They say a photo is worth a thousand words, but when it comes to your website, it’s worth even more than that.
Photographs serve so many functions on your website.
They introduce the face behind your brand (aka you!).
They weave elements of your visual brand identity into imagery that’s emotive and effective.
They tell a visual story of who you are and what you do.
They also break up larger sections of text so your copy and design work together.
The vast majority of entrepreneurs incorporate photos into their website design, but not all invest in quality brand photography.
Brand photography is more than a set of pretty photos. It’s a strategic approach to visually telling your story through a series of high-quality images that are ONLY for your brand.
Here’s why brand photography makes such a huge impact when we design your website.
Brand photography creates the first impression
When someone lands on your website for the first time, what elements do they notice first? If you guessed visuals, you’d be right! Since we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, our visuals actually do the talking for us.
So what is your imagery saying? If you aren’t visually communicating the right message through your photography, you might unknowingly confuse your audience.
Some marketers recommend for you to include photos of anything that creates an overall “vibe” for your brand, but here’s where that can get tricky. You may love photos of succulent gardens and steaming cups of coffee, but what do those images actually say about what you offer?
Creating a vibe will help all of your imagery feel cohesive and true-to-you, but you also need your photos to visually show what your brand is all about. It’s hard to do this with stock photos.
Hotsource Yoga, one of my website clients at DGD, offers hot yoga classes for a wide variety of clients. Instead of showing photos of their empty yoga studio or a simple yoga mat, they personalized the website with brand photos that show how accessible yoga can be for everyone.
When website visitors see the main image on the Homepage (which we call a “hero image” in the website world), they’ll immediately notice the same theme of accessible yoga and belonging being communicated through the brand photo.
All of Hotsource’s brand photos are very light, bright, natural, and organic with a similar editing style that creates a cohesive look throughout the website. To see their brand photography in action, click here to visit Hotsource’s website.
Since your brand photography creates the first impression of your brand, think about what kind of impression you want to make. Write down any descriptive words that describe how you want people to feel and what you want people to see. This can help you create a clear direction for your brand photoshoot.
Brand photography is completely unique to your brand
Stock photos are readily available to anyone who wants to download or purchase them. This can seem like a positive at a first glance, but think about it: they can be used by anyone. That includes your competitors. You don’t want to be mistaken for one of your competitors because you use the same imagery on your website.
Another hang-up when using stock photos is that you have no say in what goes into them. You don’t have control over the colors, props, outfits, or any other element in the stock photos.
You don’t even have control over the editing style of the photo. If you love everything about it except that the photo is dark and moody when your visual aesthetic is light and bright, you’re back to square one.
I don’t even want to mention how long it can take to find a stock photo you actually like. You can spend countless hours scrolling through stock photo libraries, only to come up short. Even if you do find a stock photo you like, it may not always work with the look and feel of your website template.
Quality brand photography will give you full creative freedom and control over how the images are created, and you’ll be able to show your face in some of them.
Even if you capture lifestyle photos, you can include your arms, legs, hair, or anything else that shows that YOU are the person behind the brand. (Besides, trying to find photos with an arm that has your exact skin tone can be super difficult.)
Try not to choose people in your industry since you don’t want to emulate your competitors. Instead, choose from outside your industry and explain why you like each photo so you can compare notes with your photographer. You can also follow brand photographers on Pinterest and look at the photos they share in order to get brand photoshoot ideas.
Brand photography elevates your brand
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’re always looking for ways to improve your visibility. You’re already an expert at your craft, but you want imagery that helps you look like one.
Brand photos can help you elevate your brand by helping you craft a cohesive, consistent look that blends well with your message. (To clarify your message, I recommend looking into StoryBrand – I’m a certified StoryBrand Certified Guide and highly recommend their resources!)
