No matter how amazing your website copy is, if you are using generic stock images, the personality of your brand will never come through as strong as when it’s paired with professional, on-brand images of you and your team in action!
In an age of visual saturation, you need images that will grab people’s attention and hold them there long enough to attract more interest so they want to read more about you and your brand.
The visuals on your website and your copy work hand in hand, so we had a chat with Kyle from Soul Gazing Photography, the photographer we work with (as well as many of our own clients) to give you some tips and tricks when it comes to creating your own branding images.
Here are his top tips when it comes to common questions about brand photography…
- “Why should I use a photographer when my iPhone takes great pictures?”
This is a big one! While iPhone photos have their place – and are great for ‘in the moment’ snaps for social media – they don’t cut the mustard when it comes to quality shots for your website and marketing materials. You might have the tech, but a professional photographer can provide the right advice and expertise to make sure that the images you want are actually what you get, in the right style, lighting and framing to suit their uses and your brand.
A photographer knows how to use the process of photo creation correctly, like knowing the right lens to use for the right shot so that you avoid face warp, or disproportionate, unflattering shots. With a phone, you don’t have the same potential to use lighting in the way that they would. You are at the mercy of the weather, room shadows and lighting, etc. When you have an understanding of how an angle, item, subject, or location affects the quality of an image, you can combine the right lighting, framing and expertise to help deliver your message, show your personality and get the right images!
Whether you need darker, “moody” imagery or bright, upbeat & friendly – the right lighting is everything…
2. “What is the most important thing to know when choosing a professional photographer?”
The obvious one is to look at the quality of their portfolio and read reviews from past customers. Look for clues like ‘they listened’, ‘understood my brand’, ‘delivered what I wanted’, ‘took the time to get to know me’, ‘made me feel comfortable’, etc.
Importantly, take the time to get to know their personality through a phone call, reading their about page or checking out their socials. While they might have the best technical skills in the world, to get images you’ll love you need to be comfortable and ‘vibe’ together so they can help you show your best self. They have to be willing to understand who you are and how you want to be seen so they can make it happen – rather than coming with an agenda and dictating the direction of your shoot.
Pro tip: Check the full extent of their abilities – e.g. can they make important edits after your shoot to help you get the perfect images?
Spot the difference!
3. “How should I prepare for a branding shoot?”
- Research. Develop your vision for what you want the photos to look like. Check out places like Pinterest, flicker and Instagram to get inspiration, see what your competition is doing and the current trends.
- Define your ‘style’. Are you casual and relaxed? Then you’ll not want to wear much makeup and have your photos set in outdoor locations, and cosy cafes, etc. Your style and the feel of your brand should dictate the shoot.
- Find your location/s. Based on the above, research local cafes, parks, beach settings, cool mural walls, places with your brand colours etc.
- Review. Now that you have done your research, map out your shoot with your photographer, and create an example photo board and a list of the top images you need to capture on the day.
4. “How do I make sure my brand personality comes through?”
This is so important – especially making sure your images match the tone of your website copy!
Take some time to think about your brand, and write out words that express what you want and define how you want to be seen. E.g. Fun, Quirky, Confident, Strong, Relaxed, Cosy, Real, Direct, etc. Find people with strong brands and see what they are doing to get their message across. Chat with past clients and friends and get them to give you feedback on how they see you and your brand.
Then take a minute to think about the above – do you want to continue being seen like this or do you need your new photos to help you change how you are thought of by your customers?
Either way, make sure your photographer is very clear on who your brand is and who you want it to be and brainstorm together on ways to use photography get your message across.
Do you think this fabulous web designer wants her customers to think working with her will be just a little bit fun?
5. “How do I plan out the images I need for my website?”
If you have a website designer/developer, have a chat with them prior to your shoot to get their input and ideas based on the design. Plan out the pages you have/need, and make sure you have 1-2 photos that relate to each page. E.g. service pages need images in action or great product/equipment shots that represent that service. Your about page needs headshots/location shots and photos of you and your team.
Make sure these are factored into your list of ‘images you can’t leave the shoot without’ so your photographer can prioritise them.
6. “What are the basic images every business should have taken professionally?”
- Headshots: one professional and one more casual/relaxed
- Team shots: if you have other people in your business
- Action shots: if you run workshops, training sessions, give massages or do consulting, have photos that show you doing what you do best.
- Branded ‘detail’ photos for marketing: E.g. Close-up shots of laptops, cellphones, business papers and cards, etc.
7. “Is there still a place for using stock images in my business?”
There will always be a place for stock images, just like there is always a place for taking photos on your iPhone. Your photographer can’t follow you around every second of the day and your budget might not stretch to an unlimited supply of professional images! However, I do recommend that you be selective in what you use and how and where you are using them. As a one-off Facebook post or blog image, a stock photo can work fine, but on your website that is representing your business daily to potential customers – use professional, on-brand images that showcase the quality and expertise of your brand.
If you have paid for a professional website and an expert copywriter, make sure your photos are an asset to your brand. If you are currently using stock images, just remember that, if you found them, so can other people in your industry – and you don’t want to look like everyone else!
There is nothing a copywriter hates more than to see their thoughtfully-created, personality-driven, on-brand copy matched with bland, impersonal images.
When your words and photos align, the result is a powerful, on-brand, professional website that will work its butt off for you!
Kyle is a passionate photographer who loves bringing the vision of his clients to life, from initial concept to vibrant, life-filled images that represent them perfectly across their marketing. His special talent is making clients feel more comfortable in their skin and creating a relaxed feel in every shoot – resulting in photos they can be proud of!
“Imagery has the ability to change moods, evoke emotion and call for action like nothing else, and my ambition is to move people with my photography”.
To check Kyle out online, visit: