Is Professional Brand Photography Really Worth It?
Photography. It’s everywhere. Whether you are scrolling through social media or just in day-to-day life. Most of us even carry around a high quality camera in our hands all day (smartphones). When you have a brand you are trying to market, it is important to remember that the photos of your product are most people’s first impression of your brand. It is crucial to put your best foot forward in representing your company, while also knowing that there is a time and a place for professional versus unprofessional photography.
The Role of a Professional Photographer
For people on the outside, it can be hard to fully grasp what a professional photographer does beyond clicking a button on a camera. In reality, the duties of a photographer lie before, during, and after the photo is taken.
Photographers are a type of storyteller. Instead of using words to describe their narrative, photographers have to rely on the photos. Professional photographers go beyond taking meaningless images. Their role is to make the viewer think and feel something.
In terms of product photography, the cameraman must reflect a story onto a simple thing. The photographer must stylize the product and use secondary items to create emotion in the audience and to drive people to take a certain action.
Photos are the first impression of a brand, so the professional photographer has to create a story within the audience to form a positive reaction regarding the brand.
When to Use a Professional Photographer
Like most things in life, there are specific times and places where professional photography is crucial. Photography drives people to think while making them feel a certain way. Professional photography can help guide audiences in forming a certain conclusion.
With that being said, professional photography should mainly be used in a brand’s owned media. Owned media consists of the outlets that a brand owns and manages itself, such as a website, company social media pages, and blogs. Using professional photography in owned media helps reflect the missions of a brand through imagery.
Websites are an essential place to use professional photography. The professional images add to the credibility of a brand in the eyes of the audience. The thought, care, and effort show through professional photography, so audiences are more likely to think highly of a brand that put this work into a brand.
Professional photography can also help audiences see why they should purchase a product. If the images on a company's website are similar to the images in a customer’s camera roll, the desire to buy the product or the need for the product may decrease.
Another channel for professional photography revolves around forming the visual identity of a brand. This is primarily done through posts on a company’s social media account. Professional photography can be essential in creating customers’ opinions while they are scrolling through social media. There are millions of users on social media, but using professional photos can help your brand stand out from other accounts while additionally adding to the credibility and illustrating the need for a product.
Editing Photos to Help Form Visual Identity
A professional photographer doesn’t just end their services after capturing an image. One of the most important parts of the professional photographer’s job is editing the pictures after they are taken. A photographer specializes in editing photos.
Comprehensive photography is important in creating a brand identity. Sometimes, audiences can identify a brand based on the specific way an image looks, which often lies in the way an image is edited.
Editing photos can also influence the way a viewer feels about the image and consequently the subject of the photo. For example, added saturation and brightness can make an image feel more positive or happy, while a desaturated and dark image can add intensity or dreariness to a photo.
The Time and Place for Unprofessional Photography
On the other hand, unprofessional photography also can be very helpful in marketing a company. Unprofessional photography can add a sense of the genuine personality behind a brand. If unprofessional photography is used in balance with professional photography, customers can see the complete experience of a product from start to purchase.
Unprofessional photography can be very helpful in showing reality and it helps break the fourth wall between the brand and consumer. These photos can be used in social media stories or earned media of a company.
Story posts are a great channel to add on to your story posts in an unofficial way on social media. Stories should definitely be treated seriously and professionally, but they can give viewers an insight to see an additional glimpse of a brand. To break up the presence of professional photos on a company’s social media, stories can be used to
- Show unboxing videos
- Highlight a day in the life of an employee or somebody using the product
- Create polls for viewers
- Promote other media of the company (website, blogs, etc.)
- Highlight user-generated content
Earned media is crucial to a brand’s identity, while also including no control from the brand itself. Earned media is the reactions to a company and consists of review videos, customer tweets or posts, media coverage of a product, etc. and can often influence opinions of consumers. Humans rely on others to form their own opinions, so earned media can play a key role in boosting or hurting a company’s identity.
As the brand can do very little to manage its earned media, unprofessional photos are typically used in these instances. These unprofessional photos generated by users are believed to showcase the reality of a product, for better or for worse.
Unprofessional photos play an essential role in enhancing or showcasing the user experience of a brand’s product or service, so they definitely can be useful if they are used at the appropriate time and place.
Professional photography is worth it for a brand to create credibility and visual identity for audiences. The services of a photographer may have a daunting price tag, but it is important to remember that the photographer does much more than press a button on a camera.
Once you have professional photos taken, unprofessional photos will help make the brand feel more authentic to users.
In the end, it falls to the importance of balance to help create a full experience for users in relation to your brand.
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Author: Allison Reed