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January 11, 2017

5 steps to prepare for an amazing personal branding photography session


Booking a photoshoot for your blog and website is fun and exciting.

In most cases it’s a symbol of your choice to take your business to the next level. However, most of us aren’t models, and may have had little to no experience in front of a camera, so I get that the process of booking and prepping for a blog photoshoot (especially your first) can be daunting. The fear of the unknown might even be holding you back from planning a shoot altogether!

I’ve been working as a photographer for wellness bloggers in London since 2016, and I can guarantee that every single client I’ve worked with has had some kind of hesitation of fear when it comes to the camera before we shoot – but by the end they realise there was actually nothing to worry about!

In this post I’m sharing five tips to help you prepare for a fun and fearless blog photoshoot experience, so you can enjoy the process, and get photos you absolutely love. I’ve also created a 17 page workbook that you can download and print off to prep for your shoot (whether you’ve already booked one, or are simply thinking about doing one this year).

1. Clothes

Deciding what to wear for your photoshoot is exciting, however for some it’s also daunting. You might think you need to go out and spend a ton on new clothes, but that’s not at all the case. If you want to treat yourself to something new, go for it, but often the best outfits that will result in photos that feel like you, are your tried and true favourites. 

Here’s the essentials when planning your photoshoot wardrobe:

Your style 

First and foremost, you need to decide what the overall look and feel of your shoot is going to be.

Are you opting for a high-end personal branding shoot? If so, your best wardrobe choices will probably be well-cut, corporate or semi-formal pieces.

Do you want your shoot to convey your quiet home life? If so, your vibe might be casual and rustic, and your wardrobe choices will be semi casual to reflect that. If you go the casual route, I recommend choosing styles that are a little more ‘dressed up’ than your usual casual. Choose pieces that make you feel like your best you (you know that perfect weekend outfit that makes you feel like you should totally be a fashion blogger ;))

The most important consideration is that your shoot style feels comfortable, and like you (or the you you’re aspiring to be).


Select a few key basic pieces that can be mixed and matched across looks. Great basics, especially in neutrals, are the building blocks of any great wardrobe, and it’s the same when it comes to your photoshoot wardrobe. 

Examples of great basics to have on hand include:

  • A simple tee
  • Killer jeans
  • A cami
  • A flattering dress
  • A great jacket
  • A gorgeous skirt

The one type of basic I would avoid, is anything with stripes – especially thin stripes. Stripes – especially when the photo is reduced in size – tend to distort and can end up looking a bit funny. Avoid them if you can.

 Joy of  joyglow.co.uk  and Monique of  nourisheveryday.com.au

Joy of joyglow.co.uk and Monique of nourisheveryday.com.au

Brand colours

If you have existing brand guidelines with specific colours, consider what clothing will work well. You might consider tying in subtle and/or obvious splashes of those colours in some of your your outfits, or even accessories, props or location. This is entirely optional, o course. 


Colour is a great way to bring life and personality to your photos. Choose a colour theme with approx three key primary colours and sticking with it in your clothing.


  • Caramel, white and denim
  • Navy, black and orange
  • Different shades of blue
  • Pink and turqoise

Again, this will help weave a sense of consistency throughout your photos, but it’s entirely optional. 

Stand out / Signature look 

While it’s great to have neutrals for versatility, consider at least one bold signature look that encapsulates your personality. This might be a piece with a bold and outrageous print, a bright pop of colour or an interesting, unique cut. Three of my favourite pieces in my wardrobe at the moment are my mom jeans, a white dress with embroidered pastel ice-lollies and a turban beanie, which would all be great feature pieces in a photoshoot!


Accessories are a fab way to add texture to your look. Whether it be fine, delicate pieces or bold and out-there statements, I find accessories to be the subtle touches that share more about who you are.

A note on buying new clothes for your shoot 

As I mentioned earlier, you don’t have to buy new clothes specifically for your shoot. In fact, the beauty of wearing your tried and tested favourites is that you’ll get photos back that truly feel like you. That said, if you want to make some wardrobe upgrades anyway, of have your eye on some pieces that you’d love to wear in your pictures, go for it. Buy ahead of time, and wear any new clothes before your shoot to make sure you feel comfortable. 

2. Hair and makeup

While I am all for taking natural shots that capture the ‘real’ you, I highly recommend hiring a professional makeup artist for your shoot, and also getting your hair done. This is simply to enhance your features, not to make you look like a different person. Photoshoot makeup can look a little heavy in real life, however I assure you that it translates beautifully in photography.


When you book your makeup (and again when you show up on the day), tell your make up artist that your makeup is for a photoshoot, and you want a natural look.

Professional photoshoot makeup is heavier than usual daytime makeup, so don’t be scared if it looks like more than you’d normally wear. If you’re like me and don’t usually wear much makeup or mostly stick with a very natural look, simply ask your MUA for a natural look. The end result in your photographs will pretty much be sharper eyes, defined cheekbones and luscious looking lips. 

 Photo credit: Bayleigh Vedelago

Photo credit: Bayleigh Vedelago

When I had my first blog photoshoot, I had my hair and makeup done professionally. Normally, I wear very basic organic makeup, and I like the way I do it myself on a day-to-day basis, but I was really happy with how it turned out in my photos, and much prefer how I look compared to a shoot I did where I did my own hair and makeup. I’ve included a photo of how it turned out here to show you that it’s still pretty natural looking, right? This is the main photo I use on my blog.

The only thing I changed after I had a makeup artist do my makeup for me was my eyebrows, as she made them too dark, so I wiped some of it off and reapplied eyebrow pencil with my normal light-medium brown colour. If this happens and you don’t look like yourself, it’s important to speak up so it can be corrected.

