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How To Use The FREE Brand Photo Shoot Planner For Freelancers


Phew, long title! Okay, hi. I’ve got something awesome to share with you and it’s called the Brand Photo Shoot Planner for Freelancers.

As you can probably tell from the name, it’s a planner that you can use to plan out your brand photo shoots. What kind of shots to take? What props to use? All those go into the planner.

Background time! I was hired by a friend to plan out the social media content of her family’s brand. Of course, this involves a lot of photos (it’s a restaurant) and one day we thought it would be great to take branded photos.

She had hired photographers before, but this time we were going to do it on our own.

Since we both didn’t have experience conducting or even taking part in any branded photo shoots, I wanted to make sure that we weren’t going to waste time taking unusable photos.

And…. We definitely didn’t want to waste money! For each dish that we were going to ‘shoot’, the chef had to make it from scratch. And afterwards, we can’t exactly serve a paying customer that dish, can we?

(But I got to eat some of the dishes. So yay for me.)

So since time is money and money is money, we were extra cautious in planning so that we wouldn’t have to shoot the same dish twice.


What are branded photos and why do I need them?

What are branded photos?

Branded photos are photos that are intended to convey branding. For example, if it’s a luxury brand, the photos have the “luxury vibe” or identity that the brand wants to promote to its customers.

The photos are NOT random — they’re well-planned and designed to achieve the objective that the brand wants.

In other words, branded photos are a part of branding, just like the logo and packaging.

Why do I need branded photos as a freelancer?

Eventhough you’re a freelancer, you have a brand. It’s you. You’re the professional [insert title here].

By having branded photos that you can use to promote your services, you’re sending the right message to your potential clients.

Think about it: Someone recommends your services to their friend (aka your potential client). The potential client decides to check out your Instagram account to scope you out.

My question is: What will your potential client see when they look at your account? Are they getting the right “picture” of your capabilities as a professional freelancer?

Before you ask, I think that it’s good to share personal stuff now and again on your official freelancer account. It makes people recognize that you’re a relatable human being.

But even personal stuff / pictures have to have the right vibe…


What happens when you don’t have a Brand Photo Shoot Planner?

Easy peasy. You waste time and money.

Imagine two situations where time and money is wasted:


You hire a photographer to take your branded photos. You meet up at a nice cafe with a private room that you booked (can’t have the cafe customers photobombing your moment). You’re all dressed up and looking nice. The photographer arrives. You spend the next 1-2 hours looking at the camera, not looking at the camera, looking out the window, fake-laughing, and generally being awkward. When you get the photos — plenty of them, sure — they’re all photos of you just sitting around!

Guess how many of those photos you can use on social media? Less than 3! You can’t post 126 photos of yourself in a row. Totally not usable.

Unless your photographer is also a stylist / creative director / someone with experience in giving direction for the shots, your photo shoot won’t be productive.


You woke up early on Saturday morning, feeling well-rested. You’re thinking that it’d be great to take advantage of the natural light and take some good Instagram photos. You start to arrange a few things, a mug of coffee here, a few rose petals scattered there, and start shooting away! You start adding props in until in the end you’re not quite sure what it is you’re trying to shoot. After a few more minutes of fidgeting with the props (the coffee is getting cold), you call it a day.

If you have limited time (weekend time is a national commodity) why would you sweat for hours trying to make pictures look good when you’ll only get a few good ones?

I’ve been through Situation 2 more times than I could ever count. I’ll start my Saturday/Sunday with good intentions. Get some great photos for my business! And end up feeling discouraged because I’ve only gotten a few that I could REALLY use and write captions for on social media. 1 hour for 2-3 photos is not time well spent, in my opinion.

The only way to maximize the time and money that you will spend on taking branded photos is to PLAN AHEAD.

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I know it’s corny, don’t judge me.

But so many things go into making great photos.

  • Great lighting.

  • Great subject matter.

  • Great props.

  • Great angles.

You need a plan to put together all these! If not, you’d have wasted time and money and you won’t be any closer to attracting the clients that you want.

So that’s where the Brand Photo Shoot Planner for Freelancers comes in.

Plan your photo shoot and look RIGHT for the job.

Stop wasting time and money and start impressing potential clients with the right kind of photos!

Get the free Brand Photo Shoot Planner for Freelancers in your inbox.

    I won't spam you. Pinky promise.

    How to use the Brand Photo Shoot Planner for Freelancers

    I’m gonna walk you through on how to use the Planner for your own photo shoot. You can get the file to use by entering your email address in the form above.


    Firstly, here’s an overview of the Brand Photo Shoot Planner. As you can see, I’m using a table in a .docx file because it’s the easiest way to edit the planner and have everything visible at a glance.

    2. Shot #

    The Shot # is how you organize the different shots you have using alphabets. It doesn’t represent each ‘click’ of the camera if that makes sense.

    It highly depends on the content and subject matter of the shot. Basically, if the shot is different from the previous shot and the change of shot requires some effort, then it needs to be its own Shot B, C and so on.

