countertop, you can hide it using cloths, cutting boards, or baking pans. Get creative!

journal on grey chair in dappled light
Photo by @tetheredandtold on Instagram

Check and Adjust Lighting

As in all photography, good lighting is crucial.

Like we mentioned before, natural light works best for flatlays rather than harsh, artificial light. Do you have a window that gets indirect light? Take some test photos to see how the lighting works in different places around your home. 

You could even set up outside (overcast days work best because the light is more even). Don’t forget: you can also play with shadows.

Too dark? Think about other ways you can brighten up the photo. Fairy lights and candles are commonly-used props and secondary light sources in flatlays. 

Place Your Product

It’s good for the “hero” object to differ in size and/or color from the props so it stands out. (This is called “visual hierarchy.”) The question is, where do you put it?

In the middle of the frame is a simple option, but there are so many ways to change it up while still making sure it’s the main focus of your flatlay.

One option is to use the “rule of thirds.” This means that your photo is divided into thirds both horizontally and vertically, and you place the hero object where the lines intersect. It’ll be slightly off-center.

Your hero object doesn’t have to be fully in the frame, either; it can be partially out of view as well. It might also be situated diagonally rather than perfectly straight.

flatlay photography example
Photo by @tetheredandtold on Instagram

Place Your Secondary Props and Items

Arranging your props and secondary objects may take some time, but it’ll really make your flatlay photo stand out. The rule of thirds will definitely come in handy here, as will the “visual hierarchy” we talked about a minute ago. 

Create “leading lines” with your props—that’s when they lead your eye straight to your hero objects. Your hands and arms make wonderful leading lines!

Texture is important to maintain visual interest as well. Successful flatlays contain many textures to keep the viewer’s eye engaged.

You can also put objects on top of one another. Stacked objects come closer to the camera, even being out of focus, creating depth, and making the photo seem more lifelike.

fairy lights add interesting depth and texture to a flat lay photo
Photo by @thebookaroma on Instagram

Shoot From Above

Standing on a chair might be able to get you to a good height for shooting. Alternatively, you could use a tripod or even a ladder.

Be sure to double-check that your camera or phone is as flat as possible before taking the picture. 

Include Shots That Leave Room For Text

Using your flatlay photos for other social or sales channels, like Pinterest or Facebook? If so, it’s a good idea to photograph multiple versions of your flatlay, sometimes leaving a blank space to add text or graphics later.

Like with the hero objects, you can leave that space in the middle, along the intersecting lines of the rule of thirds, or around the edges of the photo.

For tips on adding text and graphics to your photo, check out our “How to Add Text Overlay to Your Pins” article.

Edit Your Photo

Now that you’ve taken some gorgeous flatlay photos, it’s time to edit. This is the last step and it’s where you’ll make the aesthetic come to life. Oftentimes, this includes reducing shadows, increasing brightness, and adjusting HSL.

If your chosen colors are warm and cozy like browns and earthy greens, you’d increase the temperature and tune them using HSL. Or, if you’ve chosen clean whites and grays, you’d decrease the temperature, desaturate a bit, and up your highlights.

Need editing tips? Our article on basic photo editing covers all your questions.

flatlay photo of book surrounded by paper and keys
Photo by @frantargaryen on Instagram

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Conclusion: How to Get Perfect Product Photography Flatlays

Flatlays are perfect for showcasing your products and services. Practicing is the best way to figure out what fits best with your brand!

Follow people and brands on social media whose photos inspire you to keep experimenting. Take loads of pictures of your set, rearranging your hero objects and props to find what works best visually. Spend a little time making new sets, and you’ll become a flatlay master in no time!

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Puzzling over how to make your products shine on social? Use our handy guide to take stunning flatlay photography that your followers can't resist!

How to Create Light and Airy Photo Edits (+ Presets!)

light and airy photography on an orange background

Light and airy photos are all about creating an inspiring aesthetic that catches the viewer’s eye. Today, we’ll go over the steps for how to balance light and color, and how to save your edits as a preset to easily apply to your other photos!

