WHEN IT'S TIME TO INVEST IN BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY
WE LOVE STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEO. WE EVEN USE IT FOR OUR WEBSITE.
(in fact, we’re actually behind the scenes working on something exciting for the stock industry)
But, one thing we've noticed is that a lot of really successful business owners can lean towards using stock photos, even when they have the funds or resources to create their own custom brand images. Even US! Which is why we are writing this to you today. We ourselves are ready to take our own branded imagery for our website and level up in the biz world. Even though we offer that service to our clients, we never really spent time on our own branded photos. So, we thought..why not share our thoughts with you? Why do we feel like we need to take our own photos for our brand instead of using the amazing stock images we can find all over the web? We realized that by not taking our own photos for our business, we are essentially not attracting the type of clients we want to work with.
Now, we are not bashing stock at all, if you are new to being an entrepreneur, starting your own business, creating a blog, or you simply do not have the resources to go out to Iceland to get that perfect shot to represent your idea... We highly suggest using stock images because they will help you look more professional and can take the stress out of adding yet another hat to wear in your business.
With any business, it is essential to start somewhere. Having a solid foundation is important, which is why if you are new, or are focused on other areas of your business then stock is the way to go.
FIRST, What is brand photography?
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.
One of our favorite examples of great brand photography is : Wish You We’re Northwest. This company excels in brand photography by going out and visually telling the story of their product and the people that wear it. They give every image context, so that their audience can connect with the product in a meaningful way. These types of images for your brand are called “lifestyle”.
Lifestyle imagery tells the story of your brand, while also featuring your products or services, but not necessarily solely focused on the product itself. For instance some t-shirt mock ups on websites are just a random person wearing a shirt with the design on it, they have no context, and are very generic to appeal to tons of people. WYWNW knows their audience, and uses lifestyle images to grab their attention. They also don't use T-shirt mockups and instead go out and take their own photos of their products, doing activities outdoors that they know their audience will also love. They use Pinterest, and Instagram and so they can target their images to reach and attract the type of people that would actually purchase their products.
Thus the reason why they are so successful.
Why you should use custom brand photography.
Here are our four reasons why investing in custom brand photography makes your business look freaking awesome.
1. 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.
2. IT CAN HELP YOU SHARE YOUR BRANDS MESSAGE EFFICIENTLY AND CONCISE.
Custom brand photography can give your brand the upper hand. By diving in deeper to your message, values and really honing 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 are should be reflecting in your brand images.
3. THEY CAN BE USED IN MULTIPLE DIFFERENT AREAS OF YOUR BUSINESS.
You can use custom photography for your website, your next marketing campaign, your social media accounts, your product look books and media kits. There are so many uses. If you are able to get a library full of imagery to use, then you are set. Anything you create, images will make that story that much better. For us, creating our own library of brand images to use with all of our systems, makes everything more cohesive, which in the end will make our potential clients and audience trust us even more.
4. STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY IS DECONTEXTUALIZED SO THAT IT APPEALS TO THE MASSES.
Stock photography can be used for ANYTHING, which is why it is so useful for any business owner. But, custom images appeal to your specific audience and you can aim your imagery to have context to what it is you are promoting. Think back to Wish You Were Northwest. The image I shared from their website of the bag with the word 'escape' appealed to ME because I love road trips, car camping, and spending time outdoors. The context provided in the image of someone standing next to an adventure mobile made me want to purchase the bag WAY more than if I just saw the bag with a plain white background.
Another example would be, an outdoor shoe company selling shoes that are waterproof. If they were just starting out in the industry they most likely would have a product photo, and then a stock image of someone hiking in shallow water. They haven't really had the time or ability to go out on their own or hire someone to take a photo of their shoes, because they are busy trying to build their business. This works for starters..but a custom brand image would be someone using their product and highlighting all of the features. Where would their audience use the product? Who are they? What do they like to do? The image would be dynamic, and capture not only the shoe but the lifestyle their audience lives each and every day.
So, let’s get to the real point. When is it the right time for you to invest in custom brand photography?
When we say invest, we don't necessarily mean you have to hire someone else to do it for you. If you generally know how to use a camera, even an iPhone camera. You can still take amazing photographs of your brand and products. If you've spent some time getting to know your camera and have learned some technical skills, we have something for you at the end of this post that can help you put your technical skills to use. Investing can also mean, spending the time and money on yourself to learn what it takes.
