Branding your business as a mother is an incredible feeling. You’re merging two of the most important parts of your life — it’s like a marriage!
And like any wedding worth photographing, you’re going to want to pick a quality photographer + have a plan in-place for the big day.
In this post, I’m sharing how I prep for my mom branding photoshoots, including some of my simple planning checklists. Enjoy!
Set Your Childcare Plan + Backup Plan
This isn’t the most fun, but it is the area that could be the most frustrating: so let’s get it out of the way!
Someone you genuinely trust (+ don’t have to hover over) needs to be on-location to watch your children if they will be getting into some pictures with you.
If the kids are staying home, make the detailed arrangements they need to have a great time away from you + that you need in order to mentally step away for that amount of time.
For me, this means having my husband on-location to hang out with my daughter while I get solo photos done. They jump into some pictures (more on that later), but they’re otherwise on their own exploring around the photoshoot location. I trust him 100% to not let her get too messy, to feed her what she can snack on safely + to be in-tune to the flow of the day + her behavior cues to help me gauge when they should step in and out of photos.
Brand Color Palette
Pick your shoot colors based on both your brand color palette + the season you’re shooting your images in.
Spring/summer sessions coordinate best with pastel-based palettes, whereas fall/winter sessions coordinate best with more jewel-toned palettes.
If you’re brand new to business, stick to 2 neutral colors (like black + tan, or white + navy blue) and 1 accent color (like blush pink!).
As you go deeper into branding over time, you’ll pick more colors that match your business, but you don’t want to commit too early to a palette that won’t be timeless for you.
Use this color palette as the theme in your outfit choices, your props + your location backdrops (like the walls you stand against or furniture you sit on).
Curate Your Pinterest Board
I’ve found that the best way to share my visual goals with my photographer is to share a Pinterest board.
Use the sorting features of Pinterest to divide up a “Phootshoot Board” into the following sections:
- Product/Service Engagement
Then add any unique elements as sections, such as:
- Outfit Inspiration (color palette in mind)
- General Office Poses — like sitting at a desk or holding a laptop
- General Outdoor Poses — like a headshot with a greenery background
For some sample boards, check out my Pinterest account here.
Start Your Spreadsheet
I take my favorite “must-have” Pinterest inspiration images + write out the descriptions of what they look like in a spreadsheet.
Some of my descriptions are hilariously awkward, but the point is that my photographer knows exactly what I’m aiming for. It works!
The spreadsheet is a worthwhile effort because it’s easy to pull up in the middle of the photoshoot itself + acts like a checklist. When you’re in-between outfit or location changes, your photographer can pull that spreadsheet up for a quick reference before you take the next round of images.
Make sure to allow your photographer to edit the spreadsheet, so that they can note any comments, questions or concerns for you well in-advance of the photoshoot. You can rule out your must-have shots + bonus would-be-nice-to-have shots together in-advance, too.
An additional bonus: The spreadsheet could be sorted by “location type”, which will help in the event of an unexpected venue or time change.
For example, we originally scheduled a photoshoot in my house, but when renovations weren’t finished in time, we switched to an outdoor location last-minute.
What would normally be a big stressful switch actually wasn’t at all. And because we switched to a new outdoor location, we ended up with more time for photos overall + I knew exactly what extra photos I wanted to capture using that bonus time.
I also run a packing list alongside my shot list.
This way, I’m able to triple-check if I need any props, certain clothing items, multiple quantities, etc. This helps me to not over-shop for missing items I need for the shoot + spares me or an assistant having to do returns later.
What to Wear
Lay out your outfit choices — coordinating with your brand color palette — at least 1 week in-advance in a kid-safe, low-traffic area. For us, that’s on top of a dining room banquet cabinet.
Set aside any cleaned items you need for the shoot throughout the days leading up to the shoot: as laundry gets finished, dry cleaning gets returned, online shopping packages arrive, etc. + take an inventory of anything you need to buy to make a complete outfit.
To minimize stress, I actually recommend not shopping for new items.
Instead, prioritize replacing “fresh” new pieces of items you already know + love.
For example, now isn’t the time to try a new bra, but it is a great time to buy a fresh white basic tee to replace the one you’ve worn out to a dull beige.
