6 reasons you’re putting off a brand photo shoot

Brand photo shoot in Edinburgh in cafe with two women chatting over a glass of wine

Brand photo shoots can be a daunting prospect, I get that. Honestly, I do. 

I'm an Edinburgh branding photographer for service-based small business owners, and as I've had a brand photo shoot done for myself  (and am due another one) I understand that being in front of a camera can be nerve-wracking.

So lots of people put it off.

And put it off.

And put it off.

I'm kind of mortified to admit this, but ...

I don't like being photographed either.

Brand photographer headshot in Edinburgh Scotland of woman with pink scarf sitting on tree branch in woods

Particularly not with phone cameras. Ugh! In my head I still look a ten stone 21 year old, so it's always a rude shock to see phone snaps other people take of me.

I reckon it's completely normal to feel a bit nervy and self-conscious about getting your photograph taken, but the thing is, when you get a brand photo shoot done professionally by the right photographer, and when it's all planned out properly, you can actually be chuffed to bits with the results.

Here are some of the concerns my clients have told me about in our brand photo shoot planning sessions - and often they're the concerns that have made them leave it so long to contact me.


"I'm worried I'll look daft or silly in the photos"

"You won't make me pose in stupid positions like I'm an Olympic contortionist or a 14 year old doing a trout pout, will you?"

Ha! Oh I get this one all right.

As the mother of a ten year old who automatically does the godawful trout pout and the hippy peace v-sign with her fingers as soon as she's within sniffing distance of a lens, I so get this. (Well she does this near other people's lenses. She knows better than to pull that crap with me!)

The posing thing, though... The most important thing to know is, you do NOT need to know how to do this! A skilled photographer will guide you through how to sit, stand, and move so you'll look your best in the photographs.

Brand photographer Edinburgh woman writing

Some of the ways you may be asked to arrange yourself may feel a bit peculiar.

For example, I'm always telling people to stick their chins out and down slightly, but rest assured there's always a very good reason for it.

It's because what you look like in a two dimensional photograph depends greatly on how you're arranged in 3D.

You don't always want to be TOO comfortable!

If I'm photographing you sitting on a couch reading a book, chances are when you're in your own living room you'd be slumped like a sack of tatties. (Just me?)

If I photographed you like that, your stomach would probably look ten times bigger than it actually is, and you'd maybe have ten chins, whereas when you're walking around normally you only have one (or if you're like lots of us, two).

But part of my job is to get you to sit on that couch in a way that both looks perfectly natural AND is flattering.

I'll tell you exactly how to do it, and I'll also demonstrate it myself, so you have nothing whatsoever to worry about.


"I've put on weight and hate the way I look now."

This is so, so common, you have no idea ..!

But getting back to the previous point, there are ways you can be photographed standing, sitting, and moving in your brand photo shoot which will help.

Even the way the light hits you when you're doing these things can emphasise or de-emphasise shape, so you really do need to be up front with your photographer beforehand and tell her your concerns right from the outset.

She can then work with you to create poses and angles that flatter you and highlight your best features.

She'll also be able to advise on what to wear for your personal branding photo shoot so you end up in clothes which will flatter you and look great in the end result photographs.

You need to look like you.

It's important to remember here that photography is a representation of what you are, so expectations need to be realistic.

Good posing and lighting can help a lot but they're not going to make you look like the gable end of a pound note or 21 years old if you're not. (Well, unless you want to go down the extensive retouching and fakery route.)

It's more about making you look like the best version of you that you can be.

Edinburgh brand photography shoot for small business owner scrolling on phone

Your personal branding photos should reflect the real you, your authentic self, and they should show your personality. Don't try and look like someone you're not.

Other people never see you the way you see yourself anyway, so concentrate more on these photographs showing who you are and what you're all about, and what you're like to work with.

Edinburgh personal branding photography for My Happy Journal - woman picking a children's journal out of a bag

Your potential clients are highly unlikely to give a toss if you're carrying more weight than you think is ideal or have crows' feet on your crows' feet .

They're much more interested in how you can help them and what you'd be like to spend time with.

The myth of perfection

Being reluctant to appear in photographs because of having put on weight is even more understandable when you think of how we're constantly bombarded with images of “perfect” people both on and offline.

But there’s no such thing as perfect, is there? Though that's a whole different story for a different day, as you can imagine.

Here and now, it's my job to find the best angles and lighting for you, and to make you feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera. We’ll work together to capture your authentic self and show off your unique personality.


"I'm a real introvert and I don't want to be told to do things which just aren't me."

