When I first started Lemon and the Sea, I knew that I needed beautiful, eye-catching images for my website and social media, but I had no idea how to get them. I started by taking my own - which weren't bad, but as I'm not a professional photographer they didn't really capture my brand. Then I looked into stock images and mock-up scene creators. Again, both of these worked (and I still use them occasionally), but what I really wanted was a bank of images created specifically for my brand that I knew would be unique and capture the feeling I wanted my visuals to have.
WHY YOU NEED BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY
If you're ready to up your image game, consider hiring a brand photographer. Having your own bank of on-brand images allows you to always have something to share on Instagram or include in your website header without worrying about whether your image has been used by other people.
As a designer, I totally understand the use of stock photography when you need images for your website but don't have the skill to take them yourself. There's a problem with stock images though - they aren't yours - which is why working with a brand photographer to create images specifically for your business has some great advantages.
- The images match your brand. No matter how hard you search, you're never going to find a stock image that is perfect for your brand. But with a brand photographer, you can communicate your target client, your brand colors, and the feeling you want the images to have so that every image will be tailored to you.
- The images are unique. Even if you're purchasing a stock image, other people can (and probably will) use that same image. I can't tell you how many times I've visited a website and seen the same stock image as the header that also appears on three or four other websites. With branded images created specifically for you, you never have to worry that someone else will use the image you've worked so hard to create and curate (unless they steal them, in which case you can make them remove the images).
- The images fit your needs. Another problem with stock photography is that many stock images don't come in a variety of sizes. This means that you're going to have to crop that image differently for your blog post, website header, and Instagram. But when you work with a brand photographer, you can communicate exactly what types of sizes of images that you'll need. That way, you can get a website header that fits the space you have and some great social media images that don't end up having items cropped out.
How to work with a brand photographer
Once you're ready to hire a brand photographer, you need to consider a few things to make sure that you'll receive the images you need.
- Look at their style. While some brand photographers shoot in a variety of styles, many stick to just one. Take a look at their portfolio to make sure that the images you see fit with what you're envisioning for your own brand. If a photographer only shows dark and saturated images, don't rely on them to take bright flat lays for you.
- Find out what you get. Don't be afraid to ask questions before hiring someone to take your brand images. For example, you need to know how many images you're guaranteed to receive and in what sizes. You also want to be clear on how you can use these images and how you need to credit the photographer.
- Head shots, products, and props. Depending on the photographer and your location, you may be able to get different images. If your photographer is local, see if she can also take your head shots and images of your space. Find out how she will take photos of your products (usually you'll have to mail them) and if you can or should provide your own props. Many photographers will include some props in their quote, but if you have something specific to your brand, let them know ahead of time so that it can be included (many of my brand images contain lemons).
Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family. I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.