Why is brand photography so important?
Have you ever gone to check out a website and noticed they are using images you've seen somewhere before? How does that make you feel about that brand? Would you purchase from them? Would you trust them?
For me, it makes me feel like they are still in the beginning stages, which is 100% ok.
But the thing is..I've seen business owners use stock images even after they have been in the game for a year or two. So, if you were to purchase from them, it might make you value what they offer less because they haven't yet invested in their brand photography. Stock images are also extremely generalized for the masses, so it can be hard on your business because your visuals aren't communicating with your audience exactly what you are all about.
Visual content is the most effective marketing strategy today. The major reasoning for this is because 70% of all sensory receptors are in our eyes and our brain retains 80% of what we see. Meaning you can write the hell out of that sales page..but if your images aren't aligned with your brand or selling your mission, values, and goals..then your audience won't remember you. Especially if it's their first time checking you out. First impressions matter! If your visuals don't catch their attention right away, you are missing out on a HUGE opportunity for new clients or customers.
Four reasons why brand photography is important for growing your business.
It can add context to your images.
If you want to make the most out of your visuals, you need to use custom brand photography. Stock photography has no context whatsoever, by spending time to create images that have a meaning behind why they are being used for your sales page, website home, or social media post..you can better "sell" your idea to your target customer. (For example.. a shoe company created a boot that can handle all weather conditions. If they were to post an image of their shoe on a plain white background, accompanied by a stock photo of someone climbing a mountain in the snow..would you purchase that boot? Probably not. If the company were to go out and create a visual story about the people that wear those boots, you are more likely to idealize yourself in those boots because the images SHOW you what life would be like after you purchase those boots. This is also where video content comes in handy.)
Walk the walk, don't talk the talk.
Why tell them, when you can SHOW them? If someone tells you they love you it means absolutely nothing if they don't show you that they love you. By getting creative with your visuals you can make a descriptive story about your product, or brand. Use videos, photography, graphics, slideshows..you name it. People are more likely to listen to you and buy from you if you visually show them what it is they are getting.
It makes you look professional.
One thing about stock photography is that it makes you look like a boss. Especially when you don’t have the time to go out and take your own photos, or money to hire someone else. But, over time as your business grows, people definitely will start noticing they’ve seen those images somewhere before.
Using custom brand photography in your business will make you stand out among the masses of people doing the same thing, or selling the same product. It will also make you look even more professional because you will look like you’ve invested some time and effort into your business in all aspects. Not only just the actual product but the lifestyle or community you are trying to represent around your brands messaging.
It will help you share your brands message efficiently and concise.
Custom brand photography can give you the upper hand. By diving in deeper to your message, values and really focusing in on who your audience is and what they want.. custom images will give your audience a solid understanding for what you are all about. What really matters to you? Who are you? Why should people want to work with you our buy your products? Those answers should be reflecting in your brand images.
Brand photography doesn’t necessarily mean product photos, images of your desk, or pictures of your staff. Brand photography actually goes deeper than that by capturing your core values, brand message and tells your story visually to your audience. These images can be used in your marketing campaigns, on your social media accounts, blog posts, and on your website to help give your audience a better understanding of the vibes you give off and the type of people you are trying to attract.
Please be sure to download the free worksheet I have provided you to better help you jot your thoughts down and analyze your business and the message you are trying to convey. You can either print it and write on it OR to save some paper I made it completely interactive, that means you can fill it out right on your computer. If you fill it out in your browser window, it will not save your entries FYI. Also, you can have it for free. No need to give us your email. This is an instant download!
What does your brand care about? What are your values?
Think about your brand, what is the #1 most important thing? Do you want to show support for the environment? Do you aim to help people accomplish their goals? Do you want to support others when they are trying to be fit and healthy? What matters to you? What makes you want to stand on top of the mountain and shout out for everyone to hear? This is your core. The why you do what you do. Think deeply about this and write it down.
For us, we not only love the outdoors, but we aim to be an inspirational source for sustainable living and taking action towards changing the way we do things to better improve our earth and environment. We care about this issue deeply and want that to reflect with the type of people we work with, our imagery, and even in our business decisions.