Your personal brand photo shoot is about showcasing the best version of you, not a forced, extroverted persona.

Your photos should reflect your authentic self and highlight your unique personality, and if that personality is better suited to playing the piano at home or making scones in the kitchen in beautiful solitude, then show that! Photographs of yourself like this will definitely resonate with other introverted souls out there.

Brand photography photo shoot in Edinburgh Scotland for female small business owner - woman sitting on couch pouring drink

Be yourself in your photos

If you're not, potential clients and customers will feel tricked when they finally meet you and find out that in real life you're nothing like the loud, extraverted character that your brand photographs portrayed.

Con, much?

Not only is it exhausting and bad for your own psyche to try to come across as someone you're not, but it's bad for business too as people will think - either consciously or sub-consciously - that you're a fake, and they simply won't trust you.

Don't fake it

Your brand photo shoot is about showcasing your authentic self, not putting on the persona of someone you think you should be.

So it's 100% vital you communicate your true personality and brand with your photographer so she can capture your unique qualities.

You shouldn't be anyone other than yourself for your photo shoot to be a success.


"I don't have a clue what to wear"

When it comes to personal branding photo shoots, one of the most critical factors (along with location and props) is the clothing that you'll wear in the photographs.

Your clothing can have a significant impact on how you're perceived, particularly in a personal branding context.

The outfits you pick can convey your personality, your professionalism, and your level of confidence, but conversely, if you wear the wrong clothes, it can send horrendously mixed signals about who you are and what you stand for.

This is important

Get it badly wrong and you'll undermine your personal brand, your business, and damage your reputation.

When it comes to the time to prepare for your brand photo shoot and picking the right clothing, there are a few key things to think about.

Firstly, you want to make sure that your clothing reflects your personal style and taste. You know what your boundaries and the absolutely "OMFG no, not that"s are already, and you'll know what you look and feel comfortable in.

That's a great start for projecting a sense of confidence and authenticity.

Woman selecting clothes from rail

What you also need to think about is choosing clothing that's appropriate for the context and the audience you are targeting.

For example, if you're a fitness coach, you may want to wear workout clothes to emphasize your active lifestyle.

On the other hand, if you're a lawyer or a consultant, you may want to dress more formally to convey a sense of professionalism and authority.  

Bring lots of clothes!

A variety of clothing for a full personal brand photo shoot is vital - perhaps you'll have the more formal outfits to convey the professional persona you want people to buy into, but you also want to show that when you're "off duty" you're pretty down to earth and perhaps just like your ideal clients. So dog walking gear and comfy jeans would convey that message instantly.

You also have to make sure your clothing fits well, is clean, and not falling to bits. It's common sense to say that poorly fitting, tatty, or dirty clothes can detract from your appearance and undermine your credibility, while clean and well-fitted clothing can help you look polished and put-together.

Branding photo shoot in Edinburgh Scotland for women business owners - woman at laptop talking to another woman with pink hair

But lots of people forget about this when they're stressing out about how to put a clothing collection together for a brand shoot!

Don't worry ...

When you plan your brand photo shoot with me, we spend quite a bit of time discussing what you're going to wear, plus I give my clients a clothing guide before our planning session to help them understand what's going to look good and what's not.

Another thing clients often do before the shoot is to send me phone snaps of various outfits they have to get my opinion on whether they'll work or not in the photographs.

This is a great idea because it saves them lugging a ton of outfits to our chosen locations and just hoping for the best.

Clothes maketh the brand photo shoot (sorry!)

The upshot here is, getting your clothing right in a personal branding photo shoot is critical to projecting the right image and creating a strong personal brand.

Get it right (I'm here to help, every step of the way), and you'll craft exactly the right impression, make people think about you the way you want to be thought about, and you'll stand out from the crowd.


"I'm worried my friends and family will think I'm up myself,
getting all fancy with a professional photo shoot."

I know, the idea of getting a personal branding shoot done just for yourself can open up some uncomfortable thoughts and weird mindset blocks in your head.

It's absolutely understandable to feel a bit nervous about what others will think of you going to this effort and expense. You might even have squirmy, shameful thoughts about not even being worth the effort, expense, and attention. 

I'm not going to patronise you with all the mindset stuff like "you're worth it", because logically, you know this already. And this shit, these fears, they're not always logical, are they?

Reframe it

But what I WOULD encourage you to do is to look at this all in a slightly different way. 

Personal branding and business photographs are NOT you being all fancy and up yourself.

