Good branding photography?
What is that?
How do I determine good branding photos from bad ones?
You might ask.
It’s a good question to ask, so I’ll do my best to explain how I go about creating branding photos that my clients love.
I’ll be brutally honest with you. Authenticity goes a long way in branding photography.
Nobody likes to be tricked, so unnecessary doctoring in Photoshop isn’t a great idea. Most importantly, I like to create natural images that present you in an ideal environment.
If you’re a coach trying to reach out to those interested in natural beauty, your clients won’t expect to see photos that are heavily retouched in Photoshop.
For product photos, if the product is a high price luxury item, it has to look that way in the photos. On the other hand, if the product is a $5 watch, it should not look like a Rolex.
Obvious? Read on…
Could you whiten my teeth?
When I get asked that question, I have to stop and think hard for branding photo clients. Is it going to make it ‘unreal’?
It’s simple enough to make someone’s teeth whiter and I have done so plenty of times. The issue is whether or not that simple retouching is going to make the photo inauthentic.
Perhaps teeth colour is not hugely important for some people but it can be very important for others. I understand that.
It can be painful for some people to come to the realisation that your branding photos need to match your products and services.
Your better self
While we aim for the ‘real you’, it doesn’t mean you have to simply settle for how you are at present either. I believe anyone could look better. If you saw my clients’ before and after photos (from glamour portraiture service) you would agree that a lot can be said about hair styling, makeup and fashion styling.
Most clients are amazed during the branding session. Because I put them in clothes that they look fantastic in but NEVER thought of trying them in the past.
My point is this. Even if you don’t believe that you could look good in photos you can expect good or even better results if you work with professionals who can bring out the best in you.
Match your personality and preference
This is so obvious but, it seems, not so for a lot of people.
I meet with clients, I talk to them on the phone, I receive their reference (example) images and most of all I ask them questions.
Because I need to know what makes them tick. I need to understand and have a feel for their personality. I need to know their preferences.
What does it mean specifically?
Are you a soft spoken, elegant person? In that case, I wouldn’t take you out to photo-shoot locations like Northbridge (hippy and edgy area with cool Asian eateries).
Are you edgy and gregarious? I wouldn’t dress you in a silk, drapey soft coloured dress. I’d play with bright colours that match your complexion and have fun with props in different locations.
Are you trying to attract corporate clients? We wouldn’t photograph you in a tulle skirt and take you out on a field. I would instead power-dress you and, for example, use the CBD area as a backdrop.
What does it all mean for you?
You need to find a photographer who is curious enough to want to know more about you before they press the shutter. If you are not getting any questions, you’d probably want to look elsewhere. One question – e.g. why do you need photos? – is not enough.
Why would you want to shell out your hard earned money to someone who is not at all interested in you anyway?
Stating the obvious?
This could be somewhat technical for those who are totally new to the concept of branding photography.
Most branding photos I create are used in websites. Therefore, a good branding images library would contain:
- images of landscape orientation rather than traditional portrait (tall) orientation
- images that have a large empty space on either side of the subject to add text
- a mix of images of you, your preferred props (e.g. flowers, balloons, books, coffee) and simple textures.
One client recently showed me what was given to her after a session with a local photographic studio. The proof sheet contained only portrait orientation images.
This is after they asked:
Why do you need photos?
And got the answer:
I need them for my new website.
That’s why this client was talking to me. The photos from the previous session turned out to be useless. They were not bad photos. It’s simply that they were not appropriate for use in a website.
The bottom line?
You can create a good branding photography image library for your business if you:
- use authentic images
- get professional help to make you look and feel better
- have a photographer who understands what makes you tick and who you are
- be specific about where and how you’ll want to use your photos so that you get what you really need.
This post is part of a series on Branding Photography.