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The Secret Ingredients to Grow a Healthy Brand

  • Writer's pictureNicole Powell

You Need To Have This In Your Marketing Toolkit

Updated: May 29, 2023

#REALTALK - If you're an entrepreneur or an aspiring influencer or blogger trying to grow your brand, I hate to say it, because I know you've heard it before but... YOU NEED AMAZING PHOTOS. Think about it. How many other businesses, services, or blogs exist like yours? How much competition is out there? Look within yourself as well... what social accounts or blogs do you gravitate towards? EXACTLY.

I have and always will liken websites and social media pages to dating profiles. If you're trying to attract someone, you would put the best photos of yourself on your profile. You wouldn't put blurry, mediocre ones as your profile picture, would you?

Why? Because in this new era of dating, you decide if you want to 'swipe left' or 'swipe right' purely based on a few photos and a one-liner.

You should think the same way about your business profile, or ANYTHING you present to the public. You have to be selective and strategic.

One way to obtain amazing photos is to hire a professional photographer experienced in branding photography.

Remember, branding photos are different than headshots or event photography.

I decided to ask branding photographer, Emily Powley, from Your Branded Self to explain branding photos, and why they are CRUCIAL to your brand as an entrepreneur or blogger in the digital space.

Take it from the expert!

What are branding photos?

Branding photos go beyond the standard headshot to help a business owner connect with their audience. They not only showcase who/what the brand is but also include behind the scenes in the business as well as in the business owner’s personal life. The main goal of brand photography is to engage the audience and provide a deeper connection with the brand. 

What is the difference between a photographer that specializes in branding photos and someone who does headshots or wedding/event photography?

One of the biggest differences, I feel, is their education and understanding of what branding and marketing are beyond a well-composed photograph. An effective brand photographer transcends their own personal style preference and allows those of the business and brand to shine through. Unlike a wedding or portrait photographers who are chosen for their style and own brand, a branding photographer is chosen based on their ability to communicate the vision of their client. 

Why is it so important to have good images?

Now more than ever, imagery is king. Stock images (even good ones) can be spotted from a mile away and are no longer cutting it on websites or on social media. All platforms are visually saturated making for an increasingly difficult environment to stand out in. A good set of images will, not only provide the brand with the unique content they are craving but with the content that their target audience desires (and frankly demands) on ever-increasing level of authenticity. 

What are common misconceptions business owners have of "branding photos”?

1.) It will take a lot of time (and effort) to get the photos/shots needed.

  • A quality brand photographer will emphasize the planning stage to ensure the session is efficient and productive. For example, my standard session is 3-4 hours, focuses on 3 separate aspects of the brand, and provides the client with 3 months worth of photos (5x/week for 12 weeks). By the time a client hands off their branding photography to an expert we infer that they have reached a level of volume, productivity, and vision to warrant the service. Our goal is to take away the day to day strain, of providing unique content, and create quarterly visual roadmaps for whichever direction the brand is headed.

2.) That they are not methodically planned. 

  • While there needs to be somewhat of an effortless feeling to some of the content, in the end, each image needs to serve a purpose. Whether its a photo of you working with clients, behind the scenes in the office, or getting coffee with your friends, each image needs to further the brand. During our quarterly sessions, we discuss the current and future directions of the brand and business and come up with stories that best fit that vision.

3.) The expense isn’t worth it.

Are they expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. With the good brand photographer, the value of the session will outweigh the cost. Personally, I feel the greatest value lies in the following aspects:

  • Efficiency: Being able to schedule on a quarterly basis is paramount when handling day to day operations. It not only provides the brand with the volume needed to engage with their audience but with the consistency needed to grow a brand.

  • Flexibility: Working on a quarterly basis, provides my clients with the flexibility to schedule their sessions around tight schedules and even tighter deadlines. Recurring brand photography clients receive priority booking and quick turnarounds. Images from a session can be chosen within 24 hours and delivered within the week.

  • Consistency: There is nothing more effective in a brand than consistency. Whether it be in the timeline of posts, the quality of the imagery, or the ability to customize your photographs with your own filters/text (always check your copyright permissions in your photographer's contract!), having a constant message is key to engaging your target audience. 

What's a common mistake you see business owners make when it comes to photos for their website or social pages?

Hands down the biggest mistakes are consistency and continuity including:

  • They don’t update (or update a bunch in a week, and then, crickets)

  • They use the same photos over and over again (new content is essential)

  • There’s no direction of the photos (if the image doesn’t connect with your target audience, why are you posting it…)

To end this post, I'd like to share an example of one of my branding photos and a headshot, so you can see the difference and giggle at my headshot from YEARS AGO when I was an aspiring reporter.

This image shows you not only what I look like, but something about me. I LOVE the outdoors and hiking and just walking outside. This is more than a photo. It lets you in to who I am and my personality. Photo: Your Branded Self

This was one of my headshots. It's great and I loved it, but it's exactly what it is... a photograph of my head. There's no context and for the viewer, it just shows you what I look like. Photo: Robert Kim Photography

There you have it. Hopefully, this post has helped explain the importance of amazing photos. If you don't have them, then you're missing an important tool in your arsenal.

As always, feel free to reach out to us at HALCON if you have any questions about branding. We are 100% here for you and 100% happy to help!

With Gratitude,

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Nicole Powell

Meet Nicole Powell, an expert whose journey spans from Manila to the Midwest, helping businesses transform into profitable and brag-worthy brands with research, creativity and neuroscience. With a determination to uplift fellow entrepreneurs, Nicole draws from her experience and mentorships with industry leaders for the past 15+ years. Her mission is clear: pay it forward, sharing the knowledge and skills she's acquired to empower others.

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