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Shooting Brand Key Visuals

First of all what are Brand Key Visuals ? Well key visuals are the essential images shot for a specific brand. They define the essence of what the brand is about, or are those visuals you find on billboards, or in large format in stores around the world. Key visuals are usually quite Iconic, and they represent the main images of a campaign, supported by a set of defined other visuals to complete the story. 

Step by step Key Visuals approach

So. based on what a key visual is, and the whole campaign, how do we go on to shooting your key visuals and your campaign for your brand ? Well it’s easy and complex at the same time, and here is the trick, it’s team work, close collaboration and defining your needs, whilst not skimming on the details. 

First of all, we must define and clarify where your brand is positioned, which for major brands is pretty easy as you’ve already done the work and know who your target audience is and where you want to go from there. But that may not be the case if you are a smaller or newer brand, or if you want to reposition yourself on a constantly evolving market. 

Once this is done, we will define the various visuals needed for the campaign based on where they will be showcased. It could be for your social media feed mainly, or for your catalogue, billboards, stores, roll-ups for events and expos, all this will be necessary to get things right. Each diffusion point having a different format, layout, you will most certainly want text, so we must think about this ahead of time in order to give you as many options as possible. 

Key Visuals Mood Board

The amazing opportunity we have working together in this day of age is that internet exists and is an incredible ressource. We can use modern tools even if we are located miles away to prepare and plan the shoot, and create visual moodboards for the shoot. With a moodboard we can : 

  • Define the colour scheme we want
  • Clarify the location or mood of the location
  • Implement clothing ideas
  • Define the equipment or gear needed
  • Express the talents we are looking for
  • Show what we want to express through images

The great thing is that we can get the whole team to understand where we are going for you, by sharing this with the location scout, model scout, hair & make up artist, stylist, set assistant & photographer assistant within a team, to stay in line with what your Creative Director and communications manager has in mind.  

Key visuals Talent scouting

Once we have a moodboard in place, we can start looking for Talent, and that’s an essential part of the shoot. Large brands see the importance of good talent on a shoot, whilst smaller brands tend to want to reduce costs by not hiring qualified & professional talents. Remember that the Talent on the picture will represent your brand, and if you for 1 second think about it, how comfortable are you, your close friends, relatives, colleagues in front of camera ? Does everyone feel totally comfortable simulating situations over and over again to ensure we can get the best of a shoot ? That’s where professionals come in. 

A professional athlete, model, talent can repeat the movement, and be up to par for hours, the same way you can in your job. In my humble opinion a talent can make or break a shoot, so it’s the place where importance should be given. I work with various agencies, and have a network of athletes within multiple sports whom I have worked with or shot Test shoots before they qualify for my professional missions, and if you have your network of highly skilled talents, we can also go from there. 

Key Visuals Location Scouting

Whilst we are scouting for talents, we are also scouting locations. If your brand is about the love of the outdoors, we won’t be shooting in a busy city street, so we must find the place which is fit for your brand. Shooting some clothing for active, outdoors, let’s find an epic location for sure. Now epic locations don’t always come in easy, and that’s where scouting comes in. You sometimes see amazing images whilst searching for the moodboard, but how can we get there ? it’s worth going there beforehand or finding a fixer on site if it’s on the other side of the planet. Can we get there with no crowd ? is it accessible early morning or at night ? can we sleep there if we need to do a sunrise shoot ? can we get off the place if it’s a dawn shoot ? Is it accessible with a team, gear or is it totally remote ? Every single element of the scouting is key to creating the good visuals you need. Should we be shooting in summer, winter, which month is best ? You saw an amazing location and need to shoot in the summer, to get a night shot, but it’s within the 6 months of daylight of the location… won’t work. 

Nothing should be taken for granted in the scouting process, from talent to location, the logistics and the preparation will allow for your epic Key Visuals to take place. 

Photographic gear & lighting

When planning a photo shoot, the moodboard and project definition will also bring the question of gear. If you need a 2x3m billboard, you’re not going to shoot with a point & shoot camera, but if you need to use them for websites and 1 meter wide posters, that might work considering the quality of sensors nowadays. 

I work closely with Fujifilm in terms of my camera gear, and depending on the needs, I would be using a Fujifilm X-T3, or the fujifilm GFX system ( for medium format cameras. Lighting wise, I can’t stress enough that we must also go with the best, and Profoto is my clear Go to, nothing gets closer in terms of colour rendering and consistency. A missfire from a flash or camera is maybe the Key Visual you won’t have, as it may have had everything we needed, but one element made it break. 

In this Key Visual example I didn’t need my flash, and the Fujifilm X-T3 with proper resampling allowed for a 2m x 3m poster to be made without any loss in quality. 

with proper resampling allowed for a 2m x 3m poster to be made without any loss in quality. 

Shooting day

With the whole preparation done, and the scheduling finalised, we can plan the date of the shoot. During this day everything is shot according to plan. We have a clear shot list, and we stick to it. Let’s not start adding tons of visuals which are not planned, and try to cram in more than what was initially asked for, simply because we have some contingency for issues taking place, but if we blow that contingency by adding unplanned work, we might end up not getting what is required, and you might have to plan extra days, weeks, gear, talent time, location fees etc. 

The whole team will receive a time schedule, and a clear planning. Everyone shows up, contingency is taken into account, and we start working to deliver your project to success. The best thing about it all, is that we are all having a great time. You’re out of the office for an amazing opportunity to take part in birthing these Key Visuals. The team is here to deliver too and enjoying the location, fun, and exciting project they are taking part in, and we are all excited in bringing these visuals to life for your graphic designers, editors, marketing team to pull out the very best and lead your brand to success

With experience shooting key visuals for OC Sport, Haute Route, Unicef, UNAIDS, Louis Vuitton, Zdenek & Bakala Foundation and other global major brands, I look forward to working closely with you to create your new campaign and key visuals for 2019 or 2020 and beyond. 

Considering a series of corporate visuals

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