Branding Photos: How long does a brand session last for social media?

by | Feb 11, 2024 | Brand Photography, Business

Scheduling a Brand Session Requires… Thinking.

If you’re looking into scheduling a brand photography session for your business, you might be wondering exactly how long you can make that session last for social media. Or for your presence in general!

If you’re wearing all of the hats in your business, and you’re the one who creates all the posts, and schedules all the content, and updates your website… you know just how many images you actually need as a business owner. And it’s… a lot. It’s a lot. There’s no other way to say it.

This is ESPECIALLY true if you’re regularly posting carousels on Instagram, or scheduling a ton of Pinterest pins! You just need to have a cache of pictures you can pull from, there’s no real way to avoid it. Even if you put slides that are designed with text into your grid, even if you post a ton of reels… Images are just unavoidable.

So, if you’re booking a branding session for your business, how long can you expect your images to actually last? Are you going to have a session and then burn through the images in two weeks, and have to book another one?

Let’s get into it!!

Jessica Strobel eating doughnuts for her brand photoshoot

How long do you WANT it to last?

Just like a lot of my breakdowns… this is going to feel like a cop-out.

But when it comes to how long your session can last you on social media, you have to ask yourself how long you WANT it to last. If you want a session that will last you months that can absolutely be done!

But if I’m completely honest, there are also strategic reasons NOT to create months and months worth of images in one session. (Which I know probably sounds super weird coming from a photographer, but follow me here.)

The Strategies You Can Use

There are two basic strategies for image curation in your business, if you plan on working with a professional. Strategy one, is to get ALL the images you’ll need for a big ‘ole span of time, and have one package that gets you through months and months. And that’s a totally effective strategy if your business is super consistent, and you’re going to continue doing what you’re doing for a long time.

This approach DOESN’T work well for every business though. Because businesses are unique, and as you know… there isn’t a one size fits all approach to basically anything!! And anyone who says there is… you know where I’m going with that, right?

Approach two if you’re going to work with a professional for your business’ imagery, is setting up regular sessions, that are designed to last you a set period of time, and then after that, you have another! If you read that, and your brain went “Jess, are you just trying to convince me to have a session with you every 8 weeks like it’s a hair cut?” that’s a totally fair question. But there’s more method to my madness than that, I promise!!

Strategy two has a ton of upsides that aren’t just getting to hang out with me every other month or so. It also means that if you have a product based business and you regularly add things to your line of options, you can have THOSE photographed when they come out. It means that you can keep updated with members of staff who are added to your team. And it also means that you can have a flexible approach to your brand, that grows with you as your business grows.

There’s Up-Sides and Down-Sides to Each!

If you’re locking yourself into one package of images for months and months of content, honestly you might find that there are things you wish had been done differently at your session. Or that you didn’t bring enough outfits, or that after staring at your own face from a single day three months ago EVERY SINGLE DAY in and day out on Instagram… you’re TIRED of that session, even if you absolutely LOVED it. Promoting your business is super different than hanging pictures on your wall, after all.

So when you’re trying to figure out how long a session is going to last you on social media… ask yourself: how long do you WANT it to last? But like, not in the “I want it to last as long as possible, obviously” kind of way. In the “realistically what’s going to be best for my business?” kind of way.

women posed in front of a flower wall for Minneapolis branding photos

What’s your session budget like?

The next consideration when you’re thinking about how long you want a session to last you for social media (and all the other places you use pictures for your business!) is what does the budget look like. Every business has a different setup for their marketing budget, and there’s no shame in that pot of money not being exactly overflowing with funds.

But what that means, is you’ve got to think budget when you’re considering the length of session you want to set up! Session length is going to dictate (to some degree, it’s not like… a solid 100% rule though) how many images you’ll be able to choose from in your final gallery. You can always upgrade your package to include all of the images we capture during your branding session if a set of a specific number of images isn’t floating your proverbial boat, but if we have a time limitation, that will impact things!

So when it comes to this aspect of your branding and/or headshot photography, talk to your photographer. Get an idea of what will be included, how long sessions usually are, how many outfits you can wear (some photographers charge for additional wardrobe changes!) and all that good stuff. It’ll help you determine how long you want your sessions to keep your accounts going!

