What Is Brand Photography?
If we’re rollin’ with the default answer I dish out to the average coffee-shop goer who asks what I do, I’d start with – brand photography could be described as a small business’s take on traditional, commercial photography.
Now that the small business realm has officially taken up long-term residence in the digital market, it makes sense that a service like brand photography would also debut with its own terms and approach to specifically serve small businesses at the scale they need in order to effectively market themselves online with compelling photos that do the talking for them.
So, to finally give you a quotable definition [less textbook]- the term Brand Photography describes a collection of photos created specifically for a small business’s needs and in line with their visual brand [aesthetic if you will].
It takes a more holistic approach to tell the whole story of a brand, with the type of photographs ranging from headshots to lifestyle-led process imagery even to product photos, the shot list guiding a session is tailored right to the types of photos that each business needs regularly to outfit things like:
- social media content
- online stores
- blog articles
- email newsletters
- ad campaigns
- brand/client collateral
- sales pages
- lead magnets
- and more
And the overall goal being to provide them with photos that make their messages visual, drawing in the likes of their target audience. Ones that allow them to tell their story and be who they are wherever they are.
Why is Brand Photography Important? – The Data-Driven Answer
“A picture is worth a thousand words” is often the phrase used to start off this particular conversation and in an effort to avoid cliches, I attempted to drum up another way of saying this – but really, it’s the most accurate answer.
Your brain processes visuals 60,000x faster than text, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and humans are able to get the gist of a visual scene in less than 1/10th of a second – I’m pretty sure that alone sums up why brand photography comes in pretty high on the list of assets for a business to have in tow in our fast-paced attention economy. (source)
Our lives are flooded [more like bombarded] with imagery – with the dawning of things like the smartphone resulting in “over 95 million photos being uploaded daily to Instagram” alone, it makes sense – I mean soooo many photos.
We were visual creatures before the dawning of the internet. And now that it plays an increasingly vital role in our daily lives, you can imagine how much more our brains prioritize visuals to help us make sense of our world – especially when it comes to where we invest our money.
- Think back to the last time you were bouncing back and forth between two clothing items online. You had to make that final choice based on what? The photographs you saw of the item. Not the physical item itself.
- Or a time when you were searching for a new coffee shop to try out – was there one with photos that not only showed the coffee itself but also the atmosphere you could expect when you walked in?
- Or a time when you were scrolling through IG, something caught your attention, and you slowed and gravitated toward the caption? Likely the photo was the cause for your pause that then prompted you to click “read more” and maybe pop down into the comment section to voice your opinion.
Not only do our brains make sense of photos faster than words, but it also remembers them at a higher rate as well. Research shows that a message conveyed alongside a well-curated set of images used to emphasize it promotes retention by about 65% three days after reading it. In other words, a strategic photo is proven to make your message stick with people longer.
With attention spans decreasing by the day, we only have so much time to grab the notice of potential customers. A few studies have shown that homepages broken up with strong, strategic images increase the retention and click-through rate of customers – probably didn’t need a stat to tell us this. Think back to your own browsing habits, do you default to clicking right out of websites that dump a bit too much text on you at one time without any breathing room? The right photos provide that breathing room.
Your time is precious and such is that of your target audience. Having imagery that snags their attention and provides the context to keep it, prompting them to read your headlines then copy, then leads them to act like Alice plunging head-first down the rabbit hole of your online home.
Wouldn’t that strategy be better than simply wishing on a star that they’ll care about you the moment your name crosses their navigation bar – not that I’m assuming that’s what you’re doing?
Brand photography is a paramount piece of the marketing puzzle to turns browsers into buyers.
What’s the Practical Importance of Brand Photography? – Skip the data & jargon
Builds Brand Trust – the ultimate currency
In this primarily digital economy, it can be hard as a consumer to vet the things they’re putting their money into [you’ve likely been duped a time or two yourself]. So as business owners, we’ve got to take the reigns on fostering as much opportunity for trust as possible.
Brand photos help with all three, but especially the first one.
Though that word is often thrown around to sum up how often you show up in content spaces online, it also carries the definition of HOW you show up. Imagine being able to have a visual brand that ties together with ease across all fronts, being who you are wherever you are – a huge pillar of consistency.
When the photos you have to fill various containers (website, socials, blogs, emails, etc.) are all cohesive and carry your brand’s aesthetic, it’s easy to be recognized at a glance. And the more you’re recognized with distinction, the more bits of trust collateral you begin to accumulate in the minds of your target audience.
