6 Simple Steps for Planning a Personal Branding Photoshoot

I’ve coordinated, styled, and modeled for some photoshoots in the past, but I knew that I needed more polished, professional “working” pictures.

Before leaving for France, I had an amazing personal branding photoshoot in Connecticut for the blog. It took some careful planning and preparation to think of the different shots I needed, so here are the steps I followed to plan an effective (and fun!) photoshoot.

  1. How to Plan a Successful Personal Branding Photo Shoot
    1. Identify the specific purposes of the photos
    2. Find inspiration from influencers
    3. Select the right venues
    4. Choose a photographer through a trusted network
    5. Bring props
    6. Layer for simple outfit changes
Lifestyle Blog Photoshoot at Tusk & Cup

How to Plan a Successful Personal Branding Photo Shoot

Identify the specific purposes of the photos

It’s an obvious first step, but it helps to think of how you will be using the images.

  • Where will these photos be posted? LinkedIn? Your professional website? Other professional digital materials?
  • In order to meet whatever your needs are, will you need more portrait-style photos? Horizontal? Both?
  • Do you want new profile pictures for your social media platforms? Are you looking for a more professional or casual tone?
  • Do you need “stock photos” to use across your email newsletter, blog posts, and articles? Or do you need more personalized action shots?
  • Do you plan on printing these images in the future or are they will be used in a digital presence only?

… You want to think about these questions before shooting instead of after.

Lifestyle Blog Photoshoot at Wilton Library

Find inspiration from influencers

To give the personal brand photoshoot more direction, it’s best to do some quick research to figure out the style you want for your photos and the types of angles you would like to capture.

I looked through the “Photos I’ve Liked” on Instagram, then flipped through some of the profiles I consistently liked to find some shots.

For the most part, I build my Instagram like an archive for tips on fashionable travel, visual styling, blogging, etc., interspersed with rosé, champagne cocktails, and plenty of Millennial humor memes—I don’t care that I follow more Instagram accounts than the number of followers.

Influencer Inspiration (clockwise from top): The Rising Tide Society, Jess Ann Kirby, Drunk on Shoes, Bourbon & Honey Co., Paris in Four Months, The Frye Company

Select the right venues

I chose two places where I spent a lot of time in Wilton— my favorite local coffee shop and the library across the street. Tusk & Cup was an obvious choice for its natural light and relaxed “freelancer at work” vibe. As for the library, the white brick wall exterior offered a versatile, yet clean backdrop.

Always double-check whether permissions are needed where you plan on having the photoshoot to make sure that it’s okay! When the photos are posted, be sure to tag the venues on social media in the image caption as a polite thank-you.


Choose a photographer through a trusted network

I connected with Donna Cheung Photography through a creative entrepreneur network called The Rising Tide Society. I posted on the RTS Facebook group wall by introducing myself, my brand, and the purpose of my photoshoot and included a link to a past photoshoot on Ocean Drive in Newport, Rhode Island with Maaike Bernstrom Photography.

I wanted to work with Donna because her portfolio (and Instagram account) showcased her talent; her photography style complimented my brand aesthetic; and her very quick response to my query! Once Donna and I began communicating via email, I sent her the inspirational photos I collected so she knew the specific types of shots that I needed.

If you want to collaborate with others and expect to have positive communication, set the example for being polite, clear, and open!

PSbyMH social media banner 3

Bring props

I brought my laptop and some of my favorite Parisian books, then bought a bouquet of flowers and a mint mocha to accessorize. I also used my iPhone and Fair Trade leather bag by FASHIONABLE.

When I worked on styling fashion photoshoots at Laura Jean Denim and Maaike Bernstrom, I learned how thoughtful props can tie the vision together. Props can also help your images stand out from the rest by creating personal snapshots of you and your brand.


Layer for simple outfit changes

It’s nice to have a slight variation in your photos, especially if you plan on posting the photos over time. Neutrals are always a safe option, but make sure you pick pieces that are more elevated basic,s and slightly more interesting than a basic white button-down shirt.

I wore a black bomber jacket over a white eyelet shirt at Tusk & Cup, then also brought a second outfit change for the library after getting shots of the white eyelet shirt against the white brick.


I think the last outfit was probably my favorite—I only wish that I took off the vest for a few photos!


Thanks to Donna, Tusk & Cup and the Wilton Library!

6 Simples Steps for Planning a Lifestyle Blog Photoshoot

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A Francophile based in coastal New England

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