How to find the right brand photographer

Brand photographer Scotland - woman laughing

How to find the right brand photographer in Edinburgh or elsewhere in Scotland - here's what you need to know.

DON'T book a brand photographer until you read this!

How to find the right brand photographer in Edinburgh Scotland - woman working at computer

Finding the right photographer for your personal brand photography can be overwhelming, can't it?

You know that you need professional brand photographs for your small business, and you know how it works

But ... At first glance it may seem like everyone and her sister is a photographer, and trying to find someone who understands what imagery you need to help grow your business and connect with your audience can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack.

I want to help make that process easier for you, so I’m going to share five things you simply MUST be aware of when choosing a personal brand photographer.

I’ll share my industry insider knowledge plus give you some extra tops tips which will help ensure that you book the best personal branding photographer for your needs.

Let's crack on!


You MUST book a specialist brand photographer, not just a portrait photographer

Brand photographer Edinburgh planning

Whilst there are plenty of photographers who can take a beautiful photo or a nice headshot, very few traditional photographers understand how to transform your personal brand into images which sell.

They may expect you to have all the ideas, or they’ll come up with generic, overdone concepts, like sitting with a latte in a coffee shop. 

This isn't necessarily bad to have, but traditional portrait photographers will not have the expertise you need to create images that truly connect with your audience, grow your social media following, and get more clients.

Consistently engaging

A brand photographer doesn’t work from a generic shot list, but rather strategically transforms your brand into a set of images which connect with and engage your audience. She takes the time to understand your brand and your audience and figure out what you're trying to say in images. She'll ensure you have consistency in your brand photographs so you stand out and look professional and trustworthy.

She’ll use the information she learns about you and your business to create a set of unique images which will truly reflect your brand and help people feel like they know and trust you.

This is waaaay more than just pretty pictures of you.

A solid understanding of marketing and branding

If you’re going to invest the time and money in personal brand photography, picking a traditional photographer who doesn’t understand how to transform your brand into images is a huge mistake.

You’ll blend in with everyone else and the images won’t strengthen your brand. If you want to use images to enhance your personal brand and grow your business, you need to work with someone who specialises in brand photography.

Think of it as going to a brain surgeon rather than a GP when you want help with something very specific like this.

PRO  TIP: Look for variety and ask to see a single client’s full gallery

Check your photographer has a wide variety of images that vary from client to client.

Brand photography shot list - collage - yoga teacher

Why not ask to see a full gallery from a single client?

You’ll see more than just the best images that were posted on their website and you’ll get a better sense of how much variety you can expect from a single shoot and how well she captures a client’s brand.


Make sure you're allowed to edit or tinker with the images

Oh, this is a biggie! Traditionally, photographers do NOT give the right to edit their photos in any way. And I mean not in ANY way. No Instagram filters, no text overlays. No cropping. NOTHING.

However, consumers generally don’t need to edit photos from traditional photographers - they book portrait photographers simply because they love the aesthetic of their work.

It’s rare that consumers would do more than buy prints, an album, wall art, or cards, or possibly a few shares on social media to show friends and family.

Your needs are different

But for you as a small business owner ...

Many situations may arise when you HAVE to edit your images! If you’re hiring a photographer because you need images to grow your business online, you’re likely going to need to edit or modify a few of them.

Whether it’s adding text to the image, optimising it for Pinterest, making it into a Facebook ad, or something more drastic, you need rights to make any changes.

PRO  TIP: Ask for details about their usage license and contract before making a decision

You need unrestricted access to edit and customise your images however you or your web or graphic designer needs to.

Avoid any photographers who won’t allow this like the plague.


Book a photographer who doesn't demand you give her credit everywhere you use images

This is vital if you if you care about converting your audience into paying customers or clients.

If you have to link to your photographer's website on a sales page or on social media ads, it will lower your conversion rate.

Any time you add links to outside sites on posts or pages, you risk losing your traffic to those sites and miss the opportunity for people to take the action you want them to take.

This is why it’s crucial to hire someone who understands that it’s not always appropriate for you to give credit each time one of their photos is used.

(But it's great when you do!)

Do I appreciate it when I’m credited on posts or pages where it’s appropriate (like casual social media posts or in blog posts)? Too right! I love it!

But I’d never want that credit to hurt your conversion rate or make your own content less effective.

Brand photographer Edinburgh Scotland - two women drinking wine

Ask what rights the photographer has to use your photos in her own business

As photographers, my peers and I rely on the images we take to show as examples to potential new clients.


If you’ve got a large following and don't want your photographer to be able to use your images to market her business, or if you want to buy full copyright to the images (which in the UK belongs to the photographer), you’ll want to have this discussion BEFORE you book her.

NDAs and full copyright

Be aware that non-disclosure agreements and/or buying full copyright may increase your costs significantly.

However, when you find a brand photographer whom you trust, she won’t misrepresent your relationship because she understands the work you’ve put into creating your brand and growing your audience, and she would never want to take advantage of that.

So be sure to have this discussion! You can generally work out an agreement that allows your photographer to use the photographs of you she's created in a way that’s acceptable to you both and that won’t require a non-disclosure agreement or incur an arm and a leg in extra fees.

