There is something undeniably powerful about well-captured photographs. They are able to win the attention and hearts of people in a way that illustrations can’t. This is why pictures can be an important aspect of your brand design. Of course, this does depend on the way you utilize them.
The truth is that far too many organizations fail to fully employ photographs for maximum impact. Instead, they satisfy themselves with using the same old pictures in the same way over and over again. If you really want your target audience to stand up and take notice, you are going to need to switch things up.
Below, you will find all the tips, guidelines, and more that will open your eyes to how you can take your brand to the next level with the help of photographs.
Find an Unusual Angle in an Oversaturated Market
Using photographs gives you the opportunity to have complete control over the production process and the end result. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are hundreds of companies just like yours. This is why you need to make certain that your photographs have a different angle to everyone else’s.
Photos and branding go hand in hand. Therefore, you need to capture images in a way that make your company and your products stand out. One brand that does it better than the rest is the lingerie company, Aerie. While other brands use pictures of inaccessible supermodels, this brand works with average women.
Therefore, their photos include women of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, perfections, and imperfections. It is this unvarnished version of diversity that keeps Aerie at the top of their game.
Tying in Brand Imagery to Target Audience
Following the above point, while you may be selling a similar product or service as someone else, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you are vying for the same target audience. So, one of the first steps to taking and promoting photographs is to know what your target audience is looking for.
To exemplify this, let’s consider two different clothing brand – Free People and Forever 21. On the surface, it may appear that there is very little separating these two companies. After all, they both cater to young women.
When you take a look at the promotional photos for each company, though, a different idea emerges. See, it is very clear, straight off the bat, that these brands are catering to two diverse groups of women. Free People is all about bohemian chic while Forever 21 focuses on street style and the party scene.
The photographs you use should be able to highlight these differences from the moment that the public sees them. Someone should be able to see an image of your service and product and immediately know, “oh, that’s exactly what I’m looking for”.
Photographs Need to Tell a Consistent Story
Don’t worry, there’s no need to cram the entire story of your brand’s design and identity into one photo shoot. Nevertheless, you have to figure out how to depict your brand’s personality through images. The key term to focus on here is consistency.
After all, you will only be able to maintain brand consistency if you remain constant with your storytelling. If you are looking for notes, a good brand to look to guidance is Pottery Barn. It doesn’t matter how many catalogues you flip through, there is one element that can always be found:
This, of course, is a sense of family and homeliness.
As far as consistency is concerned, you also have to make a point of remaining constant over all advertising platforms. Therefore, your photos need to say the same thing regardless of whether they are on your website, social media page, or on the actual packaging of products.
Photos Should Evoke Emotion
One of the reasons that photographs are so powerful is because have the ability to arouse emotions. As you can imagine, this does depend on the photo that is captured. Thus, you should take every chance to ensure that your images are hitting all of the right pressure points.
The more obvious emotions in brand design are joy, empathy, sadness, and even fear. In such instances, you can make sure that the photographs are either fun or interesting, heart wrenching, or have the necessary impact.
For instance, let’s imagine that you want to instill a sense of nostalgia in your target audience. What better way to do this than use real images from the past? With a little bit of photo restoration, you can transport your consumers back in time.
Conversely, these aren’t options for companies that have to appear professional. This includes lawyers, financial advisors, and similar sectors. Here, you need to consider a different set of emotions. You will have to focus on feelings such as trust and dependence.
In the end, it is all about making sure that your photos are saying what you want them to. Otherwise, they are not serving their required function.
Capture an Experience, Not Just Products or Services
A large part of your brand design will involve actual images of the products or services that you are offering up. However, if you’re simply sticking to photographs of these things in nice settings, you are missing out on an important opportunity.
The thing is, people don’t just want to know what your products look like. They are more interested in how these items can improve their life. This is why you should focus on photographing an experience rather than the products in a beautifully set up environment.
Once again, you can take some direction from Pottery Barn. If you take a closer look at their catalogue, you will see that there isn’t necessarily a focus on just one item. Rather, the brand setups up a variety of their furniture and adornments and showcases how they can come together.
Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. So, if you do it right, your photographs will do all the talking for your brand.
Behind the Scenes Photographs
These days, employees and workspaces are just as important an element of brand design as anything else that you might produce. Now, more than ever, people appreciate a certain level of transparency from various brands. Not to mention, being able to peek behind the curtain also allows them to see a more human side of the company.
This is why photographs of your team, as well as your workplace, can be quite useful as long as you use them well. If you do boast a rather laid back culture with both your brand as well as your employees, then spur of the moment photos will work well, especially when posted on social media.
If you do have a slightly more sophisticated look, you will have to put a little more effort into these photographs. Nonetheless, while these photos should be professional, they should also exude a sense of warmth and realism. After all, nobody wants to see pictures of working stiffs.
Then, there is the matter of your workplace. You should keep in mind that an office is much like a person. Your consumers or clients will take one look at a particular space and make up their mind about the kind of company that you are running.
So, if your company is all about being creative and artsy, this can be showcased with slightly messy images of a project in progress. If you prefer to present a more corporate-like image, pictures of a well-designed office are just what you will need.
Consider Using Customers’ Images
Here’s an idea – how about you use your customers’ images (with their permission, of course) to promote your products or services? Known as user-generated content, this trend has already been taking off among the digital advertising circles.
In the age of social media, consumers will post pictures of themselves with your items or services without you even asking them to. So, why not turn this into a promotional opportunity for your company and utilise these pictures?
The reason this is such an important element of your brand design is that it comes off as being incredibly authentic. As a brand, people expect you to promote your products regardless of the quality. However, if a consumer were to post an image of themselves, it would be of their own volition. As such, people are more likely to trust them.
As you can imagine, one of the main perks of user-generated content is that it requires very little effort on your part. You can find images on social media or other platforms simply by keeping track of hashtags. Or, you can even ask consumers to send in images and make this process even easier.
As you can see, photographs are a significant aspect of brand design. Nonetheless, they will only prove to be effective if they are utilised in the right manner. This guide will show you just how you can manage it.
Ollie Mercer is a freelancer based in California. He frequently blogs about tech and career topics for notable publications. When not blogging, Ollie loves to travel.