The ultimate

Personal Branding Session Planning Guide

“Unlock the Power of Your Professional Branding Session: Maximizing Your Business Investment through an Unforgettable Experience!”

Hi Y’all!

How to use this Guide

As a branding photographer, I understand the challenges you face in growing your business online. It’s my mission to uncomplicate the world of branding photography, particularly for everyday small business owners like you. I know that confidence in front of the camera and navigating technology can be hurdles to overcome, but together, we can tackle them head-on.

Let me share why I’m a huge advocate of branding sessions.

First, these sessions allow you to authentically showcase your personality, which is the core of your personal brand. By attracting your ideal clients through visuals that truly reflect who you are, we can ensure that you’re drawing in the right audience. After all, the visuals you present online can either magnetize or repel potential clients, and I’m positive that you’re aiming to attract your preferred customers.

Secondly, personal branding photos have the power to elevate your work, not just on social media, but across all the platforms where your business is present. By creating a consistent and professional visual identity, we’ll give your brand a polished and cohesive look.

Lastly, a branding session provides an opportunity to showcase your profession in a setting that perfectly matches the unique personality of your business. Each of my clients receives a tailor-made branding session that perfectly captures their essence, making their business truly stand out online.

Planning a branding session can feel overwhelming with all the details to consider. To simplify the process, I’ve compiled this comprehensive guide that answers all the frequently asked questions I receive. Together, we’ll explore everything you need to know to ensure a successful session.

It’s time to bid farewell to those dull and lifeless headshots. Allow me to guide you in elevating your brand through a carefully planned and executed session.

Warm regards,
Holly Rigos

Camera Shy?

Advice for the Business Owner

I understand. I know that spending hours getting your picture taken might not be on your list of top 10 favorite things to do in your free time. Initially, you might feel a bit self-conscious and awkward being in front of the camera. However, I want you to know that by the end of the session, it’s going to be much easier than you anticipated, and you might even have some fun along the way.

I genuinely look forward to our session because it presents a fantastic opportunity for you to walk away with a treasure trove of valuable content. Not only will these photos enhance your website, but they’ll also be a valuable asset for your other social media platforms. Together, we’ll create a collection of visuals that authentically represent you and your brand.

Let’s get down to business

Tips for planning your Branding Session

Light & Timing

Unlike family photos that may be conducted in a field during golden hour – YOUR branding session is not subject to the same parameters. It can be captured anytime and anywhere. Also, when the photographer employs off-camera flash/lighting, even the harsh noontime sun or dark office isn’t a hindrance for great branding images. READ MORE HERE.


Anywhere that resonates with your brand! Your home, office, coffee shops, downtown areas, or even outside! I encourage you to think outside the box and provide examples.


An extremely crucial part of the process that will ultimately align your personality with your brand. Combining all the styling options from the above lighting and locations with clothing, hair, makeup, props, and more will lead to successful images.


What do you do with your hands? Feet? How to pivot on your hips and create the right angles for photos? Do you sit or try standing? It takes a little practice and a patient caring hand to guide you through posing that leaves you feeling loved and seen.

What’s Next?

Once your images are delivered the next phase is just as crucial! A plan of action for implementing them across your social and website platforms will complete the next step in your plan of elevating your brand online.

Branding Session Planning TIP:

Time & Light

How to plan for light

Best tips for lighting

When it comes to branding sessions, flexibility is key. From the coziness of your home office to a chic rented AirBNB space, the possibilities are endless. There’s no right or wrong time for your photo session. I tailor each session based on the vision my clients have in mind, which they share through a detailed questionnaire after booking.

My sessions usually come in two main packages: a 3 hour half-day session or a comprehensive 6 hour full-day experience. I prefer kicking off our shoot early to make the most of natural light, but I’m prepared with off-camera lighting gear to ensure consistent and authentic shots, even on cloudy or stormy days.

When to plan for seasonal content

Typically, we can shoot year-round, however, you may need to
choose a specific time based on the location where you want to shoot.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:

suzy holling senior photographer and new coach and mentor for the former click and bloom community now commissioned community _ retreat in nashville tn

Extra Peeps

Incorporating clients or guests (even family or pets) into your branding images shows your future clients what it is like working with you and provides a glimpse into your personality. It helps them visualize working with you.

