Preparing for your Brand Image Portrait Session! South San Francisco Portrait Studio

Hello Gorgeous!
Whenever I book a session to create brand images it’s usually for a new business or entrepreneur…
invariably the first question (after securing a date) is “What should I wear?”.

Clothes, of course!  I laugh because that’s not the first thing I think of when preparing for a brand image or head-shot session — the first thing to think about is “What is the impression you’d like to make?”.
This may seem a funny thought to some, but go with me for a minute, you’ll see…

I’ve written before about how I believe Your brand image speaks volumes about you and is often the first impression one may have of your service, goods or business — Let’s go with that.
Are you casual or formal in your line of work?  Do you want to be perceived as friendly and inviting or long to be viewed a bit more stoic, academic or  judicial?  Are you an artist or creator — do you litigate or analyze throughout your day?  This is your chance to present yourself on your terms, polished and perfected.

sf-headshots-professional-corporate-profile-photographer_web-mark_Reggie -Davis-comp_20130822
Before your session, know that Grooming is Essential — the devil is in the details, and the camera picks up every detail!
Be sure to consider
Hair Cut

  • Hair, if you need a touch up, go see your colorist a few days in advance — I can do corrective work in post, (‘shopping out roots is a tedious job, and costs more than seeing your hairdresser to start with, so yeah, book that appointment before your shoot!).  Caution: This is NOT the time to try out dramatic new cuts!
    On the topic of hair, If you go for brow waxing or threading, book that appointment a few days in advance of your session, to be sure any little irritations will clear away before your session, ties in with…
  • Skin, we want a clean and healthy glow — lots of water in the days before, lots of sleep the night before and a little light exfoliation the day before won’t hurt one bit (we like “The Microdelivery Daily Exfoliating Wash” from Philosophy, it’s even good for boys — all this info is guy friendly too, btw)…Model: Charlene, Ford SF
  • Teeth, if it’s been a while, now’s a great time to schedule a cleaning, we need your most confident smile on shoot day, or you could add a whitening kit or brightening strips to your shopping list to save time and money.
  • Finger Nails as well — just because you are coming round for head shots doesn’t mean those hands won’t enter the picture!  Now’s the chance, splurge on a manicure the day before (or at least file & buff the day of).

Next, my mind always wanders to props
Think about what you do, and what you can hold/embrace/lean-on that might tell the world what you do, without a word.

Some of my clients have brought in tools of their trade to enhance and really personalize their brand image — for instance a chef brought in some veggies and a knife, authors have brought along their books and writing instruments, a woodworker brought in his laser cut card, and musicians always bring their instruments (never have to ask)!

Barry Figgins, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Alumni.  Barry owns and operates Lyris Laser Studio | Professional Business Portraiture by Shelah Osbrink of Sweet Light Studios

Laser Cutter!

What set’s you apart that you can bring along?

Hair & Makeup Artist Nadescha

Makeup Artist!

Need some inspiration?  Who are the leaders in your field that you aspire to be like?  Google them or your title (check the image tab!) and find some simple inspiration images from their blogs, sites or books — bring in what inspires you and we’ll create something even better!

Kavitha Raghavan -- Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center Alumni. Kavitha recently graduated the Business Planning Programme and received her Sommelier Certification.  She is in the process of building a business paring Indian Foods with Fine Wines for a unique taste experience. | Professional Business Portraiture by Shelah Osbrink of Sweet Light Studios


Now that you’ve thought-through all of this, you’ve decided on the first impression you’d like to share & gathered your props, I deem you almost prepared for your session…

Before going to your closest, think about meeting with your ideal clients and colleagues on an average day and how you feel doing the work you do, and how much you love your clients, start from there…
what’s your ideal favorite “power outfit”, ponder the things you feel most confident in!

Finally, let’s talk about wardrobe!  First and foremost, I always recommend wearing form fitting solids in photos…
don’t worry about the shoes or what the bottom half of you looks like 😉
Big poofy chiffon blouses with prints feel great and look fabulous, but rarely photograph well, leave them for summer.

Personally, I really like monochromatic portraits to feature and focus on your face and beautiful, authentic smile…
with that in mind, when you go to your closet, look for black or white jackets, tops and dresses!

I also have backgrounds in gold, lavender and mixed browns so blues, pinks, lavenders, and earth or jewel tones are complimentary and match up as well, texture is always a bonus!  For your session we can go formal or casual or a mix of both, be sure to bring accessories, too — it’s okay to bring more than a few things, we can edit together.  web-mark_Dr-Khaleghl-Quinn_Profile-Portraits_by_Sweet-Light-Studios_20150922_SHE2774-Edit

Once you’ve chosen your wardrobe, be sure to clean and press what you’re planning to wear and bring it along to the studio on hangers!
Whew, you’ve done a lot, almost finished — I’ll tell you that those sessions that are most prepared yield the very best results!

Oh, One more thing…
On the day of your session, if you will be doing your own hair and makeup, give yourself some extra time and style yourself up the way you would for an interview or first meeting with a client, super simple and easy.   This is always a great approach (arriving camera ready) because I promise you will look authentically ‘you’ when people meet you for the first time as your portrait will match your true real self!

If you are having someone do your makeup, another great way to go — especially if you’d like to look polished but are not adept at applying makeup or styling hair — it’s best to ask before-hand how your stylist would like you to arrive.
In the studio we always request no makeup, moisturizer only on the face and clean dry hair; bring along hair accessories and any makeup you just can’t leave behind.

web-nomark_BTS_20130818__SHE0267Okay, now you’re good to go and in the know…
Can hardly wait to see what you bring along!


Schedule a personal brand image portrait session of your own at Sweet Light Studios and See Yourself in a New Light!
Phone: 1+415/409.9389  | eMail:


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