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Check your Photography

What do the quality photographs you use in your branding and marketing say about you?
I find that this is one area that can be often overlooked when it comes to effective branding.
 If a picture tells a thousand words, you want to make sure that the photos you use in your marketing pieces are on point.
Do you have a professional headshot? You might think getting your photos done by a professional photographer are sufficient, but is it the right shot? I often see headshots where the person has their arms crossed –  I have no idea who started this trend, but its terrible!! Unless you are hot shot lawyer who wants to convey I’m a shark in the courtroom’, this pose is extremely negative and unfriendly. Most people want to do business with people they like, so try to get a shot that makes you look approachable.
My tip: Don’t just choose any photographer. Review different photographer’s portfolios, do you like their style of photography? Do the people look happy, sad, serious, fun (inject how you want to be perceived). Your brand strategist/art director/designer should help you select the right photographer for the look you want to achieve. A brilliant photographer will bring out your true personality and convey the message you want to achieve. They should guide you on clothing, posture, poses, make-up, hair, jewellery.
We live in a world where stock photos are the norm – but are your images the same as that of your competitors? Have you seen those same images/people you use over and over again? This is a challenge when it comes to your budget, so unless you can afford to invest in a photographer to take unique lifestyle/business shots, stock photos are here to stay.
My tip: Increase your budget to hire a professional photographer to create lifestyle shots, at least for the important showcase pieces like your website and company brochure. If this is outside of your budget, make sure your creative team is looking for images that are unique. Develop a guideline on what kind of images you would like to use, you can even follow certain photographers on stock sites and only commit to those that match your style. Don’t forget to mix it up. One consistent comment we get is that most photos are either caucasian, which is not reflective of the population or, they are overtly trying to be multicultural. While the stock photography market has a way to go to change this, do be conscious of how cliche your images come across.
If you have a product based business, your photography is absolutely crucial! How are you presenting your products to your audience? I’ve seen so many beautifully designed catalogues and online sites lose their shine because the photos are done with a phone, not using the correct lighting, or simply scanned in! If you want people to buy your product, you need to present them in the most appealing light possible, form every angle and in context, especially if your customers and clients shopping online. They can’t go in store physically touch your item so they want to be able to imagine holding it – but guess what, most people don’t have an imagination! They need photos, lots and lots of high quality of photos.
My tip: Again, it comes down to your budget, but if you can, invest in a high quality product photographer. that will create stunning images of your wares. You can arrange this to do it periodically in one go – if you book a full day shoot to photography everything you will most likely get a better rate than ad hoc shoots. If this is not possible, get one of your team members on the marketing team to take a basic photography coarse and invest in a good quality SLR and lighting kit. One of our clients painted part of their showroom walls white, so that they could easily take photos of the trailers they produce with a professional camera as soon as they were finished. They had to think creatively on how to consistently document their work.

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