10 Myths about Brand Photography

Catherine Tuckwell Personal Brand Photography white mug and camera

10 Myths about Brand Photography

Catherine Tuckwell Brand photography white coffee mug with Canon SLR camera

Over the years, I’ve encountered a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding brand photography. I’d like to use this post to dispel some of them, and explain why it can be such a key investment in your business. Let’s dive in!

Myth #1 – It’s too expensive

When you first begin researching brand photography prices, it can seem expensive.

However, how long do you spend every month frantically searching for a stock image that hasn’t been used a million times before?

How long does it take you to snap a selfie? Taking into account the time you’ll have to spend getting changed out of your pyjamas and detangling the messy top-knot in your hair, on a day that you’d planned to work from bed.

Then you have to find the right lighting, the right background – oh, and the kids’ toys are visible behind you, so you have to shove them into a corner out of the way…One selfie quickly becomes hundreds, and you still don’t like any of them.

How much is your time worth? Could you have spent those couple of hours at that networking meeting, that litter-picking event, or following up with past clients?

How much is it worth to have a selection of images ready and waiting on your hard drive to simply drop into a new social media post or blog article?

Myth #2 – It’s only for influencers

Not necessarily. Just because your name doesn’t begin with “K”, and you don’t have a bazillion followers doesn’t mean that you can’t invest in brand photography to help you grow your business.

Take a look around and you’ll probably find that there are lots of small, local businesses who are doing a great job of sustaining their brand and nurturing their audience through brand imagery and relevant content.

They all started out like you. They were once in the position you’re in now. Only they’ve learned how to leverage their message and their branding to attract the people they want, and repel those they don’t.

They’re far from being influencers, and maybe they don’t want to be labelled like that. They’re doing it this way because they believe that what they offer can make the world that little bit better.

Isn’t that why you started your business in the first place?

Myth #3 – It’s too “perfect” and “posed”

It doesn’t have to be. Think of the images as being “carefully curated”.

In essence, you’re still doing all the things you would do during a normal working day. The only difference is that you’ve planned it to the last detail.

You’ve finally had that haircut you were meant to have before lockdown. You’ve made sure that the clothes which have your brand colours in them aren’t buried in the bottom of the laundry bin, and you’ve put that pile of toys in the corner of your office where they belong: in the toybox.

Think of it as when you sell your house and the estate agent comes to take some photographs for the listing on their website. You wouldn’t let them come while the house is in uproar. You’d tidy up, fluff the pillows, vacuum the floors and swap the duvet covers. That’s all!

You can even make a joke about the photographs when you come to use them. Your kitchen may be spick and span in the picture; but five minutes later, when the kids came home from school and the partner returned from taking the dog for a walk, it turned into a bombsite. That’s something else your clients can relate to!

Myth #4 – It’s basically posh headshots

Erm, what are posh headshots? I don’t know, I just made it up. Yes, brand photography includes shots of your head, but it encompasses so much more than that.

It’s not like those Zoom meetings where you’ve pulled on a nice top or warm jumper over your pyjamas – it’s okay: we’ve all done it.

Brand photography shows you doing what you do, working with what you have, and in your natural habitat…this is starting to sound like a David Attenborough documentary…

It can be anything you want it to be. Maybe you do need some new headshots, but ones with a bit of personality. Perhaps you want a set of photographs that show you working behind the scenes on your business, or enjoying the lifestyle that being your own boss brings you. Or, you might just need some updated product images for your online shop.

So no, it’s not just headshots.

Myth #5 – It’s only for product-based businesses

Absolutely not! Okay, so you don’t have a physical item to sell, but that’s great! You can use brand photography to help your target audience get to know you better.

You can share the kind of lifestyle that your services bring about for your clients. Whether you’re a yoga teacher, a decluttering expert or a green energy company, you have the chance to share the transformations that your business provides.

The key is to show how much better your clients’ lives can be once they’ve invested in you. Give them a glimpse of the future they want for themselves, and explain how you’re the only person on the planet who can help them create that future.