They're a business tool, an important investment in your business and an effective way of attracting more of the clients you'll love to work with.

Now I have absolutely NO problem with people booking portrait photo shoots purely to celebrate themselves.

I've never bothered myself and probably never will, to be honest, but for those who do? Have at it, enjoy, and rock it!

Brand photographer Edinburgh Transcend 5

But being photographed for your business is completely different. It's a legit business expense, for a start, and there's a good reason for that. 

Properly planned and executed personal branding photography is a highly effective sales tool. 

A powerful sales tool!

This isn't just a vanity project or something reserved for big businesses. Brand photography is a powerful tool which helps you establish a personal connection with potential clients, and it communicates your unique value proposition in a way that words alone simply can't.

By investing in personal branding photography, you're not only showing off your personality and unique style, but you're also demonstrating to potential clients that you take your business seriously and are invested in creating a professional image that accurately represents your business.

Brand photo shoot in Edinburgh in cafe with two women chatting over a glass of wine
Personal branding photography photo shoot in Scotland for a social media strategist who is baking scones in her kitchen

Your brand photos will help you connect with your ideal clients on a deeper level and attract more of the people you'll love to work with.

A strong collection of professional photographs can help communicate your brand story, your values, and your mission, all of which are essential for building trust and credibility with your target audience.

It's personal

Think about it this way - when you're looking for a service-based business, whether it's a coach, a consultant, or a designer, you want to work with someone who you can connect with on a personal level, don't you?

I mean, imagine if the person turned out to be a complete dick whose company you loathed being in!

Personal branding photography is an essential component of showing the right people you're not a dick, and creating a real connection with them. It differentiates you from the heaps of others offering what you do.

So, don't be embarrassed or shy about investing in personal branding photography for your business. Instead, view it as a necessary and valuable investment that will pay off in the long run.

Not just pretty pictures

Remember, your brand photos are not just a pretty picture of what you look like - they're intentionally designed to connect with your ideal clients and persuade them to think about you and your business the way you want them to think about you. 

So getting this done is really not you being up yourself, is it? It's a wise, sensible, and entirely logical business decision.  


"My house is a complete tip - we can't shoot in here!"

Okay so let's not go to your house, then!

Loads of us are busy, we have kids, dogs, cats, which make a mess. There can be stuff everywhere, and whilst your home might be beautifully comfy, cosy, and entirely welcoming, it may not convey the right messages about you and your business. 

Or maybe you don't have kids, dogs, cats, and a constant mess, but you don't want people to know about your fetish thing for certain "art" pictures on all your walls. (No judgement, I promise!)

Edinburgh brand photographer woman talking

It's okay if your house isn't suitable

Or maybe your place is just far too small, dark, and simply doesn't lend itself to a photo shoot.

Read my article on 6 ways to find the perfect location for your next brand photo shoot as I've got quite a few suggestions in there for alternatives. 

Choosing locations for your photo shoot is a really big deal, to be honest, but there are lots of options out there which don't involve your home. 

I have a list of favorite locations that I’ve scouted out, but we can also brainstorm together in our shoot planning session and find somewhere perfect for you that says exactly what we need it to.

Most problems like this have solutions

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the fears and concerns that may be holding you back from booking a personal branding photography shoot but these are the points I hear most often. 

These fears are completely normal, and if you share them, you are definitely not alone in feeling this way. The good news is that all of these concerns can be addressed with good shoot planning and honest and open discussion with your photographer.

It's all about you and your business

A personal branding photography shoot is all about YOU and YOUR business. It's not about automatically conforming to anyone else's standards or expectations.

Edinburgh brand photographer woman on chair
Edinburgh brand photographer women drinking2

Your photographer is there to help you showcase your unique personality and style.

She'll work with you to create a comfortable and relaxed environment where you can be yourself.

So, don't let these fears hold you back from investing in your business and taking your personal brand to the next level!

Speak to your photographer about your concerns and work together to create a comfortable and relaxed environment that showcases your unique personality and style.

Are you looking for a personal branding photographer in Edinburgh, Glasgow, or elsewhere in Scotland?

I'm a brand photography specialist, and I provide high impact, strategically designed headshot and personal branding photography for service-based small business owners and entrepreneurs like you who are serious about success.

If it's time for you to find out more about how brand photography can propel your business forward, let's speak - drop me an email or book a call.

We'll have a (completely non-salesy) chat about what your business is all about and see how we can create professional business images which will attract the high value, perfect fit clients you'll love to work with!

Edinburgh branding photographer


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