Ask for specific details on how - or if - you’re required to credit the photographer

Any photographer who requires you to credit her every time an image is used doesn’t understand basic conversion principles and the needs of an entrepreneur or influencer.Quite simply, it should be "no credit required".

PRO  TIP: Ask for details about their usage license and contract before making a decision

You need unrestricted access to edit and customise your images however you or your web or graphic designer needs to.

Avoid any photographers who won’t allow this like the plague.


Make sure your photographer understands the principles of branding and marketing properly, and strategically designs your brand photography shoots

This is vital if you if you care about converting your audience into paying customers or clients.

A lot of portrait photographers now offer "business photography", or brand photography. They may have years of experience of shooting for consumers and may be extremely good at the craft of photography and can produce beautiful images of you.

The thing is, photographing for consumers and photographing for businesses is radically different. It's a whole different game from just producing gorgeous images to hang on a wall or put in a beautiful album.

Knowledge is paramount

So check the photographer you're thinking of booking actually has marketing experience and knowledge of branding principles which allows them to strategically design a collection of images of you and your business which will sell for you.

Check she can help you identify your key marketing messages then translate them into images which become your most valuable digital marketing assets.

Booking a photographer who doesn't take the time into dig deeply into your business beforehand to get a solid understanding of what you need your business photographs to do for you is a waste of your money.

So before you book, ask for details of how they plan a brand shoot.

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

Because by proceeding with a strategically designed and rigorously thought through shoot plan, you’re going to get the most out of your personal brand photography investment and not miss out on any key images.

Whether you need daily images for Instagram, images for blog posts, website banners, Pinterest images, Facebook ad images, or something else, a good brand photographer will make sure everything's covered.

To make things easier for you, the images should also be formatted correctly for each platform you use. How much time and faff will that save you ..?!

What traditional portrait photographers usually do

Many traditional photographers shoot vertical portraits, which although they're great for Pinterest or for Instagram stories, they can be hard to use for blog posts, website banners, Facebook ads, or even  general social media posts.

Or they shoot close-ups which don’t leave the space you need to add text or other graphic elements to the image.

A good personal brand photographer creates a proper plan after she's learned about what your images need to say to your target audience, and she shoots with your needs in mind before providing you with images that are perfect for creating content which converts.


Do you actually LIKE the person you're going to be working with?

Yep, it's kind of important.

Bear with me ... This isn't rocket science, but it's surprising how often it's overlooked!

As a client looking for a personal branding photographer, it's essential that you like the person behind the camera.

Because building a positive relationship with her is crucial for producing high-quality photographs that accurately reflect your brand and personality. Especially if you're interested in working together on an ongoing subscription basis. 

Brand photographer Scotland - woman laughing

When you actually enjoy being in your photographer's company, you feel more relaxed and comfortable during the photo shoot. This leads to more natural and authentic looking photos which capture your personality and accurately convey your brand messages.

On the other hand, if you don't like your photographer that much, you're probably going to feel a bit self-conscious or even awkward, which can negatively impact the final outcome. (Okay, to be blunt ... The photos could look a bit crap as you'll be all tense and buttoned up looking. Ouch.)

It's just ... Nicer!

In addition to getting way better photographs at the end of it, getting on well with your photographer also makes the entire process a heck of a lot more enjoyable for you. I mean, personal branding photography is an investment in your business, right? So it's important that you feel good about that experience!

When you gel with your photographer, the session will be good fun and you're more likely to feel confident and excited about it - and that'll help you bring your best self along to the shoot.

Brand photographer  Scotland client review


Book a photographer who offers a subscription service!

If you're using social media to grow your personal brand, you’re going to need a steady stream of new images month after month. After all, social media is like a ravening beast which needs fed regularly! 

Plus, you always want to look current and up-to-date, don't you?

While traditional photographers typically book one session at a time, brand photographers offer yearly packages that lock in your spot with them and guarantee that you’ll have fresh, on brand, images every quarter.

Personal branding photo shoot in Edinburgh Scotland - collage of photos of copywriter

You’ll often get a better rate when you book a yearly package instead of individual sessions, plus it’s one less thing that you’ll have to worry about.

Having your own photographer on a subscription is like having an extra trusted member of staff but without any of the hassle!

When you find the photographer who visually expresses your brand vision and just gets you, you won't need to explain all the fine details and nuances of your business, your brand, and your vision again and again.

Each time you re-book, you'll just have to explain what's changed in the last quarter and what you need for the next three months (or month, or whatever).

Your planning sessions will become shorter and the whole process will just get so much easier and faster. Plus it'll also be like catching up with a friend!

Looking to book a brand photographer in Edinburgh or elsewhere in Scotland?

You may have guessed that all these five points and the extra tips apply to me and the way I work! I can do all this for you, and more.

  • I'm a specialist brand photographer - and my communications, PR, marketing, and IT background perfectly equips me to create exceptional visual content that effectively conveys your brand message.
  • You're welcome to do whatever you want with the images I give you (other than sell them on for profit)
  • I don't require you credit me for your brand images (though it's always welcome!)
  • I geek out over strategy and planning, so everything's intentional and nothing's left to chance - I'm allergic to winging it
  • I also offer a subscription service and LOVE working with my regular clients!

If you're interested in finding out more about how specialist brand photography can help you grow your business, get in touch with me and we'll plan how to get you and your business REALLY out there.

Edinburgh branding photographer


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