Raises Perceived Value – especially if you’re trying to establish authority
“Images that allow me to show up as the business I want and envision without waiting” (Katie, Abundant Collab Co) – dogeared this quote from a client review as my main point for this bullet.
Brand photography has the power of elevating your brand equity [a term used to describe a brand’s value] with ease – and this is powerful if you’re on the quest to scale and establish authority.
Naturally, that journey comes with perceptions to break through like glass ceilings, and sometimes those shifts need to come first visually in order for clients to adopt this new perspective of your business.
Here are a few examples, the containers for this brand remained the same – we only changed the photos in the new versions on the right:
Brand: Rekindle Communications
Highlight Products & Services Often – without feeling redundant
The adage used to be that someone needed to encounter your brand or ad 7-12 times before taking action or getting curious. In 2023, it’s more like 12-18x or at least that’s what I gathered from a marketing conference I attended recently. And Seth Godin says in his book This is Marketing – “We remember what we rehearse”.
What does that mean for you? Frequency in marketing is the key to being remembered. So, having an easy way to rehearse your products and services before your audience in multiple forms without them growing stale is one of the best benefits of brand photography.
Ideally, the images you receive from your shoot will allow you to talk about your products or services from multiple angles. From creation, to process, to methodology, to the actual product or service itself – there are a variety of story avenues you can take when reminding your audience what you offer and your brand photos should give you the vehicle through which to communicate those without feeling redundant.
Market with More Ease
Imagine not having to start by scrolling through camera rolls, Drive folders, and files loaded with stock imagery before filling your Canva templates, outfitting blog articles, and furnishing your website – how much time would that save you?
When it comes to marketing with ease, we’re not only looking at time-per-post capita but we also can consider how well the imagery we’re using provides context for the post we’re creating as well as flows with the overall design to make it comprehensible.
A bank of brand photos strategically designed to fit your marketing style and content calendars helps you to tackle that batch day and show up with a bit more creativity and consistency.
Plus, when all your photos are high quality, and mimic the messages and aesthetics of your business, they inherently raise the bar of your marketing.
And as a bonus, some of the images may actually inspire you creatively when your tank is less than half full – my clients have been known to start with their photo gallery and work backward to fill out their content calendar in any given month.
Summing all this up – Would Brand Photography Be Right For Your Business?
This question is really loaded – but my answer is almost always going to be yes [with caveats].
The better question to ask is: what form of brand photography is the right investment for my business at this stage?
Not every business is ready for or in need of the caliber of brand photography that my offerings are designed for. The targeted and deep process I dive into, which produces packed-out and strategic galleries, is meant for established creatives who have more robust marketing plans or photography needs.
Deciphering what you should invest those hard-earned dollars in starts by noting what you need & recognizing what season of business you’re in.
In the first year or two of figuring out your business?
A simple set of photographs from a photographer or even strategically taken on your phone will likely fit the bill for providing you the means to show up online and fill that first website.
More in a middle-of-the-road stage or an established stage of business?
Now that you’ve got your bearings, you’re more likely looking to invest in your first real set of brand photographs. Here are a few good indicators to look out for:
- Feeling growing pains in the brand you created to get started? If the work you create or clients you’re targeting is no longer reflected or attracted to the brand you’re currently working with, a library of brand photographs is a good way to bridge that perception gap without ripping everything down to the studs.
- Further the distance of your messages and make that “stamp” you make on the market crystal clear by having photographs that set you apart in your own right
- Formed a team or added in a new offering or revenue stream that needs extra attention to communicate it? Brand photographs are a great way to generate buzz and provide the context for talking about the shifts you’re making.
- Been putting off the “get new brand portraits” task on your goal list? Then you probably already know your answer to this question and reading this list was another spurt of procrastination.
Whatever camp you find yourself in, there will 100% be use for brand photographs in your business. Our very digital and visual attention economy took care of that for us.
However, discerning what kind and caliber is needed at this stage in your business will help wade through the plethora of photographers out there and find the one whose experience is like-minded with your goals.
Finding yourself thinking “I really need to get those brand photographs taken” I may just be your girl! Go ahead and set up our meet cute right now by firing off your response to my inquiry form.
Still need some time and help to sort through that “should I get brand photos” query? – I’ve created this checklist that walks you through various stages to determine if that is your next best step for your business and recommendations for what to do if it isn’t.