photographing for your brand

Photographing your brand

Always show who you are, what you do and why you do it! I can’t remember who said this many moons ago, but it is such a good guide for your content creation. And when you create this kind of content with your brand in mind, you simply can’t go wrong. This is what I go through before I do personal branding shoots, and you can use these tips for planning your own branding shoot.

I am always saying this, but if you haven’t already got a full set of brand guidelines, then go and get a set done. That set of guidelines will help all your marketing decisions and make everything look lovely and consistent.
If you want to do your own thing, go and buy the brand books by Fiona Humberstone – beautiful and inspirational books full of easy to follow branding tips and knowledge!

1. Colours

If you only have one brand colour, it doesn’t mean you can ever only use that one colour. However, stick to a few, and pick colours that are complimentary to each other, avoid colours that really clash.
Colours in your images come from many different elements like:

:: The background
:: What you wear (this is important!)
:: Your props. Really put some effort into selecting the right props, this is where those beautiful Instagram feeds excel. Less is often more, but pick the right things in the right colours.

2. “Your vibe will attract your tribe”

Those are the wise words of Chris Ducker, and they really are true. The look and feel you put out will attract or repel people, so what is your vibe, and what is the tribe you are trying to attract? What kind of vibe does your brand stand for? Do you want to be known for quality, being cheap, being local, kind, approachable? We are all making up our own stories based on the images we see, so be conscious about the vibe in your pictures.
You location and props will change the vibe of your marketing feel. Little things like look at the different types of table tops you have in your house, you might have a white, you might have a wooden, you might have a wooden top that isn’t actually very nice (wood has very different colours). You might have a nice wooden floor or perfect rustic tiles. Just think beyond the living room carpet, choose something that will look nice. And if you don’t have a nice floor or table top for your background, paint one!
If you house really isn’t at all suitable (and most will be!), then go to a cafe, or borrow a friends house.
Think about the light and bright and white locations and backgrounds used by The White Company, they are not by accident.
Also consider the look and feel. Light and airy, dark and rustic, playful and childlike or elegant and luxurious – what is the right look and feel for your brand?

3. Photograph your message

What is your actual message? If you follow me or have met me in real life, you will know that my main messages evolve around getting mum’s into pictures, capturing life and always walking that line between genuine vs. pretty and these messages run through the images I create and use. It is harder for you to create images that communicate your message if you aren’t clear on what it is.
Try to take a broader view of what you do. If you are a baby sleep expert, you don’t just need pictures of sleeping babies , you can also do pictures of the baby monitor (do you fear that monitor going again a moment after getting your baby to sleep?), you could photograph a bottle (do you always have to feed your baby to go to sleep?), you could do messy unmade bed (do you feel like no one is getting enough sleep because the baby isn’t sleeping?), you could do a picture of baby clothes on the washing line (is your day just a blur of chores after yet another nights broken sleep? Do you put the washing in the fridge and the milk in the tumble dryer after weeks of not sleeping?), you could do pictures of baby sleep books (have you read all the books, but your baby still isn’t sleeping?), a cup of coffee (are you fuel by coffee to get through the day, it doesn’t have to be this way, I can help get your baby into a good sleeping pattern!). What are the pain points, and what message have you got around those?

Another element to consider is the models you choose in your images. If you message is mainly for mums, then show mums, don’t use your young cool sister just because she is available 😉
Always use models who are your dream target audience. What you show is what you will attract.

What is your tone of voice? I would personally never swear in my marketing materials, but your tone might be very “colourful”, in which case you can reflect this int he tone of your images, don’t make them too polished. Make sure they image style match your voice.

Know exactly what messages you want to promote in the next x months, and then shoot for that. You might like my blog post about Content planning – the visuals for more details about this.

4. Include your logo

Think about ways to include your logo in your pictures, this is a great way to show your logo regularly in your social media feed, but in a very soft manner. This might be your business card, stationary, training materials, packaging, a stamp, branded work clothes, branded car. If you don’t really feel you have anything, create something and get it printed 🙂

5. Get in the picture

It goes completely without saying that you MUST be in some of your branding images! Show who you are. People buy people, and you are the most unique thing about your business. If you don’t feel confident being photographed, start with being small in the frame, not looking to the camera and work your way up – you will soon be looking and smiling 😉
Close colours to wear that go with your brand.

That’s it. This is all about creating still images for your brand, but use exactly the same guidelines for video and graphics, to ensure all your marketing materials look consistent.

You can read more about this in my post about content planning the visuals. And you might also like the post about Planning and shooting for the end use of your images.

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