New Project

Are you planning a launch? New course? New product line? In addition to new branding photos, consider planning it around a new endeavor or celebration for a business milestone you want to highlight.


Desire that dreamy natural light? During the winter months, the shorter days will limit the ability to capture sunlight so factor that into your planning process for bright and airy photos during the winter.

Branding Session Planning TIP:


Where should you shoot your session?

Location, Location, Location

Feature your Workspace! It is the obvious first choice for business owners with physical office space and I love utilizing their familiar surroundings for images.

Advantages: One-of-a-kind branding photos because nobody else will have that space.

Disadvantages: You may not have the ability to keep this space clutter-free, especially if the space is your home, a lived-in home is LOVED but may not photograph well. Other things, may be a lack of light from windows, color of walls, and decor that does not match your branding. You have other options.

The right photographer will work with you on selecting the best locations for your vision and help curate the images for your content.

Some of my

Favorite Location Ideas

How to choose an amazing location that will deliver the messaging that business owners desire for their visual content depends entirely upon YOU – the client! The office workspace may not provide the bright and airy imagery that you, the business owner, need to portray the messaging of your brand.

Therefore, I have curated a list of spaces to help you scot and book an ideal location for your branding session. Let’s think outside the office:

Location Inspiration

Need a Space?


Airbnb, Peerspace, Vrbo

Ask friends or family members:

Do they have a gorgeous farm, home, lake house, or cute cottage?

Public spaces:

Consider trendy hotels, coffee shops, co-working spaces, lobbies of apartment complexes

Get outside:

Rooftops, parks, trails, urban downtown sidewalks

Holly Rigos Studio

My personal and completely exclusive space in Carrollton, Georgia

Shooting in Georgia? (link to ga locale)

These are purely suggestions for brainstorming beautiful locations but we also plan meaningful locations throughout the pre-shoot questionnaire to discuss location ideas. NOTE: I do not cover permit fees for location rentals this will be added to the client’s final bill.
Branding Session Planning TIP:

Styling the Shoot

All the THINGS


The hardest and perhaps the most fun (for some) is the styling component of the session. What do you need to bring to the session? Who can attend with you to better convey your message? What should you wear?

Consider your EVERYDAY WORK essentials. A fully rounded session will incorporate headshots and portraits as well as lifestyle behind-the-scenes creative shots that document the business owner working in their business (doing zooms, applying makeup, prepping clothes in a boutique, etc.).

Consider: What are some images that could be fluff on the website?

What Heather said:

The planning process of selecting clothes, and props, and creating a story narrative for the photos helped better prepare me for the session. I walked away empowered from the session

styling tips for the day


Hire a professional stylist. Yep, it is true, not everyone (including me) has an eye for fashion and styling. I have a local stylist available for sessions if my clients require a more guided approach. Otherwise, here are a few tips I have gathered over the years.

styling tip


Comfort is key, especially for shoes. While heels can make your legs look longer, if they’re not comfy for walking, bring along a spare pair that’s easier on your feet.

Keep it simple with solid colors, and black’s a safe bet. Just watch out for patterns that are too small—they can distract from your overall look in photos.

Pastel shades usually photograph better than super bright colors that might reflect on your skin, making it appear different. Neon-like colors can add a lot of brightness, affecting your complexion in photos.

Styling Tip


Accessories can make a statement. Try bold jewelry to add color or pattern to a plain dress. Lace and tulle always look charming in photos.

Dresses with lace sleeves can flatter your arms. Depending on where you’ll be, a flowy dress or a fit-and-flare might suit your vibe!

I suggest outfits that are comfy but dressy enough for the occasion. You want to feel good while looking polished.

Styling Tip

Favorite Shops

A few higher-end shops, are Rent the Runway, J. Crew, Free People, Francesa’s, and Ann Taylor.

Instead of pricier places, consider more budget-friendly options like Target, ModCloth, or even Shein.

Also, within Carrollton, GA, try Fashion TEN and the James and Jules Boutique.