Choose the following pieces:
- 1 solid bottom
- 1 solid oversized top
- 1 solid fitted top
- 1 patterned fitted top
- 1 formal jacket, like a blazer, that fits comfortably over the fitted tops
- 1 casual jacket, like a denim jacket or cardigan sweater, that can be changed out over the fitted tops
- 1 pair of neutral heels
- 1 pair of statement flats
- 1 pair of casual shoes
- 1 set of formal jewelry
- 1 set of casual jewelry
- 1 hair elastic
- 1 hair clip
By doing so, you’re giving yourself an interchangeable set of on-brand outfits that are easy to maneuver on photoshoot day.
Some interchanging ideas:
- Fitted shirt, blazer, statement jewelry, hair down, statement flats
- Fitted shirt, no blazer, simple jewelry, hair up, heels
- Oversized shirt, statement jewelry, hair half up, casual shoes
The possibilities are nearly endless when you start interchanging hairstyles, shoes + accessories with your basic clothing choices from that list.
Choose Singular Family Outfits (optional)
My husband + daughter are always in my brand photo shoots because that’s what’s true in my life: they’re always there!
As a full-time stay-at-home mom + entrepreneur, I’m working in the fringe hours and playing in the main ones. My husband is doing just the same as OrganicDaddyCEO while still maintaining his corporate 9-to-5.
So, I choose one “elevated casual” look for both of them that can coordinate with my brand palette + chosen outfit pieces.
For example, my husband will wear a button-down shirt without a blazer or suit jacket. My daughter will wear sneakers with her tutu dress. No matter when they jump into the shoot, they’ll match the scene.
Makeup + Skincare Prep
Now is not the time to test out feeling glamorous with a makeup artist you don’t work with often or taking a stab at DIY-ing your own false eyelashes or attempting eyeliner for a few reasons:
- You will most likely run out of time on photoshoot day + the added stress will do nothing for your steady hand;
- You won’t have adjustment time to “feel comfortable” and LOOK like you’re comfortable when you’re wearing lots extra.
Arguably, the most important part of looking great in your photos, apart from taking them in natural light, is you feeling as much like your day-to-day self as possible.
A brand photoshoot is to represent who you ARE, so that your potential customers can get to know, like + trust you — where you’re at right now.
Note: If your intention is to show an elevated version of yourself — that’s outside of what’s reasonable for you everyday — then I encourage you to consider what that false precedent might attract for your business.
Dial it up one small notch or two + plan to do that in steady increments over time as your business grows (+ as you step into that brand vision for real!).
I detail out my makeup + skincare prep specifics here in this blog post ⟶ How to Create Your Own Photo-Ready Makeup + Skincare Strategy
Communicating with Your Photographer
I send a photo/video description of whatever I’m planning to wear/pack to my photographer via text on the day or two before the shoot.
I share a quick reminder description of the “look/vibe” I’m trying to achieve, too.
For example, my most recent text was “Think J. Crew, working mom, green smoothies” and that’s exactly what got delivered!
I also ask for their coffee order or breakfast sandwich or usual go-to lunch order, etc.
Budget for that. Treat your vendors!
They don’t expect it, but they are humans who appreciate the small acts of kindness. And it usually always gets reflected in your final images!
Post-Shoot Family Plans
Speaking of food, plan for a food pickup the rest of the day. Even the shortest photoshoots are exhausting!
Outsource dinner. Bank on paper plates + skipping bath time. Make it a family pizza + movie night! You all deserve it. 💪🏼
Share the Love on Social
If you had a fun session, then say so on social media.
Tag your photographer + any other vendors — no matter how much you don’t want to give away your good hires to others! — + share what you genuinely loved about working with each of them.
They will likely reciprocate the sweet gesture + you’ll both gain new followers.
You’re also showing an honest look at life behind-the-scenes with your mom branding.
These posts don’t have to be “real time” because you’ll want to maximize your time + respect your vendors’ schedules as much as your own, but keep a few BTS shots on your phone to share socially after the shoot.
They’re always fun to look back on years later to see how far you’ve come! We love looking back on our branding shoots (especially those behind-the-scenes moments!) + reminiscing just like we do with regular family photos.
It’s crazy to see how much progress we make in those little time frames when we feel like everyday is the same — trust me!
Do you have a mom brand?
I’d love to learn more about it! Drop a comment below + share how you prepare for your branding photoshoots. 👇🏼