Are you a social media manager trying to convince your boss or client they need to spend the extra $$ on a brand photoshoot to get their own stock photography? Pulling your hair out because all the networking events, blog posts, and website redesigns in the world aren’t helping sell your product or service in a meaningful way? Can’t stand the sight of another stock photo of a model bathed in fluorescent light at a cubicle looking at fake spreadsheets, which in no way represents your or your client’s company?
Well, we know your problem first hand, and we too want to rid the world of fluorescent-lit cubicle photoshoots. We all instinctively KNOW why brand photoshoots are better for everyone all around, but if you need help convincing someone (maybe yourself?), we’ve rounded up some specifics.
Five specific reasons why you need to start planning an authentic stock photoshoot ASAP:
Storytelling has become something of a buzzword, which is odd because it is an age-old practice, not a newfangled invention like fidget spinners or ‘google’. Buzzword or no, the practice of storytelling is an innate human practice. We all naturally want to know WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHY, and did they live happily ever after? Was the dragon slain? Did the ghost return? We all want to know! Planning and creating a photoshoot gives you the opportunity to tell the story of your company. It visually conveys who, what, when, where and why so that someone who visits any of your channels can immediately start visualizing the story of your business. Is your business located in a downtown area, or in a small town? Is your business a 4th-generation family-run operation? Have you invented a product because of a need in the marketplace? Custom stock photos give you the opportunity to immediately lay out the story of your company.
A branded photoshoot shows your business, but it most importantly shows the PEOPLE who make up your business. Studies have shown that psychologically, humans will over and over make decisions based on how they feel over logic. Everyone does it! So, what does that mean to us building brands? Honesty and transparency are key. Showing who you are, what the inside of your office looks like, what your process looks like, and who your office manager is, shows that your company is made up of real humans. Trust us – you can tell when you visit a website when the photos are stock photos and when they are professional photos of the real employees. And what happens when websites feature real employees? If a client calls your business, they can visualize -who- they are talking to. It’s a pre-emptive ice breaker and helps build trust.
When you plan and shoot brand photography, it is custom because you have complete control over the images. When you work with a photographer, the photographer will chat with you about your brand: are you upbeat, cheery and playful? Or more serene and professional? A professional photographer can work with you to create visuals that align with your brand’s values. When the images align with your brand values – then that imagery flows from your website to your social media, to other brand collateral. It tells your clients who you are without them having to ask, or worse, fill in the blanks for themselves. Being able to control your visuals makes it much easier to build out all other branding materials (think website, social media pages, one-sheets, etc).
We aren’t going to lie, professional shoots are expensive upfront. However, as business people, we all know that sometimes putting money down on quality will save you money in the long run. When you have a bank of professional photos ready for a social media manager, graphic designer or web designer, it DRASTICALLY cuts down on time. Let us repeat. When you have a bank of approved, high-quality images that are edited in the same fashion, it makes everyone’s life easier. That way your marketing team doesn’t have to wait for emailed 11th-hour pixelated headshots, or worse, spend time hunting for a stock photo of a model thinking.
We aren’t Human Resource professionals, but we are seasoned professionals and leaders, working with entrepreneurs to large corporations. When an organization tells the story of their whole business by talking about the people who work there – that goes so far for morale. Think about it – how much pride do you take in working on a product or a team where you are represented and acknowledged versus producing a product that no one knows you had anything to do with?
Common pitfalls in acquiring your authentic stock photography.
These reasons are well and good, but executing a photoshoot can be tough. You can email us and ask us your questions, or you can check out these common issues we run into with branded photoshoots and how to combat them:
Someone Doesn’t Want Their Photo Taken
- We get it, time marches on and no one who is a professional adult working in the real world looks as gorgeous as they did when they were 17. However, professional working adults are 1000 times more interesting and capable than their 17-year-old selves, and we think that tells a compelling and amazing story. Besides, photoshop is a thing, and while we encourage people to be comfortable in their own skin, there’s always a little magic a photographer can do.
- However, some people might have safety concerns or simply do not want their image online. That is just fine, and in those cases, we encourage you to come up with ways of telling the story of your product or service using the staff who are available or focus on other things like desks, chairs, the production facility, the inside of a shop, stacks of materials, etc.
My Product is Visually Boring
- To that, we say NO WAY. Why are people buying your product? Does it help them in their life? Does it solve a problem? There are ways to show visually how awesome your product is. Also, here’s a quick hint: sometimes the ‘product’ is your own educated and experienced brain. So you might have to talk about yourself and how your own brain provides value to your clients. If you get stuck, that is why professionals are here. ☺
I seriously have zero budget, equipment, and/or talent
- Sometimes the capital isn’t there – but that doesn’t mean you skimp on your images! Do some visual research on Pinterest, or take a look at some businesses who have interesting photos and write down the types of images you like. Put out a call to your personal network for an aspiring photographer, plan a day, and go take photos with an iPhone or a simple digital camera! There are apps like Lightroom that can help you make quick edits, and it is far better than nothing. Trust us!
So, there you have it. You have NO EXCUSES for not putting engaging, interesting, and effective images on your marketing. Our last, and most fun tip? Plan a quarterly team meeting, and have a photoshoot. It gives your team fresh content and reminds everyone how much they love working together.
Now, go forth and create with confidence!