From Idea to Execution: How to Create On-Brand Photos at Home

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If there’s one thing I love about the creative process behind every styled photo collection I create, it would be the fact it involves both the logical and artistic parts of my brain at the same time.

That’s right!

And if you thought that taking photos is just about moving a few objects on the surface while snapping the images, you’d be wrong. There’s so much more that comes into play even before the actual photoshoot starts. In fact, the photoshoot itself is a cherry on the top of the cake so to speak. That’s the creative, fun, and playful part. The real work is in the planning that comes way earlier.

And because we all have a little too much time on our hands these days, I decided to spill the beans and teach you how to work on your own brand photos, one small step at a time.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at our creative process and how you could use it on your own.

Step 1: Picking A Theme

Picking a theme for your shoot is the most important step that needs to be done before you start shopping or actually planning. The theme sets a direction for your further process, but it also creates an overall story.

Your theme can be anything but try to avoid overly broad topics like travel, beauty, food, fashion, pets. Being more specific helps to give you a better idea of the outcome, and it is absolutely necessary if you work with other people.

Unless you have a specific vision in mind, use products that would normally be found at the same spot. That means having a shampoo bottle on your working desk can work if you’re a beauty influencer reviewing products, or the actual brand behind the shampoo. Being intentional when selecting your props is key.

 

Lollipop Stock Process:
For the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll be showing our process on these two Pink & Coral Collections where the overall theme was bright, playful yet elegant office & flatlays photos.

Step 2: Stay On-Brand

It should go without saying that no matter what you do, you should always stay true to your brand. And I’m not talking just about your color palette (that let’s be real you spent too many hours in Photoshop polishing)!

Every image conveys a story, so getting clear about what the overall message, vibe & purpose of your new images should be. Are they supposed to promote your product? Are they meant to support your women’s empowerment mission? Or are they meant to compliment your niche topics?

 

Lollipop Stock Process:

1. Even though our collections aren’t crated for any specific brand, we always create an imaginary one, to begin with. We give it specific colors, personality, vibe, and sometimes even a niche. This way we can imagine what the customers of such brands want to see, and what emotions we want to awake in them.


2. We start gathering inspiration, and what better tool to use for that than Pinterest! Putting together a Pinterest board helps you convey the color palette, style of photos, and overall mood to keep you consistent with your brand visual style.

Step 3: Planning & Prop Shopping

Planning everything in advance gives you the benefit of being absolutely clear about the concept so you don’t waste a precious time during the actual shoot. You may have some spare minutes while shooting at home, but in case you rented a studio or your shoot depends on weather, you may be in a time crunch.

Plus, I’m sure you have plenty of more important things to do than this!

 

Lollipop Stock Process:

1. Even though planning and shopping go hand in hand for us, we like to start with a basic list of props we’d like to include in the photos. Those items are essentially creating the overall story, and they give us a good starting point when looking for the actual props.

2. Once we have our list of items, the fun part starts! We like to shop both in person and online, as it depends on our other plans & errands we’re running.

 

When shopping in person, we like to place all the items for this specific collection at one spot so we can again see the overall vibe. When shopping online, you can save those images to your Pinterest board, take a screenshot and place them all in one folder, or create a moodboard in Photoshop.

Take a look at our shelf with several collections planned and divided based on color & props.

When shopping in person, we like to place all the items for this specific collection at one spot so we can again see the overall vibe. When shopping online, you can save those images to your Pinterest board, take a screenshot and place them all in one folder, or create a moodboard in Photoshop.

Take a look at our shelf with several collections planned and divided based on color & props.

3. Finally, when we have all the props compiled so we can exactly imagine how this collection will look like, we create a list of actual ideas for the photos. This list is as detailed as possible and very descriptive. It’s basically an exact plan for the photoshoot describing specific setups, layouts, props to include in specific photos etc.

Step 4: Photoshoot

Unless you own lights & professional equipment so you’re able to shoot in any light conditions, you’ll want to plan your shoot during the day. So when choosing the place, it goes without saying that the room you’ll be shooting in should have a window. But it should also have some space for you set up your table (or floor), to store your props, and ideally some space for yourself too!

You should also use a whitewall, foam board/pice of white cardboard or even white fabric to bounce the incoming light back to your scene.

Before you start with the actual process, always test your camera (no matter if DSLR or your phone) and evaluate the images. Correct the lighting errors, dust off any crumbs, or hair from your cat (yep) before you start creating big amount of images, otherwise you’ll spend ages on the post process editing.

 

Lollipop Stock Process:

Our office collections are always taken in our small studio where we have the desk, chair, white walls and one window. We already know that the best light situation is between 9am-12pm because the sun goes up from that direction, but if we start too late we have to diffuse the actual sunlight.

However, we like to shoot our flatlays during evening & night. For that, we’re using daylight lights (yes, we can see the irony here) as it gives us more time & consistent lighting so we can batch shoot more than one collection.

Step 5: Photo Editing

Most photos need some post process editing, especially those coming from DSLR. Why? Compared to iPhones that are doing lots of the correcting for you these days, DSLR cameras are meant to give you more control. That means you can play with the exposure, contrast & more after you’re done. But even when shooting with your phone, you’d probably want to edit the images at least a little bit.When creating a full collection, it’s good to use a software that allows you copy pasting edits from photo to photo. Our recommendation would be Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop. The investment will save you a lot of time.

 

Lollipop Stock Process:

1. One collection shoot gives us somewhere between 300-500 photos. That’s right, we’re trying lots of different angles and layouts, sometimes taking one shot more than once to be sure it’s sharp and high quality. That means we need to sort them out and select 20-40 images (depending on the specific collection). We use Lightroom where we create folders for this collection, and flag those we want to be editing.

2. We like to edit one photo to our liking, and then copy-paste it to all other selected photos from this collection. Sometimes more edits need to be done for some of the photos (because hey, the cat hair gets everywhere!)And when we think we could use these editing setting to our future collections, we save them as a Lightroom preset.

 

Step 6: Export & Share!

Once you’re done, export all photos & always back them up in the cloud. It sounds unnecessary, but you don’t want to lose all the work in case anything happens with your computer, right?

Additionally, creating a long term content plan will help you use the photos as much as possible. After all, you didn’t make them to share just one or two, right? Read more about productive content planning here.

 

oh hello!

Content creator, color lover, and way too often a relapsing perfectionist. Also known as Zuzana, nice to meet you 🙂 I believe that your brand visuals matter and the creation of on-brand content shouldn’t be frustrating.

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