How To Create A Shot List For Your Branding Photoshoot


Let’s think of some unique image ideas for your photoshoot!

You know that you need new images to use on your website, on your social media profiles, etc., but what exactly should those images look like? Do you just need a couple of Headshots? How about one of those “Person working on laptop” shots? “Man pointing to whiteboard in conference room”? Or, my personal favorite: “Woman smiling with coffee mug”?

Just kidding, guys. We can do better than that.

One of the easiest ways to come up with unique image ideas for your Personal Branding Photoshoot is to ask yourself some specific questions about your business & your marketing needs. Every business is different, & the key to getting photos that really look like you is to spend some time breaking down a few different aspects of your business & identifying what exactly you want to “say” or show off in your new photos. Think about what makes you different than your competitors, who your ideal client(s) are, & lastly, your brand style. This exercise will really help you to discover the types of images that you need, & will ensure that your branding photos don’t look just like everyone else’s!

You may also like: The 10 Types of Personal Branding Photos You Need For Your Business
The 5 Different Types Of Photos You Need For Your Website

What is a shot list?

A shot list is a document that contains a checklist of every single photo that you & your photographer plan to take during your photoshoot.
It’s as simple as that!

As a Branding Photographer, the first thing I do during a consultation with a new client is to ask them some questions about themselves, their business, & their image needs - this will help us to come up with a basic list of shot ideas together. Most people know that they may need to start with a fresh Headshot, or maybe an author’s photo for the new book that they’re releasing, a cover image for their upcoming digital product, etc. - but it can definitely be challenging to come up with a wide variety of shot ideas off the top of your head.

Below is a list of questions that will help you to identify which different parts of your business & brand may need to be represented via imagery - get out that pen & paper & jot down a few responses. Take a look at each response & think: “Ok, how could I communicate this unique part of my business to my customers/clients via a photo?”

Let’s get to work on that shot list. You may be surprised by how many new ideas for your photoshoot you can come up with!

Discover What makes you &/or your business different

  • What do you do better than anyone else?

  • What makes the way you achieve results interesting or unique?

  • What are your top values - your operating principles?

  • What values do you associate with your unique approach to the work you do?

  • What is your brand mission statement?

  • What do you love most about your work?

  • What are the main themes or phrases that you find come up over & over again in testimonials/reviews from your clients?

  • What adjectives do people use to describe you or your business?

Identify your ideal client

  • Think about your ideal client(s). What are they like? Where do they like to shop/eat/hang out?

  • What do you want people to feel when they see or think of your brand?

  • What is it that your clients come to you for?

  • What is important to your clients?

  • Why do your clients choose working with you over working with one of your competitors?

Break down your workflow

  • Where do you usually work with your clients?

  • How do you work with your clients? Think about the process you take them through & list out some touch points!

  • What are your favorite types of work to do with your clients?

  • What would you like to be doing more of with your clients?

  • Where do you enjoy working from when you’re not with clients?

Identify your Brand Style

  • Do you have any pre-established brand colors, designs, style guidelines, or logos that you would like to be incorporated into your images?

  • How would you describe you/your brand's current "look/aesthetic/style"?

  • Are you happy with your current brand style, or are you looking to rebrand/change things up?

  • How do you want to be Photographed? What mood/energy do you want to portray? Professional, Stylized, Relaxed? A little bit of everything?

  • Can you think of three other brands that have visuals or elements of their branding that you love? List some of your favorite brands & what you admire about them.

  • How do you visualize the look & feel of your new images?

Include some personal details

  • What do you love to do for YOU outside of your business? What hobbies or activities do you enjoy? Where do you like to go?

  • What energizes you or ignites you? What are your true passions?

  • About what topics can you talk endlessly?

  • How would you describe your personal style?

  • Is there anyone you would like to be photographed with? A friend, family member, pet, business partner, etc.?

Think about Your Image Needs

  • What is prompting you to have a photoshoot now? 

  • Why do you want/need to be photographed?

  • What do you want to use these images for?

  • Where are you planning to use these images?

  • What specific images do you need for your website, social media, print marketing, etc.?

  • How many images do you think you might need?

Consider Upcoming projects, deadlines, etc.

  • Do you have any product/service launches coming up?

  • What new products or services will you be offering in the next 3 - 6 months?

  • Do you need specific images for a book launch, digital product, etc.?

  • Do you have any deadlines in mind for when you’d like to receive back your finished images?

Think about your marketing goals

  • How are you currently using imagery to market your business, & what are your goals moving forward?

  • What do you want your new images to do for you?

  • What are your business marketing goals for website/branding/content marketing, advertising, etc.?

  • Where are the gaps in your current catalog of marketing images? (i.e., not enough photos of your products, outdated images of yourself/your team, etc.)

5 Bonus Shot List Planning Ideas:

  1. Take a look at your competitors: It can be really helpful to look at the websites & social media profiles of your competitors & of other people in your industry! What are they doing with their imagery that you admire? What are they doing that you dislike? How can you make your images different from your competitor’s so that you stand out from the crowd?

  2. Scroll through social media: Go wild on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, & Tiktok! Explore hashtags and look up some search terms to see what else is out there - take screenshots of ideas that you find interesting. Create albums on your phone or put together mood boards so that you can share your research easily with your team.

  3. Share specific ideas: Once you’ve gathered some inspo, be sure to show it to your photographer! It can be hard to describe what you’d like to see visually with words - if you’re looking for images in a particular style, showing your photographer specific examples of what you’d like to see can be really helpful to make sure that you are both on the same page stylistically.

  4. Talk to your team: If you work with a website designer, graphic designer, marketing agency, etc. - check in with them to see if they have any advice for you. They may even be able to help you gather inspo & give you some direction about specific types of images that you may need!

  5. Ask your photographer for help: Last but not least, be sure you ask your photographer for help coming up with a shot list &/or putting together a mood board! If you’re investing time & energy into a photoshoot with a professional photographer, they will definitely be able to help you clarify your vision & can come up with some shot ideas for you to try as well.


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Bend Oregon Portrait Photographer Miranda Kelton Photography

Meet miranda

Hello! I’m a Portrait, Branding, & Headshot Photographer based in BenD, Oregon.