Creating Brand Photography that Books
Today, I'm talking about brand photography--what it is, how to do it right, and how to use it when you are done.
Why? I art direct and photograph photos for all types of brands and I've seen it work. In this visually noisy world we live in photos can grab your ideal client's attention AND tell them everything they need to know about you at the same time. Pretty awesome right? There's a lot more that goes into this than you might expect so this one is a long one. Get ready to learn everything you need to know about brand photos.
What is brand photography?
It's any photo taken to represent your business. Your headshot, your full body photo, your workspace, and if you are a product-based business, it's photos of your products.
I often see people overlooking professional brand photography or getting their friend with a camera to take them, which can be a huge loss for your business. Get someone who knows what they are doing.
Four reasons why professional brand photography matters
- It builds trust. Online, it’s harder to build trust than in person. Showing your potential clients your face, your workspace, and some behind the scenes photos will create a connection with them.
- Customers will be willing to pay more for your products or services. Having professional images tells your customers that you take your brand seriously, so they should too. If your products are fantastic but you only have iPhone photos of them people won’t think they are worth as much. Show yourself and your products off in their best light so you look legit.
- People want to buy stories and experiences, not just things. Brand photos tell the story of you and your business. They allow your workspace, your face, and your products to come out of the screen and let people know what it will be like to buy from you. You are painting a picture for them and you want it to be the most beautiful picture you can imagine.
- They educate your customer on how to use your product or service, which gives them more of a reason to buy. For example, if you make necklaces you should show them photographed on a stylish girl at the office, in a coffee shop, dressed up for a wedding, and on a beautiful dresser. Show how your customers can wear or use them. If you are a service-based business like a coach, show your clients running their businesses, show a mom hanging out with her kid while working, show the successful people you have helped. This educates your customers on what you do and gives them more reasons to believe that your service or product will solve a problem in their lives.
Tips for successful brand photos:
- When it comes to taking photos of you, the photos of you should be taken ‘in real life.’ This means no alley ways, fancy photo studios, or rail road tracks. This isn’t senior portraits. Take your photos in your home office, in a coffee shop you love, or in a park close to your house. You will feel most natural here. The location needs to tell your customer something purposeful about your business and who you are.
- Your wardrobe should be the best version of what you would wear to work in- this doesn’t mean extra fancy, just stylish and natural.
- Make the photos cohesive with your overall brand look and feel. Pick a photographer that shoots in that style. Brand photographers can be different from wedding photographers, so pick one that knows how to think strategically about making your brand shine.
- Pick props, a wardrobe, and a location that reinforces your brand. For example, if your primary brand color is blue think about shooting outside on a sunny day. Or wear your favorite blue jacket. If you are all about neutrals and a more muted look, sit at a wood table and wear white and black. Infuse your brand look in every way possible.
- Since you are paying a photographer big money to do this shoot, get everything out of it that you can. Have them photograph things you love about your space- your morning coffee, and more details without you in them. Make sure these photos are in line with your brand message and reveal more about your business and who you are.
You have professional brand photos, what do you do with them?
Put them everywhere - your website, your newsletter, use them when you are featured on blogs, and use and reuse them on your social channels.
So now you have this bank of beautiful photos, and you have social channels to keep up. How do you mix them with other photos you will need to post?
Identify your color palette and stick to it - Carefully look through your brand photography and if you don’t already have one, identify your main brand colors. This could show up differently in photos than in your branding design and logo. For example, I often see feminine brands with lots of pinks and yellows in their design and logo have more whitewashed images. Find your photography style and colors and have them saved somewhere that you can quickly look back to them.
The scheduling app Plann That makes your color palette for you, based on the photos on your feed. This is a great hack.
Search for the right stock images - Combining your brand values, colors, and style go searching on stock sites. Don’t just look for images that ‘look pretty’ but make sure they are in line with your messaging. For example, if your brand value is creativity, don’t pick an image that is a white desk with flowers and a keyboard, but find something more unique and speaks to the creative process. If your brand wants to inspire choose images with quotes and nature photos.
Getting cohesive with filters - Use one filter to help tie all your images together. I suggest getting VSCO for a better selection of editing tools than typical Instagram filters.
Take photos yourself - Images you take are important on Instagram. You want your customers to know the real and everyday you and how your products look in real life. They want to know there is a genuine person there. Make sure these personal images as much visually in line with your brand colors and look and feel as possible. The content of needs to tells a story about who you are or what you like to do.
Putting them all together - Now you have professional brand images, stock images, and images you take. Put them all together with a planning app and drag and drop them around so they are mixed in well. Test out how images look next to each other to make a grid you are happy with.
Having a cohesive and professional look on social media will get you more followers because people will know what content to expect from you. Eventually, those followers will be invested enough to click over to your website where they will be awed by professional brand images. That will build trust and convert them much quicker into your ideal clients.
How have your professional brand photos have helped your business?
I want to hear from you!