In this podcast episode, I interview my first guest, Sierra from Wild Iris Studios. We dive into the world of brand photography and why it's a game-changer for all small business owners. Keep reading to learn more about what we talked about and learn about brand photography straight from the photographer.
How Wild Iris Studios started:
I started my photography business in 2017 after receiving a camera as a gift from my husband. I began capturing moments, eventually specializing in elopements and a little bit of branding photography that evolved from working with vendors during weddings, providing them with detailed shots for their use.
What is Brand Photography? Brand photography, or personal branding photography involves creating images specifically for your brand. These photos represent your brand's values, offerings, and overall identity. Brand photography covers various types, such as headshots, team photos, product shots, and behind-the-scenes or lifestyle photos.
In the current business landscape we are in, the value of these behind-the-scenes photos is immeasurable. Brand photography provides a glimpse into the inner workings of your business, showcasing you, your employees, or your team in the day-to-day operations.
For example, if you're a florist, your photos might show you arranging a beautiful bouquet. If you're a dentist, your photos can capture you working on a patient's teeth.
You can also use these images everywhere from your website, social media, printed materials, digital campaigns like Facebook and Google ads. You can even use your images for blog post banners or your business cards. There's really no limit, brand photography is an endless asset that you can use over and over again.
Brand Photography Matters Especially in the Online World We Live in Today Where Aesthetics Matters
In the fast-paced world of online presence, first impressions are everything. Gone are the days when a basic selfie or amateur photos work for your business or personal brand. The secret weapon that can take your website, Instagram, or any visual representation of your brand to the next level? Hiring a branding photographer.
Brand Photography Make Your Small Business More Professional
Before diving into the world of brand photography your visuals are probably a mishmash of casual phone shots and selfies, which can give your website or social media an unpolished appearance. But once you incorporate brand photography,you will be amazed how it's a quick and effective way to elevate the professionalism of any site.
Brand Photography Creates a Welcoming Atmosphere On All Marketing Materials
Whether it's your website, Instagram, or promotional materials, the impact of brand photography is undeniable. It breathes life into your visuals, making them more inviting and authentic compared to generic stock images. The warmth and authenticity through custom visuals create a welcoming atmosphere that captivates your audience.
Brand Photography Establishes Professionalism and Trust
Think of it this way: when potential clients visit your website and see a professional headshot and cohesive brand photos, it signals that you mean business. It goes beyond just aesthetics; it establishes a sense of professionalism that helps people take you more seriously. In a matter of seconds, those high-quality photos communicate that you are on top of your game and can be trusted. Let's say you visit the about page of two photographers. One features a casual selfie from a smartphone, while the other showcases a professionally taken photo. In an instant, you know which photographer is a hobbyist and which one is a professional.
Brand Photography Builds The Know, Like, and Trust Factor
People connect with people. By consistently showcasing yourself or your team through brand photography, you build the know, like, and trust factor. Sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses and putting faces to your brand builds a connection with your audience. This connection, coupled with a well-aligned brand, naturally filters out those who may not resonate with your values.
Consistent Branding Breeds Brand Loyalty
Consistency is the key to successful branding, and brand photography plays a huge role in achieving that consistency. A cohesive visual identity, reflected in your photos, color palette, fonts, brand vibe and overall branding, creates brand loyalists. These are the clients who keep coming back for more which in return contribute to the long-term success of your business.
Brand Photography Boosts Conversion Rates with High Quality Visual Content
A picture truly is worth a thousand words, especially in the digital age. High-quality brand photography increases conversion rates by providing a visual story that resonates with your audience. The emotional connection built through these visuals can be the deciding factor for potential clients, looking for authenticity and someone they can trust.
The impact of brand photography helps with a website's professionalism. You only get one first impression and generic or self-taken images will not show the same level of dedication to quality and detail. Custom brand photography elevates your brand, making it more welcoming and visually appealing.
Tips for How to get Brand Photography on a Startup Budget
Embrace the DIY Phase
First off, we all start somewhere, right? If you find yourself on a budget, embrace the fact that you will need to invest your time (instead of money) to capture those quality photos. Yep, it's the DIY phase, where you're the photographer, stylist, and model – the triple threat!
Start Simple: Ask Friends to Take Photos and Use Photo Presets for Editing
So, where to start? In the age of Instagram where the content is expected to be posted daily (not sure who has time for that) consider asking a friend with a camera to take branding images for you. They don't need to be a pro; just someone who can help you get started.
Mobile presets can be your secret weapon too. If you're a little more advanced Photoshop? is a great editing too. Or there are user-friendly alternatives like Lightroom, and you can even add the app for free on your phone. Experiment with different presets, find your style, and even create your own presets!
