The only thing worse than stock photography is Muzak. (Think about the time you had to listen to Christmas music when you were shopping for socks in September.) Yes, that’s setting a low bar, but I’m not far off the mark. When’s the last time “Smiling Customer Service Associate with Wireless Headset #3” made a lasting impression on you? How about “Guy in Sweaty Shirt Drinking from Water Bottle”?
Photography Helps Customers Make Personal Connections
If you want to really get to know someone—or a company—do you just want to read through reams of copy? Most people would agree: It’s nice to put a face to a name. However, a picture is only valuable if it shows the person—or company—in its best light. If your company relies on stock photography or poorly executed amateur photography, you’re not going to build trust or make a stronger connection with your customers.
Stock photography is just that. Not unique. Not you. And amateur photography will always detract from the professional image you’re trying to portray to your potential customers.
Concerned About Cost? Start with a Few Core Photos
Yes, it costs money to have a professional photographer bring your brand to life. But don’t think that you’re going to need to invest in hard drives full of pictures to accomplish your goal of becoming instantly recognizable to your audience. It’s OK to start with a few core images and build from there.
We’ve started with as few as a dozen or so for clients. You can use and reuse and re-reuse these images in everything from your website to print ads and social media. This core group of professional images will click more with your customers than 50 mediocre or average shots that you captured with your cell phone. At that point, you’ll just blend in with your competition, or look worse than your competition.
Branded Photography is More than Filters
Yes, branded photography often involves coloring or processing images for a certain consistent “look.” But there’s more involved. Other aspects to consider include:
- Consistent subject matter
- Consistent placement of subject matter
- A unique viewpoint of the world
- Nothing in the picture that detracts from the focus
- Consistent impression: high energy, sophisticated, chill, etc.
If shot well, your customers will eventually come to recognize your brand from its images without having to call it out with an obvious logo or copy.
6 Steps to Hire a Photographer for Your Company
1. Hire a professional photographer.
If you’ve been reading this article, you know why. Just like any other service provider your business might employ, a photographer should give you clear pricing, be responsive to your communications, and answer any questions you may have clearly.
2. Request samples of the photographer’s work.
Ask for samples of the photographer’s work. If hiring an agency to take your pictures, be sure to see work samples from the person the company is sending for your project.
3. Hire a photographer who has marketing experience.
Some photographers specialize in high fashion. Others in landscapes. Or food. This isn’t to say that every photographer should be pigeonholed into one rigid category. We recommend that you find a photographer who has experience in marketing first, then assess if the person has the experience to handle your specific subject matter. Capturing products, people, or processes that drive leads for your business is way different than capturing a bald eagle plucking a trout from a raging river during a snowstorm.
4. Ask yourself: Is this photographer eager to help build my brand?
Once you make contact with potential photographers, try to gauge their interest in your project. Do they ask good questions about your company, your brand, and the purpose of your project?
5. Ask for the original images.
When you hire a photographer, make sure you’ll receive the original full-resolution full-size images (both raw and processed). This way it will be easier to tweak your brand image if you want to change it in the future.
6. Establish a realistic timeline.
Depending on what you need photographed, a professional shoot can take hours, not minutes. A typical outdoor shoot at Lead takes around two hours—at odd hours of the day. Unless it’s the dead of winter (let’s hope not), outdoor photography is definitely not a 9-to-5 gig. It’s more likely to begin before dawn and in the couple of hours before sunset. Even for studio-type shots, there’s lighting to set up, people to herd, and breakroom snacks to plunder.
One Last Step: Call Lead Marketing and Design
Professional branded photography makes a great first impression and is essential if you want to hold or build on your customers’ interest in your brand. It’s a critical component of your brand’s identity. Want to capture your unique personality for the world to see and admire? Contact Lead Marketing and Design. We’d love to take a shot at your project.