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How To: Find the right brand photographer

Finding the right personal branding photographer
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Finding the right personal branding photographer

How to find the right brand photographer for you by Emily Wong Photography

Finding the right Branding photographer, or any photographer is just like looking for any other product or service. You want to know what the packages or features look like and who you’re working with i.e. their personality and photographic style. Keep reading for a deeper dive on each topic!

Types of packages and features in a Branding Session

Packages and Features of a Branding Session

Most photographers will put together a package for you across most types of photography. It keeps things simple, and has should include various features. You look through various packages and look through the features listed in each. Then you pick the one that seems right for you based on the offerings and the price point.

Because Branding photos are used for business purposes, there should be a license associated with the photos that tell you the terms of how you can use your photos.

Let’s get familiar with what some common package features are.

LICENSING FOR BRANDING PHOTOGRAPHY 

These are the charges for the use of the photo (that can add a significant amount to the overall pricing for Branding and Commercial photography). Essentially, it is a fee so that you are able to use the image for business purposes for promotion and sales.

WHY I AM PAYING FOR THIS NOW WHEN I HAVEN’T HAD TO IN THE PAST?

You might feel unsure about paying for licensing because you’ve never had to with other photography you’ve had before. Family and wedding photographers don’t put licensing fees in their contracts because you’re likely only using their photos for personal use at home or with other family members.

Branding and commercial photos are distributed for the purposes of business or to profit off these photos. Personal photos aren’t. In Photographer contracts for wedding and family shoots, there’s usually a line that says that they are not intended for commercial use and to contact the photographer if they would like to use them as such. This is to cover any additional licensing fees if you were to use the photos in business form. 

CURRENT COPYRIGHT LAWS IN THE USA

In the USA, the owner of an image is the person who takes the photo. The costs listed in the production quote (minus the licensing fess) are the costs it takes to make that photo happen or the production of the photo.

This is how Ariana Grande, as well as other celebrities, get sued by the paparazzi. Even though she was the subject in the paparazzi photo she used for her Instagram account. She didn’t take the photo, so she didn’t own it. Legally, the paparazzi could make the argument that her IG account was for self-promotion for her own brand and he or she was owed licensing fees. I’m not going to weigh in about if I think this is right or wrong. But it is lawful.

HOW TO DETERMINE LICENSING COSTS

Licensing fees usually contain terms of use, for example how you’re going to use it. For billboards, print circulation, for websites, etc. The location of the use: only in the USA, all of North America, worldwide, etc. And the length of use: 6 months for a seasonal campaign, 1 – 2 years, in perpetuity.

The broader the use, the more it will cost to license the photo(s). There are calculators and software that calculate what the current rates are for licensing. There are different websites and software that will calculate this fee based on your location and current market rates.

Your photographer will know this and calculate it out for you based on your scope of use. This is usually why people find pricing for commercial photography complicated. Because it is, but I hope this breakdown helps you understand it a bit more.

Number of Photos

The number of photos is related to the amount of time you book, locations, outfit changes, and scene changes. All of these things take time to set up and do, so your total photo number may decrease with an increase of these factors.

All my packages have a minimum number of photos listed, but are subject to change if you’d like to have more outfit changes, scene changes, or locations.

If you’d like to have more set ups, I would strongly recommend getting more time for your session so you can have a wider range of photos to work from.

Pricing

Now that you’ve read a bit about how different features work, you can see how the price of a Branding session can fluctuate based on the various factors listed above.

If you have a specific budget you’re working with, it’s helpful to know that up front, and your photographer can tell you what they’re able to offer for that price point. We are all business owners ourselves and do our best to work with clients.

Bonuses

I like Bonuses so I hope you do too!

If you sign up with a Branding Session with me, I offer a complementary stock photo package. Not every photo on your website needs to be of you! So I’ve started rounding out packages with this perk! Here’s my blog post about how to use your bonus stock photos! 

Add Ons or other customization

Your Branding session is just for you.

If you have a business partner or family member that you’d like to add that’s awesome! I’m happy to add them onto your package. More people in photos translates to more editing, so that’s why they’re an Add On feature.

