Branding is more than just a logo, colours and fonts. Your visual identity is actually made up of lots of different elements, including photography, but what is brand photography, why is it important and how can you get some for your own brand?
Brand photography is a suite of professional images that represent your business visually, and fit with your visual identity through their use of colours, tone, props, sets and more. These can include photos of you, your team, your products, your process, your space and other things that make your business unique.
Maybe you’ve had a branded headshot taken before for your LinkedIn profile or website about page, and while a beautiful, professional headshot is important, it’s just one piece of the branding puzzle. To make your business look it’s best, you’ll want a range of consistent, well-crafted photos that will keep your business looking tip-top across all of your marketing material over time.
82% of consumers trust a company more — and 77 % are more likely to buy from a company — if the founder uses social media. This isn’t to say that these photos are just for your social media profiles, or that they should all include you, but to point out that people want to connect with other people, relate to others and see the face behind the company.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking, and as someone who HATES having their photo taken and objectively looks much better in person than in photos, I hear ya! But I’ve realised how important it is that people know who I am, conquered my fear over time, found a photographer who makes me feel comfortable and confident, and had my first set of branded photos taken last week! So from one non-supermodel business owner to another, I can assure you that it’s doable, not as scary as you think, and totally worth it! (Watch this space! I’ve seen a first edit of my pics and they’re so cool!)
When you and/or your team can be seen throughout your marketing, potential clients will be able to see who they would be working with, get a glimpse into the process, and imagine themselves being a part of that experience. Photos with humans in them take your products and services from seeming unattainable, conceptual or hypothetical, and bring them into reality as something tangible, achievable and desirable.
People form a first impression in just 50 milliseconds, so everything you share has to wow and do it fast! Good quality, consistent, professional brand photography is going to help capture potential clients in a flash as they’ll see that you appreciate attention to detail, high quality content, consistency and great aesthetics. I know that if something is presented well, I’m already mostly convinced without even knowing anything about the product or service!
We all know by now that visual content goes a long way and has a much better engagement than text-only content, and if you’re not convinced yet, here are some cold, hard facts for ya. 65% of marketing execs say photos, videos, illustrations, and infographics are key to communicating your brand story; Facebook posts from brands that included images earned 87 percent of all engagements; 51% of B2B marketers prioritize creating visual assets as part of their content marketing strategy; tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images; articles with an image once every 75-100 words received double the social media shares as articles with fewer images; Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images. (Hubspot) On board yet?
You need images and more importantly, you need good quality, on-brand images.
You might have your logo, colours and fonts down, but if your photography doesn’t match, you’re in trouble. Having all of your visual elements work together cohesively is vital in maintaining brand consistency. Brands that are consistently presented are 3 to 4 times more likely to experience brand visibility and 90% of consumers expect their experience to be consistent across all channels and devices used to interact with brands.
Now you may be able to find some good stock images that kind of work but chances are they aren’t quite on-brand, or if they are, a hundred other people are using the exact same photos in their brand. Stock imagery is good when you’re first starting out, and I still use some from time to time, but it should be the goal to have your own, unique and perfectly on-brand photos to use instead.
I get that maybe you’re wondering where you could possibly use all of these photos and you’ll totally want to get your money worth if you’re investing in a photographer, so here’s a few ideas for how you can use these images once you have them:
The options are endless!
Hopefully by this point you agree with me about how important brand photography is, but what happens now?
Before you even think about taking any photos, you need to know who you are, what your brand is about, what your audience is into and what you want them to think, feel and do when they see these photos or any elements of your visual identity. Are you a cute, whimsical children’s party entertainer appealing to mums with a big party budget and wanting them to feel excited, inspired and entertained by your service, or maybe you’re a hyper-masculine, high-end menswear brand hoping to capture the attention and dollars of high-rolling bachelors? Whoever you are and whatever story you’re trying to tell, it should be unique and clear to you before you get your photos taken so that you don’t waste your time, effort or money on something that doesn’t fit.
You probably don’t need to know a full list of the shots you will take as your photographer will likely help you with that, and some might just happen naturally throughout your shoot, but it’s good to come with a basic outline or plan for what types of photos you’ll need before you start taking them. This might include headshots of you and your team, photos of your desk and surrounding workspace, snaps of the office dogs, flatlays of your opt-ins, individual shots of each of your products or other general ideas. If you know exactly what team members need to be involved, or the specific products you need photos of, note these too so you can make a plan and ensure nothing important is missed.
Now it’s time to make it happen! If you don’t already have a photographer in mind, have a look around and find someone who does brand photography, whose work you enjoy, and who you get along really well with. The most important thing, especially if you are going to be getting photos of you and your team, is to work with someone who makes you feel comfortable and you can have fun with, because this will show in the photos.
If you’re not sure where to find a photographer, start with asking for recommendations from other business owners or people in your industry that you know. It’s always easiest to work with someone who comes highly recommended! Otherwise check in Facebook groups or communities that you’re a part of for people who could help. Last but not least, you can’t go wrong with a good Google search. Look up brand photographers in your area, check out their work and get in touch!
I’m so excited about my new brand photography and I can’t wait to share the images with you! I hope that now you’re just as excited about getting your own and seeing the results. Follow me on Instagram to see my photos when they’re ready and if you happen to take some for your business, please tag me so I can see!