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  • Writer's picturebonniejheath

Using Props to Tell Your Story

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

Today I'm sharing 5 prop ideas for your personal branding photography session & how to use them to tell your brand story.

1. Mood Boards

Mood boards are a fun and visual way to map out your ideas to tell the story of your brand - and my favorite way to use mood boards is refreshingly non-digital. Use objects or physical items that you find inspirational and want to add to the mood of your brand - similar to a "flat lay" photograph of objects on a table or a vision board. You can use textures and materials from paint or fabric, photographs that you cut out and organize or 3D objects like flowers or twine. Being able to touch and feel and physically move around the objects give you a new respect and connection with the items you're adding to be a part of your brand.

Once you have fun items that you feel represent your brand, you can use the objects and textures to create a beautiful grouping of details that add more meaning and personality to your brand and use those photos on social media!

2. Food and Drink

The dreaded mainstream coffee shot... Yes, you can absolutely include food and drink photos in your personal brand photography (even the coffee cup shot!) because without a doubt, they connect with your audience. Everyone can relate to food and using food related props in your content marketing is a great way to build connections with followers.

You don't have to take these photos in a stereotypical way either - you can add in other personal objects or textures that relate back to your brand and make the photo more about your lifestyle and the experience your brand provides than about the food or drink included. For example, if you used just a singular coffee cup as your photo it would be a bit boring and wouldn't relate to your individual brand. But if you used your own hands with your coffee cup, or you added in the bridal bouquet you were working on, or included your cat - then the photo becomes more about your personal brand while still including the relatable prop of a coffee cup.

3. Tools of Your Craft

This is probably the broadest category of props to include in your personal brand photography because the list could go on forever. You can think of the objects, tools and items you use in your daily life as a creative entrepreneur. Here are a few ideas to source from based on what you do as a creative:

Laptop, phone, tablet, paintbrush, calligraphy pens, scissors, microphone, headphones, speakers, vases, florals, dye, magazines, paint swatches, books

4. The Process

A lot of times, creative entrepreneurs don't have the time or opportunity to capture all of this while they're actually in the process or with a client. For example, I hear often from event planners that they never get set-up photos of their event because they're just too busy to remember to do it. For this type of shot, it's so valuable to include them in your branding session because they're a large part of the experience you provide. Often it's hard for clients to visualize the process unless you show them with photographs.

These photos can be the florist putting together the floral bouquets - cutting the stems, filling up the vases, organizing the arrangements. This could also be the interior designer choosing the materials for a dining room, or designing the 3D layout to show the client, or installing the items in a client's home. This could also be a cake designer who creating a beautiful cake for an event. Think about the process you do in your business and narrow down the tasks and tools you use to get your process done. 

5. Your Finalized Product or Service

The final product is the culmination of all the effort you put into the work you provide to your clients. This can take the form of a balloon designer's final installation. It could be the calligrapher's design, or a make up artist's wedding-day results. These are the portfolio shots that you use on your website to show your potential clients what they can expect when they work with you.

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Bonnie Heath, photographer, Atlanta


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