What are the 5 things to know about branding photography?
In this title we have a first notion that is not always really clear for most people “branding photography”. What is this? Doing branding photos for auto entrepreneurs or bigger companies is basically taking photos that will best represent the image, the values, the history and the product or service that the brand you are shooting for has to offer.
Now, we are not going to see here exactly how to prepare for such a shooting because, in order to plan for such a shooting, you do need to understand the brand really well. And the process of understanding the brand can be similar to our previous article “how to build a logo from scratch”. For example, asking yourself the “W-questions” is something very useful to fully grasp your client identity.
Here, we will focus more on the 5 things that can pop up more specifically in personal branding.
1. A client can mix personal branding with headshots.
As in all industries, photography has its own language. And that language is sometimes not really known by your clients. Indeed, they may actually mean “personal branding” when they ask for “professional photos” or “headshots”.
It is then the photographer or agency’s responsibility to explain the difference and what output they would get from both types of shootings. From there, the client can better decide what is best for him.
Headshots’ result : a couple of photos maximum (from 1 up to 3), not creative, only focused on the head on a person. Here it is not about close ups or lifestyle photography, it is about taking one portrait shot of a person. We do not show the brand, nor the story, nor the personality of the person. This shooting is adapted if you want to have a new resume photo for example.
It is the contrary in the case of the branding photos. The aim is to show the brand, the story, the values, the personality of a band, whether it is represented by 1 person or more. Of course it is still a professional shooting, but a bit different than the previous one. It also results in more photos than a usual headshots session, for the reasons you will see later on in this article.
2. Understanding the brand and the people around it.
As previously said, it is here a necessity to capture the face(s) behind the business. The goal of a branding shooting is to uplevel the client’s brand. To do so, it is possible to capture the persons or the workspace, so other people can connect personally with them. If you have the answer to the questions below, then you may have done a huge part of the job already.
1 What do they do?
2 What makes their brand unique?
3 Is there anything more to know about the people working at the client’s brand? What are the specific colors chosen for the company? What are THEIR preferred colores? What do they like to do on the weekend? Do they have a family, a dog or a cat?
Do your research!
Showing the authenticity and honesty of your client is the new trend. Years ago, we would never share personal stories in marketing a business. Now, it is ok to show your story, what brought the persons behind the company where they are.
And do not forget to know your audience: the way you will talk to people will be different depending on their industry. And the words used need to be different too.
3. Expecting Versatility.
Let’s be real, if a client is wanting to do a branding shooting and hiring a marketing agency for this, chances are that this client is expecting pictures that will be adaptable to a diversity of media. Whether instagram or blog has its preference, the agency needs to expect that the photos will be for a variety of usages. Still, asking the media orientation can give you a rough idea on what you will need to focus on. And even knowing that, you need to take into account that multiple format may be used on 1 social media, e.g. Instagram with stories, posts…
Therefore, a digital agency should do photos for these purposes. Using vertical photos for instagram and horizontal for blog or backgrounds for example.
Adding to the format versatility, the pictures may be used during all time of the year. This requires an even bigger variety.
Another good tip to remember is to add empty space in your pictures, that will be able to be used as a text space afterwards.
4. Including headshots and lifestyle in the process.
Now, adding to versatility, one thing to understand is that you should do some headshots style of photos, as well as lifestyle. Headshots for the professionalism part of the client, more serious. Lifestyle to show more of their values, daily work, inspirations, hobbies, way of working…
This means that, again, you need to adapt. Usually, in order to look more authentic, it is more interesting to use natural light as much as possible for the lifestyle shooting. You stay more free for the headshots series.
One other difference that those shootings have in commun is that a marketing agency should NOT focus only on the face for the lifestyle shooting. It is indeed time also to show the tools used in the daily activities of the clients, or the product itself.
5. Guiding the client.
If all this versatility is already complex for marketing agency professionals, imagine how it can be for your clients. Therefore, you definitely need to guide your customer through this process.
Explain the different types of photos you will be doing, try to see if that is what is expected from you, do your research (as in the part 1 of this article).
1 Is the brand you want to capture more creative? Then maybe you can consider extra craziness and try to go out of the frame to express your own creativity. This may impact as well the location which would be more outside for example.
2 Or is the brand more serious? Then you may want to opt for a clean or serious backdrop at a special location.
After this, start a vision board for gathering ideas for the shooting. You can add patterns, colors, architecture, style, poses, makeup, architecture, model ideas (if you need more models for the shooting)… This step can be done with the client and the photographer together and also separated. For example, the people you will be shooting can bring at first some images that they like.
Another point that is definitely important in showing your clients’ personality is to ask them to select some outfits for the shooting and to show them to you in advance.
But, whatever you do, do not forget to think about accessories (coffee, computer, phone, scissors…). Ask your client to bring what can reflect its brand.
Based on these first steps, you can go further in detail and even choose the location or backdrop wisely, if the customer does not already have an office for the shooting.
As you may have understood,
it is all about finding that perfect balance for you and your clients, so you can give the best output possible.