    In other words, change the scene = change the alphabet.


    Shot A - A photo of you wearing a red shirt and sitting down.

    Shot B - A photo of you wearing a blue shirt and standing in front of a door.

    To change from Shot A to Shot B, you’ll need to change your shirt, right? It’s a change of scene and there’s effort involved.

    So it’s helpful to categorize them under different alphabets so that your photo shoots are done in the most efficient order. You don’t want to keep changing between the red shirt and blue shirt when you can do each separately.

    2. Shot Description

    The Shot Description is where you describe the shot that you want. Like my example, it doesn’t have to be super specific.

    It’s also where I insert other people’s photos that have inspired me (hence, ‘Inspo’) or want to replicate in some way. It’s easier than having to check my phone or search through the Gallery everytime I want to take the shot.

    3. Framing/Styling

    The Styling/Framing is the description of the shots under the same alphabet that you HAVE to have.

    Maybe you want a close-up of the items in your flatlay to highlight each one. Or maybe you want a bird’s eye view of all items in your flatlay. Or both.

    OR…. Maybe you want your flatlay to have an empty space in the middle so that you can edit in text later.

    For all those shots you want, write then down! The more shots you plan ahead and write down, the more efficient and productive your photo shoot will be.

    Also, nothing sucks worse then when you’ve already changed the scene and realizing that you forgot to take a particular shot that you reeeeally, reeeeeeally need.

    Note: TOP-VIEW refers to the standard flatlay style where you take the photos directly on top of the items. SIDE-VIEW refers to when you take photos from any other side angle.

    4. Props

    The Props portion is really about what you want to feature in your photos.

    By planning ahead on the props, you’ll be able to….

    1. Choose items that convey the vibe or identity you want to present.

    2. Choose items that are relevant to the subject matter of your social media post.

    One of my favourite tips for choosing props is to choose items that are in your brand colours to really tie your “aesthetic” together on your social media feed.

    For example, if your brand colour is pink, you might want to show off your pink notebook in your flatlays. (I went into more detail about choosing props based on your brand colours in this post)

    Once you’ve figured out what props you want to use, you can collect them and put them together in a container BEFORE your photo shoot starts. No more running around like a chicken trying to find stuff.

    5. Notes

    The Notes are basically notes of the shots you want to take. Any extra info that you want to include goes here.

    In my example above, I’ve listed down the different eyeshadow palettes that I will feature in my flatlay. The idea is I’d prepare the flatlay and switch between the palettes when taking the shots.

    If you want to be super duper detailed and organized, you can list them in the Framing/Styling portion so that you can make sure to tick each one as done (in every frame possible).

    But unless you’re doing a product photo shoot where you HAVE to get photos of every product from EVERY angle, organizing the shots like my example would be more than enough!


    Tips for taking branded photos as a freelancer

    Hold ye horses! Here’s a few tips that have worked really well for me:

    1. Use Pinterest and Instagram to collect reference photos. If you’re scratching your head thinking about what shots to include, check out photos on Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration! It’s good for starting off your first few shots. After that, let your creativity take over.

    2. Save your reference photos in your laptop / phone / tablet for easy reach. During the actual photo shoot, you’d want to look at the reference photos constantly in order to replicate them. It’s easier to do that when all those photos are saved and ready.

    3. Think about where you want to use your branded photos. As a freelancer, you’ll be promoting your services to potential clients, and your branded photos are supposed to help you do that.

    4. Have a theme for each photo shoot session. It’s unlikely that you can cram all the photos you want in a single photo shoot session, so it’s better to focus on only a few shots under the same theme and get them right.

    Plan your photo shoot and look RIGHT for the job.

    Stop wasting time and money and start impressing potential clients with the right kind of photos!

    Get the free Brand Photo Shoot Planner for Freelancers in your inbox.

      I won't spam you. Pinky promise.

      The best thing about having great photos is that they become an asset to your brand or business. Not only can your potential clients become familiarised with you and your style, you’ll also be able to create the brand you want by leaving the right impressions.

      What kind of photos do you think is best to promote your services? Comment below!


      Leveraging Your Skill To Create A Dream Business or Career


      I only drink lattes. I both like the taste AND like the hipster feeling that accompanies coffee-drinking.

      When I'm broke, it's my instant coffee mix (if you're wondering which one, it's the Nescafe Oh So Creamy White Coffee with milk), but when I'm feeling a little luxurious, I go to the café in my office building.

      Anyway, since payday is only a few days away from today, I thought I'd swing by the café and grab a hot macadamia latte to accompany today's writing session.

      As I was waiting for my order, I noticed how quick the barista was in making it. And it was good, just as it always has been.

      It's not easy to make good lattes. It's not just a "pour water, pour milk" kind of thing. I've tried making my own from scratch and it's hard to CONSISTENTLY get right.

      I've lost count of how many times I went to a café / restaurant / the local Starbucks and thought, "The coffee was good last week, but today it sucks. I'm disappointed."

