How to create a consistent 'visual voice' with branding photography

I think we can all agree that building your visual brand is more than just taking a photo and posting it. But it doesn’t need a professional or thousands of dollars either. All it takes is a little planning and a pinch of insider knowledge!


So, what is a branding photoshoot and why do I need one?

It’s really just a planned photography session for the purpose of equipping you with a bank of consistent and on-brand imagery to help promote your business. Anyone can plan or shoot a brand session; all you need is some photography knowledge and a watertight plan.


Here’s a few tips to get you started on building your visual brand..




STEP 1: Plan, plan, and plan some more


KNOW YOUR WHY

What are you trying to achieve with a brand shoot? What story are you trying to tell? What outcome do you want? What will you be using the photos for?

Don’t just decide you need photos because everyone else is having them done!


KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

Branding is all about your audience and how you want to make them feel. So knowing your audience is crucial. Who are they? What do they like? What do they do? How old are they? Where do they live?


KNOW YOUR BRAND

Do you know what your branding style looks like? Take 10 minutes to jot down any words that describe your company’s personality and target audience. E.g. Quirky, fun, strong, trustworthy. Create a vision board using Pinterest or Canva, of images that resonate with you and reflect the keywords you’ve listed out. Take notice of colours, textures, layouts and locations. Pretty soon, you’ll start to notice a visual theme emerging. Is this style that is going to resonate with your target audience? Is this the right style to make your audience feel how you want them to feel about your brand?



BRAINSTORM

Get your thinking cap on and start planning out photo ideas. How can you showcase your product, service or manufacturing process. How is your product used, what is it used with, who is it used by, where is it used. What are the tools of your trade, where do you work, who else is on your team. What kind of content do you put out on social media or your blog; what images could complement your content.


BE CONSISTENT

It’s much easier to maintain trust and be recognised with a consistent brand message. The ultimate goal is to create a visual style so strong that people instantly identify it as yours.


BE DIFFERENT

You are telling YOUR story; find a way to be unique while maintaining consistency. Capture your company's USP’s. How can you show off YOUR expertise, difference, niche, company mission & ethics etc.


Theme examples from brands that have nailed their ‘visual voice’ on Instagram

If you’ve got a professional photographer lined up, everything is much easier from here. You’ll be able to leave some of the steps such as finding good lighting and a background to the pros. However your photographer is only as good as the planning you’ve done, so make sure that you know exactly what you want. How many photos do you want, what location will you be using, etc. All photographers have their own unique ‘shooting style’ too, so make sure you pick one that will work with your own brand.



STEP 2: GET PREPARED


GATHER YOUR 'PROPS' AND TOOLS

From your earlier brainstorm, you should have a list of things (aka props!) that you want to use in your photos. E.g. think along the lines of laptop, diary, phone, chair, bike, drill, paintbrush..

Whatever you use in your day-to-day that will help people visualise your company and brand. You might need to go on a shopping spree, but don’t go too crazy!

Stick to your planned colour palette (2 colours plus 1 neutral is a good base) and style.

You’ll need a camera too (obviously!). Preferably you should use a DSLR (you can pick up camera packages at pretty good prices on Amazon), however a newer model phone with a decent camera will work if you don’t have access to a DSLR.


FIND GOOD LIGHTING

Lighting is one of the most important elements of any photoshoot. Find a location for your shoot that has plenty of natural light; choose soft reflected light over glaring bright sunlight. E.g. choose an office that has a large window with blinds to control the natural light, rather than an internal office with fluorescent lights and no windows. For additional soft light, you can pick up continuous softbox set-ups for less than $100.


CHOOSE A BACKGROUND

Nearly as important as lighting, is your background/setting. You could use a backdrop, however in-situ photos will generally tell your brand story better. Choose a simple and uncluttered background for best results. Of course if you’re going for quirky and fun, you might want a bright {insert your brand colour here} backdrop for example.. but it’s definitely not a requirement. If this idea tickles your fancy, the best way to get your background matching perfectly to your brand is by painting a wall or piece of board - It's not often that you can find a backdrop that's exactly your brand colour, but you can always get a paint shop to mix up the exact colour you need!


PLAN YOUR WARDROBE

If you or your team are going to be in the photos, make sure you’re dressed appropriately to reflect the brand and message you want to portray. If you’re a lawyer, a suit would be appropriate.. However if you’re a swim instructor, a suit probably isn’t ideal (unless it’s a swim suit!). If you have a work uniform, that makes it super easy; but If you don’t, try and stay away from loud patterns and colours unless it’s part of your brand story. For a personal branding shoot, bring a mix of professional and casual outfits. And definitely bring that one outfit that you can’t live without! Make sure you look tidy and refreshed on the big day - a clean face and tidy hair is one less thing that your photographer has to edit.




STEP 3: LET'S DO THIS!


KEEP IT REAL

Capture moments that reflect the real you, your values, your personality, and that of the company. Don’t try and be something that you’re not, because you won’t be able to keep the message consistent!


LEAVE YOUR COMFORT ZONE AT HOME

I know, I know.. all of us hate being on the wrong end of a camera. But you’re committed to this now, so go all in and commit wholeheartedly. Just relax and be yourself; and if you have a professional photographer, trust them… remember that they do this every day!


CREATE VARIETY

Style each ‘set’ intentionally, in a way that it tells a story about your brand. Make the most of each set and take a variety of photos in different angles, groupings, styles and from varying distances. Get a mix of both landscape and portrait photos. Get photos that have negative space which you can overlay with text for social media posts. For people shots, go beyond the traditional headshot and take photos that portray their personality.


EDIT YOUR MASTERPIECES

Editing is an important part of the process, as it can change the entire style of your shoot. If you took your own photos and aren’t comfortable with this step, we’d highly recommend hiring a professional editor for this step.

In fact, if you’re not happy with the overall results of taking your own photos, then definitely hire someone to help you out! A professional photographer will be able to bring your brand to life, and will be well worth every penny you spend on them.



These tips only scratch the surface of things to consider when planning a brand shoot, but hopefully they help get you started with building your visual brand!

Website built by us, of course!