What Your Business Needs to Know About Brand Photography
Brand photography gives you a chance to showcase who you are as a company. The old saying goes, “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” People tend to process images better and faster than text alone. However, you want any photo you put out to represent your brand positively.
Brand photography can be anything from corporate headshots to product photos to images showing off the growth and personality of your company. Every image you release into the world should be calculated to improve brand awareness and recognition.
High quality photos help a website stand out and show people you’re willing to invest in your brand image. While you can certainly take some photos yourself without hiring a professional, you should at least consult with an experienced commercial photographer to get an idea of what consumers expect from businesses in your industry.
How Do You Prepare for a Brand Photoshoot?
According to Glassdoor, commercial photographers make around $82,548 per year in the United States. Hourly rates vary, depending on experience and specialization. Brand photoshoots aren’t cheap, so it’s important to enter knowing a few things about brand photography.
You’ll want to make the most of every minute you have your commercial photographer on hand. If you can afford to hire someone to take the photographs, you’ll wind up with some excellent results. If you can’t afford the fees a professional charges, at least pay them to consult with you about best practices for your brand photos.
Here are the things you need to know and remember about brand photography before, during and after a photoshoot. The process is fairly involved, and you should continue refining images as your brand grows.
1. Know Your Goals
Before you worry about what images to feature, you must know what your goals are for brand photography. Who are you as a company? Does your business have a distinct personality?
Understanding the objective you have for taking photographs in the first place helps you understand the types of photos to take, composition and even settings.
One example of a brand with a distinct look is Lululemon. They use models to show off their clothing, but each one has a particular stance. The backgrounds are all similar.
The entire focus is on the clothes. The photos aren’t bubbly or fun. They are practical and comfortable.
Set some goals for your brand photography. What message are you trying to send?
2. Engage Users
People process visual information thousands of times faster than textual data. Having both images and texts on your site, for example, helps engage your users. Think about how you’ll use any photos showcasing your brand or products.
The way you shoot images for a website may be a bit different than for a glossy magazine with its own specs.
Think about how people interact with the images. Will they click for more information? Perhaps they simply need multiple angles to figure out the ins and outs of a product they’re only seeing online rather than in person.
Does your photography inspire, pull the viewer in and scream your brand’s mission? If not, you may need to ramp up your efforts.
3. Beat the Competition
Your competitors are hard at work to stand out, too. They’ve likely hired the best commercial photographer they can afford. They know their goal and what they want to say with their images. The best way for you to grab attention is to do something different.
Study others in your industry. What kinds of photos do they use? How do they market with those photos? What can you do differently? Look for gaps where they didn’t quite meet a need.
For example, if a shoe brand has some unique photos in unusual places, can you get your customers involved and add some user-generated content photos? How will those work alongside professional brand photos?
4. Highlight Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
What is the thing you offer customers no one else does? Your UVP should be something that benefits the customer. For example, if you offer the fastest service in your state, that helps anyone in a hurry or short on time. Perhaps you have a unique product or service.
Ideally, your UVP isn’t tied to a single product. It’s more about who you are as a company and how your principles benefit your users.
How can you highlight your UVP in photos? Show the item in use. Take snapshots of someone in action with the item.
5. Shoot From All Angles
When people buy items online, they can’t touch it or gather the details they would in person. A 360-degree image offers a high-quality photo of the product and will improve your conversion rates.
The right 360-degree photos can increase your rank on Google shopping, sending more traffic to your store.
You can get a boost in front of competitors who don’t offer 360-degree photos or videos. The user will know exactly what they’re getting.
You may even reduce the return rates, because you’ll eliminate much of the issue with buyer’s remorse when they receive something that isn’t quite what they thought it was.
6. Connect with Customers
You can also use brand photos to tell a story and connect with your customers on social media. For example, if you sell pottery, you might do a profile post on the artist. You could include a photo of them making the item and then a link to buy the finished product.
If you keep your photographs interesting, people are much more likely to share them with others. You’ll gain word-of-mouth advertising at no additional cost.
You can even survey your customers and ask them which photos they’ve enjoyed most. What would they like to see more of? By creating a conversation, you ensure you meet their expectations from your brand.
7. Avoid Confusion
Product descriptions sometimes don’t cover every aspect of an item. In fact, some descriptions may just confuse readers. However, when you add photographs into the mix, many consumer questions get answered via images.
For example, if you offer a shirt in several colors, and the user wants to know how bright your blue is, referring to the product photo may be exactly what they need to know whether or not the product is right for their needs.
8. Create Better Impressions
First impressions matter, and brand photography is one of the biggest elements impacting how others see your business. Approximately 90% of consumers say color and images impact their thoughts about a company.
If you want to leave a lasting impression, the appearance of your brand matters. You must put your best foot forward no matter where you encounter users.
Brand photography can be used in advertising, social media marketing, content for your website and even flyers and other materials you send out.
9. Compete With Outside Noise
Today’s consumers are increasingly inundated with marketing noise. From the minute they wake up until they go to bed at night, they get ads via radio, television, snail mail and social media. Every company, everywhere markets to them nonstop.
If you want to compete with all the chatter, you have to find ways to make your brand stand out. Interesting brand photography makes you more memorable.
Imagine visiting a website with vivid photographs of people using a product. Perhaps there is a theme to the images or some other reason they are unique to the industry but still relevant. Think outside the box with your brand photos.
10. Nail Social Media Marketing
To compete with other brands, you have to create a social media presence. Having a consistent brand presence signals to consumers they can trust you to stand behind your product.
Datareportal estimates 4.65 billion social media users worldwide. However, with so many people using various platforms, businesses are also putting photos up 24/7.
With some sites, such as Instagram and Snapchat, images are everything. However, one could also argue they have a huge impact on other social media platforms due to the nature of the media.
Consistency matters. Users come to expect you’ll post new images on a certain day and that it will fit into a mold they want to see. If you provide stories and information to go with your images, it will make a big difference in how engaged your followers are.
11. Know Your Customers
It’s important to understand who your typical client is, so you know what type of brand photos speak to them. For example, if you serve millennials, they may expect a fuller online experience, including 360-degree photos.
On the other hand, the older generation might be happy with plenty of static photos. Even the colors you use can tap into the emotions and preferences of your target audience.
Know what emotions different hues tap into and understand there might be cultural and individual differences. Black might seem elegant to one person and depressing to another.
Tell a Story With Brand Photography
Your brand photos should tell a story to the user. What is your company about? How can you help the viewer? What can they rely on? Enter the business of creating brand photos with an idea of who you are and what your goals are and you’ll find much more success with the endeavor.
About the Author!
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.