Everyone who has a business should absolutely, most definitely, one-thousand-times-yes hire a brand photographer. BUT everyone who has a business should not necessarily hire a brand photographer right now. Just having a business isn’t enough to justify investing in professional brand photography; you need three really important things first:
1. A Target Audience
Before you share ANY content in your business (whether written or visual), it’s best to know who the hell you’re talking to. And the more specific you can get, the better. Why? Because then the people you’re focused on will know immediately whether your business is relevant to them, and even better: they’ll feel like you’re talking directly to them. And if that isn’t awesome enough, it’ll also repel the people who aren’t your customers. Who says magic isn’t real?!
Knowing who your customer and clients are is an essential part of marketing, but it’s especially important when it comes to brand photography because it’s going to dictate the styling and creative direction of your photographs.
Here are a few examples of what not to do to illustrate my point:
You own an artisan deli in the heart of your city! Your clients are mostly vegans, but you decide to wear a leather jacket in your headshots.
You just opened a new daycare! Your target clients are moms of toddlers, but your images are taken in harsh lighting with a monochrome color palette.
You’re a personal stylist for busy and important men in the finance industry! Your clients are guys who want to GQ their lives, but your photos are heavy on nature-inspired pastel tones.
If you don’t know exactly whose attention you’re trying to get, your content has the potential to confuse clients who would otherwise be interested in what you offer. And confused clients don’t buy.
2. A Goal
I’m not gonna lie: having a shitload of nice, professional photos on hand makes showing up online EASY. But it’s not enough to just have them; what are you gonna do with them? Brand photography is an investment of time, energy, and money, so it’s in your best interest to make sure your photos aren’t just going to sit in a folder on your desktop.
Have a little brainstorming session with yourself. What are your goals right now? Are you trying to grow your social media following? Re-work your website? Attract a new type of client? Establish your business as a luxury brand?
Brand photos might not be the investment you actually need right now. You might need an accountant, or a copywriter, or a top shelf vodka on the rocks. Brand photos are never the goal; they’re a tool to help you achieve a goal and part of a bigger strategy. So you have to know what your goal is to know whether brand photos are the tool that will help you reach that goal.
For example: my clients’ end goal is to earn more and make less so they can have the freedom to work on their own terms. Brand photography helps them achieve that because it allows them to establish their business as a high-end brand in a luxury industry.
3. A Brand
Okay I do feel like a LITTLE BIT OF A SILLY GOOSE including this one. It might seem obvious that you need a brand before you hire a brand photographer, but you’d be surprised.
SO let’s take a minute to lay out what a brand is, what it isn’t, and why you need one:
Your brand is not just your logo. It’s not just your color palette, your copy, your website, your auto-responder message, your content, or your social media feed. Your brand is how people describe you to their friends who’ve never met you. Your brand is how you make people feel. Your brand is really just a fancy word for your reputation.
So in order to bring your brand to life visually, your photographer has to be able to understand it. And she can’t understand it if you can’t communicate it.
Need some help figuring out your brand?