Explore the blog


I’m Dakota, a Wilmington, NC-based photographer helping engaged couples feel comfortable in front of the camera and creative businesses grow with purposeful brand imagery.

Vlog Favorites

Looking for Something Specific?




5 Questions You Should Be Able To Answer Before Scheduling Brand Photos

February 15, 2024

One of the things that surprised me about the brand photo process is how much the AWARENESS of your business affects the IMPACT of your photos.

And I guess it’s not really that fact that has surprised me, but more so how many business owners have never truly dug into their brands into this depth until we’re planning out their brand photos.

The main feedback I get after clients start working through their pre-planning questionnaire is “wow, I’ve never actually been asked any of these questions before.” They ultimately know the answers once we start to work through them but how often do you have the opportunity to see them all laid out in one place!

It’s incredibly satisfying to start off feeling like things are disjointed and you’re not sure how all of the pieces fit together, only to come to the end of the planning process with beautifully neat and cohesive storylines.

(I really am finding my superpower is being able to find connections between almost anything.)

To everyone who is planning on investing in their brand photos (or really anything as it pertains to your brand visuals), you can get ahead of the game by thinking through the following questions. 

What type of person do you like to work with the most? Why do you like working with that person?

Ah yes, the “ideal client” conversation.

As a marketer it’s honestly a little annoying how everything always comes back to the ideal client (sometimes I just want to talk about something else LOL) but it’s true. If you don’t know who you’re talking to then you might as well not be talking at all.

Ideal clients and target markets are a tried and true part of the marketing strategy but I’ve really been loving figuring out my own spin and starting to level up that conversation beyond just the basic “who is your ideal client?” question.

I’ve been pushing clients to think more about the TYPE of person they want to work with – this includes going beyond where they like to shop and how they spend their free time and really focusing on their character traits.

Are they easy going or do they live for the details? Do they like to be surrounded by people or do they like more intimate settings? Do they seek out a lot of information before they commit or do they go based on their gut? How do they feel most appreciated? How do they like to build relationships?

Of course clients are all individual people, but the more specific you can get with targeting the more your messaging is going to identify with them.

As a part 2 to that question, why do YOU like working with that person?

In my experience, oftentimes within the ideal client conversation, it feels like the business’ perspective gets left out. Sure, these are the people that you want to attract but WHY? What does working with them feel like?

If you can really understand what your ideal client wants and needs and also understand how that affects you and the experience working with them, we can further hone in your messaging.

For example, you are a wedding florist who loves working with brides who like bright colors and whimsical designs. They have their own inspiration for florals but also don’t know what to expect and like to be given direction. You like this because you want to work with couples who provide you with clear likes and dislikes but also the freedom to create – you think that’s the best way to collaborate and produce the best work. 

This means that within your storylines we will highlight types of floral styles both you and your ideal client like, ways to educate your audience on how the process works and how they can best come prepared, and reinforce your expertise so they trust you.

What problem do you solve for your clients? (Include the problem they *think* you’ll solve and also what you *actually* solve)

I love this question because it helps you analyze how you serve people from both your perspective AND their perspective (arguably more important). 

There are multiple stages in the buyer’s journey and your job as a brand is to speak to all of them. I see it all the time where there is a disconnect simply because you are speaking a different language than your clients.

Example: Wedding planners KNOW they are needed. Who else is going to make sure that all of the fine details of vendor contracts are being adhered to? Who is going to coordinate the cake ending up on the right table? Who is going to make sure everything is packed away in the correct boxes at the end of the night?

We know this is the problem that you solve for clients and honestly, those things SHOULD be talked about more.

BUT, that is not the problem clients are initially trying to solve when they think “should I hire a wedding planner?” 

They’re thinking about the stress of planning, or they’re thinking just about who is going to do the timing of people walking down the aisle… you have to talk to those things too.

It’s important to think about all of your potential clients and create a well-rounded messaging strategy that speaks to all of the stages and all of the problems you can solve…then we can figure out how to visually represent those concepts with images to make it easier for everyone to understand.  

What five adjectives best describe your brand? What five adjectives do NOT describe your brand?

When I had my brand re-designed by Kindly By Kelsea, this was one of the questions on her brand questionnaire and I LOVED IT.

Words mean a lot to me and from choosing a word every year I have become obsessed with looking up definitions and really pushing people to choose words that ACTUALLY represent their business, not just what first pops into their head.

We can’t all be “fun.” We can’t all be “timeless, romantic, and classic.”

When words are overused they lose their meaning…and oftentimes I find that most brands don’t even really truly identify with those words and there’s something else that better describes them.

