Great imagery is more than just decoration on a website; it has the power to make or break a visitor’s impression of your business – and we know how important that is!

It’s no secret that when people feel a personal connection with a business, they’re more likely to interact and engage.

Done right, professional brand photography can do so much for the way people feel about your business. 

It’s something I had top of mind when it came to my own recent brand photoshoot with the super talented Lisa Clark, owner of With Every Heartbeat Photography.

I came prepared with a clear understanding of my brand and the message I wanted to send out into the world, and Lisa was able to bring that all to life through my photos.

The result?

My images are authentic and perfectly capture the essence of my brand personality.

If you really want to tap into the power of photography to reinforce your brand message, you need to be clear on what your brand is right from the very beginning.

After all, if you don’t know how to define your brand, how can you convey the right message?

 

What elements make up a successful brand?

 

A brand your customers love and engage with is one of the most powerful assets your business can have.

More and more, businesses recognise the value of creating a strong brand, but struggle to understand the key elements that go into it.

I see many well-meaning businesses get caught up in their visual identity. While choosing the logo, colours, photos and fonts is fun, they’re not your brand; they’re simply creative elements that help express it.

Your brand lives in what you stand for, the promise you make, and the personality you convey.

In my opinion, a strong brand has all of these three elements:

 

  • Relevant

It starts with your customer – knowing them well and knowing how to connect with them on their level. If your customers think you don’t “get them,” they’ll find somebody who does. If your customers are creative, innovative, and driven, then you need to be all of those things, too.

The stronger the emotional connection you can make with your ideal customer, the more loyalty they’ll show you.

 

  • Unique

With the volume of competition out there, it’s never been more important to stand out with your own unique identity.

You need to show your customers that it’s worth choosing you over your competitors. What will set you apart in their minds? A brand with a distinct personality and promise. Dare to be different!

 

  • Memorable

Everything your business does, says, presents, and stands for contribute to making your brand either memorable or forgettable. Showcasing your brand’s personality (more on that in a moment) will help carve out a place in your customers’ hearts and minds.

People remember those who make a connection with them. This means you’ll be reaching out to them on their favourite social media platform, giving them value they’ll remember.


Developing your brand: getting started

 

Understanding the value of a strong brand is one thing, but actually building it is another.

My recommendation is to lock in the basics, so here’s what I always consider when building a brand with my clients.

 

Brand promise

What does your company ‘promise’ to customers? It may be something tangible, it might be more of a quality, or a way of servicing your customers. Your promise is closely linked to your reputation. 

Your promise is what expectation you set for your customers when dealing with you. And it’s central to the very essence of your brand.

 

Download my FREE brand strategy worksheet

Build a strong brand that appeals to your ideal customer. Use this worksheet to define a consistent style for how you look, sound and act.

 Reputation

Think about the reputation you’d like for your business. What do you want people to think about your company? How would you like to be described?

For my own brand, I decided what characteristics I wanted to convey (how I’d like to be viewed by others) as well as those that I wanted to avoid.

Words I want associated with my brand:

  • Champion of women making their own success
  • Honest, no bullshit, straight-talker
  • Authentic, genuine
  • Approachable, friendly
  • Insightful and knowledgeable
  • Practical and easy to understand
  • Experienced, created own success
  • Mentor, trusted advisor

 

Things I don’t want associated with my brand:

  • Pushy, always wanting a sale
  • Speaks in jargon, fluff that means nothing
  • Shallow or flashy
  • Fake, pretender
  • Copycat
  • Time-waster

 

Next, I work out brand values, brand personality, and brand voice. Let’s take a closer look at these.

Brand values

People make buying decisions based on whether or not they feel a company is aligned with their values and point of view. Have you stopped for a minute to think about your values?

Values shape how you operate as a business, the way you engage with people, and even which businesses you choose to partner with.

Brand personality

The most loveable brands are built on powerful insights into what makes their audience tick. These brands know they can’t be everything to everyone so they are laser focused on building a relationship with their ideal audience.

They create a personality for their brand that’s like a real person’s personality – this way they’re much easier to connect with and it forms a deeper bond for their customers with the brand. 

Brand voice

A brand voice is what your business says and how it says it, at every customer touchpoint. It should represent your brand personality and resonate with your customers.

Think: warm and welcoming; witty and irreverent; or authoritative and formal – the important thing is that it’s delivered consistently.

 

So, brand basics are locked in, what’s next?

Creating your visual identity – colour palette, logos, fonts and images. These elements are the visual representation of your brand.

My top tip when choosing these elements: ensure your visual identity tells the same story as the other elements you’ve already created for your brand, for example: if your business is authoritative and formal you might stay away from a whimsical handwritten font and instead opt for a more structured, readable one.  

Once you’ve decided on the elements for your visual identity, then you can apply them across your website, marketing channels and of course, imagery.

Now, back to my brand photoshoot.

On the day of my shoot – with my brand in mind – I chose everyday settings like in my home or at my local beach.

I also reinforced my brand colours through clothing and incorporated real-life activities like drinking coffee and hanging out with my daughter (because she wasn’t asleep like she should have been!).

The result was authentic, relatable, and most importantly, accurately portrayed my brand.

Bonus tips for your next brand photoshoot

Lisa is a wealth of knowledge on communicating your brand through photography and shared with me her expert tips, which I’m now sharing with you… 

Do

  • wear solid colours.
  • wear your brand colours.
  • wear outfits that are comfortable and that you love.
  • accessorise – jewellery can elevate your outfit to the next level.
  • wear heels (they elongate your legs).
  • have extra wardrobe options, especially tops.
  • change your pose – e.g. looking down, facing the camera, looking away, turning to the side, looking over one shoulder, touching your hair, spinning, laughing, walking away, crossing legs.
  • keep your chin down and forward to create a long, lean neck, reduce the appearance of a double chin, and keep the focus on your killer smile.

Don’t

  • wear anything too tight or uncomfortable
  • wear something you wouldn’t normally wear
  • wear worn out, old or wrinkled clothing
  • wear busy prints or neon
  • show too much skin  

Lisa works with business owners in and around Brisbane on personal branding photoshoots and she has a great knack of communicating brands through her photos. Check out more of her awesome work over on her Instagram profile: @witheveryheartbeatpbp

 

Wrapping it all up

 

So now you know what makes a strong brand – being relevant, unique and memorable – it’s time to start building yours.

Always start with your reputation before moving on to your brand values, brand personality, and brand voice. Only once you’ve developed your brand strategy, it’s time to work with a photographer to bring your brand to life. 

In other words, nailing your brand = nailing your brand photography.


“Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card – how you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark.”   — Jay Danzie, Author and brand strategist.

Download my FREE brand strategy worksheet

Build a strong brand that appeals to your ideal customer. Use this worksheet to define a consistent style for how you look, sound and act.