These brand photos can give you the confidence to increase your prices over time and assert your value. Think about when you make investments in your own business. You want to work with professionals who present themselves as experts. So, if another business owner shared a few selfies they captured with their iPhone (even if it was with great lighting), it wouldn’t come across as professional. You’ll want to highlight your brand photos instead.
Paige of The Legal Paige is the perfect example of someone who has elevated her brand through professional photography. When we worked together on her website, we talked about how important it was for Paige to present herself as a trusted legal professional while showcasing her friendly, warm, and approachable personality. She nailed it with her brand photos.
When people are faced with legal challenges, they can often feel overwhelmed, so Paige chose a muted color palette that helps her audience feel calm and centered. The outfits she chose for her brand photos are also on-point! She looks well-put together and professional without being stiff or stuffy.
I keep using the term “investment” because brand photography sessions aren’t necessarily cheap, but think about the true reward of your investment. You’ll have brand photos you can proudly show off on your website and beyond.
These brand photos can also be repurposed as social media content or used for press features, guest blog posts, video interviews, podcast interviews, pricing guides, welcome guides, and so much more. You’ll get your money’s worth out of these photos!
My best tips for rocking your next brand photoshoot
Now that you’re sold on investing in a brand photoshoot, it’s time to plan your next steps.
First, choose a brand photographer who matches your style and schedule a time slot for your photoshoot. (To make the shoot even more enjoyable, take the whole day off so you can have fun and stay focused!)
For brand photos you can’t wait to show off, I recommend following these simple yet important tips on how to have your best brand photoshoot.
Make a list of goals before your photoshoot. What do you want the images to convey? What does success look like at the end of your photoshoot? Think about the strategy and goals behind your brand photography session and share them with your brand photographer so you’re on the same page.
Wear on-brand colors and patterns. If your visual branding incorporates colors like blush pink and neutral tans, it wouldn’t make sense to wear an outfit with bright red and blue polka dots. Your sweet spot is to find an outfit that you love and feel super confident in that fits within your color palette.
Choose a brand photographer that matches your aesthetic. This can primarily be done by looking at the photographer’s portfolio or their Instagram feed to see if their editing style and vibe fits what you’re looking for. Then there are no surprises when they deliver your final photo gallery!
Need a photographer recommendation? A few of my favorite brand photographers are Josie Derrick, Corry Frazier, and Laura Volpacchio.
Share inspiration with your photographer before the shoot. Many brand photographers will provide you with a questionnaire or communicate with you by phone or email to understand what kind of photos you want to create together. Make sure you have an idea of how you want your images to turn out before you go to the session.
Choose locations that feel like you. Do you feel more at home in a studio, or would you rather take photos in your home office? Would you rather take photos outside? If so, should the photos be taken in various locations in the city, in the quiet countryside, or by the ocean? Your brand photographer may also have specific locations they love to shoot in so simply ask for recommendations if you need more guidance.
Get a variety of brand photos. It’s best when your brand photographer captures both landscape (horizontal-oriented) and portrait (vertical-oriented) photos so you have a variety. Also, you’ll likely want close-up headshots along with photos that are taken further away. This is so you don’t feel like you have a ton of the same kind of photo.
Collect any props you may need. Some brand photographers will have recommendations on what kind of props you should bring, but think about the things you use everyday. You can also think about how to utilize your creative environment. Ultimately, you want the props in your photos to feel very “you,” just like your outfit selections.
Lastly (but most importantly), think about what photos you specifically need for your website. This is one of my strongest suggestions for entrepreneurs! If you go into your brand photoshoot wanting photos for your website but aren’t sure what photos you need, you might not get the shots you need. That’s why it’s better to choose a website template or work with a Showit website designer (like me!) before your photoshoot so you know what types of brand photos to aim for. You can also create a shot list to help you collaborate with your brand photographer.
You should leave your brand photoshoot feeling excited and completely ready to implement the images into your website, marketing materials, and social media channels.
Don’t forget to have fun with your brand photoshoot!
I can’t wait to see what beautiful, high-quality imagery you create.