We’ve all been there. We’re working on a new blog post or article and need just one quick image. So we turn to our favorite stock photography site and grab a quick shot. Problem solved.
Then, a week later, we need one more image. And one the week after that. Pretty soon we have a hodgepodge of images we’ve randomly collected, all with different styles, colors, and perspectives. And boom — just like that — the brand we’ve worked so hard to create goes right out the window.
Don’t get me wrong — stock photos can be life savers and there is a time and place for them. They’re great for new businesses that may not have identified their brand colors or messaging yet. It’s also completely appropriate to grab a stock photo or two to use alongside your own images if they play nicely with your style and brand.
But the very best photography to tell the unique story of your brand is your own personal brand photo library.
HERE ARE 5 REASONS your own personalized photo library is better than stock photography:
Consistency builds trust.
The images you create through your personal brand photo session will be consistent in tone and style, match your brand aesthetic, and reinforce your brand identity.
The more consistently you show up on social media both in words and in photos, the more your clients will know and trust you.
Photos tell stories.
Think about the people you enjoy following on Instagram and social media. Chances are, they’re not just sharing their products or trying to sell you something.
They’re telling stories!
A good brand photographer will capture behind-the-scenes and action shots, which help communicate more of your story than simple headshots and product images. People don’t just want to be sold a product — they want to watch you in action in your Instagram stories and learn from the expertise you share in your LinkedIn articles.
So why not grab shots that are you, in action. If you’re a restaurant owner, let’s photograph your food — but also your chef mixing the dough, or hands garnishing the finished dish.
If you’re a fashion blogger, let’s go shopping and focus on the fun fabric details that draw in your LikeItToKnowIt followers, then feature you wearing those outfits on a real date night, at the lake, or enjoying cocktails in your backyard with your friends.
Your own photos uniquely identify your brand.
I don’t know about you, but several of my social media friends all get their photos from the same stock libraries, and quite often I’m not sure which one of them is posting. Don’t get me wrong — the photos are gorgeous. It’s just that they’re all the same.
The best way to set yourself apart from your competition is to be different, something that’s difficult to do with stock photography.
I personally think it’s both a compliment and a benefit to your business when someone tells you, “I knew that photo was yours even before I read the caption!” Now that’s a recognizable brand!
Your visual brand amplifies your messaging.
When you work with a professional branding photographer, you’ll most likely fill out a questionnaire about your brand so she can shoot in the best way to highlight your message.
And you’ll have a pre-shoot consultation so your photographer can develop a detailed shot list to make sure you both agree on the style and type of photos you are wanting.
The most important part of brand photos is that they take your message and make it visual.
Great photos stop the scrolling. Let’s face it — social media can be visual overload! Some social media experts say you less than 2 seconds to capture your audience’s attention! The right photos can not only attract the right tribe but slow them down enough to read your message.
Here are three things you can do right now on your Instagram account to learn more about what type of photos get the most engagement:
First, can you tell whose photo you’re looking at before you even see their name? If yes, they’ve done a great job with consistency.
Second, are there certain types of photos that literally stop your scrolling? Save them to a collection, then go back through them and see if you can identify what about them makes them compelling.
Third, review your own images and see which ones received the most likes. See if you can identify common threads among those photos, things you’d like to incorporate in future posts.
Then, share what you’ve learned with your photographer, who will probably have some great ideas for creating more of the images that will stop your followers in their tracks.
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