OPINION: Three and a half years ago, I shelled out some money for a branded photoshoot. We were going through a bunch of changes in terms of our business, and part of our plan for us digging into where we were included was making me step up and become the face of our business.
It wasn’t something I wanted to do. It’s not that I didn’t like the idea of the photos. I’m used to having my picture taken, after my twenty years of working as a writer, author and a brief stint as a regular guest on morning TV, not to mention working with brands in as a blogger in the early days of influencer marketing (when you never got paid and people wondered if social media was just a fad).
I’m also one of those lucky / weirdo people who feel more comfortable in front of a camera than in front of people.
But, in terms of using the images for marketing my business, I was reluctant. It’s OK as a solopreneur, I thought. But what if you have a team, or build something that is more than you? Is it okay to be the face of a business with other people? And don’t you need to have a certain look for it to work?
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There was a shock when the first photos arrived in a folder. Instead of looking at each image as a whole, my eyes slid to each flaw and imperfection.
It wasn’t until I showed the “worst” images to a large Facebook group for business owners that I realized that other people didn’t look at my photos the same.
“I would work with THIS PERSON in an instant”, or “Look at this energy, I want this person to work with me” or “I like your expressions” were some of the comments I received (luckily no one shared less than glowing comments to my face!)
I decided that we were going to use my images thoroughly to build our brand. While it has been and still seems narcissistic at times, the resulting photos have given me an arsenal of images that we have used everywhere from print materials to social media posts and even my own gifs. (PRO TIP: Create your own GIFs to use on social media, to add some fun to your brand).
I quickly learned that even if you have a team, imagery of the business owner (or chosen face) helps personalize a brand and get people to connect with you. Your images build trust, help people connect with you, and help people recognize your brand with more depth than a logo can give you.
Great brand, team, and product photos are a common inclusion in our small business marketing strategies. Having an arsenal of clear and compelling images of you and your products can make selling what you do that much easier. Even if your budget is limited, investing in a great photograph can help elevate your business and make you look a lot more together than you probably think.
It’s also one of the biggest gaps for most of the business owners I work with. So few invest the money to get a range of photos that they can use for social media, the website, print, and anywhere else you can put them.
It’s incredibly difficult to create a month of compelling social media content by reworking the same three photos in different ways and trying to avoid reverting to using generic photos.
In episode 24 of MAP IT Marketing Podcast this week I spoke to Jade Warne, owner of “Hipster Mum”. Jade specializes in helping business owners create stunning photographs and videos of themselves and their products, while providing them with a fair amount of digital marketing advice and assistance.
Jade and I both agree that it can help to clearly develop a character of a public business owner, that is, an organized version of yourself. What that means for you would be different for me. (For example, my public brand is very energetic, wears shiny clothes, and is very talkative. As I write this, I’m wearing my favorite gray hoodie, in a quiet corner of the house, and hanging out for. spend tomorrow immersed in a book. We’re both the same person, just different parts)
Jade shares some of the steps you should take if you are trying to figure out what your personal brand will look like online. She suggests that you ask yourself, “Who do you need to be in business savvy?” Who and what is this person? How do they present themselves? Once you have answered these questions, you can ask other image-related questions such as “What are they wearing?” “
If you have absolutely no idea what your public brand would be like, Jade recommends that you spend some time collecting images that appeal to you. She uses Pinterest, but also, you can go old school with a stack of magazines.
Select images, words, clothing, furniture, fonts, any visual element that you respond to and like.
“And as you put them together into their different threads, all of a sudden you open up your board and you’ll see, ‘That’s what I like. This navy blue. Or that bottle green or all those different textures. It’s immersing yourself in your style that you love and letting it energize you and then you can take it and project it out into the world. It’s such a practical and concrete way to find the parts of you, ”she explains.
You can create your own branded photograph with good light and an iPhone, if on a tight budget, but investing in a good photographer can help you create a portfolio of images that are in the right light and represent you. best way.
A photographer is able to relax you and suggest poses, locations, and ideas that might be outside of your area of knowledge, but can create a magical image for your brand.
The same goes for product photography. If you want to do it yourself, Jade suggests making sure you have a white room or at least a small white studio.
“You can take great product photos at home. You can have a really small and simple setup near a beautiful window with natural light, white walls, white floors, white ceilings. Imagine a typical photo studio, it’s kind of like what you want to create. If you are shooting earrings or something small, you can create a small mini photo studio that is 12 inches by 12 inches to get crisp shots.
The three types of product photos that Jade recommends are those that show the beauty of the product, those that show it in use or worn out, and those that show it in motion. One of Jade’s specialties is stop motion product videos which can be used for reels, short video posts, and Gifs.
I often say “social media is like a kitten, it needs to be fed often and loves anything that moves” so think about how you can incorporate movement into your stills and add video if possible.
While you can take your images yourself, there are definite advantages to using a photographer instead. Jade explains, “The difference is that when they work with a professional for product photography, they can set up the lighting and take pictures from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm. We’ll get consistent results along the way. . You are paying for this consistency. You pay for the volume. And the creative eye that knows how to showcase products in a really cool way.
For many small business owners, outsourcing can come down to what you have the most: time or money? As Jade explains, it’s a decision you have to weigh.
“If you’re a small business owner, spending a whole day getting a few flatlays that are right for you, maybe this is a good use of your time. Or maybe not. Maybe you’d better send your products to a photographer who has all the colorful backgrounds, who has all the props, who can smash your entire product line in one day, with stop motion, cut it with music and give you square format plus portrait plus landscape format, all ready for your marketing.
For manufacturers, investing in a range of product photos can help your retailers deliver a consistent branding experience to their customers.
For retailers, creating your own product photos helps you create a look and feel for the lines you’ve chosen that match your retail brand and stand out from your competition. There’s a reason business owners like Pepper & Me’s Cherie Metcalfe invest in monthly two-day photoshoots to get great images for her social media. Using your own snaps helps you control your brand’s narrative.
It doesn’t matter if you’re going to try it out yourself or have it outsourced, owning a collection of images that you own that represent your brand, whether it’s yours or your products (or both) can help. to stand out in a crowd of thousands all circulating the same archive photos on social networks.
Rachel Klaver is a Marketing Strategist specializing in Lead Generation and Content Marketing who leads Identifier Marketing, who works with businesses to create the strategy they need to better tell their story to the right people. Write Your Own Marketing Strategy For Free With Rachel’s Online Marketing School.