Brand photography is a major business investment. It isn’t cheap and it shouldn’t be!
And you definitely don’t want to spend thousands of dollars just to feel like you didn’t get your money’s worth after the fact!
There’s a saying in Spanish that I always think about: “el perezoso trabaja el doble.” It means “lazy folks work twice as hard”.
If you’re cutting corners, you’re going to have to work twice as hard (or spend twice as much) to get the same result.
This doesn’t mean you can’t successfully DIY your brand photos! I’ve seen many brands successfully capture their own content, and it works really well for them!
But, they probably:
- enjoy photography
- know photographers they can collaborate with
- have a crystal clear brand identity
- know exactly what images they need to capture
- know how to turn an off-brand image into on-brand content
So, how do we make this investment with confidence?
Watch out for these red flags when working on capturing branding photography for your small business.
🚩 1. Lack of Brand Clarity
If you don’t know what sets you apart from the competition, it’s going to be really hard to capture unique, scroll-stopping images that stand out and build trust.
A lot of times, working with a brand designer or brand strategist is a MUCH more impactful investment than brand photography. Or, at least, work with a brand strategist FIRST, before you work with a photographer.
Once you know your specific brand values, identity, messaging, and USP, you can craft images that reinforce that messaging and make it CLEAR who you are here to serve.
And that information will inform everything in the photoshoot, from wardrobe to location to styling to posing to props to editing, etc!
🚩 2. Making it about you
A brand photography session isn’t a portrait session. Our goal is not to make you look your prettiest. That’s probably at the bottom of our priority list!
Because these photos aren’t about you. They’re about your CLIENT!
If you want cute pictures where you look pretty, go book a portrait or boudoir session! They can do wonders for your self-confidence.
When you are ready photos that will connect with your audience and show your trustworthiness, expertise, alignment with their story, and the value you bring to the table, REGARDLESS of what you look like, you’re ready for brand photos!
Example: if your audience is busy moms who are working on their body image, wearing heavy makeup, false lashes, and shapewear might make you seem untrustworthy in your messaging of self-acceptance. Or if your audience is maximalist creatives, a minimal brand shoot might not draw them in and help them see you understand them.
Ultimately, you know your audience best, so you know what they’ll resonate with. Find the middle of the Venn diagram between what YOU like and what THEY like and sit in that overlap!
🚩 3. “Check out my Pinterest inspiration board!”
Pinterest is an amazing search engine for inspiration and information. But it can be your worst enemy when working on brand photography.
The line between inspiration and copying is FINE. And when you see beautiful images out there, you might feel like you need them too!
It’s why every wedding blog out there cautions folks planning their wedding to remember their desires and their vision when browsing Pinterest to not get sucked into trends and comparison.
Pinterest is why we all have the same photo of us laughing and typing on our laptop.
No more of that in 2024!
IF you want to build a visual inspiration board, try the following
- search outside of your industry for inspiration
- visualize what you want and create it sans the internet via drawings, doodles, collages, magazine cut outs, word maps, etc
- build your mood board with textures, colors, locations, music, scents, etc. focus on the vibes
🚩 4. Unrealistic expectations
A photoshoot cannot solve all of your problems.
I ran into this problem a lot when I shot boudoir. Folks were coming to me hoping that the photoshoot would magically alter their self-image and help them love themselves. And sure, it might helped for a little bit to see themselves in a new way! But eventually, if you didn’t pair the shoot with your own inner work, the magic faded.
Same with brand photography! Shiny new photos won’t make your brand more enticing to your target audience unless you pair it with brand strategy, consistency in your messaging/values, and a stellar client experience.
🚩 5. Not using your photos
If you spend thousands on brand photos, you have to USE them! If your new photos are just taking up space on your hard drive, they aren’t returning your investment.
Each image captured at a brand photo shoot has a purpose.
After every brand session, I send my clients a walkthrough video and PDF guide to help them remember that purpose and know how to put every image to work for their brand.
Feeling unsure of how to use them? Here are some quick ideas to get you started:
- New profile pic on social media accounts
- Add a headshot to your email signature
- Sprinkle personality shots throughout your About Me page
- Add your branded “stock” images to your service pages
- Reintroduce yourself on social media with your favorite photos
- Overlay text or graphics to your images for extra personality (check with your photographer first if this is allowed within your commercial license)
So, have you made any of these mistakes? Are you ready to correct/avoid them moving forward?
I’d love to hear from you!
Thank you for reading! All my love,
What could new brand images do for your business?
If you’re curious about learning more about my services, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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