Styling Tip

Hair & Makeup

While professional hair and makeup can elevate your look and boost confidence, if it’s not an option, don’t worry!

Simply styling your hair nicely and applying makeup that makes you feel good will do the trick.

Personal Branding Session Planning Guide examples for posing and styling and lighting
styling tip

Nail Care

Remember to clean up your nails before the shoot. I might take some close-up shots of you at work, so tidy nails are a plus! This goes for everyone—hands are a part of the story too.

(A mani/pedi could be a tax write-off, right? just kidding)

Styling Tip

For the Guys

Suit and tie? It’s a classic choice, but consider who you want to connect with. Remember, these photos are your chance to attract your ideal clients, so let’s aim for a polished look. I get it – working from home might mean you live in comfy clothes, but now’s the time to dress it up a bit! (Psst book a session that allows you time to capture multiple outfits.)

Avoid those tiny patterns that might make your photo look too busy. Go for softer, pastel colors – they tend to look better in photos and avoid the glare bright colors might bring. Plus, for colder seasons, cozy sweaters over a button-up shirt? It’s the perfect combo – warm and stylish.

mental health coach personal brand practice online business new website images carrollton georgia
Branding Session Planning TIP:

Posing for Images

Posing and composition
Different Posing Examples

more than images

Build your Brand Story

Your business isn’t just about what you sell; it’s about your story. Your personal branding session is the canvas where we delve into the unique storylines that make your business stand out. Crafting this part of your branding journey might take a little extra time, but trust me, it’s worth it.

Let’s ditch the clichés like you posing with a computer. That’s been done a million times before, and you deserve something far more extraordinary. Your story is yours alone, and it’s my job to capture that essence through intentional and unique images and videos.

You’re not just gifted; you’re uniquely designed to serve and make an impact. Let’s show the world why you and your business are incomparable.

Wait, did you consider this…

Commercial Product photography is another option for e-commerce business owners that will save them time and money.

Drumroll, please!

Your stunning and elevated branding images are ready to roll out for your business! Here’s a glimpse into the typical flow of events when it comes to delivering your personalized branding photos:

  • Expect a sneak peek posted within 1-2 days after our fantastic session together.
  • Your entire gallery will land in your inbox within 30-45 days post-session, brimming with your captivating visuals.
  • Around the 60-day mark, I’ll craft a blog post spotlighting our collaboration because I love showcasing the incredible businesses I partner with.
  • To ensure you’re all set to use your images effectively, I’ll send over a photo release along with some useful next steps that come along with your image gallery.


Join a Membership or a MINI-session

So, now that you’ve got your hands on those gorgeously curated branding photos, what’s next? Instead of the same ol’ photo loop on your socials, you’re now equipped with a treasure trove of content to splash across all your media platforms!

Ahead of your session, it’s crucial to discuss how you envision using these photos. This way, I, as your photographer, step into our session fully prepared to deliver not only a range of storylines but also various versions of the same pose. Why? So you can repurpose those shots across different platforms, amplifying your business’s marketing.

For that extra punch of ‘evergreen,’ consider mixing it up during your session! We can dive into different outfits, swap backgrounds, and toss in props that reflect the specific times of the year. It’s a strategy that keeps your content consistent, fresh, and tailored to the seasons.

Speaking of saving money and time, have you considered diving into my branding membership? It’s a fantastic way to streamline your branding efforts! You might want to explore options like hopping into a branding mini-session or utilizing multiple seasonal outfits during a full session. It’s a savvy move that ensures your content remains fresh while saving you both time and money!

What is next for you?

It’s time to level up your online presence with stunning photos, captivating videos, and a website that speaks directly to your ideal client. Let’s make this happen!

personal branding

Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, and how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.

Don’t miss out!

Let’s chat about all things branding

Hey there! Just a quick reminder – to make the most of our branding session, filling out the pre-branding shoot questionnaire is key. It’s like your roadmap to guide us through the process and ensure everything aligns perfectly.

I get it, this guide might seem a bit lengthy, but I hope it gets you all excited and prepped for our upcoming branding session (and maybe even sparks a few cool ideas)! And hey, if there’s anything I missed or you need advice, just shoot me an email at:

I’m here to help!