Here are a few pointers before we begin:

  • It’s ideal to start with a photo that has even lighting—nothing too bright or dark.
  • The background shouldn’t be so busy that it distracts from the subject.
  • Shoot in RAW if possible. The photo will be uncompressed, making it possible for you to edit in much greater detail.

All the terms from the steps below are mentioned in our article “How to Master Basic Photo Editing.” If you’re still learning these, you can check that article for a refresher!

Light and Airy Presets: Should You Buy Them?

Buying a preset can be tempting since the work is already done for you.

Presets can be very useful: they get your image very close to how you want it, and you may only have to make minor adjustments. That’s especially helpful when you’re doing large batch edits.

And even though many quality presets are sold at a cost, there are plenty of free presets available for download.

However, one size doesn’t fit all, and you may not want to purchase one.

Your camera settings, subject, lighting, and the background will be different than those used as samples in the preset.

The good news is, it’s only a little extra work in the beginning, but you can make your own custom presets that are perfectly suited for your photography.

We’ll show you all the steps to making a light and airy photo edit, and how to save them into a preset.

Ready to edit some light and airy photos with us? Here’s our original, unedited image:

photography by Syd Wachs


As the name suggests, light and airy photos have a bright, ethereal feel to them.

Exposure plays a role in getting that bright, light effect on your photo edit.

Exposure can be a touchy tool. Don’t pump it up too high or else your whites will be overwhelming. Keep it too dark, and it won’t work for the light and airy effect.

Check out the examples of too light, too dark and just right in the example below!

editing exposure in lightroom

The exposure is too light on the left, while on the right it’s just too dark for a light and airy photo. Remember, you want to keep the lighting as even as possible in your photo for this step!

If your original photo is darker or lighter than ours was, your final exposure might be a bit different, so don’t be afraid to experiment!

Our final exposure: +0.45.

Step Two: Check Temperature

Next, lets get into temperature.

Temperature is an important part of the editing process. Light and airy photos have tones that are true to real-life so there won’t be any drastic changes.

Bringing your temperature down just a little can help your whites be more accurate, enhancing their brightness. Most likely, you’ll only need to touch the temperature slightly. 

Aim for a happy medium: not too warm or cool.

adjusting temperature for a light and airy photo edit

Here, you can see the left is too cool and the right is too warm. The middle section is the final. We’ve also adjusted the tint to make sure our photo wasn’t too green or pink.

Temperature: +62.86. Tint: +29.

Step Three: Adjust Contrast

Light and airy photos have a defined, but not exaggerated, contrast. When making this adjustment, you want to enhance the difference between lights and darks.

Similarly to exposure, be careful of “blowing out” your whites. We want the lighting to remain even. Don’t worry if your image still looks a bit drab at this point! 

adjusting contrast photo editing

Our original photo was already pretty low contrast, almost “washed out.” We amped up the contrast quite a bit, careful to ensure her skin tones weren’t glowing.

Contrast: +55.

Step Four: Toggle Shadows and Highlights

Here’s where we fine-tune our lighting for that perfect light and airy feel!

By toggling the highlights and shadows, you can adjust each one separately without affecting the other. Many editing programs have the Whites and Blacks tools, which are even more precise adjustments you can make.

adjust highlights and shadows in lightroom

Highlights: +33

Shadows: -30

Whites: +57

Blacks: -32

Step Six: Adjust Sharpness, Clarity, and Noise

If you want to add a bit of texture to your image, bump up the clarity. Sharpness also makes the details in your picture more noticeable, which is characteristic of many light and airy photos.

The noise reduction tool can remedy excess noise, or “graininess.” You can also adjust the clarity of the image after applying your noise reduction settings, but you’d add less clarity in this case.

Our image had a bit of noise over the top already, but not so much that we needed to reduce it. Because of this preexisting texture, we only bumped up the clarity a bit and didn’t touch the sharpen or noise tools.