How to Find the Right Personal Branding Photographer for you

Finding the right photographer

I whole heartedly believe that great photography is a collaborative process between the client and the photographer. With that said, this is what I believe a good professional photographer brings to the table:

  • posing coaching directing your body language
  • reading the light situation in the room
  • helping you pick out a location
  • using professional grade equipment set and knowing when to add in more to enhance outcomes
  • editing photos
  • someone who walks you through the process and makes it easier to navigate putting a session together

And what the client should bring to the table is their vision of what they want the shoot to look like!

There’s a lot of trust you put in photographers. You want to find one that makes you feel comfortable because they’re going to be your guides all throughout the process.

You can start by looking on their websites, social media accounts to see what their personality is like from what they write to what they do day to day.

You want to give your money to businesses you like, know will take care of you, do a fantastic job, and you have some kind of connection with. People who book me are usually people who already know me somehow and we have already built some sort of relationship around.

If you don’t have a person in mind, personal referrals are another great way to start. If not googling and review websites isn’t a bad place to start!

You want to have a style match

If you know the look and feel of your brand, you should find a photographer who does similar work. Each photographer has s signature style. They might come out and say it on their site: Colorful, fun, modern, adventurous, etc. or they might just have a gallery that is edited a specific way.

I strive for giving people classic colors (film like color) and modern styling.

Look at photographer’s galleries.

Check out my Branding Tips page for more info about the parts of a Brand you should think about before setting up a shoot! 

Once you decide on your photographer, you want to nail down a date, time, and location because this goes into your shooting contract.

Everyone signs and does a happy dance!

Getting ready for your branding photo shoot

My process after booking.

I am a high-level nerd. I went to school for a lonnng time. So one thing I know how to do is research a subject.

I see what’s been done before, what’s over done, and think about what my take would be on the subject.

Gathering Visual Inspiration

My Go-To place to start this research is Pinterest. Because I can make Boards easily, but you can certainly use Google Images too like I mentioned earlier. As far as I know, they don’t have a board feature yet, but I can Pin images from anywhere onto my Pinterest Board.

Here are some of my boards if you’re looking for some visual inspiration!

Personal Branding – Women

Personal Branding – Men

Product Photography

I’ll start a board for my client based on the conversations we’ve had earlier just to make sure we’re all on the same page. They give feedback on what they think of the board curation. What I’m looking for are their favorite images and a bit more about why they’re drawn to those particular images on the board. Is it the colors, lighting, mood, etc.

Getting this information helps us tell the visual story of your brand. It’ll let us know what would be a good location, good props to bring to highlight your work, and outfits to relay your look and feel.

Using Visual Storytelling tools

You are going to be the star of the photos, but we want supporting items that help tell the story of you and your business. I had a birth educator bring her education models and an insurance broker with recognizable landmarks in the city he brokers in with shots of branded mugs for his company, all the supporting players whether it be background, location, or props really add to the storytelling aspect of the photos. These branding storytelling photos are ones you’ll want to use again and again. Because they say who you are, what you do, and are unique to you!

Writing out lists for the shoot

A week or two so before the shoot, I go over all the details. I think about the photo I want to compose with your story in mind. I write out all the locations, shots, outfit inspiration, props, and send it to you to make sure we’re aligned in our vision.  And that we have everything we need for the day of the shoot.

Conclusion

I love that branding shoots aren’t a one size fits all solution and can be customized to your needs!  Clients come from different places in their business. It can be shooting in recognizable locations in your city, working with clients, of a new office space, great storytelling portraits, classic headshots, or of products you’ve developed.

Behind the scene stories are always so interesting to me because I appreciate all the effort that much more when I’m aware of the effort! It’s like watching the Director’s Cut of a movie and falling even more in love with it! I hope this helps you along in your branding journey!

Please fill out the Contact form if you’d like to learn more about working together!

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If you're looking for someone who will get you photos that you'll reach for again and again, you're in the right place. 

As your photographer, I'm working for you by understanding your brand, your style and approach to business, directing your body language, reading the light situation in the room, helping you pick a location, and editing your photos so you can look and feel your best! 

We work together telling your visual brand story with compelling photos for your website and other digital marketing. You'll get a variety of photos to kick start all your visuals as you grow and expand your business.

Keep reading and clicking to learn more.  




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