Humans are visual creatures. Think about it...before any buying decision, we go straight to the website and click on image after image. We stalk people’s Facebook photos to gauge their personality and determine if we are a right fit. We scroll through Instagram, double tapping pictures that catch our eye and our hearts. We create Pinterest boards and pin photos for every life’s occasion. We crave visual content. In fact, 90% of the time, the information sent to our brain is visual and our brains process these images 60,000 times faster than text.
So what does this mean for us online entrepreneurs and business owners? It means that visual storytelling has become a powerful tool in connecting with our audience and communicating our message. In order for our brands to stand out in today’s noisy marketplace, we need a collection of strong, storytelling photos in our marketing. From websites to email to social media, we need brand photos that tell our story and dive deeper into the many layers of our business. Visuals that create emotion, trust, connection and interest.
But before you start sharing visual content on behalf of your brand, consider the five truths of brand photography:
1. Quality Does Matter
The photos you choose to represent yourself and your business are making a huge impression on your audience. According to Inc. Magazine, people form a first impression in a mere 50 milliseconds. Prospects are quickly evaluating if you are legit and likable. Are you a professional or an amateur? Are you trustworthy? Do you look like someone worth hiring? If you are constantly posting selfies or creatively cropped photos or poorly lit DIY pics, you may be sharing the wrong message. The more professional your photos, the more you will be seen as an authority or expert. Furthermore, if your audience sees that you yourself has invested in your business with professional photography, they may be more likely to invest in you.
2. It's really about YOU.
Don’t hide behind your logo, products, services, clients and portfolios. Put yourself into your marketing. When you show up in your visuals, you become the connecting point to your business. People do business with people so it’s time to show up and be the face of your brand. Customers want to see the heart of the brand (you!) and learn about your mission, your movement, your manifesto. So start sharing and showing up!
3. It's not all about YOU.
I know, I just told you that it’s all about you. And now I am telling you that it’s not. What I mean here is that your brand photos should be created with your audience in mind. Think about your ideal customer and create photo stories that will resonate with them. What can you share that would be of value and of service to them? Create the world that your ideal customer wants to be part of so they can see themselves in that scenario. Choose stories, themes, locations, props and clothing that make sense and appeal to them. You want everything in your visual to attract your customer and inspire them into action.
4. It Takes Two to Make a Thing Go Right.
Beautiful and engaging photography is a product of both the subject and the photographer. You and your photographer need to trust each other. When you have a trusting, personable relationship then the magic can happen! Before you hire anyone, make sure you are on the same page and are clear on the objectives of the images. Meet in person or over the phone to make sure you get along and are in sync. You want to feel as natural and as calm as possible. The right photographer will act as your partner and pull out the best in you. Do the work before hand to prepare yourself and be informed.
5. It's Not Just About Pretty Pictures
Brand photography is so much more than posting glamour shots. It’s about creating depth in your brand and building connection and a relationship with your audience. It’s about storytelling. It’s about sharing information. It’s about differentiating yourself. The goal of these images is to help your viewer visualize your message, your process, your products and services more clearly. Don’t just post for posting sake. Think about your marketing plan and your core message. Be strategic with these images to engage, inspire, and make your audience feel something.
In our crowded online space, it’s challenging to be memorable and break through the clutter. Images can help capture your audience’s attention, connect to their minds and hearts and inspire your prospects into action. But the truth is, not all images are created equal. Be intentional and strategic with your visual storytelling and see how it can be a powerful tool to standing out. Can’t wait to see YOU out there!
We crave visual content.
Still curious about brand photography? Get a sneak peek into the brand photo libraries of four real women in The Brand Photography Look Book.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mallika Malhotra is a brand photographer and brand strategist at MikiFoto + Co. She helps women entrepreneurs share their message with confidence and stand out as leaders through visual strategy, photography, branding and social media. She recently published a book called, The Brand Photography Playbook: The Insider's Guide to Planning Your Photo Shoot and Building a Stand-Out Brand.