Mandy Brander on the impact of branding photography

Photo credits: Mandy Brander

Branding photography allows you to convey your and your company's vision in a powerful way. Today, this is a hugely popular and widely booked type of photo shoot, and we see them regularly in our studios. But what do you really look for when booking a branding photographer? How does such a shoot work? And how do you make sure that your personality and your company's core values come across clearly on film? Branding photographer Mandy Brander, who herself has been to The Loft and The Playground many times, will gladly help you on your way with her expert tips.

Branding photographer Mandy Brander stands for impactful, powerful photography that impresses

Mandy, first of all, can you tell us about how you became a branding photographer? How did you get into this industry and what inspired you to do so?
'I have now been a photographer for almost 15 years and once started this alongside my studies in Communication. My dream was to go into fashion photography and when I started, I did a lot of shoots with models, make-up artists and stylists. And I did a lot of business reports. Because I started travelling a lot at one point, I started doing more and more weddings (because that was easy to combine with working in summer and travelling in winter). Until Corona came along and my business came to a complete halt for a while. I decided to offer shoots for entrepreneurs and that was also when Personal Branding photography became more and more prominent. A golden move, because I enjoyed it immensely and I could quickly build my name in this industry'.

'Personal branding photography has all the elements that I love so much. Working with people, taking beautiful portraits, working conceptually and creatively, plus I can put my love for fashion photography into it'.
Studio:The Loft Photo credits: Mandy Brander

What are the steps you take when preparing and planning a photo session?
'I almost always schedule an online call first to get to know the client better and hear their requirements. By hearing more about someone's business or goals, I can quickly form an idea of what would suit them. I often make a proposal and a mood board based on this to make sure I can translate the client's story into appropriate images. I think along with the execution and find it important that clients are unburdened. Sometimes this can be by working with a larger team. Like working with a make-up artist or stylist or arranging extras'.

How do you create an atmosphere where your clients feel confident and empowered during a photo shoot?
'For me, this is one of the most important parts of a photo shoot. The fact that I make sure I get high-quality photos, the best light and the most beautiful positions is a given for me. Something the client doesn't have to worry about. My focus is really on a nice atmosphere, where someone can really be themselves. Only that way do you get photos that really strengthen your brand and allow you to connect with your target group. I often hear that people quickly feel at ease with me. I don't judge and I like it when people show more and more of themselves during a shoot. I talk to you a lot, give lots of instructions and compliments and really guide you through the shoot. That way, it just comes naturally and, above all, it becomes a lot of fun!'

Studio:The Playground Photo credits: Mandy Brander
Studio:The Playground Photo credits: Mandy Brander

Do you have certain techniques you use to capture the personality and vision of your clients?
I work quite instinctively and because I don't like to pigeonhole people, I really try to see what each client needs and what makes them unique. I reflect those elements in a shoot. It doesn't have to be big, and sometimes it's just bringing out someone's personality or putting a feeling in the photos. Photographically, I do like a challenge and I like to play with light. Working with light in different ways also characterises my style. If clients are open to this, I also sometimes try to think out of the box and create more creative images to visually represent someone's story'.

What tips would you share with women considering building their own brand and presenting themselves powerfully through photography?
'Photography is a communication tool. You can have great texts and a beautiful website, but with images you can reinforce your message and make it visual. Subconsciously, we make decisions and choices in split seconds and good images can really make the difference in a world where everything moves fast. It can also be a boost to be more visible online. Having an image bank you can be proud of makes it easier to share your story'.

'You no longer have to think about which photo to use next. My tip would be: find a photographer you really feel comfortable with and who can offer the same quality in his or her photography as you offer your clients. So that you have images that really reflect your brand well. It's such a shame if you go for high quality but your images don't reflect this. A good branding photographer can translate this and help you make it happen'.

Studio:The Playground Photo credits: Mandy Brander

You have created beautiful images at Atelier Oost Amsterdam. What do you like about working in our studios?
'I think the quality of Atelier Oost is so incredibly high! It really is one of the nicest studios in the Netherlands. Many studios are smaller or don't have the great light you find in The Loft or The Playground. And for me, light is incredibly important, so that's why I love coming to the studio even on a grey day. Also, the styling and furnishings are really thoughtful and there are more than enough corners. I always aim for a lot of diversity in my branding shoots and offer my clients an extensive image bank. I also work quite quickly. This is possible at both studios, and besides that, the atmosphere is just always good! A warm welcome, coffee and tea and nice clean rooms. Truly a high-end location where I always really enjoy coming!'

Follow Mandy on Instagram / visit her website.

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