Who are you targeting to? What do you want your audience to do when they see your brand?
Think specifically about who you are targeting to. If you are wanting to create new visuals for your sales page for a product you are selling, think about WHO exactly this person is you are selling to. Then figure out where they hang, what they like on Instagram, what they are pinning...etc. You need to have a clear idea of who you want to reach out to.
Our target client that we are trying to reach through our business is brands that feel most alive when they immerse themselves in the wild. So, we make sure to have visuals all over our website that show our adventure and travel lifestyle. We want to appeal to those people the most, so when someone sees our unique image of an amazing place in the great outdoors, they are more likely to click on it to check it out. If they saw a stock photo of a mountain they've seen all over tons of brands websites, they might not even think twice about clicking our links.
Who specifically is this person you are selling to? Let's go into detail about them.
What do they like to see? What would be their favorite commercial? Favorite brand? If they have a favorite brand, think about if they are your competitor. Now go and research that competitor and see how they are doing it. What about what they do is appealing to this specific person. Why do they want to purchase from that company? What makes that company more appealing than what you are offering? Really studying your competitor's audience is definitely a great way to get a better idea of who you are trying to target.
Take notes and study what it is about them, and then think about your own business and how you can make yourself stand out. How can you make yours better or different?
How do you want people to feel when they work with you or purchase from you?
So this one is a little different than figuring out what your values are and connecting with that. This is figuring out what you want your audience to feel when they land on your site, read your emails, and purchase your products. Do you want them to feel inspired? Do you want them to feel like they can trust you?
For us, we want people to get inspired to explore the world, to go on adventures, and for them to come back to us for help on telling their stories. We want them to think that our values align with theirs so much that they can't help but support us and build a relationship with our brand.
What do you want to help people with the most?
We all want money right? But that isn't what should motivate you to help people. If your product solves a problem, which most do.. then you really need to genuinely provide a solid solution to that problem that will help them succeed. So, think about what amps you up. What is something that makes you happy to do for someone else FOR FREE.
I want to help inspire people and show them they can do it too. That they don't have to hold themselves back and that anything is possible. I want to help people communicate their ideas through beautiful stories that they can feel proud of. This really gets me excited, which is why I made this challenge for you :) I am stoked about helping others make awesome stuff. I don't care about "giving away" all of my secrets. I just want everyone to know what I know because I believe keeping knowledge to yourself limits you. By giving imagination and ideas life, we embrace the entire world and can work together to make something amazing.
Last but not least, what DON’T you want your brand visuals to communicate to your audience?
Think about what you really don't want. If you were a positive business coach, you wouldn't want to ever have any images that had a negative context. If you are aiming towards dark and moody visuals, then bright cheerful white backgrounds for your photos just aren't gonna work. Write down all of the things you don't want, that way whenever you are unsure about something you can refer back to these.
This worksheet will help you dig deep and figure out what you are specifically wanting to communicate with your audience. It will give you a better understanding of where to go next with your brand photography and help you think and analyze how to grab your audience's attention. It's important to figure out what you are all about before diving in head first.
If you enjoyed this post and are interested in learning more about how you can make your images stand out and want to learn some non-technical photography skills for any level photographer check out our ebook The Good Eye Guide.
My name is Lexi and I am the Creative Director at State of Mind Studio. My partner Cody and I run our studio out of our converted sprinter van. Together we work with brands that have a passion for the outdoors and help them create breathtaking visual stories through branding, photography, and video.
I've got 15+ years of experience in photography, and have worked with companies like Death to the Stock Photo, KEEN,Stanley PMI, Seek Designs and tons of small business owners. Over the years I've learned that photography is so much more than just the technical skills, and that it’s such a crucial part for your brand’s success.
I've studied what makes photography attractive, what makes people more likely to click on images, how to make it more dynamic and how to communicate with people through visuals. Your brand is more than just a logo, your images are what supports your brand messaging and helps you create a consistent impact on your audience.