Inspired By: Your Dream Office

I was having a coffee chat this week with a social media expert and we got on the topic of custom styled stock for service-based businesses. This comes up a lot. Unless you’ve made this your profession, most people don’t realize what to take photos of to represent a service.

There are several ways to approach styled brand photos for service-based businesses. Some include branded head shots or tools of the trade. But something I like to do to get the creative juices flowing for my clients is to ask them to describe their DREAM OFFICE!

Design: Amber Interiors || Photo: Tessa Neustadt

This puts your brand into more concrete terms. If we can imagine you are welcoming a client into your dream office, it gives us a place to start for the kind of environment you want to create for your clients online.  

Let’s pretend you've hired a real estate guru, an interior designer and a fabulous staff to wait on clients (and you) hand and foot.  What does your dream office look like?  

  • A cottage turned law office.  
  • A high rise suite next door to a fashion empire. 
  • A shabby chic garden to teach nutrition.
  • An industrial loft. 
  • A mid century bungalow.

Now imagine what you want your clients to feel, see, taste. What is the experience they have while working with you? 

  • Is light and bright, or warm and cozy?
  • Are you serving iced tea, coffee, booze?! 
  • Fresh fruit or macrons? 
  • Are you in a comfy chair or behind the desk? 
  • Is that desk sleek and white or weathered wood?
  • What objects might be around? Gemstones, cooking utensils, children's toys, tons of brainstorm journals, or Pantone swatches. 

These are a good starting point for the elements I'd incorporate into styled photos. Your website IS your dream office. The space you greet clients when they first walk in the door!

Share in the comments below! What would your clients see if they were to come and work with you in person? How would you want them to feel in your presence and space?

Anatomy of a Styled Product Photo

Ok, I’m going to try a fun little feature where I dissect what went into a styled photo. I’ll be sure to cover both service-based and product-based clients, so stay tuned. Let’s give it a go!

When styling a product I like to think about what this product would be doing in its’ real life. Like if this product came to life and got to have the best day ever, doing all the things it was born to do and loving every minute of it. That is the story I want to tell in the photo. I mean, maybe I’m a little nutty, but that’s how I draw inspiration from the product itself.

I also consider the person using this product and what their life is like. Specifically for this tote, what fun adventures will this tote-owner be taking and what activities will she be doing when using this tote. I get most of this information from my clients and how they define their ideal customer. It usually takes some exploring on the Style Consult call to get deeper into what they are doing, and how they are using the product. 

I talked with H. & Clark about their brand and the vision they had for the shoot. Their aesthetic is simple and minimalist. They design their product to be timeless, but not fussy or too traditional. They like clean lines, urban settings and cool colors. Based on their brand style and inspiration images I knew they liked lots of white, neutrals, soft greens. Their brand icons were Kinfolk, Madewell, and Darling Mag

The Holden Tote by H. & Clark


  • Fresh greenery // not fussy, and fits with their color theme
  • Craft paper // casual, farmers market vibe
  • Planner // taking care of business, out running errands
  • April pages // because farmer’s market season!
  • Sunglasses // casual adventure, light colors and understated youthful look, not glam or fussy, but not too hipster either

This shot would have been totally different with fluffy pink roses or glam-ed out sunglasses. The tote is the star of the show and the props tell the story. 

You can learn more about this shoot HERE, and if you are loving this tote - go get ya one right HERE


My Style Discovery Process

One of my favorite parts of my business is getting to know my clients, their big business goals and honing in on their style during the Style Discovery Process.

The Style Discovery Process by Maura Chamness Photography

The Style Discovery is perhaps THE most important part of my client workflow. Yes, even more important than taking great photos!  (Having high-quality, professional photos won't help much if they don't represent your brand or appeal to your target market.) 

New clients fear they won't be able to explain their vision and that they won't give enough details to communicate what they are looking for. They're worried that if that happens, their photos will end up looking like everyone else's and not reflect their unique brand and style.

These are valid concerns! I get it. 

I have developed my Style Discovery Process to alleviate these fears and guarantee we have a shared vision for the shoot. My clients love our conversations, the questions I ask and the use of Pinterest boards to ensure I get to the heart of what they're saying. I'm dedicated to research, brand awareness and creating images that are unique and specific to their brand. 

So, let me walk you through my system that ensures my clients get exactly what they're looking for. 



Brand + Style Survey

This series of thought-provoking questions help me (and my clients) get clear on their business and target market so we know their custom styled brand photos are attracting the right eyeballs. We will also explore their current business goals so we know how they will use their new photos. If a client is not clear on some of these topics, these questions will get them there!

Inspiration Board

Most clients know what they like when they see it, but have a hard time putting it into words. Together we curate a Pinterest board with inspiration images to identify the common threads that are the foundation of the brand and style. There is a difference between “Anthropologie fun and vibrant” and “Kate Spade fun and vibrant” and I want to make sure we get the right one! 

Style Consultation Call

During our consultation call we will review my analysis of their website and online presence, dive into their inspiration board and survey answers, and discuss how they will use the images. I’ll take everything they've shared from the survey and inspiration board and craft it into a cohesive style for their brand. By the end of our call they know exactly what they're getting and how they'll use it in their business going forward. 

I'll come with ideas and run them past my client to see if we were on the same page. I'm through and ask clarifying questions until I get the information I need to be sure they have no questions or concerns moving forward. 

Custom Styling

After our style call I’ll get right to work collecting the perfect props and backgrounds for the styled shoot. If they are a product-based business or have personal props of their own to include, they ship them to my studio in Houston, TX. Some clients like to be more involved in the styling process than others, so at this point I'll include an optional prop review if requested. 

On the scheduled shoot date, I'll style and shoot. I work my magic so my clients can focus on what they do best!

Have you been thinking of hiring a brand photographer to help create images that truly reflect your brand?

I would love to help! I only have a few spots left in 2016 for clients who are ready to upgrade their brand or product photography. If you resonate with my Style Discovery process and want a brand photographer that will sleuth out your style + vision and create images unique and on-brand for you... then we should chat!

Click on over to my contact page to
shoot me a message, and I'll be in touch soon!