There’s no doubt about it; we’re an image-driven society. Consumers recall information when paired with images. Branded photos, like those used by the mission-based Toms or on Sephora’s Instagram, stay true to the brand and are easily recognizable. Business owners turn to photography to build their reputation, gain credibility, and tell their story. HubSpot reported that 51% of B2B marketers prioritize creating visual assets as part of their content marketing strategy, whereas 55% of B2C marketers consider images a top priority. Master the photography essentials and make the most of your next photo shoot with these tips.
Plan your shots to fit your needs and match your brand.
Save yourself time by developing a clear vision on how and where you’ll use your photos. Each platform, like websites, social media, landing pages, and emails, require different sizes, formats, focus, and even filters. By determining how your images will further brand awareness on each digital channel, you’ll be able to plan out the specific photos you want to capture during a photo shoot.
Will you need both horizontal and vertical photos?
What about square photos?
Once you’ve determined your image strategy, plan out each shot. This can be as simple or extensive as you wish. List specific brand elements to include, such as an exact background or sign. Make a note of the types of shots needed, whether it’ll be one that fades out the setting or a photo optimized for Twitter.
Control the set or environment.
Increase brand awareness by staying consistent in your images. If you use public spaces, then look for elements that are similar, like buildings with bricks or only coffee shops. If you’re setting the stage privately, then plan each color and design prop that’ll be used. Determine background colors and make sure it fits with branding. From simple settings to elaborate designs, your background choice depends on the reasoning behind the shot. If you’re highlighting a product, then a simple background is best. Consider shots where you’ll blur out the background and leave the color in place as opposed to adding a filter. Develop a toolkit of brand-specific props. Include any business-relevant items using your brand colors. Different backgrounds, from colored poster board to natural elements like stone or wood tiles, along with accessories necessary in your business, whether that’s pens or coffee, helps your brand stay cohesive.
Master Natural and artificial lighting.
If you have noticeable shadows over facial features, referred to as a dappled effect or scruffy marks on the baseboard where you’re demonstrating a product, then unless you’re a shabby chic brand, it looks unprofessional. While editing takes care of some of this, you can prevent many problems by starting with the best lighting practices. Natural lighting. Photographing outdoors is tricky. Experts recommend avoiding direct sun. Instead, overcast days work best. Seek shaded spots, like against a wall if shooting outdoors. Indoors you can use methods to reflect or filter the lighting. Artificial lighting. Get to know your flash and experiment with indirect lighting. Whether you bounce the lighting off the subject using three or more lights or use the flash on your iPhone, additional lighting is often necessary on interior shots.
Select appropriate models.
Keep your branding strategy in mind when choosing models for product display. If your target market is childless women in their 20s, then they won’t identify with an older woman with a messy mom bun. Each image should reflect what your ideal customer wants to see. Plus don’t forget to add your branded colors. Use a pop of color on fingernails for hand shots or colorful scarves and hats.
Edit images to fix imperfections and adjust exposures.
Depending on your level of expertise and willingness to invest money into software, you have several options for editing your images. Adobe Photoshop and PicMonkey are two ways to edit photos. Most photo editing apps allow you to alter the exposure, brightness/contrast, shadows, and highlights. With further training, you’ll explore HDR toning and other tools for professional exposure adjustment. Editing is often essential and includes both background and subject blemishes. Be careful not to over edit and end up with one of the many epic fails noted across social platforms. We know that 67% of consumers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product. Which is why the majority of businesses will increase their use of images. It’s nearly impossible to stand out from the competition if you’re not utilizing images and well-done photography in your branding strategy.