      It takes SKILL and EXPERIENCE to be able to do things perfectly -- consistently. Good equipment does help, but NOT all the way.

      Back to the barista.

      As I was gratefully sipping my latte, I thought about how awesome it is if the barista could use her coffee-making skill to build her own career or business.

      1. CLIENT-ORIENTED CAREER/BUSINESS: A barista for hire

        What if the barista could freelance and provide coffee-making services at events? (I've seen this at weddings)


        What if the barista could train the employees of new cafes and coffeehouses on making good coffee?

        What if the barista could train those employees on the tips and tricks to efficiently make good coffee when there's a loooong line of customers? (Without messing up all the different orders!)

        What if the barista could create an online educational course on making good coffee for caffeine-heads at home? (Basically, people who don't have the fancy equipment)

        What if the barista could teach a specific coffee-related skill, like how to make beautiful foam art?


        What if the barista could provide consultation to café owners on what kind of equipment works best and how to structure the processes (from taking the order to preparing the coffee to the presentation)?

      It's so exciting to think about the paths that the barista could choose if she decides to leverage her skill.

      Leveraging your skill means you get to maximize your money-making potential by utilizing your skill. In short, make money from something you’re good at AND you like doing.

      With any new venture, it takes time to really bear fruit. Even if that barista is ready to quit her job tomorrow and start teaching employees of new cafes and coffeehouses, the clients won’t be lining up to hire her right away. That’s a given, right?

      But if she leverages her skill AND brands herself AND starts to market herself as THE PROFESSIONAL BARISTA — who’s to say that her dream career or business is out of reach?

      Here's a little challenge for you: Think about the people you meet in your life. People who work retail jobs, your relatives, your colleagues, that person you follow on Instagram.

      Brainstorm 3 different ways that person can use that ONE skill that he/she has to build his/her own career or business.

      I know it sounds like you're just daydreaming on behalf of that person. But it's a great exercise for you in adopting the mindset of CAN DO, WILL DO.

      Even if you're doing this for someone else, it’s great to step outside the beaten path.



      3 Ways to Turn Your Hobby Into A Business


      Do you have a hobby and you go, wouldn’t it be nice to make money from this so that I don’t have to work my dayjob anymore?

      I’ve read so many stories about successful entrepreneurs who said that they started out ‘for fun’ and it eventually snowballed into a five-figure, six-figure business.

      And of course, that got me all inspired to start my own business. In fact, my first business did start from a hobby (hand-lettering), but as far as I know, I’m not a millionaire. (Yet.)

      All jokes aside though, today’s newsletter is about figuring out how to JUMP into a business that’s based on something you love doing. I’ve got three ways you can approach this!


      1) Help other people to get into the same hobby.

      One of my aunts love quilling. At first I was like, quilling as in making quills? What the heck IS quilling??

      Turns out quilling is the art of rolling paper and putting them together to make decorative designs.

      She bought a quilling ‘starter kit’ from another ‘quiller’ (not sure if that’s what they’re called) that has a few tools and strips of coloured paper.

      Which is pretty neat! My aunt could learn from Youtube videos, but getting the tools themselves wasn’t so easy. It was great that she didn’t have to hunt down the tools herself before she could get started.

      So let's say that your hobby is something that requires tools or special components. Why not sell those tools that could help other people who would also want to get into the hobby?

      You can:

      1. Make the tools or components yourself.
      2. Put together your own 'starter kit’ filled with recommended brands so that people could start out with quality stuff.
      3. Import hard-to-get stuff and resell them.

      2) Teach people the basics of the hobby.

      If your hobby is the kind of hobby that requires a level of skill, you can also teach people that skill so that people can enjoy the hobby more.

      For example, painting. If you can teach people how to paint basic flower shapes, they're going to enjoy painting a whole lot more!

      Case in point: me. I don’t know anything about watercolour painting. So every time after a ‘painting session’, I end up feeling totally gloomy because the end result is complete crap.

      Nobody enjoys an activity where they totally suck at it. LOL.

      So what can you do is maybe plan a class or workshop where people can actually accomplish something small but concrete. You don’t have to turn them into Picassos.

      Just give them the confidence to start that hobby!


      3) Apply your hobby in another context.

      Your hobby in itself may not be something that you can make money from. For example, if you like origami, people might not line up just to buy your paper cranes.

      But if you can apply your hobby into another context or situation, there’s money-making potential!

      Using the origami example, you can make origami flower bouquets that can be used to decorate all the guest tables at a kenduri. So in a way, you’re personalizing your origami hobby to fit the market.


      Anyway, I'm not saying ALL hobbies can be turned into a business. There's probably a small percentage of hobbies that aren’t aligned with any kind of market.

      BUT, unless you have a really unique, totally niche, what-the-heck-is-that hobby, you could definitely explore how you can turn something you already love doing into a business. Who knows, maybe you could eventually do it full-time. :)

      What’s your hobby and how do you think it can be turned into a business? Let me know by commenting!