Collaboration, Branding, Photography

How to Organize & Plan a Styled Shoot to Build Your Portfolio & Brand

Guest Post by Divine Mwimba, Culture Chic Wedding PR

Are you a new creative just starting out in the industry? Or maybe you are more of a seasoned entrepreneur but your name and business is not as out there as you would love it to be. We get it! In a visual business with an online presence, a great portfolio that is branded and has beautiful photos will make or break your business. Today we'll be showing you how to organize and style a shoot that will build your portfolio and online brand. 

Are you a new creative just starting out in the industry? Or maybe you are more of a seasoned entrepreneur but your name and business is not as out there as you would love it to be. We get it! In a visual business with an online presence, a great portfolio that is branded and has beautiful photos will make or break your business. Today we'll be showing you how to organize and style a shoot that will build your portfolio and online brand. | Think Creative Collective

A powerful and amazing branded portfolio is what you will need in order to stand out, get noticed, and start attracting your ideal clients. How can you possibly create a great portfolio with no experience or clients?  This is where organizing a styled shoot comes into play. Creating the perfect mock up of your services will let your ideal client know what it is you are all about. It is also a great way to start building your portfolio. 

With a styled shoot, you are able to effectively demonstrate your own style and design to show your ideal client exactly what you are capable of designing for them should they decide to hire you. Is something new and trending in your industry? Why not showcase the hottest and latest trends by styling your work and bringing it to life via photos? 

This is where staging, imagination, props, and themes come into play. We are now going to show you how to properly organize and style a branded shoot for your portfolio and business. 

Step 1: Work on developing a concept and Ideal goal for your Shoot 

Do not start planning your shoot without first developing the concept, ideal goal, and the outcome. What do you want the shoot to reflect? Think about your brand: What do you want to be known as? Chic, elegant, easygoing, elite, sophisticated? Write  a list of the different words, including colours, that best describe your brand. Then pick out one or two words and make them your focus. For the colours, choose at least three colours that compliment each other perfectly but also reflect your brand. 

Next you want to establish exactly what you are going to do with the photos once the shoot is completed. Are you going to use this on marketing materials such as business cards, postcards, and give away pamphlets? Will you add the photos throughout your website to showcase your brand? Are you going to send them as a portfolio to potential clients? Do you want to send them to a publication, like Style Me Pretty? 

Keep all of this in mind as you start planning your shoot as this will help you determine the types of photos you need, it will help you communicate better with the photographers and other vendors exactly what is it you are trying to capture. 

Step 2: Create a cohesive theme based on your brand and style  

A styled shoot portfolio is your way of you letting the world know about your brand as well as communicating your message about the type of clients you wish to work with. Use this to inspire creativity for your ideal audience. How can you pick out the perfect theme that will work well with your brand? Think about the blogs and magazines you read. What inspires you to read them everyday or weekly? Is it the colour? Does the font used look good to you? 

To help you come up with the best themes, focus on the season and the latest trends happening  around the time you are planning the shoot. You don’t want to be so 2006. Unless your theme and brand is from eras such as the 1920s decade. Think Great Gatsby! The possibilities are endless. 

Step 3: Getting your team together 

The next step is to get the best team out there that can help you bring your brand to life. If you love photography and you are great at taking photos, that’s great. For those of you who are not photographers, we suggest working with a professional to help capture your vision. Your work should reflect quality and letting the professionals do what they do best is our number one tip! 
Find and pick a vendor that is closely related to the type of brand and overall theme you are looking to achieve. If you feel that a lifestyle photographer will work best in capturing your work, then research lifestyle photographers. It makes it so much easier to work with vendors who understand your brand and story.  

Most vendors are okay with working with different people for an exchange of work, client referrals, and publicity so try to use this option if you have no money to spend. Source out all your vendors, models if you need, and anything else you might need for the shoot.

Step 4: Setting the Date and Location 

Once you have your theme and style figured, you will need to determine a date and location for the shoot. Keep the season in mind when planning your shoot. Consider everyone’s availability as well and ensure it all works out. A lot of people tend to be busy on weekends depending on what industry they are in. 

Step 5: Organizing the little details

Depending on the details and the shots that you want, really think about the little details. These details mean a lot to someone engaging with and judging your brand. You will need to be extremely organized with your idea, the vendors, and the day of the shoot. If it ends up looking disorganized your outcome might be a waste.  The last thing you want is to disappoint the people that are helping you get your ideas come to life.

Step 6: The shoot and the after shoot 

On the day of the event make sure you arrive early, introduce yourself, and start the shoot right away. You will have creative direction for the shoot, just make sure all the shots you want are captured and nothing is forgotten. Get as many photo opportunities as you can.

Once the shoot is completed, send thank you emails, and if you promised any trade of services ensure you deliver your part. 

Go ahead and update your website, portfolio and social media platforms with your new photos. 

It may seem overwhelming at first, but by using these 6 steps, you'll feel AND be more confident when planning your first or next styled shoot! 


About the Author

Divine Mwimba is the founder of Culture Chic Wedding PR Firm – a Public Relation marketing firm specializing in helping wedding professionals market and grow their wedding business. She loves all things weddings, vacationing and romantic movies. 

Divine Mwimba, Culture Chic Wedding PR

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