Is your marketing content starting to look a little stale? You might be one of the 87% of B2C marketers using illustrations or photos as a content marketing tactic. Or maybe photos are just a part of everything your team creates. For those of you being asked to create stunning visual content like GE or Nike with a tiny budget, you might find some inspiration from Julia Child’s advice on cooking, “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces — just good food from fresh ingredients.” Keep things simple. Understand the sources of fresh images available and when each is appropriate to use in your content.
Like selecting fruit at the market, you’ll want to look over images to check for quality before serving them up in your web and print materials. When selecting from your image sources, keep in mind your brand, quality of the image, and audience relevance.
Professional photographer (freelance or in-house)
Think of professional photographers as your local, organic farmers, providing you with fresh ingredients tailored to the dishes you’d like to serve. The images are specific to your brand. In-house photographers can provide specialization in products and brands you represent. If you don’t have an in-house photographer or want a different perspective for a shoot, consider hiring a freelancer.
Our in-house photographers help capture events we host and attend. These images can be repurposed over time.
The photographer behind the lens is the biggest difference between a quality photo and not. When you combine a professional photographer with photo subjects tailored to your product/service and direction for your brand, your output is high-quality, brand images.
The time required to setup and execute a photo shoot and the cost of hiring a photographer make hiring professional photographers costly. But when you’re looking to serve up the best brand content, you need to start with the best ingredients. Hire a professional photographer for projects that directly involve your product or service. This can range from the product photography populating your e-commerce site, images on your website, and ads.
- Hiring a professional photographer gives you the highest-quality images that are tailored to your brand and use.
- When you find a freelance photographer that does good work for you, build a relationship with them. Consistency is critical to a strong brand image.
- Preparation is key to a good photoshoot. Set up time to meet with the photographer before hand for efficient time spent during the actual shoot.
Hire a professional photographer for images that are directly relevant to your product or service. These images present the biggest opportunity for brand differentiating images.
Stock photography is your mass produced and widely accessible source for images. A healthy brand does not live on stock photography alone. It understands the importance of moderation and the times when stock photography is most appropriate. It can also serve as inspiration for a style you’d like to make your own with proprietary photos.
Compared to hiring a professional photographer, stock photography can be relatively inexpensive, but the biggest advantage to stock photography is its accessibility. Professional images are readily available for download when you need them. You can access photos of a scenic mountain range, a cyclist on a busy street, and a burrito, all from your desk.
The shortcoming of stock photography is originality. The images aren’t created with your company’s offering and brand in mind. This makes differentiating your brand difficult because the images in your content and marketing are used by hundreds or thousands of other websites and companies. It also becomes difficult to maintain a consistent look when relying on many different sources.
- A healthy, authentic brand cannot live on stock photography alone. It requires images unique to its brand experience.
- When multiple people are purchasing stock photography, provide guidelines for on-brand stock photography. Include things to look for in images and things to avoid.
- Have a system setup for managing your stock photographs so duplicates aren’t purchased by different people.
Use stock photography to support content that isn’t directly about your product, service, or company identity.
Photography from mobile devices is like your home garden. The quality of your product depends on your skill set, tools, and environment. Your smartphone can be a powerful, quality source of photographs, despite the overwhelming number of blurry selfies and poorly lit photographs of food you see on social media. It’s actually a great way to capture candid, in-the-moment stories. Your smartphone is the camera you’ve always got with you. It’s also the camera your employees and customers have with them.
Learning some simple photography tips can quickly elevate the quality of your smartphone photos. Experiment with keeping backgrounds simple, getting closer to your subjects, and following the Rule of Thirds. Learn more about these tips and others in this 16 tips to take better marketing photos with your smartphone camera post.
- Get permission from the subjects of your photographs before posting to social networks or using in other marketing materials.
- Find a balance between quality and authenticity. Photographs that don’t meet an identified standard of quality shouldn’t be used to represent your brand.
- Educate your employees about photography best practices if you’re encouraging them to take candid company culture photographs.
Use photography from mobile devices when your audience is looking for authenticity over polish. Social media is a great example for a place where people like behind the scenes, authentic looks at brands.