In the below photos, each person has had their makeup done professionally. As you can see, they don’t look overly ‘made up’ and if I hadn’t pointed it out, you might not have even be able to tell that they’re wearing professional makeup!


My biggest hair tip is to ask your hairdresser for a natural, understated look. You can have it blow-dried straight (gives more life and bounce than a hair straightener) or have some soft curls put through like mine in the photo above. If you request soft curls, my favourite tip is to run your fingers through the curls (or even a soft brush, followed by your fingers) about an hour after you’ve had it done to separate the ringlets – no one wants to look like a grown up Shirley Temple!

Stick to hairstyles you would usually wear rather than going for an all-out prom or wedding do, as the goal is not to achieve an overly fancy hairstyle but to enhance the usual day-to-day look of your hair. 

If outrageous and creative hair is your thing, feel free to disregard this advice and go all out with a uniquely you look 😉

3. Props

Props are a fun and wonderful way to add character to your photos. I personally love using props because of their storytelling superpowers. 

Some props can be staged (i.e. you holding or interacting with a specific object like a book, a laptop, a feather, confetti or food), while others can be used subtly (for example having a coffee table book next to you, a bunch of flowers on your desk, or a handbag on your shoulder as you’re walking down a street). 

When you’re brainstorming ideas for props to use in your shoot, use these two questions to generate ideas about what might work for you: 

  • What objects do you use / surround yourself with on a daily basis? 
  • What props would help communicate your brand message or personality?

For example: 

  • Are you all about rebelling against food rules? Why not eat some chocolate-covered strawberries (just bring enough for the photographer too, okay?) 
  • Are you an avid bookworm? Let’s capture you reading your favourite book, or scatter some books around your environment to set the tone of the scene.
  • Are you a personal trainer? Perhaps you can use your boxing gloves or dumbbells.

Ellie from EllieSeilern.com

Here’s a few prop ideas for you to consider 

  • Books 
  • Crystals 
  • Sparkles or confetti
  • Flowers 
  • Candles 
  • Bowls 
  • Jewelry 
  • Cameras 
  • Pillows 
  • Recipe cards 
  • Arts and crafts 
  • Dream boards 
  • Chocolates 
  • Mugs holding paintbrushes
  • Laptop 
  • Planner 
  • Scarf 
  • Picnic blanket 
  • Pets 
  • Smudging sage 
  • Essential oils 
  • Farmer’s market bag 
  • Balloons 
  • Shoes 
  • Food 
  • Umbrella 
  • Champagne 
  • Trays

4. Location

Choosing your location 

Location can elevate a photo from good to great. It can also drastically impact the story your image tells. Think about the difference in tone between a light-hued wall, versus a dark brick wall, and what that might communicate about you in a photo. Between a beach versus a park. Or simply natural versus urban. None of these are right or wrong, but they will all impact the tone of your image and what they communicate about you. 

Consider what you’ll be using the images for, and the tone and feel of your brand when you’re planning your locations. 


Nearly everywhere you look there’s an opportunity for an interesting photo backdrop. 

 Heidi from  heidijonescoaching.com

Heidi from heidijonescoaching.com

Examples of places you could shoot outdoors:

  • High streets
  • Cafe fronts
  • Florists
  • Food markets
  • Town centres
  • Doors
  • Parks
  • Beach
  • Bridges
  • Storefronts
  • Gardens
  • Hotels
  • Landmarks 


If you want indoor photos you’ll need to make sure either the space gets lots of natural light, or your photographer has the appropriate lighting equipment. Consider kitchen, study or lounge areas near a big light-filled window, in a conservatory or under a sunlight.

If your own home doesn’t get much natural light, consider hiring a hotel room, a house on Air BnB or ask that friend with the gorgeous house if you can borrow some space for a few hours (I’ve done this before!).

contrast and quirk with locations 

If your brand is bold, contradictory, confrontational or flamboyant, you can have some fun surprising clients by juxtaposing your photos with unexpected locations. 

For example: 

  • If you’re wearing a 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll inspired outfit, what if you were to intentionally shoot your photos in front of a new, modern building? 
  • If you want to be photographed meditating, but your clients are busy city-goers, why not forgo the standard ‘meditating by the ocean’ shots and get captured having a medi in the middle of a bustling city. 
  • If you’re drinking green juice, rather than sitting in a cafe, why not do it in front of an (artfully) graffitied wall? 

The key with surprising imagery is to put thought into it to intentionally create a striking contrast that breaks tradition, yet is still true to who you are. 

5. Visual Inspiration

Pinterest is a fabulous way to plan and prepare for your shoot. When photography clients up to work with me, I ask them to share a Pinterest moodboard with with me. The key to planning a mood board with great visual inspiration is to look outside your industry and take inspiration from brands that do things in your style, but are different enough to the standard look of shots in your industry. 

When pinning, it’s also great practice to use the caption to explain what you like about the image. This both helps the photographer understand what specifically catches your eye, and you remember why you pinned it when you refer back! 

Ideas of what to look for and comment on include: 

  • Poses 
  • Backdrops 
  • Composition 
  • Facial expression 
  • Colour 
  • Lighting

Recommended photographers

If you’re thinking of booking a blog photoshoot soon, here’s some photographers I know of and recommend for wellness and/or entrepreneur photoshoots in the UK, Australia and the USA. If you have any other photographer recommendations, feel free to mention them in the comments.





Got any Q’s about planning your blog photoshoot?

Feel free to ask away in the comments. I hope you liked this guide and found it useful. Remember to download the 17 page ‘Rock Your Blog Photoshoot’ workbook full of loads of questions and prompts to help you ensure your shoot’s a smashing success!

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PS – If you’re in London and would like me to take some snaps for your website, check out my photography packages here.


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