Branding My Editorial Business: Working with a Photographer

Sophie Playle

A few months ago, I hired a professional photographer to shoot some photos for my business.

I’ve been running my editorial business for a good number of years now, and I was at the point I wanted to take it to the next level. For me, that meant redesigning my website and improving my brand. In order to do that, I needed some custom photographs.

Finding the Right Photographer

I found Rosie Cooper of RXCROSE through YouTube, of all places. She does videography as well as photography, and I had seen a promotional video she had made with a YouTuber I follow.

I didn’t realise Rosie had made this video until months later, though, when the YouTuber mentioned she wasn’t able to book her preferred photographer for her wedding. I was also looking for possible wedding photographers at the time, so I asked her who it was – it was Rosie. I checked out her website and Instagram, and I knew her style was just right for my business.

After emailing her, I was delighted to discover her fees were in my budget.

I then had a bit of a decision to make. I had emailed her in late autumn, but I was going away for a month in a few weeks’ time. Autumnal colours and images fit well with my brand, but I didn’t really have time to have the photographs done before I went away, so decided to wait until winter. At this point, I was also growing out a haircut – ideally, I wanted my hair to be longer in my brand photos, so waiting a few months would help with this!

Scheduling the Shoot – Not So Easy!

January rolled around, and I got my hair professionally cut and coloured (gotta look good for those photos) a few days before the day we’d put in the diary. Then I got an email from Rosie saying she was fully booked for the next few weeks. Uh … what?

There had been some misunderstanding between us as to whether the date was set or just pencilled in. There was some further scheduling difficulty later down the line, too, that involved some appointment shuffling on Rosie’s part and then me having to cancel due to having a terrible cold.

On the Day of the Shoot

Eventually, we got there. I got up at the crack of dawn to travel to quaint Bury St Edmunds, the town we’d chosen for the shoot. Tired but excited, I dragged my suitcase full of props and outfit changes onto the train and looked out the window at the frost-glittered fields as the sun came up.

We met in a café Rosie recommended. Spacious yet cosy, it was the perfect location for the shoot, and the café staff didn’t seem to mind! With books and coffee and my typewriter and a pot of tea for props, Rosie snapped away.

I’d previously explained what I wanted from the shoot: lots of photos I could use on my website, including some still life images as banner backgrounds and such. I told Rosie: Some of my brand words include: friendliness, integrity, quality, reassurance. Essentially, I want my clients to feel like they’re in safe hands. My brand accent colour is a kind of mid-orange, and the pallet includes both autumn and winter tones.

I’m not very comfortable being photographed, but upon meeting Rosie I instantly felt more relaxed. She helped give me a few stage directions, and we took lots and lots of photos in a few different locations.

She showed me some of the shots as we went along, which only made me feel more confident, seeing the great pictures that were accumulating. After an hour or so, we had a bit of a break and a chat, which was nice. We also left the café and took some shots outside, by some brick wall backdrops and in a public garden.

Receiving My Photos

Rosie spent plenty of time with me and I never felt as though we were rushing. The very next day, Rosie emailed me a link to a few hundred photos she’d selected and told me to choose 150 for editing.

Seeing them all was so exciting, and I was very happy with the shots Rosie had taken. Very quickly after I’d made my selections, I received a link to download my chosen, edited, photos.

The photos were just what I had hoped for. I really felt as though they reflected the brand I was trying to cultivate, and having the photos on hand helped me finish the new design of my website.

My Top Tips for Working with a Photographer

  • When you’re just starting out, you probably won’t have a budget for professional photographs for your business, so stick to good free stock photography and quality photos you take yourself (or with the help of a friend).
  • Before you think about hiring a photographer, make sure you’ve done the groundwork figuring out your business brand. You’ll want to hire a photographer whose style aligns with your brand.
  • Instagram is a great place to find freelance photographers! Search for ones who live near you.
  • Talk to you photographer and let them know what you want from working with them: how you want to use the photographs, what you want photographed, how many photographs you’d like, the style of photography, etc.
  • Your photographer should talk to you about rights and usage and issue you with a contract – all that professional stuff. Make sure you understand and agree to the terms.
  • On the day of the shoot, make sure you look your best and have some outfit changes and plenty of props with you. Consider shooting at various locations to provide a variety of images.
  • You’ll probably feel awkward at first, but try to relax, move around, try different poses and face different ways to catch the light differently. Remember, all the dud shots will be deleted! No one but the photographer will see those!

I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of my photoshoot, and Rosie was the loveliest of people. If you’re an editorial business owner and want to take your business to the next level, hiring a professional photographer is something to consider.

Sophie Playleis a professional fiction editor. She specialises in developmental editing, critiquing and copy-editing, and loves working with authors and publishers who are passionate about high-quality storytelling. Speculative fiction, fantasy, science fiction and literary fiction are her genres of choice. She's an Advanced Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading and has a Creative Writing MA from Royal Holloway, University of London. Find out more:

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