So let’s talk about Brand Photography and using models!! Often times when we think about brand photography, we are only thinking of showcasing ourselves as the face of the brand. And while you definitely need to show up and SHOW OUT…even when we want to stay behind the scenes…it can also be great to think about including models in your brand shoots. And here’s why…
The first reason is that if you have a product to sell, it’s great to have models using your product, wearing it, loving it!!! You want potential buyers to be able to see it up close and personal but also in a lifestyle way so they can imagine using it in their own lives. By using models, you are also showing what the product looks like on different body types or how people can use it in different ways.
The second reason is that if you have a service based business, it’s great to have models to showcase what it looks like to work with you. We can show our faces all day…and again, I am a huge proponent for telling our own stories and having people build a know, like and trust factor with us…BUT, it’s also great to show what they can expect when they coach with you, buy with you, get botox from you, etc.
What this all boils down to is inviting people into a story, a visual story. It’s the story of who you are, what problems you solve, and how you can help them with your product or service. When you work with models in your shoots, you’re able to broaden the perspective just a little more and showcase a more well rounded narrative of what you do.
If you’re looking to add models into your next brand shoot, please know that it doesn’t have to be scary. It may sound overwhelming or feel impossible…but as a former kindergarten teacher, I can tell you that wrangling 29 five year olds will prepare you for soooooo many things in life…and organizing models for a shoot is a piece of cake.
But here are a few tips before you decide to add in models for your brand visuals:
Tip #1: Phone a friend.
Ask your friends, colleagues, or clients if they’d like to help you out on your next brand shoot. 9 times out of 10 that’s what we are using on my photo shoots. Most clients don’t have a budget for hiring models, so we ask those who are close to us and that we trust will show up on the day of. They also want the best for us and want us to win…they are cheering for us and would love to be a part of what we are doing. These are the good people you always want in your corner cheering you on…so ask them to be a part of this fun day.
Tip #2: Be inclusive.
When looking to bring models on for your next brand shoot, it’s great if you are able to be as inclusive as possible. Think about how you can include people of all sizes, ages, and ethnicities. It’s wonderful when your brand can show that you serve and help all people…not just one specific demographic.
Tip #3: Hire models.
Sometimes you may not have anyone that can be there or if you are looking for very specific looks or ages…you may need to contact and agency and hire models for your brand shoot. There are all sorts of agencies, big and small that can help source what you need regarding your brand shoot. For instance, I could never be a hand model or a foot model…but if I had a jewelry or a sock company…I might need to hire some hand and foot models…and not on only fan pages…ok?!?!?! (I hope that made you laugh…hahahahaha)
Tip #4: Prep everyone ahead of time.
Please make sure you coordinate with your photographer and/or your creative director to make sure everyone has the vision, what they need to bring and the times they need to be there. It’s so important that brand shoot days are efficient and especially when you are adding in models, you want to have a solid shoot plan and timeline that you stick to. There’s nothing worse than bringing people in and it being a hot mess. You want to work with a photographer that is looking at the shoot with a strategic eye and knows how to coordinate storylines, people, wardrobe changes, personalities, and can command a room when needed to get everyone on the same page and also brings the FUN!!!! You want your models to enjoy their time…especially if they are volunteering….but you want to give everyone a good experience and make sure you are using their time wisely and not taking forever with everyone standing around.
Using models at your next brand photo shoot can be a lot of fun and a lot of work…but it can also bring you the BEST results when it comes to the storytelling aspects of your brand visuals. Don’t be afraid to add more people in…it can truly invite potential clients and buyers into a more meaningful brand story.
Here are a few brand shoots we’ve used models in:
In Mary Cheatham King Real Estate’s shoot, we had clients and friends and colleagues come in to act as potential buyers and sellers in different scenarios in their new offices that they had just opened up. We wanted to let the public know that they had these new spaces for their meetings and for the community. We then went onsite to a new project and collaborate with a builder to show MC there helping with the build design as she’s going to be responsible for getting it on the market. All of these images help tell various marketing stories that their real estate team can use again and again!
Plimsoll Gear is a clothing and merch line that just launched and Dee Jaye had her dear friends come to the shoot to wear and and “use” the product line. She needed fall and winter images..but also incorporate some of the tshirt lines. There’s no way Dee Jaye and I could have gotten such great imagery if it were just the two of us at her shoot…we needed to tell the story of friends enjoying time on the beach together, ladies strolling the sands after all the tourists have gone home, finding your own sense of balance in the shoreline…the models brought a richness to the stories she can now tell.
My client Lisa who owns, Reverse By Lisa does work that is very visual…showcasing her working with clients for laser treatments, receiving botox and fillers…it’s a great way to help people imagine what it would look like and what they can expect. It makes it all less scary and shows how Lisa helps her clients in her medspa!!
Ashleigh, who owns The Cheetah Company, works with business women in the space of marketing and sales structures. She hired models for this shoot because she wanted a very editorial look and she wanted models who were a little more experienced. She also wanted a variety of female demographics to be included. She was able to uplevel her brand by showcasing these women in a business, yet fun and collaborative work way. Had it just been Ashleigh in our shoot…it would have only told half of the story…and we wouldn’t have been able to show what it looks like to work with Ashleigh and all that SHE brings to the table as a coach and strategist.
So you can see how this all comes together and the impactful stories that can be told when you bring in models for your brand shoots. Using models doesn’t have to be overwhelming or scary or expensive…there are many ways to make it happen and make a huge impact to your brand visuals!!