Branding 9: Photographs

Photography in branding

The old adage is that a picture is worth a thousand words. As technology have advanced and improved the ability to take photographs is within reach for most of the world, and indeed today more pictures will be taken then the previous 100 years combined. Despite the world becoming much more visual, there is still a prevalence of awful photographs used in websites, brochures and other branding material.

Take A Picture!

I’m about to upset all of my photographer friends here but…taking a photo is not that difficult. As I said above, the technology is more widely available before to the point where I could almost guarantee that if you have the technology to read this blog, you will know someone with a camera…even if it’s on a smart phone. Now I’m not going to dismiss the fact that there is a wide gap between a great photo and an average photo, but to my mind there is no excuse to have a low quality image in use in your branding. In fact for me, it can be one of the more off putting aspects of a website if I see a pixelated image. When I do see them, I assume that the company in question have not updated their website in a long time, therefore don’t care about upkeep on their business, and if they don’t care about themselves they probably won’t care much for me either. Maybe that seems like a harsh reaction, but when you are thinking about your brand every element is a cue to the viewer on who you are and what you do.

I’m won’t write a lengthy guide on how to take a half decent photographs but as a general rule you at least want a photo that is level, in focus, where you can see everyone and hopefully they don’t look miserable. (unless of course that is point) Taking a good photo can be very time consuming, and depending on your industry may not always be practical given the rate of photos you are likely to need for blogs/brochures it can sometimes be impractical, hence the reason why many people opt to use Stock images.

Stock

To start off with the obvious, going onto google and downloading and using an image you like is stealing, it breaks copyright law, you can get in trouble. That being said there are quite a few places you can buy photographs with full license use. You may be surprised how expensive stock photography can actually be, which is why I always recommend Pixabay which is completely free.

The main issue with stock photography is that it is often very bright, cheesy and sticks out as not being a reflection on reality. The most infamous example of this is often found on “contact us” page of many website, where a very similar image is often used of a young attractive lady with a head set on. I don’t much see the logic in this, no one who looks at that image believes for a moment that this is a real person who works for you! It seems incredibly sexist to put a pretty face on your website and hope it encourages people to call. I always remember I once worked with a client who hired models to pretend to work for him in photographs in the hopes it would appeal to his male demographic.

A Collection

I often say that it is not difficult to find one painting I like, but finding a set is considerably more so. As will all aspects of branding ensuring your photographs all match up is key to making them stick out, this means using photos by the same person or with a similar colour palette. Obviously my own blogs have stock images attached to them but rather desperately scouring the web for a picture to represent business deals I always go for something striking and yellow, the brand colour of the website.

Use A Photographer

Last but not least, one option is obviously to hire someone to take a range of photographs for you business. Photography is an art form and in the right hands you will have images that can be used and reused for years to come.

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