Choosing the Right Brand Photographer for your Small Business
Your brand images are a big part of your marketing. They are your audience’s first impression of who you are, what you do, and how you do it- and they also say a lot about what your business stands for.
Why is it so important to choose the right brand photographer?
Strong, on brand images are a huge asset to your business- and can play a big role in helping you to build a strong, unique and well known brand and to grow your small business.
Brand images that don’t reflect your business have the opposite affect. If your images don’t help set you apart, or share your brand personality, approach and values they can actually do you a lot of harm. Aside from not working for you the way brand images should, they can also misrepresent your business and tell your audience all the wrong things about what you stand for.
Finding the right brand photographer who will create effective brand images for your business is an important task. It’s not as easy as looking at a photographers portfolio and going "those look like professional photos, I think I’ll book them". With brand photography there’s a lot more to it than simply knowing your way around a camera. No matter how good a photographer you are, if you don’t have a thorough understanding of the brand and the business you’re working with, as well as the goals of the business owner how can you rate effective content for them?
Here are my top three tips for finding the right brand photographer for your business:
1) Find a brand photographer who actually specializes in brand photography
If you do a search for “brand photographer (your city)” you might be surprised by what you find. Your search will likely yield a ton of results for “brand photographers”, but when you delve a little deeper you will soon realize that very few of the names that come up actually specialize in brand photography.
They might have a page or small section of their website dedicated to this kind of work, but when you look at their portfolio you might not actually see much (or any) brand work in there. Do they have a separate approach to this kind of work? Do they have any experience with it? Have they put any time and effort into brand-specific training?
This is not to say that photographers who do more than one type of work can’t create great brand images, but simply to be mindful that the photographer you choose does actually have experience specific to this type of photography and will take the time to get to know your brand ahead of your session. Brand photography is very different from portrait photography or wedding photography, and a lot more goes into the research and planning with this type of work.
2) Find a brand photographer who does their homework
Speaking of research and planning… a huge part of my job as a brand photographer is getting to know the businesses I work with. More than half of the total hours I put into creating a portfolio of brand images are put in before my camera comes out. And the brand photographer you choose should do the same.
A good brand photographer does their homework before the photoshoot, taking the time to get to know your brand personality, style, approach and values as well as working collaboratively with you, the business owner, to put together a plan for your session- keeping your marketing goals in mind at all times. You bring the expertise in your business and industry, they bring the expertise in photography.
3) Find a brand photographer who “gets” what you do- and who you’ll feel comfortable working with
Every photographer will have their own style and approach, and their own niche that they work in. Some may be more traditional in the style, doing a lot of setup and posed shots whereas others may offer a more modern, candid approach. One photographer might work mostly in the corporate sector, where another might work primarily with creatives.
Think carefully about what you’re looking for, who your target audience is, and what kind of message you want to get across to your audience. From there, seek out a photographer whose work reflects what you’re looking for. There’s no right or wrong style of photography here- photography, like any art form, is subjective- but there will be right (and wrong) photographers for your brand.
Also- think about what kind of experience you want to have
Don’t forget to give some consideration to the experience you hope to have as well, because how you feel in the lead up to and during your session is an important part of the process. Yes- it’s important to choose a photographer who creates photos that you love. But if you can’t relax and just be yourself while working with your photographer- chances are you’re not going to love the end result. For example: if you’re shy in front of the camera or don’t love being the centre of attention, don’t choose a photographer who will spend the session putting you into formal poses. Instead, look for someone who is friendly and chatty to help you feel at ease, and who shoots in a more natural style.
Take a look at the photographers you are interested in on social media, and you’ll get a better idea of what they might be like to work with- from the types of content they post to the way they write- and take a peek at their stories too to get an idea of their personality. It can be difficult to “get to know” someone through a website but the more casual content on social media can give a lot more insight into their style and approach.
Setting a Budget for Brand Photography
Choosing the right brand photographer will make all the difference with your photos- and your photos are one of the most important investments you’ll make when it comes to branding your small business.
As with anything, there’s a range of prices for brand photography and it can be a bit of a minefield trying to figure it out. As a general rule of thumb- the more experienced and established the photographer, the higher the cost. At the higher end of the spectrum you have photographers who have been doing what they do for a while and are well known in their industry, and at the lower end you get those just starting out or still learning.
You might also find that those who specialize in corporate work with bigger companies will be more expensive than those who work with small businesses- big companies have big advertising budgets and usually the cost of setting up those type of shoots will be higher as well (ie. hiring professional models, hiring a space, additional equipment and lighting, etc).
Everyone has a budget, and its a good idea to take a look at the prices in your area to get an idea of what you’ll need to invest before you set your budget- rather than just pulling a number out of thin air. After you look for a photographer who ticks those above three boxes, you should have a shortlist and can get a better idea of prices from there.
Booking your Brand Photographer
Most brand photographers will be happy to set up a complimentary consultation call or meeting to chat in more detail about you and your business and make sure you're a good fit. Once you get to know them a little bit, you'll have a better idea if they are suited to your business and if they are the type of photographer you will feel comfortable working with.
If you take these things into consideration when searching for a brand photographer I have no doubt in my mind you’ll find the right one!
If you'd like to know more about what it's like to work with me, visit my brand photography page here.
If you're looking for a brand photographer in Glasgow, Edinburgh or Ayrshire I would love to hear more about what you do! You can find out more about me and set up your complimentary consultation call here.