I had a client that first described herself as “fun” and upon digging deeper, she actually identified more with “welcoming, safe, and relational.” That’s a totally different vibe from “fun”! But you can feel the difference in those words. 

Just as importantly as what words DO describe your brand are the words that DON’T. 

Keeping with the “fun” example, say that you would describe your brand as “fun”…but not “loud.” Hmm…see how that changes the vibe? 

This one is tough! I know! It definitely takes a lot of thinking and awareness around your brand but the clearer you’re able to communicate, even with just a simple list of words, the better your messaging (and ultimately your brand photos) is going to be. 

What “fires you up”? What are some of your favorite things? (Use these as connection points!)

Part of running a business with a personality-driven marketing strategy is being able to identify your “brand boosters” or the connection points you want to have with your audience.

This includes your favorite drink, colors you’re drawn to, how you like to spend your free time, the people that mean the most to you, products that you’re always using, etc. 

For whatever reason (probably because people have a hard time thinking that what they do is unique), this question is always so difficult for people to answer.

I think this is largely in part because they try to answer it in what they “think” they should have as their favorite things…

You know them because it feels like you see them everywhere. Chick-fila, coffee, shopping at Target…yes, you may like all of those things. There’s a reason they are a go-to brand connector. Everyone loves them!

But I want to challenge you the same way I challenge all of my brand clients – what about those things do you like the most? Is there a way we can make it more specific to YOU? Do you even like those things at all? Is there something else that you forgot about or didn’t think was special enough to make a connection?

I’ve found that the more specific you get, the stronger the connection will be when you do eventually find a person that relates.

It’s easy to walk into a room and say “I love Chick-fila. Who here loves Chick-fila?!” You’ll get a lot of hand raises but it’s not memorable. Everyone’s hands are up.

But what if it was “I love Chick-fila…actually their chicken noodle soup is my favorite thing on the menu!” Now that’s memorable. Not everyone will relate but the ones that do will feel like they found something really special in that connection. 

(I actually do really love their soup and have made a connection with a few people online who also feel the same way and now they tag me in their soup pics LOL)

So, taking that different perspective, what are some things that you naturally gravitate towards? What about them do you actually like? How can it be more memorable and personal to you?

What do you normally talk about on social media? What do you want to post more about?

This is another big question that must have been thought through before scheduling brand photos.

The best brand photos tell a story…but you have to know what that story is.

Part of our pre-planning work is dumping out all of the pieces on the table to look at them from a high level and then sorting them into similar categories until we have 2-3 specific storylines with key messages. 

An example of a storyline for a life coach could be “navigation and trust” with the concept of “This is a process that I am able to guide you through because I have walked this path before. I will give you the tools to help you navigate, depending on what you need.”

Our key messages of this storyline are:

  • I understand what you are feeling because I have walked in your shoes.
  • I am a comfortable person you can trust.
  • I am a welcoming presence.
  • I have the tools to help you navigate your situations.

So if these are the messages that they want to communicate, they will need to think through how they will talk about this on social media. What stories will they tell? What are some concepts that help get the feeling of “navigation and trust” across? 

The answer to those questions will dictate the types of photos we need to take.

The purpose of brand photos is to be a visual aid to communicating a specific message. It’s really difficult to come up with unique, purposeful images when we aren’t clear on what their purpose is. 

Even for myself, I’ve found it the most helpful to spend time working on a content calendar or a story bank (a concept taught by my talented friend Akua) BEFORE I start to plan out my brand shoots. This ensures that I won’t end up looking at a gallery of images and thinking “wait, what should I say when I post this?” 

Remember, photos shouldn’t dictate your marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy should advise your photos. 

There’s a lot more questions where these came from…

It can feel difficult to answer these questions on the spot but I promise if you clear space on your calendar and give yourself a chance to sit with them, you probably know more answers than you thought. 

If you need help getting clarity on these types of questions, I’d love to help over at morethancreative.co.

If you’re like, “YES FINALLY, I do feel like I know these!!!”…it’s probably time to turn those answers into images, my friend. I’m excited to help you!!! 
You can get the process started here 🙂


I’m Dakota, a Wilmington, NC-based photographer Helping engaged couples feel comfortable in front of the camera and creative businesses grow with purposeful brand imagery.

Looking for Something Specific?

Vlog Favorites



How to Choose Your Senior Photographer



How to Plan a Proposal with a Photographer

The Conversation You MUST Have With Your Bridal Party

Reader Favorites

a few

a few

Reader Favorites