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Claire With the Camera BLog

5 steps to having a small business brand photo shoot, when you hate having your photo taken!

Updated: May 16, 2023

Hands up if you hate having your photo taken, but know you need to be more visible to grow your small business?

Don’t worry, you are not alone! As a small business brand photographer in Surrey, one of the first things many of my clients say is ‘I hate having my photo taken’, or ‘I’m not very photogenic!' And I completely understand.

You might feel anxious as you don’t know what’s involved, you might feel out of your comfort zone as you prefer being behind the scenes supporting your clients, perhaps your worries are around what to wear or where you would even have a shoot. Or perhaps you're nervous that you might have to pose or do silly things, that don’t feel like you (just for the record you definitely don't!).

All of these thoughts and feelings are perfectly normal, so I've put together these 5 tips for having a small business brand photo shoot, when you hate having your photo taken, to help you.

After all, what business wouldn't want a gallery bursting with vibrant, personality-filled, on-brand photos, that you are proud to use across your website, socials and all your marketing channels to attract, connect and engage with your ideal client.

Every. Single. Day!

brand photoshoot small business camera Claire with the camera

Hi, I'm claire with the camera, and Here are my 5 tips for having a small business brand photo shoot, when you hate having your photo taken...

1. UNDERSTAND the process so you know what’s involved with a small business or personal branding photo shoot and what you need to do

Let’s start by tackling the uncertainty. As we all know, when you run your own small business, you are juggling lots of things and wearing many hats. You know your business really well and you know what you do really well, but there’s lots of other things that you have to do as a small business owner, that perhaps aren’t in your comfort zone.

And when we don’t know how to do something, or we think it doesn’t come naturally to us, that’s when we can feel anxious about it, decide we don’t know how to do it or that we just don’t like it.

And I think brand photography can fall into this camp for a lot of people.

But the great news is that by delving a bit more into what’s involved in a brand photoshoot, how you can plan and prepare for one and what you need the photos for, you will immediately feel more in control and even excited about the outcome you can get from having a brand shoot. And the outcome is definitely worth overcoming your nerves for, I promise!

My 8 step, Brilliance Brand Shoot Builder will help you to understand exactly how a brand shoot works and to enable you to feel prepped, ready and confident. This means by the time you get to shoot day, you will be truly excited about the opportunities the photos are going to create for your business! Find out how a small business brand photo shoot works.

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2. Think about WHY you want to have a brand photo shoot and HOW the photos can help your small business grow

First, I want you to think about why you are even considering having your brand photos taken (and I presume you are as you're reading this article 😊)

What is the end goal? Think about how the photos will help you connect and engage with your ideal client, to get more leads, take more opportunities and ultimately grow your business.

As a small business brand photographer, my goal is to create a gallery full of vibrant, personality-filled, on-brand photos, you can use across all of your marketing and social channels on a daily basis.

Photos that create engagement and connection and evoke feeling or emotions that will inspire people to reach out and get in touch with you.

Putting this at the forefront of your mind will help you to reframe your thoughts - to look forward and get excited about all the opportunities you will be able to take and use in the future, thanks to your gallery of on-brand photos.

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3. Think about HOW and WHERE you will be able to use the photos from your small business brand shoot

Your initial thought might be, "urgh, I need a new profile photo; the photo on my Instagram, Facebook profile or my about me page is really out of date / doesn't really show who I am / is a bit old / blurry or it's just my logo".

But I'm here to explode that! The photos from a brand photoshoot, can be used in sooo many more places than just a boring corporate headshot! Once you start thinking about all the different places you can use your photos, and how they can enable you to create great content that connects with your audience, you will be inspired to make the most of the opportunity to get a useful variety of different types of photos.

I find it helpful to think of the photos as a narrative. What can you give your audience an insight into? What is your brand story? What do you want to communicate? And most importantly: what are your brand values and personality?

There's so many different places that you can use your brand shoot photos and as you pull together your list, it will hopefully get you excited about your shoot and how it can help your small business get more visible. Here’s just some ideas for places you can use your brand photos:

  • LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook profile photos

  • LinkedIn and Facebook covers and banners

  • Website hero photos

  • Website, blogs articles and content

  • Social media content

  • Landing or sales pages

  • On-brand printed collateral

  • Regular emails

  • To launch new services

  • Lead magnets, freebies or e-guides

  • To create Canva templates

  • Facebook, Instagram and Google ads

  • PR opportunities

Read this article for 12 Top Tips for Maximising your brand shoot investment, packed with ideas on how and where you can use your brand photos.