How often do you want to be able to shake things up?

We’ve already touched on this a little bit above, but… how often do you want to be able to pivot your content? Are you pretty certain of the social schedule for your business for the next few months? If you’re not going to need to change things up regularly, then not only can you get months worth of photos in one session, you can also schedule content ahead of time on some platforms and make your weeks less chaotic.

Lots of birds, one stone! (Or two, really, since you’d have the photo session, and then the whole “scheduling” thing afterward.)

But if you ARE going to need to shake things up regularly, then getting enough content for a month or so at a time might be the best plan. Any more than that, and you’re going to start feeling like things are going stale, or like you don’t have the right kind of options to work with. This is even more of a consideration if you have seasonal elements to your business, like physical product providers. And if that’s you… keep reading!!

Woman with stunning long hair smiling into the camera leaning on a brick wall

Is your business a personal brand, or a product based business?

The next consideration? What do you actually DO? Do you provide a service? Do you sell physical things? Or are you a personal brand? Because ALL of those are things you need to be thinking about when you’re planning your social media… and therefore when you’re planning the photo session you’re going to USE for your social media.

If your business is a personal brand, I have good news and bad news. The good news, is personal brands can use old photos for WAY longer than product based businesses can. The same goes for service providers! Obviously just like anything, there are exceptions. But 90% of the time, service providers and personal brands can use pictures of themselves in promotion, pics of themselves doing the thing they offer… you know what I mean, right? Whereas product providers… y’all drew the short stick a tiny bit, as much as I hate to say it.

Product providers have the benefit of not necessarily needing to BE in the photos used to promote your business, and if you’re an introvert, that might sound AWESOME. But it ALSO means that when your product line updates? Guess what? You need more pictures. New ones. And if you’re a product based business that keeps things seasonal, or updates their product styles for trends etc… then that gets even MORE frequent.

Which can be a LOT. Like… a lot. And if you ARE one of those business owners, you obviously need product images to set your stuff apart from your competitors, but you also need promotional images, and “in-use” images, because it’s not just about the product against a white background. So if you’re in the product-based world, it might be best to stick to a “smaller packages more frequently” plan, instead of a “all the pictures all at once” plan.

(P.S. Check out this sample of a branding session!!)

What platforms are you posting on?

Another super important component to think about when you’re deciding how long you want your professional branding session to last online, is what platforms you’re regularly posting on. I know it’s tempting as a business owner to be on ALL the platforms ALL the time, and if you have help, that’s doable! But if it’s just you, wearing ALL the hats, or if you’re just starting out… then it might be better to start with just a handful of platforms, or only ONE. Once you’ve perfected that one, and you have a process in place, it’s easier to add more!

But that’s not the point here, we’ll talk about that another time. What you need to do, is list out the platforms you’re currently posting on, and then get a clear idea of how many posts you need to make. From there, you can get an estimate of the number of images you’d need to carry you through a month of content!

Once you’ve got that number, it makes it a TON easier to figure out whether it’s going to be reasonable and affordable to have sessions that cover that number of images, or… not quite. Keep in mind, if you need to shift those numbers around… how can you use reels to supplement your image cache? What about some posts that are more text-focused if you post on Instagram regularly? There are loads of ways to decrease the burden on your image library, it just means getting a little creative, and being willing to adjust your strategy!

Jessica Strobel eating doughnuts for her brand photoshoot

(P.S. If you’re also looking to speed up your Instagram posting process, check out my Etsy shop!)

So… how long SHOULD your branding session last for social media?

At the end of the day, that question can only be answered by YOU. Because obviously it’ll depend on how many images are included in your session. But it also depends on where you’re posting, what kind of business you have, how you like to frame your social media content, whether you have help for posting… ALL those things wrap up into a big ball of strategy behind how many sessions you should have as a business in a year.

And if you’re having difficulty figuring out where to go from here, because this post seemed like it ASKED you more questions than it ANSWERED… I got you!! Just reach out, and we can talk about creating a bespoke plan for YOUR business. Because every business is unique, every social media approach SHOULD be unique, and I want you to have what YOU need. Not what someone else needed the last time they asked. Because you’re you, and they’re them. You know what I mean?

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