Brand imaging (or photography) is a key component to your business and your brand. It can be a rather large investment, but it doesn’t always have to be. Cell phones have come a loooooong way from their first creation in the 90’s. By-the-by, I remember my parents having a cellphone that was basically a long rectangle box with an antenna on it (late 80’s baby here). Nowadays, cell phones are basically mini portable computers that have cameras in them. Also back in the 90’s, one of the only ways to use professional photos was to hire a commercial photographer or to pay a butt load of money on stock photos that look cringy AF.
While I still always recommend investing in custom brand photos and hiring a photographer, I know that not everyone is at a place to be able to afford a brand photographer. SO, let’s talk about some options here.
Source your photos
What does photo sourcing mean? It means you search, dig, look, source and pull any and as many images as you can find on the interwebs that relate to your brand, helps tell your brand story and connects to your audience. The best way that I’ve found to find photos that speak to your brand has to do with your descriptive words, otherwise known as adjectives 🙂 Search for images that have your brand colors, describe what your business does/offers and describe your target market.
Example, for my brand I would use words like: graphic designer, designer, laptop. smart phone, cell phone photo, small business owner, entrepreneur, mom, family, a type of texture, abstract background, work from home, business owner, fun, playful, green, pink, gold etc.
Some of my favorite places to go for photos include:
www.istock.com (paid and sometimes free)
www.creativemarket.com (paid and sometimes free)
And you could look at some other subscription-based stock sites like www.hautestock.com and www.socialcurator.com
Do it yourself
As mentioned above – cell phones have come a very long way. You can buy camera lenses FOR your phone that look bomb AF and help take some pretty awesome photos. You will have to know and understand some basic photography skills and it may take some time before they start lookin’ awesome. Biggest tip I can give you for this is to understand lighting and take advantage of natural lighting as much as possible. You could also invest in a decent DSLR camera – but if you’re new to photography you’ll be investing a large learning curve into it. Which isn’t bad, just figure out if you’d rather invest your time or your money first. It 100% depends on where you’re at in your business.
Hire it out
This is likely the most expensive option for brand imaging/photography. You have a few options when hiring someone to take photos for you, too. The biggest thing that you need to have and to understand with clarity – is your brand. Whether you hire someone who is a brand/commercial photographer or any other professional photographer, it’s not their job to describe your brand. It’s their job to portray your brand based on what information you give them. If you hire a brand/commercial photographer, they should provide you with some guidance on location, types of props, lighting and how to shoot to fit your brand and business goals.
If you hire a lifestyle or family photographer, make sure that their style fits your needs and you’ll most likely have to provide a little more guidance on what you’re looking for or needing since branding will not be their forte.
All said and done, I encourage every business owner to invest in imagery for their brand. It will help the brand look more professional, trustworthy and that it’s serious. It’s genuinely interested in connecting with the person viewing their content. Let’s say you’re hosting a party but you don’t have any food or beverages available for your guests, and you have dirty laundry all over the place with garbage bags out – probably not a great impression for your guests, right? Same with your imagery and overall design/brand. Present it to connect and provide an experience that works for everyone involved.
If you’re not ready to outsource and invest in a photographer, invest with your time and source photos or learn to do it yourself until you can outsource. If you are ready to outsource, I’ve got a few Sioux Falls folks that are good photographers I would recommend for your business: