If you own a business and are marketing online, you KNOW you need branded photo content to help get more eyes on your work, differentiate yourself, and to help people build familiarity with your brand.
But when the photos we use are repetitive or don’t make sense with what we’re saying, we won’t click with our readers in a way that makes them lean in and really listen to what we have to offer.
That can make people bored and…make them leave your site.
So what KIND of content do your photos need to leverage in order to help you turn casual viewers into curious customers? Let’s dive in.
Does branded photo content actually drive sales?
I’m not going to lie and tell you your photo content is the main thing that will drive your sales (sometimes they are though!). But when you pair the RIGHT photos with the RIGHT messaging and the RIGHT branding, your marketing efforts will pay off.
Let’s pull out some stats on that:
So what photo content should you include in your brand photos to accomplish that?
What’s going to make people care about what you have to say, let alone agree when you ask them to pull out their wallets and spend their hard-earned money on your work?
As a branding photographer who’s worked with international best-selling authors, TEDx speakers, and grammy-level musicians, here’s what content I suggest including in your brand photos:
1. Things you and your audience both care about
Things like animals, family, travel; things that your audience cares about that you do, too. Did you know that 90% of people are more likely to interact with content that has a pet in it?
If your clients care about it, share it. They’ll appreciate it, I promise.
2. Show yourself as the avatar of who your client wants to become
You’re the guide to help them get there, which means you have to show them that you represent the completed transformation/skill level/lifestyle they’re seeking!
Remember: you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be a couple steps ahead of them. What does that look like? What can you genuinely say you represent about their transformation?
3. Your products, of course!
If you’re selling any physical products, they should be the main subject of some photos and a part of the background in others. When they’re not the main focus, they’re showing the lifestyle they promote.
4. Infuse different sides of your personality
Different stories or messages you share may call for different tones and therefore different photos to help drive those stories home.
So show a little bit of everything; the powerful guide in you who’s helping your clients access the highest version of themselves; the I-don’t-take-any-shit side of you; the goofy you who just laughed and spit water out of her nose by accident; the free-spirited you. Each of these has a place in your brand at different times.
Related article: A photographer’s secrets on what to wear in a photo shoot
Classic headshots are a must for profile pictures, interviews, and summit/speaking photos. Don’t overlook this one. Small circles on a cell phone need close up images so people know who they’re interacting with; not some small stick figure they can’t tell anything about!
6. Credibility builders
Have you written a book? Have any photos of you with Oprah? Either of those would look great framed and placed in your photo’s scene—people want proof that they’re working with someone who knows their stuff.
(If you don’t have any credibility builders, don’t fret. See my Instagram post on How to build credibility as a brand when you have none)
7. Interactive photos
These are shots like you pointing in the air (great for ads) or looking super surprised (awesome for Youtube covers). Knowing WHERE you’re going to use your brand photos is essential for planning photo content like this.
This kind of image wouldn’t make sense as a hero banner on your website, but it’d be the PERFECT shot for a Facebook ad campaign you’re running.
8. Your behind-the-scenes
Show your brainstorming process, the planning you do that a client doesn’t always get to see. This is like the juicy commentary they want to see about the makings of their favorite show.
9. Shots of you “doing the damn thing”
Show yourself in action, working with a client, building a project, or rolling your sleeves up and doing the heavy lifting.
Bonus: Pair these photos with some copy about how your behind-the-scenes benefits them and you’ll have them at hello <3
10. Photos of your tools, workbooks, gifts and other details
These are items your clients associate what you do with. If you’re teaching them a skill, include the physical tools they’re used to using.
Ex: if you’re coaching artists on how to run a business, include shots of pencils, paint brushes, erasers, etc.
Just like a movie would be hard to sit through if it was 2 long hours of only people’s faces talking, your brand wouldn’t be a full experience without some secondary content.
In short, your brand photography should show more than just your face.
Think about ways you can tell your brand’s story with close up shots. A shot of your hand tapping a pen on paper. Messing with the string of a tea bag. Adjusting items on a table. Maybe a vase with beautiful flowers. Whatever drives the plot of your brand’s story!
Bonus: Start paying attention to your favorite tv shows and all the footage they get that ISN’T of someone’s face. This’ll help get your ideas going.
12. Photos of you surrounded by your hobbies
Surround yourself with things you love or items that represent the things you love. Then tie it all in with items that fit your brand.
It’ll get them curious about what else you have in common and make them search your content a bit deeper.
Now that you have your content…WHERE are you supposed to use each specific photo?
Just like photos of you pointing in the air won’t make sense as a hero image of your website but’ll work really well as a Youtube cover or Facebook Ads photo pointing to copy, not all of your photos will work with every use.
That’s why I made a free guide you can download that’ll tell you all the places you can stick your photos and face so that your brand STAYS in people’s minds. That’ll help you decide exactly where you’re going to use them and help you reverse engineer your brand photo content to get more eyes on your life’s work.
You’ll also get my best design practices to keep people scrolling all the way through your content.
What 3 content ideas for your brand photos light you up the most? How would you use them to tell your brand’s story? Anchor in your ideas by sharing them in the comments below!
All good things,
Look. Photos are just awkward. Period. It’s not you. That’s why my photo sessions are built around putting you in your comfort zone so you can show up like your real self and get your message into more of the right people’s hands.
Lauren is an international branding photographer and headshot photographer serving Philadelphia, York PA, Baltimore, and worldwide. Need some help planning your branding photos? Use this free brand photography planning tool.