Clarity: +15

Step Seven: Boost Relevant Colors with HSL

The cherry on top for a great light and airy edit is in the colors. When you look up examples of photos in this style, you’ll see how the colors are more relaxed, giving the final image a peaceful feel.

Head over to the HSL panel of your editing program, where you can manually adjust each color.

Quick review: hue intensifies the color itself, saturation is where you make it more vivid or toned down, and luminance is how bright it is.

The great thing about the HSL panel is that you can fade certain colors or make them stand out, such as skin tone or elements in the background. 

Adjusting each color using HSL is probably going to be the most time-consuming part of your edit, but it’s what will make your final photo absolutely stunning!

In this last step, we toned down the greens and yellows.

To the left are our exact settings for HSL:

HSL panel in Lightroom
Saturation panel HSL Lightroom
Luminance settings HSL Lightroom
final version of light and airy photo

Conclusion: Save Your Edits to Make a Light and Airy Preset

Once you’ve finalized your photo, you can save your edits as a preset in Lightroom to quickly apply to other photos. 

On the lefthand “Presets” panel, click the plus (or three dots) on the top right and select “create preset.” When it asks you which of your adjustments you want to save on the preset, select all except the cropping and alignment option since that’ll vary for each of your photos. 

You can create categories for your own presets to help organize them as well. This may be useful for when you’re editing photos that are originally too dark, too bright, or have different backgrounds.

create light and airy preset in lightroom

And there we have it: your new light and airy photo and your own custom preset in Lightroom! 

Spending a little extra time in the beginning getting your edit just right will pave the way for editing your other photos in the same style. The more you practice, the better you’ll become. Happy editing!

before and after light and airy photo edit

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How to Master Basic Photo Editing in 6 Steps

photo editing controls and picture on a blue background

Ever set out to learn how to edit photos and immediately been confused by all those fancy photo editing terms? Dreaming of a perfectly curated Instagram feed?

Or maybe your ultimate goal is to take gorgeous photos for your brand. No matter where you are in your photography journey, have no fear!

We’re about to unlock the door to photographic mastery by going through all the main features of the basic photo editing process.

Even if you’re a beginner, these tips will send you on the way to editing photography like a professional!

Let’s get started!

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Photo Editing for Beginners: Tips to Know Before You Start

Before we dive in, here are some snippets to keep in mind:

Which photo editing software will you start with? Snapseed and VSCO are great apps for editing on your mobile device.

I use Adobe Lightroom photo editor on my laptop for photos I take with my camera, and it also has a great mobile app.

RAW or JPEG? These are two different formats for your photography. Shooting in RAW is uncompressed, meaning that you’ll be able to edit in much greater detail.

Shooting in JPEG compresses your photo so you won’t be able to fine-tune your photo as much. If possible, I recommend shooting in RAW.

Let your creativity run free. The best way to learn is by letting yourself play with your editing tool. Explore each feature, really getting a feel for which parts of your photo it affects.

Follow photographers you love. Make sure to soak in the work that inspires you to keep practicing!

If you have a brand, what’s your aesthetic? You want your photos to be instantly recognizable. The more you practice editing, the quicker you’ll figure out the style that best represents your brand and products.

Now, let’s jump into the good stuff: making stunning photo edits.

Step One: Crop and Align Your Photo

An important first step in editing your photography is cropping and aligning. This gets your photo closer to its stunning final form.

You’re probably familiar with cropping, which simply means cutting off the unwanted edges of your image.

If you take a great picture of a sunset, for example, but there’s an ugly telephone pole on the side, you’d crop that out so it’s not visible anymore.

What if the horizon in your sunset photo is crooked? Here’s where the align tool comes in: it’ll put a grid on top of your image to use as a reference for straightening that horizon line.

Using the crop, rotate and align tool for photo editing

Step Two: Adjust Exposure and Contrast

One of the first things you’ll want to adjust after cropping and alignment is the exposure. This means how bright or dark your photo is!

