Before I launch into a helpful checklist, complete with key things you should consider before booking your first photoshoot for your travel business, I want to address this question:
Do you even need a photoshoot?
Short answer, no. Long-drawn out, soliloquy, still no. But, I do think it’s worth the consideration. Having a professional photoshoot takes your travel business brand to the next level. It conveys the message that you are a serious advisor and you run a legit business. And having quality photos will come in useful when building your website and when seeking media opportunities.
But by no means, is a photoshoot the first place you should invest your dollars. However, once you start earning, it’s worth the money.
If you are ready to take the plunge, here are nine ways to prepare for your time in front of the lens. And as a bonus, I’ve included some of the mistakes I made so you’ll be one step ahead.
Create a swipe file
If you don’t already have a swipe file, I highly recommend you start one. I keep a digital folder inside my Google Drive. If you aren’t the digital type, a plain ol’ manila folder does the job too. Anytime I come across a website design, a sales page, a landing page, anything that I think…🤔 hmmmm, I could see myself using that, I screenshot it and plop it in my folder.
I started a folder just for planning my photoshoot and stole some poses and styling from other online female entrepreneurs I admire. I then shared that Google Drive with my photographer so she could get a feel for the look I was after.
If your photographer specializes in brand photography, they’ll probably already have some ideas. But even if they know you really well, I’m sure they would appreciate some guidance.
If you are a natural in front of the camera, you may instinctively know how to position yourself to look your best. Or, maybe not. My photographer knew what she was doing yet was still willing to try anything I suggested. And I also trusted her even when she asked me to strike a pose that made me feel ridiculous.
Be sure to set up your shots in such a way to allow for text. I wished I had planned out my shoot better. Yes, Photoshop can fix a lot of things in post-production but you may not have access or experience with Photoshop, so getting this right first is key. Like this 👇
Lay out your outfits the night before
If you are a natural stylist…picking out outfits won’t be a big deal for you, but if not, enlist the help of some good friends. And I’d pick out a few options keeping in mind…outfit changes take time away from the shoot. I opted for multiple shirts rather than full-on outfit changes.
Lay everything out the night before, including all accessories, shoes, necklaces, earrings. Be sure your clothes are pressed and ready to go. On the day of the photoshoot, you don’t want to be rummaging through your closet and fumbling with an iron.
Wear colours that complement your brand
Choose colours that will complement your brand. I actually had to go out and purchase a few things because I don’t typically wear white, too hard to keep clean, but I knew a solid white would be versatile for design.
And it’s also probably a good idea to keep to solid colours rather than go wild with a print that may not work on multiple backdrops. Again, it depends on your brand and how you want to present yourself.
Borrow some props
You’ll probably already own some travel props you can use that will represent your brand. Think about things like a globe, or books, or a suitcase. Choose things that will denote your expertise as a travel professional.
I made several trips to Homesense in the weeks leading up to my photoshoot to purchase a bunch of tchotchkes that I thought might work. I kept the price tags on and returned most of them immediately after.
Choose a time with perfect lighting
Your photographer will suggest the best time of day for lighting. Even if you are thinking of doing indoor shots, natural lighting from windows can help. I prefer outdoor shoots so, I went for the magical golden hours, between 7 and 9 PM, at the height of the summer.
Pre-plan your locations
Brand photographers will probably already have some ideas of where to shoot especially if you pick a local photographer. Again, this is another good reason to have a swipe file. If there is a look you are after, you can start thinking of similar locations near you.
And if you are planning to use your own home, why not send advance images of your office and outdoor spaces to the photographer so she knows what she’s got to work with.
Get to know your photographer
I found Bobi in a local community Facebook group after having posted a request for recommendations. I received a ton of direct messages from interested parties. The first thing I did was review their websites to find a style that resonated with me. Then I set up interviews to see who I clicked with. Having a connection with your photographer definitely helps.
You might even try sourcing a photographer using Instagram by searching #(yourcity)brandphotographer.
Be sure to agree to the final details in advance
How many images will be included? How long will the photoshoot be? What’s plan B in case of inclement weather? How many locations? Be sure who owns the right to the photos. How many photos will be included in your final selection? How long will the images be kept? And what about the costs for touch-ups? Do they charge per hour, per session, per location?
Iron these out upfront to avoid any disappointment. I forgot to ask how long the images would be kept on file. By the time I made the decision to go back and order more, they were gone.
Open a bottle of vino and relax
And my final piece of advice, probably more for those who are not naturally posers, is to have a glass of whatever to relax you beforehand. Your first photoshoot is probably going to be nerve-racking no matter how much you prepare.
The good news is…in the world of digital photography, almost everything can be fixed post-production or reshot. There is never a need to lose a wink of sleep.
As a travel advisor, having a professional photoshoot done “in-destination” is a great idea. Don’t forget to check out local photographers either through a web search or again, Instagram. You’ll support the local economy and the world certainly doesn’t lack talent.
Sometimes, it’s a good idea to put away the selfie stick. 😉 and leave things to the professionals.
Live and Learn…
And the more photoshoots you do, the better you will look. The one thing I wished I’d done was to have taken more smiling full profile images. I feel most uncomfortable looking straight at the camera and smiling, and as a result, I got very few of those to choose from.
But that’s okay. There is always next time.
If you found this article useful, I’d love it if you shared it with a colleague or close friend. 📸 💕