Why your brand will benefit from photography

In today’s world everyone has a camera in their pocket. That makes it easy for business owners to turn to selfies and DIY photos for convenience and cost. The truth is – if you want to stand out – professional brand photography is essential. Low/no cost photography options not only add little value, but they can also actively detract from your brand value.

If you want to look professional, you need to hire a professional.

What is brand photography?

Brand photography is the suite of bespoke images used to represent companies and form clear visual identities for marketing materials. It includes all your product photos, team headshots, social media and blog images and every picture you use for digital or print media - but only if they're unique to you.

Generally, it is good for a business to start with a brand guide. A brand guide is a visual instruction manual on how a brand should be communicated. It includes things like your brand fonts, colours, brand photography style, tone of voice, and more.

A brand guide is useful internally anytime your business designs or writes something, but is also shared with partners, media, and agencies to brief them on how to communicate your brand properly and consistently. If you hire a professional photographer, a brand guide will get them up to speed quickly.

Why is brand photography essential?

The answer is two-fold: behavioural benefits and psychological benefits.

Behaviourally, professional brand photography makes readers pay closer attention. Eye-tracking researchers have found substantial evidence that users take preference of certain images over others. For example, viewers spent 10% more time viewing portrait photos of real people connected to a brand vs. stock imagery.

Psychologically, professional brand photography can elevate the look and feel of a brand; it can help a customer better understand the benefits of a product, and it can make a prospective client feel more trusting of a service provider.

Professional brand photography increases your bottom line. It’s that simple.

It increases your social presence
  • Compared with text-only posts, Facebook posts with images receive 2.3 times more engagement. Tweets with images receive, on average, 150% more retweets than those without images. This behaviour is magnified even more with professional brand photos.
It unifies your brand
  • When companies have consistent, unified branding across all platforms, revenue increases by 23%. In the core of your target markets’ psyche, they trust you more. They think about your brand when making purchasing decisions, whether it’s conscious or not.
It increases perceived value
  • Realtors, for example, are ahead of the curve when it comes to utilizing imagery to increase perceived value. Homes on the market that feature top-of-the-line photos sell for thousands more than the asking price—and 32% faster than houses without. Why? The quality in professional photography can highlight details that amateur photos cannot. This approach goes for a product photo as well. Packaged goods will look more appealing when photographed in a certain light, at a certain angle, and with a certain lens. This can ultimately increase the perceived value of a product.
It draws people in
  • In addition to the eye-tracking benefits mentioned, good brand photography keeps users on your website for longer. And of course, average session duration is strongly correlated with more sales: keeping users on your site for just 35 seconds longer could increase your conversion rate by 10%.

Brand photography case study

Let’s look at examples. Below we showcase two transportation companies that are both highlighting their truck drivers on their Instagram pages. One uses amateur photos; one uses professional photos.

Amateur photography (left) vs. professional photography (right)

Which one of these two photographs speaks to you more? While the photograph on the left is fine, the one on the right tells a different story. It elicits more emotion. It communicates trustworthiness and professionalism. It captures more personality.

Would you be surprised if we told you that the business that posted the image on the left is actually larger than the one on the right? It doesn’t cost a fortune to take good photographs, but the benefits are tremendous.

It’s not only about how each individual picture looks but how they feel collectively. Marketers and photographers work together to create a consistent brand feel. Despite being taken on different days, at different times, in different weather and lighting conditions – the photos below feel as though they go together.

Here’s another example - an Instagram feed that blends brand photography into the overall look and feel. Consistency speaks volumes.

Any industry, any product, any stage of your business – professional brand photography will always benefit your business. Look at the difference of these two flowers companies, and the way they showcase their products. Which one is better?

What types of businesses should invest in brand photography?

All of them.

Here is one more exercise to consider how important professional photography is. Look up a variety of successful brands with totally different brand objectives. Compare brands that want to be seen as inexpensive (Walmart) to brands that want to be seen as expensive (Louis Vuitton). Compare brands that want to be seen as fun (Dos Equis) with brands that want to be seen as serious (Johnnie Walker). Compare the Democrats and the Republicans. Look up any other examples that come to mind...

And you will find that they all use professional photographers, all the time.

There are many cool ways to dress, but there’s only one cool way to smell (good). The same principle applies to brand photography - no matter what your overall brand objectives are, professional photography is the foundation that every other element - mood, tone, etc - rests on.

How can you use brand photos?

Photographs are great assets because you can use the same asset in multiple places, at different times. Here’s a list of places your brand photos can be used:

  • Website (any and all webpages, especially your About and Services pages)
  • Advertising
  • Social Media
  • Blog 
  • Media Kits
  • Digital Products (ebooks, e-magazines)
  • Email Signatures
  • Newsletters
  • Business Cards
  • And More

Summary

Business owners can easily trap themselves into thinking taking photographs for their brand is easy, because on the surface it’s a simple as pulling out your iPhone.

Professional photographers are professionals for a reason. Whether it’s their knowledge of the 1/3 rule, their ability to play with shadows and lighting, the colour composition, or the white balance – the truth is – taking amazing brand photos is something you should seriously consider outsourcing.

A picture cropped without and with the rule of thirds

Remember, professional brand photography will increase your bottom line. It’s an investment – a relatively inexpensive one – that carries immense value.

At Galaxy, we take great pride in providing professional photography services to our clients. Afterall, your business is your livelihood – we don’t take that lightly.

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