Before and after photo edit manipulating exposure
Photos courtesy of Syd Wachs

When your picture is too dark, it’s underexposed, and when it’s too bright, it’s overexposed. You’ll know that it’s overexposed because the bright parts of your photo will give off a white glow.

Also, pay attention to the contrast. Contrast is the difference between the lights and darks in your photo.

When you increase the contrast during editing, your brights will get brighter and your shadows will get darker.

Adjusting contrast before and after

Step Three: Play With White Balance, Temperature, and Tint

Now we’re getting a bit more into the fine-tuning of your photo editing process. Let’s talk about white balance, temperature, and tint.

White balance adjusts the overall accuracy of light in your photo, meaning that what’s white to your eyes comes out as white in the picture.

Have you ever taken a photo that ends up looking quite blue (cool) or orange (warm) overall? That’s what your white balance setting corrects.

On your camera, you can choose a pre-set white balance according to the environment of where you’re shooting, whether it’s in the sun, shade, cloudy, etc.

There’s also an auto white balance setting, but it may not always be the most accurate. Try to choose the setting that most closely matches where you are.

Every source of light has a temperature. For example, if you take a photo in the shade, it’ll come out looking cooler than in the sunlight, which will be very warm. Our eyes regulate these differences for us so we don’t notice, but the camera picks it up and can skew colors and skin tones!

Light also has a tint. Rather than being on the blue-orange spectrum, tint is on the green-magenta spectrum. Tint can sometimes swing too far in either direction, mostly if you’re shooting indoors or using artificial light.

Step Four: Work With Brightness, Highlights, and Shadows

There is a slight difference between exposure and brightness. Exposure places slightly more emphasis on brightening the areas of your photo that are already lighter and the brightness feature focuses more on your image as a whole.

If you want to adjust only the lights or darks of your photo, you’ll work with the highlights and shadows tools.

Manipulating highlights and shadows picture editing

It’s as simple as it sounds: working with highlights will increase or decrease the bright areas of your picture, and shadows will do the same with the darks.

Step Five: Toggle Saturation and the Vibrancy of Your Colors

Saturation refers to how vivid all the colors in your photo are. If you increase the saturation, every single color will get really intense.

The vibrancy tool specifically targets the washed-out colors in your picture, making them more lively.

adjusting saturation, vibrancy and HSL.

You can manually adjust each color, too. In your photo editing program, locate where it breaks down each individual color into a separate scale. This is commonly labeled HSL, and it’s where you can find the hue, saturation, and luminance tools.

Let’s say you want to increase the blue in your photo. Use hue to make the blue color stand out more, saturation to make it more vivid, and luminance to make the blues brighter or darker.

Play around with these to get the hang of them!

Step Six: Adjust Sharpness, Clarity, and Noise

Some other adjustments you might make while editing your photography are sharpness, clarity, and noise. 

Sharpening is commonly used for attempts to fix a blurry image, but it’s a finicky tool that can easily skew the texture of your photo.

If you want to clear things up, you could also try the more subtle clarity tool. Increasing your image’s clarity will increase the textures visible in the photo.

Noise is that graininess that sits over the whole image. It’s easily visible in some film photography, or in photos that were really dark and you had to brighten them up a lot in editing. 

Removing a small amount of noise is possible without ruining your photo. Your editing program will have options for “noise reduction.”

Pro photo editing tip: if overdone, it can take away a lot of the texture in your picture, giving it an almost painted look.

It’s important to make sure your lighting is good when taking photos so you don’t have an excessive amount of noise in the end.

Conclusion: How to Edit Photos Like a Professional

Remember: practice makes perfect! With these tips, you’ll be a photo editing pro in no time.

If you need some motivation to start learning how to edit pictures, follow photographers whose work inspires you to get out there and take more pictures.

Let your creativity go wild and play around with different elements in your photography editing program.

You never know, you might accidentally discover your signature style, just like I did!

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Longing for gorgeous photos, but unsure how to make the picture edits that matter? Learn basic photo editing and what it all means here!