I’m a photographer, so you might think I’m biased here, and that’s your right. But when it comes to your brand, having cohesion across all platforms is so important it actually makes me want to create a PSA for it. I don’t mean that you need photography all from one photographer (although that can help) but instead, creating guidelines that all your images have to live up to in order to make on your social, in your newsletters or showcased on your website. I’m talking about creating cohesive brand photography that all look like they belong to you.
Your Brand Is More Than Your Colors
Often when you think of branding, you think of your brand colors, your logo, and your brand fonts. What doesn’t come to mind is your brand’s photography. As long as the image makes sense on a page or with a caption then it’s good to post, right? Wrong!
Let’s talk about what a brand is.
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” – Seth Godin.
As Seth so brilliantly says it, a brand is the feeling that you leave with a customer. And when your customers are scrolling through your feed or land on your website, you want them to have the same feeling with every touch of your brand. Photographs literally tell us what to feel, which is why they are so important to your brand.
Defining your Brand Photography
Okay, so you get it. Your photography is more than just showing up with a pretty photo on Instagram. Instead it needs to feel like your brand. But what does that even mean?
I help a brand define its photography style by looking at its current online presence. What’s style of photos show up the most often in your feed or on your website? Are they light and bright or dark and moody? Are there colors that show up in your images again and again? What about the sharpness to them? Do they feel super crisp or kind of soft and airy? Most importantly, what about the white balance? Do your images feel really warm or cool or are the whites in them pure meaning your white balance in neutral? Find as many words as you can to describe your photos and even the words to describe what your photos aren’t and add this to your brand guidelines.
Cohesive Brand Photography
Now that you’ve defined the photography style of your brand it’s time to start building a library of images to use throughout your marketing. The great news is that you don’t have to have professional photos taken for every aspect of your brand. Instead, create a mixture of stock images, iPhone images and professional images.
Start with stock photography. Places like Unsplash and Pexels are great places to find royalty free images that you can use all over your marketing. As you browse through search terms related to your business remember your guidelines for photography that matches you brand. What words did you use to describe your brand imagery? Those same words need to describe any photo that you download from these sites. You’ll be tempted to download others that are breathtaking, but you have to stand firm in the definition of your brand.
When we are telling stories to our audiences on social and bringing them into our lives it makes sense to be able to take iPhone photos. But once again, there need to be rules. Choose a filter that you use on all your images that will help them to look like the stock and professional photos you have in your feeds. Make sure that you have plenty of natural light and aren’t taking pictures in the dark. And remove as much from the image as you can so that it’s not busy. Portrait mode is great for this since it blurs the background and keeps the main subject in focus. The more your practice with your camera phone the more you’ll be able to discover what scenes work and which ones don’t.
Lifestyle Brand Photography
This is where I love to help support the brands I work with. Lifestyle brand photography is one of my favorite things to shoot. There are so many stories that can be told with your brand from highlighting your product or services in action to getting a behind-the-scenes look into your brand. These photos will go the furthest for your brand since they’re all about you! While brand photography is an investment it doesn’t have to be something you do all the time. I always suggest brands that sell multiple products either find the budget or partner with a photographer for trade and do a monthly shoot. Brands with only 1-3 products can get photography done once a quarter to match with the seasons and keep things fresh. Service-based businesses can go as long as 6 months without needing new photos.
As you begin to strategize your social presence you’ll see that you need an arsenal of photos to stay fresh. Continue to build your library of images by collecting stock, iPhone and professional photos and storing them in a library that your whole team can access. With your cohesive brand photography guidelines and a library of images to use whenever you need, you’re one step closer to building the brand of your dreams and connecting with your audience.
Looking for a brand photographer that can help you get crisp, colorful photos for your library of images? Schedule your next brand shoot today and let’s start telling the unique story of your brand!