Working with a Photographer to Elevate your Visual Brand
When it comes to your imagery for your brand, what do you think is more important? Working with a photographer for custom product photography, or learning how style your own products for social media? Yesterday when I asked this question with a poll in our Instagram stories, not surprisingly, we had about a 50/50 response towards one or the other. Some people messaged me and asked if they could select both answers, and honestly, that was a poll that could have gone either way because they are both really important!
These days, due to the online presence necessary for a lot of businesses, it is impossible not to consider imagery and how strong of an influence it can have for our clients and customers, both recurring and potential. So today, we have a special guest post that was written by our Fall Conference Photographer, Ashley Victoria. Ashley is a multi-faceted photographer who has worked with a variety of creative business owners for custom product photography to enhance their brand, and today, she has a post detailing how working with a photographer for custom product photography, or utilizing stock photography can help to enhance your brand. Ashley is highlighting all three of these topics to help you to learn how to enhance your brand with custom product photography.
For all of the details, continue reading below!
Hi friends!! I’m Ashley Cochrane. I’m a photographer of whimsical, adventurous people & creative brands and a daily seeker of Jesus, naps and more natural living. I’m also a 2016 Creative Founders Conference Alum!
As a photographer, my job is super diverse. Some days I’m out shooting a couple paddle boarding, sailing, adventuring together in some form, and some days I’m working with a fellow creative on how to best showcase their creations in a way that will not only communicate who they are, but also reach their target market. I love that I can find so much passion on both ends of that spectrum... love of another person, love of creating a product that makes so many hearts happy.
When working with brands, sometimes I’m styling actual products they’ve created into a shot. Sometimes I’m styling a curation of items that fit into their visual brand identity that they can work into their social media stream. I have so much fun playing with pretties and arranging them in ways that tell a story or paint an overall picture. It’s so much fun!!
As creative business owners, we fall into a very unique space. We are all consumers ourselves and so we know that consumers won’t buy what they can’t see. We know that people are very visually oriented, especially when it comes to pretties, creative goods & art. We also know that we generally only have a handful of seconds to convince people to slow their scroll and pay attention to what it is we’re selling.
Our imagery should tell an authentic & cohesive story across every space that our ideal consumers visit, whether it be our websites or our social media feeds, as these spaces are the “face” of our brand & our products.
Cell phone cameras have improved greatly, DSLR cameras have become increasingly more affordable in recent years, and no one knows your product better than you, so why would you want to work with a professional photographer?
In a world where things like fonts and color profiles matter, when it comes to showing people your product, things like color accuracy in the images captured & even what may seem like the most minute details (like the texture of paper or embossed ink) become very important to get right.
No one knows this better than the designer who pours over Pantones for hours searching for that perfect shade, am I right? A photo can say abundantly more than a description can to communicate everything there is to know about a product, but only if it’s said well… aka... photographed well.
A professional photographer will know how to pay attention to the technical side of photography; things like white balance and lighting, which are so important to portraying your products in the most beautiful light with accurate color & sharpness of detail.
Important Detail to note: In this post, we have used four images that Ashley Victoria created for Grace & Serendipity to show you how product photography + stock photography can work seamlessly together and reflect cohesive business branding at the same time.
Pictured Above: Two examples of Custom Product Photography Ashley Victoria created for Grace & Serendipity
They’ll also be able to work with you to get to know your brand, and will know how to style & photograph your work in a way that shows off every last detail you worked so hard to design. And they’ll be able to do all this while also communicating your brand personality authentically.
The goal is to reach out and grab those consumers who are our ideal market. If our images don’t speak to people in a way that says “I GET YOU! I AM LIKE YOU!” they’ll move on to images of products that do. And trust me, they’ll find them.
It’s so important when showing off your work to do it in a way that communicates to customers that you understand them; that not only makes them want what it is that you have to offer, but feel they NEED what it is that you have to offer. This is done most effectively through styling in a way that encourages consumers to imagine themselves using your product & envisioning it as a part of their lifestyle.
What about stock photography?
In this highly social world we’re navigating as business owners, we know that content is king. The more you have to show, the better story you tell.
Stock photography is a fantastic addition to professionally photographed images of your work! It’s a great way to pull in fun elements and create the feel of showing your work in new settings, giving consumers another opportunity to imagine themselves enjoying your product.
There is so much beautiful imagery available out there that you’re sure to find stock imagery that you can work seamlessly into your own styled images and those you work with a professional photographer to create to pull together a beautiful & cohesive visual story that still feels authentic to your brand.
Pictured Above: Two examples of stock photography Ashley Victoria created for Grace & Serendipity, which Grace & Serendipity then overlaid digital products on top of and used for marketing materials + website images
I need to style images for my social media, I want my images to capture my work and be relevant to my personality. What would you suggest for this?
My best piece of advice when styling images for social media is to keep your ideal client in mind while also staying true to who you are as a brand. The goal is to polarize those clients who are not in your niche market, and to build trust and rapport with those clients who are. Don’t sacrifice your uniqueness for the latest trend. Create images that show people who you are and how you’re different from other brands because you are LIKE them (the client).
Pictured Above: Four examples of images that Ashley Victoria created for her own social media styling for @xoashleyvictoria that are true to her brand and personality.
This Fall, I’m super excited to share how to work with a product photographer, as I shared about above, and additionally, offer tips and tricks on how to create styled images for yourself using your smartphone, and how to integrate both pre-styled images and images you create yourself into a cohesive feed. I hope to meet you this Fall at the Creative Founders Conference, where we'll chat about this topic in two different sessions along with joining you for the entirety of the Conference. Find out even more about this Fall's Conference here!
Let's Keep the Conversation Going!
Do you have additional questions about utilizing product photography, styled stock images, or how to create images for social media?
If so, ask in the comments below!
Ashley is a photographer of adventurous couples & creative brands. She strives to create authentic images that bring to life the eccentricities, whimsy & adventurous side of each individual couple & brand. In addition to custom work, she is the creator of a shop of cleanly edited, bright & vibrant stock images for creative dreamers & doers. She lives for traveling the world, beach-combing & laying under the stars on the sugar white sands of Florida’s Emerald Coast, which she calls home.
Beyond the business, rocked by the recent loss of her husband & personal hero of 7.5 years, for whom she spent 5 years as a full-time caregiver after he became a wounded warrior, Ashley is now on a mission to fulfill their dream of beginning a non-profit to provide marriage-centered respite retreats for wounded warrior couples & telling their stories through photography. Ashley is an Ambassador for the Air Force Warrior Care program & travels to events around the country as a speaker & caregiver mentor.
Find out even more about Ashley here!
Website for Adventure Sessions | Website for Product Photography | Instagram