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4. Plan what to wear for your small business brand photo shoot, so you feel comfortably you

I have nothing to wear! Sound familiar? The truth is you don’t need to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe… my brand small business brand photo shoots are not about being posed, perfect or over-produced:

💫 They are about being 100% you!

💫 Perfectly imperfect YOU!

💫 Wearing what you want to wear

My advice on choosing your outfits is to think about what you want the photos to reflect – whether that’s creativity, vibrancy, fun or a professional, approachable and down to earth style. A personal or small business brand photo shoot is about showing the authentic you, so you can naturally connect with those who would most like to work with you.

If you want to wear a multi coloured jumper, trainers with bright red lips on their soles, or a bright and beautiful hand painted kaftan – then wear it with joy and have fun – that’s what we want to capture!

You can also use your clothes to bring in your brand colours – you don’t need to be head to toe in them, but just make sure you aren’t in anything that clashes with them.

Whatever your style, it's great to create some variation in the images, to give you options depending on where and how you are using them, so have a think about the different outfits that you can wear.

You photographer should be able to help you plan your outfits to fit with your location, backdrops and brand and to make sure you stand out. And by getting all your outfits prepared in advance, and choosing things that suit you, you will feel confident and ready for the shoot.

I don’t want anyone to feel stressed or overwhelmed by not knowing what to wear, so I’ve created a free Guide with Ten Top Tips on What to Wear for your small business brand shoot!

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5. Be prepared ahead of your small business brand shoot day, so you can feel confident and relaxed

By doing all the work as part of my Brilliance Brand Shoot Builder, my clients always feel prepped, confidant and brand shoot ready by the time we get to shoot day! And believe me, this makes a HUGE difference to how the day goes!

Make sure you have taken the time to try on your outfit choices in advance, so you know everything fits and goes together. Plan the complete outfits from shoes, to jewellery to jackets and iron everything, as you don't want any creases!

Think about the props and accessories you could include, the little details and personal things that make up your business and brand. Have your key items packed and ready to go with you on the day, so they can be incorporated into the photos.

I’ve created a free Guide of 101 Prop and Accessory ideas to help inspire you ,for your small business brand shoot.

I prepare a complete shot list and timings for my clients, so by the time we reach the shoot day itself, you will know exactly what we are doing, what photos you want and need, and we'll have everything ready to go. All of which helps to calm the nerves and help you feel confident and excited for the photos you are going to get, and how they are going to help your business.

Whilst your small business brand photo shoot may sound like it's going to be a long time, believe me, whether it’s one hour or 3 hours, the time absolutely flies by! Outfit changes need to happen quickly, so having everything prepared will make a big difference to feeling confident for your small business brand shoot.

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And not forgetting my bonus tip…

6. Choose the right small business brand photographer for you!

If you're worried about being in front of the camera, it's important to find a photographer who will make you feel comfortable.

You want to find a photographer who will take time to understand you and your brand and can capture what makes your business special. A great photographer can help you create photos that evoke emotion and connect with your target audience, making them more likely to buy from you.

Look for a photographer who specialises in brand (not weddings or a family photography, or a friend who’s doing you a favour) so they know how to plan a bespoke small business brand shoot for you, with photos that will capture all the details that make your business unique, and will help your grow and develop it.

You want to find a photographer who fits with what YOU want out of your shoot and is excited about bringing your business to life. Look at their website and social media channels, what type of photography do they offer, what’s their style – does it fit with you and your business?

For example, I am a natural light photographer, who is location based. I work with my clients to find the location that suits them best and love things to be as natural as possible, to help my clients personality and values shine through.

Find out from the photographer, how their process works, do they just meet you on the day, or do they help you plan the shoot (as I do)? How far do they travel, how long are their shoots and how many photos do you get at the end?

Some photographers, have a set fee for a brand shoot and offer a certain number of photos, with the ability to buy more after the shoot if you wish. Others, like me, have set packages which include a certain time for the shoot and then you receive a full lightly-edited gallery (and no extra costs).

Think about what you need and have a chat with the photographer that seems to fit you best, to see how they work and what they offer.

I’d love to have a chat so you can find out if I’m the right photographer for you! Book in some time for a no-pressure Enquiry Call.


How do I book a personal or small business brand photoshoot?

I hope this has helped put you much more at ease and to see how even those of us who initially think ‘I hate having my photo taken’, can enjoy a small business brand shoot!

If you would like to help your brilliant business to attract, connect and engage to get more clients, follow this link to book a no pressure Enquiry Call to take the first step on this exciting journey!

Good luck!

Claire with the Camera x


By Claire with the Camera, specialist Small Business Brand Photographer Surrey


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