Make Sure your Product Photos are Well Lit and with a Professional Backdrop
If your business involves tangible products, lighting becomes your best friend. Utilize natural light or snag a budget-friendly ring light from Amazon. Don't forget the details and think about the backdrop as well. Check out replica surfaces for professional-looking backdrops that align with your brand aesthetic.
Team Up with A Budding Photographer Who Wants to Build Their Portfolio
If you're not comfortable with taking you're own photos consider teaming up with a new photographer. Someone fresh on the scene, and looking to build their portfolio is a great candidate. Reach out, propose a trade, and make sure to establish clear boundaries by creating a contract to make everyone's on the same page.
Adapt to the Visual Evolution of Your brand
As your brand matures, so will your visuals. Maybe you start out wanting images that are filled with a lot of motion. Then a couple of years down the line you're looking for something a little more professional sitting at your desk in from of your computer. There's no right or wrong way to take photos whether you want to show more personality or be a little more generic, the most important thing is to have those assets available for you to use.
Break the Mold: Unleash Your Brand's Personality Instead of Taking Cliched Images
Brand photography doesn't have to be clichéd images of your profession. For example, if you're a painter you don't need photos of you holding a paintbrush. Feel free to break free from the conventional and let your creativity soar. For example, a graphic designer's photos don't have to be confined to a computer screen. Take some photos of yourself running around downtown, whipping your hair around, having that personality in your images will make your graphics SO much more memorable.
The more unconventional, the better – it's not about appealing to a larger quantity of people, but the right people. Those who resonate with your brand's uniqueness, authenticity, and out-of-the-box spirit.
Packaging Matters and builds Brand Magnetism
Ever found yourself magnetically drawn to a specific brand in a mall or store? It's the power of branding at play. Here's a personal example of branding at play.
During a recent makeup expedition, Sierra found herself irresistibly attracted to the Gwen Stefani line. It's not just about the lipstick; it's was the packaging that drew her in, the brand persona. It wasn't that the lipstick was inherently better; it was the boldness of the branding that spoke to her. Your brand's photography can be the it factor, the personality that sets you apart.
Tips for a Successful Branding Photoshoot
Consultation is Key: Make Sure Your Personal Branding Photographer Understands Your Brand
Every great photo shoot begins with a conversation – a consultation call that sets the stage for the visual narrative of your brand. When Sierra kicks off a branding photoshoot, she prioritizes understanding you and your brand. A questionnaire follows, learning more about the intricacies of your business – your color palette, your logo, and the vibes you're looking for. While the photos carry her signature style, she strives to customize each shoot to the business.
Know Your Brand Palette and Brand Vibe
Your brand color palette is what's going to set the tone for your photoshoot. If pinks and neutrals dominate your palette, expect to shoot in places where those colors are clearly shown in your images. The backgrounds, your color of your clothes, the poses, the expressions – every detail should align with your brand's unique identity. Before locking in a photographer, make sure to have a clear grasp of your business's missions, values, and essential branding elements (color palette and and brand vibe). If you need some help watch my Free Training Video on 5 Strategies to Build a Stand Out Brand
Find a Photographer with a Similar Brand Style to Yours
Photographers are artists with distinct styles. To ensure a seamless match, look for a photographer whose style aligns with yours. If your brand is edgy, an edgy and editorial photographer might be your perfect match. If you're brand is more light and airy you want a photographer who shoots in a lot of natural light and lots of white. It's about cohesiveness, ensuring that your visuals tell a consistent story that resonates with your audience.
Know What You Want to Use Your Photos for
Understanding the purpose behind your photos is super important. Are they for an upcoming product launch, a presentation, or perhaps Christmas cards? Communicate what you are going to use your photos for to your photographer – it shapes the focus and style of the shoot. Need more product photos? Prioritize that. Presenting in front of a large audience? Capture the essence of you as a presenter. The clearer your vision, the more effective the planning process.
And, oh, a designer's tip: Consider the orientation – portrait or landscape. Do you need more of one than the other? It's not just a technicality; the orientation, whether portrait or landscape, is the secret to ensuring that your Instagram reel seamlessly fills every pixel of the screen, transforming it from a photo that doesn't quite fit the space correctly into a visually stunning and cohesive story.
Z Squared Studio is a Brand and Web Design Studio based in Juneau, Alaska. Check out www.zsquaredstudio.com for custom brand design, logo design, or web design.
Or sign up for our DIY Brand yourself Mini-Course if you're ready for a stand out, scroll stopping brand without hiring a designer.