I’m Emily, and I’m a brand photographer for passionate small business owners who are ready to scale and want to stand out online as local industry leaders.

I, my (dog) daughter, and my fiancé are based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here at Emily Kim Photography, I provide creative, strategic marketing imagery that are in line with your business goals.

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planning your shoot

How to plan outfits for your brand photoshoot

September 29, 2020

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Last weekend, I got my own photos done. As in, I was in front of the camera!

How the turn tables. *cue Michael Scott GIF*

I documented a little bit of the behind-the-scenes process of putting the outfits together over on Instagram, and now I’ve compiled it all into this handy-dandy blog post, just for you. Use this blog post to find inspiration for planning your own brand photoshoot outfits!

The low-down

I booked a Creative Portrait Session with Janea from Janea Greene Creative. She offers these about once per quarter in her rentable studio space, Creative Space Studios! These are 90-minute sessions. I hired Lupe to do my hair and makeup for the photoshoot, and thus the dream team was formed.

Based on my own experience with clients, I knew to budget about 20 minutes per look, which means I planned on shooting 4 outfits but wanted to pack 5 total just in case there was extra time. However, if I were to do this again, I would have only planned for 3. That’s because the intention of Janea’s Creative Portrait Sessions is to, well, be creative.

Asian woman wearing a yellow t-shirt using her iPhone.

If you try to squeeze in too many looks, there’s no time to be creative. We ended up shooting 4 outfits, but if I felt a little rushed towards the end.

Now, I kind of already knew this and already suggest it to my clients, but I’m glad I was able to confirm it with my own experience:

Budget about 1 outfit per every 30 minutes of photoshoot time, but pack additional outfits in case there is extra time.

This is especially important if you are booking on-site hair and makeup, because the artist will also need time to freshen up or change your look!

Building your shoot day wardrobe

First and foremost, if you take anything away from this blog post, let it be this:

Try. On. EVERYTHING!

I don’t mean to shout, but truly. Something may look great in your head, but when you put it on, it might not execute the way you think it will.

You might be thinking, “but Emily, I don’t have time for that!” My friend, make the time. If you’re spending the time and money to invest in a photoshoot, we want those photos to serve you as best as possible. And if you show up to shoot day, try on an outfit, and realize it doesn’t work, that is going to be stressful AF.

Asian woman sitting on a couch. She's wearing a white t-shirt and tan pants and is drinking a glass of wine.

So, save yourself the trouble – try on your outfits beforehand! I even have my clients send me mirror selfies of options, because I can provide input on what will photograph well and what won’t.

Now, the fun part. If you’re like me, and putting together 4+ outfits just seems super daunting, start small. I wear basically the same shirt every day, and if you also have a similar go-to outfit, let’s start with that!

Look #1: Start with the “Everyday You”

Take your go-to outfit and elevate it.

Now, my actual everyday (quarantine) look would be a college t-shirt and PJ pants. My elevated everyday look is trendy soft pants, a loose but fitted t-shirt, and a fancy headband. 👸🏻 It’s so important to start your photoshoot wearing something you are comfortable in, because even professional models need to warm up!

Top: Madewell
Pants: Reclaim
Headband: Lele Sadoughi
Earrings: Elysian Theory
Wine glass: La Nebbia Winery

Look #2: Workwear

If your work outfit is different from your everyday outfit, incorporate that here! For me, I swapped the soft pants for denim. Now, my usual shoot day attire is a white t-shirt, denim, and my Rothy’s, but for the photoshoot, I added a belt and cute earrings.

Remember – we’re taking the outfits that you wear on a regular basis and elevating them. Accessories are almost always a plus!

You’ll see here that I planned to wear a headband, but totally forgot to put it on during the shoot. That’s okay! Your photoshoot may not go exactly as planned, but I encourage you to go with the flow. I’m actually really glad I didn’t put on a headband for these shots!

Top: Madewell (same as Look #1)
Jeans: Express
Headbands (mirror selfies): Lele Sadoughi
Earrings: Peggy Li
Shoes: Rothy’s

Look #3: Glammed up

Back in the day, before I locked down Steven, I probably would have worn something like this on a regular basis. Nowadays, this is definitely a date night only kinda look 😂

For your third look, dress it up a bit! Think of it as your date-night outfit or your going out to a fancy dinner look.

You’ll also notice that as the looks get fancier, so does the makeup. That’s the benefit of having a hair & makeup artist on-site – they can adjust your makeup looks to match whatever you’re wearing.

Now, before I show you the final look, let me show you the outfits that didn’t make the cut:

Collage of mirror selfies of a woman wearing white denim and coral shirts.

I really wanted to make any of the coral tops work with the white pants, but they just didn’t. In theory, it would’ve been cute, right?! But the yellow just works so much better. (Time to reiterate: always try everything on beforehand!)

Now, here was the winning outfit:

Top: Madewell
Jeans: Madewell
Earrings: Peggy Li
Shoes: Steve Madden via DSW

Look #4: Fun & trendy

Did I buy this skirt specifically for this photoshoot? Yes. Do I have any shame? No. Will I ever wear it again? Unclear.

For your last look, make it fun. Have a piece in your wardrobe that you’ve wanted to wear, but aren’t sure when you’ll wear it? Build an outfit around it!

This outfit took a few tries to get right because of how the t-shirt looked after tucking it into the skirt.

Top: Stitch Fix
Skirt: ModCloth
Earrings: Peggy Li
Shoes: Steve Madden via DSW

Wrapping up

Remember, your wardrobe is just one component of your overall brand photoshoot strategy. But by creating an on-brand wardrobe that you’re comfortable in, you’re building a strong base for a successful photoshoot!

Want more photoshoot outfit inspiration? Check out these blog posts:


There are a few ducks you’ll want to get in a row before you consider booking a brand photographer. I’ve outlined a few of those ducks in this blog post. But if you’re conflicted about booking a photographer vs. DIY-ing your brand photos, go ahead and hop on a call with me, and I can point you in the right direction!

Pinterest graphic - brand photoshoot outfit ideas

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I’m Emily, and I’m a brand photographer for passionate small business owners who are ready to scale and want to stand out online as local industry leaders.

I, my (dog) daughter, and my fiancé are based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here at Emily Kim Photography, I provide creative, strategic marketing imagery that are in line with your business goals.

tell me more...

crowd faves

on the blog

Color Psychology for Photoshoots

5 Dream Bay Area Studio Rentals for Your Next Shoot

5 Tips for Optimizing Images on Your Website

How to Plan Outfits for Your Brand Photoshoot

goodies you'll love

Access My Free Resource Library

Branded Stock Photography at the EK Stock Shop

Free Preset for
Lightroom Mobile

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