Top tips to develop your brand’s photographic guidelines

1. Write a list of what your key brand messages are

Forget about any ideas you have about photography at this stage, just focus on what you really want to say about your business, and the things you want your customers/target audience to understand.

2. Put your list in order of the most important messages

Don’t miss this out, there must be a hierarchy and this is a key element for your photographer to understand when they start working out their approach.

3. Think about what your business is actually selling

Is it a product or a service? Are you selling a single thing or a range? How well does your customer/target audience already understand the product? Again, this will be key to understand how the product is treated visually. For example, if a product is complex and needs some explanation, the photographer will need to make other visual references to explain the product in detail.

4. Do you have to show your product in context?

Is it important to show your product or service in context? I.e. in a realistic situation or, can you be more creative and show it in out of context, but in a potentially more interesting way? It’s easy to think, ‘I’m selling bathroom suites, so I’ll create an amazing bathroom setting to make my products look great.’ But in doing that, you are giving consumers lots to look at and take in, and may be missing an opportunity to really focus on the detail of your product and make it the hero element of an image.

5. What is your price and value proposition?

In today’s climate, price and value are key. This needs to be reflected accurately in your images; to make sure the production values of your photography doesn’t contradict your price and value messages.

6. Do you need to show a person (model) in your shot?

If you want to use models, you need to think about why they are there, and what they are doing in the shot? The choice of model is a big deal and speaks volumes about your product. For example, some businesses like to use people in images, to tell their consumers that they are a ‘people business’ or are ‘customer centric.’ But how do you represent all of your customers with one person with confidence? And, if you choose too perfect a model, in a static pose, are you risking looking too fake and contrived and therefore not genuine enough?

7. Get to grips with lighting

Let your photographer show you how different lighting techniques can work for you to create different effects. Lighting can flatten or add depth to an image, make the difference between emulating reality versus creating a contrived or more graphic setting. Many businesses use imagery of their staff, lighting can soften a real person, losing the wrinkles and some of the personality, or can really focus on expressing the individual that the face represents.

8. Get the brief right

Spending time working on a detailed brief will pay dividends in terms of the quality of the images, how they work for your business, and the time and process of the shoot. It is hard for non-creatives to understand what information creative people need, so speak to your photographer about the brief before you finalise it, so you can both make sure that everything is clear and understood.

As always, we invite you to add your comments and will republish in the future to reflect other input.

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