It’s time to invest when:
1. YOU ARE TRYING TO HIGHLIGHT THE STORY AROUND YOUR BRAND.
We all know that your brand is more than just a logo. Your brand is who you are, what you value, and who your audience is. So, if you are really trying to make sure you tell the right story, to the right people and you know who your people are. Then it is time. Custom brand photography can only elevate your message and reach the right audience.
2. WHEN YOU ARE SICK AND TIRED OF SEARCHING FOR THE RIGHT IMAGE.
Custom brand photography fits like a glove, stock photography? It maybe is too big or small of a glove. Maybe the fingers aren’t long enough, but it still fits enough to be usable. If you are tired of your gloves not fitting perfectly.. then it’s time to invest in some custom fitted gloves that are your exact style, fit perfect, and will last for years to come. You won’t need to purchase another pair of gloves for a long time. Saving you money, time, and a future headache. Gloves = Images.
3. WHEN YOUR BUSINESS IS READY TO LEVEL UP.
Do you feel like you’ve got this? You’ve been doing it for a while, making steady progress, and you are ready for growth and success. You are in it for the long run! No one wants to plateau, and if you are at this point in your business that means you are ready to advance to the next level. You want to be sure that your business is on point and really represents everything efficiently. It’s time to invest!
4. WHEN YOU’VE NAILED DOWN YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE AND YOU ARE TRYING TO REACH THEM IN A VERY SPECIFIC WAY.
You know who your people are. You know exactly what they like, what they do, what shoes they wear, and what problems they have. Custom brand photography will only help you attract more of those people to your business. It’s definitely time to invest when you know them like the back of your hand. If you specifically can solve a problem for them, stock photography won’t be able to reach them in the way that a specific image fit to their needs and your message wink. Custom brand photography is specific enough so they know exactly what you can do for them and how you can solve their problem.
So how do you invest?
Alright, so you are ready to invest. The first step is to evaluate if you want to spend time creating your own imagery or if you want to invest in a professional. If you decide to hire a professional to do this for you, then we have some great news. We can help you tell your brand’s story and create custom brand photography for your business! We offer this as one of our services and want to help you speak your audience's language.
Ok, so what if you are not ready to work with a professional..or maybe you'd like to do it yourself?
If you decide you don’t want to hire someone else and you really want to dive into the world of creating your own images for your brand. Invest in your education, skills, and tools provided. There are so many online classes, courses, books, and blogs. We are all for DIYing, especially if you aren’t quite ready to fork over a ton of cash on a photographer or an agency.
How about emphasizing the images you already take?
“But, I’m not a photographer"
Honestly. these days everyone can be a photographer. Not to put down any professionals, but phones are so sophisticated these days, and there are tons of free editing apps out there. It is crazy the amount of people that are out there that are photographers! Much more than there used to be before there were smartphones.
You have all the tools right in front of you, and you have so many options on learning how to. We aren't saying it is easy, and it definitely takes some hard work, trial and error.
If you are feeling unsure, but you really want to take on a new challenge..Or maybe you already enjoy photography, but really are having a hard time making your images dynamic.
I have a solution for you.
Introducing: The Good Eye Guide
This guidebook is made for you If:
- You find yourself passionate about taking your own images, but need some inspiration and a direction.
- You know some technical skills in photography, but don’t know how to put them to use.
- You feel stuck with your DIY images and want to jazz them up.
- You're a pro and already take your own photos, but feeling uninspired and don't know where to go next.
I created this book because I was tired of trying to learn new things about photography, only finding a lot of the resources out there were confusing technical skills. I was searching for something different that would challenge me. There was nothing really out there to push my boundaries and inspire me to really get creative.
I really feel that everyone can be a photographer even if they say they aren’t. We all take photos, every single day. This guide is made to help you think outside of the box and give you actionable challenges to get you out there and put you in a new perspective.
The Good Eye Guide is full of inspiration, interviews with photographers that I admire, and 20 actionable photo prompts to help you up your photography skills, help you create your own dynamic custom brand photography, and overall push you to feel motivated and inspired to create new exciting work.
We really hope this post was helpful for you. With that said, we are off to spend some time over the next couple weeks developing our own brand photography. Stay tuned for our updates!
We'd love to hear from you! What is holding you back from investing in custom photography for your business?