Why (Almost) Every ‘Posing Tip’ is Wrong for Brand Photos


Mar 7, 2024

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You’re looking for inspiration, and you find some striking and scroll-stopping fashion or portrait photography. You decide you want your brand photos vibe to be just like that! You’re excited, posing for brand photos just got easier!

But hang on, pump the brakes – what you’re thinking of might not translate into brand photography in the same way.

Inspiration is great, don’t get me wrong, but here’s the difference.

Unless you’re selling fashion/accessories, your clients are not the same audience (as fashion photography or portrait photography). They don’t need to see the same thing.

Let that sink in for a minute. I know it goes against probably everything you’ve been told about ‘posing.’

Different audiences = different messages in images and video

Your audience wants to see someone they can relate to. Someone they resonate with, someone they can know, like and trust. Not someone that looks completely out of their reach and not real. (It actually leads them to comparison-itis instead of connection). Most of my clients use brand words like welcoming, approachable, professional, and friendly. So you can see how posing is really important to support these brand values.

Now I get it, there are exceptions, but in general posing for brand photography is very different than portrait/fashion photography. The ultimate goal with brand photography is a genuine connection with your community. The goal of portrait photography is an eye-catching portrait. There’s no deeper invitation to connect and relate to the subject on the same level, to know, like, trust, and buy from them.

You (as a brand photography client) offer a product or service to your customers during a big moment in their lives. It can be really vulnerable to invest their time and money with you. They place so much trust in you to help them through their transformation. So whether you’re helping them create their dream home, design their website, focus on their well-being, you name it — they buy from you because they feel like they know you, understand you, and trust you. You brand photos vibe has to be relatable.

Brand photographers NEED to keep in mind these guiding principles below.

Differences in brand photography vs. fashion or portrait photography:

  1. The goal of brand photos/video is to make the person in front of the camera feel comfortable and confident. It’s NOT to contort/bend their body in ways that’s totally normal for fashion photography. Of course you want to flatter their body, but not at the expense of their comfort.
  2. Brand photography clients are literally not runway models, they’re real people (duh).
  3. Posing needs to be powerful and expressive, but also approachable and friendly.
  4. Smiling is allowed.
  5. Your client’s messaging is different than fashion photography, whose job is only to sell a product or lifestyle. Your clients’ are usually a personal brand, or selling a service or their time. So they are are selling THEMSELVES and their personality to their audience! Unless they are high fashion-obsessed, you DON’T need to pose them like a model anyways. They are a real person and should look like one.

If you’re looking to do a brand session, reach out to me for details. Or make sure you talk about this with your own photographer. A specialist like a brand photographer should understand you and your business on a deep level. Ideally, you’ll have a pre-session meeting so that they know what messaging and images are on-brand for you. You don’t want to end up being posed like a model. Fashionable posing sometimes looks like an acrobatic miracle, but is usually NOT relatable to your customers and your loyal followers.

entrepreneur coach on an outdoor couch sipping a can of wine and smiling
marketing coach, woman brand headshot laughing at a bar with a cocktail in hand
marketing coach, woman brand headshot laughing in front of a teal blue green abstract wallpapered wall

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