What goes into conducting a brand shoot

You’ve read the articles on ensuring your business’ Instagram sees love and you’ve heard them loud and clear: you need custom, on-brand content for your feed. Easy peasy, right? Actually, a lot goes into executing a well-thought out, strategic brand shoot. It often begins weeks before anyone picks up their camera, and last long after the last click of a shutter.

Prep work makes the day-of work

The better prepared you are for a brand shoot, the smoother the shoot will go and the better the results. That’s why almost 60% of the work goes into preparing for a shoot day. First, there is the logistical side. This includes determining and booking a location, scouting props, organizing any on-camera talent needed, preparing supplies, booking additional vendors, and a myriad of other tasks. Some shoots require booking cars, organizing hotel rooms, coordinating lunch and other meals.

Then there’s the creative side of preparing. No strong shoot producer goes in the day blind. They know exactly what shots they want captured and why. It begins with finding inspiration. This often means scouring Instagram and Pinterest, keeping the latest trends and engagement drivers in mind. Then a carefully curated moodboard is developed and shared with the team to set tone and style for the shoot. Finally, a shot list is developed, and the props begin to be matched with the shots.

The combination of these two critical items then get organized into the day-of run down and logistics package. This way, everyone on the shoot team – from stylists to photographers to the business owners – knows exactly what’s happening, when, and who’s needed. Large-scale shoots often have shots scheduled down to the hour to keep the production on-track.

Lastly, it’s time to carefully pack and head off to the shoot.

Lights, camera, action

Shoots are carefully orchestrated days that are equal parts fun and crazy work. Depending on the scale of the shoot, the shoot team can consist of a producer, photographer, photographer’s assistant, talent, stylist, make-up artist, hair stylist, muscle, and the brand’s owners. More often than not, one person will be wearing a variety of these hats.

Sometimes, shoots are very small and consist of very few team members. One such shoot was orchestrated by the Sequoia Content Studio team for our client, Tease Tea. With two models and one producer/photographer, everyone shared roles. The location was also only booked for 60 minutes, so things moved quickly and efficiently in order to capture the necessary shots in the limited time. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the team capturing the first few shots of the day.

Effective planning and strong focus ensured the shoot went smoothly, and in no time, the team was working as a well-oiled machine to get the job done in the short period of time.

Also critical to the success of the shoot was proper prop organization and preparation.

Buckle down and edit

The final step is dropping, culling, and editing the photos. In that 60 minute shoot, we captured over 300 photos. They weren’t all winners, but we have to go through each of them to find the shots we want to keep.

Of course, every photo gets a little touch-up. Most times, this is just to ensure the colouring and lighting meet the individual brand guidelines. Sometimes, it’s to edit out pesky distractions such as electrical outlets or reflections. Rarely, it’s because your model for the shot had kneeled in wet tea at the start of the shoot when in the role of photographer, as seen below.

The Tease Tea content shoot took all day beyond the earlier prep work, from packing to travel, shoot to edit. And the end result is in quality, on-brand content designed to engage the audience and be versatile across a number of platforms. Check out the photos below for some of our favourites from the shoot.

Megan te Boekhorst

I brought my West Coast soul to the city of Toronto in order to build the creative empire of my dreams. In 2018, I started Sequoia Content Studio, a boutique PR and content agency that supports lifestyle businesses not only tell their story, but ensure it actually gets heard. Just two weeks before the launch, I was honoured to be named PR in Canada's PR Person of the Year. Life has been non-stop ever since.

I live boldly, believe in raw honesty, and value unapologetic vulnerability. Living with depression, I've always had a voice in my head yelling at me, telling me I'm not enough and my work isn't enough. This voice is all too common for creatives. So I'm dedicated to creating authentic content and experiences that empower young creatives to build meaningful businesses, and meaningful lives.

Isn't it time you start living #thesequoialife?