Myth #6 – It’s only for service-based businesses

Nope.

While brand photography can be ideal for creating unique images of your products for your online store, it can also create other opportunities.

Show your items in their natural environment. People love seeing how products will fit into their rooms, homes and lifestyles. Help them to imagine this by including “real world” examples of your products.

You could also show the start-to-finish process of making your items. Whether it’s a bulk, conveyor-belt operation, or a custom, handmade product, sharing behind-the-scenes photos and videos give an extra glimpse into your business, and people go mad for it. It can also be quite mesmerising to watch “making of” videos!

Myth #7 – I can get my friend / spouse / partner / child / goldfish to take some photos of me

You could, but they would just be nice pictures of you. Brand photographers understand how to turn your story into imagery, how to convey your message through subtle touches like your brand colours, props and locations.

Consumers are getting smarter. They can see the difference between a rush-job and a professional. If you rush your own business, what’s to say that you won’t rush theirs?

By investing in quality photographs for your business, you show that you are devoted to it. You care enough about yourself and your services, and you know it’s worth it. You’ve already invested so much in your business, why start cutting corners on something that can save you a lot of time and energy that you can direct into other aspects of your life?

Myth #8 – I’ll have to share too much personal stuff

I can understand why you think that, but if you’re not comfortable sharing it, then don’t share it. Everyone has their own limitations on what they feel is too private, so it’s entirely up to you as to how much or how little you share.

However, there’s also the consideration as to whether you handling your own difficult experiences can help your clients overcome theirs.

A lot of people share their stories about miscarriage, mental health and eco-anxiety because they want to explain how they overcame adversity and encourage others to find a way to do the same. They understand what it’s like and people will relate to that.

Obviously, should you go down that route, some won’t relate, and that’s fine, because they’re not your ideal clients. The main thing is that you set your own boundaries as to what is okay to share, and what is off-limits. As long as you can stick to your own values, that’s what matters.

Myth #9 – It’s quicker and easier to do it myself with my phone on a tripod and set a timer

Hahahahahahaha!

Yeah, I used to think that, too. Was I ever really that young and innocent?…

How do brand photographers get their own brand photography? That’s right: they ask other brand photographers!

Alright, so you could set aside a day to try taking your own pictures, but shall I tell you what it’s really like? You plan everything out, select your outfits, gather together your props, set your camera or camera phone up on a tripod, and…

‘Okay, here we go!’

*Presses shutter button*

…Ten…nine…

*Hurries to chair*

…Eight…seven…

*Sits down at desk*

…Six…five…

*Picks up pen / phone / book / laptop / mug*

…Four…three…

*Smiles at camera*

…Two…one…

CLICK!

*Toddles back to camera and checks the picture*

‘Oh, my face is out of focus.’

Aaaand repeat…

‘Whoops, I blinked!’

Try again…

‘I don’t like my chin in that one.’

And again…

‘Fell over the cat and didn’t make it to the chair in time.’

Just one more…

‘I wanted to sneeze but then I didn’t.’

Maybe this time…

So basically, after two hours of scurrying back and forth between your chair and your camera phone, you’ll end up with 10,000 steps on your pedometer, but only 10 serviceable photographs.

Seriously, it’s harder than it looks being both photographer and model. Hire a professional.

Myth #10 – People will think I’m attention-seeking

What people? People who aren’t your ideal clients, that’s what. You don’t need to worry about them, you just focus on the people you do want to attract to your business.

If you’re worried about your friends and family seeing your brand photographs and thinking you have it made, or that you’re too good for them, who says you have to post them where they hang out?

You can push everything to your business’s Facebook page, join private business groups and grow your network within a safe and regulated space. Do you even need to be on Facebook if your target audience isn’t there?

Frankly, if your friends see your brand photography and don’t wish you well or leave positive comments, are they really your friends?

Conclusion

There you have it. Ten myths about brand photography have been dispelled. I hope it’s helped you to see that it can be useful for any business of any size, that you don’t have to share anything you don’t want to, and that it can save you time and energy that you could spend doing something worthwhile.

Convinced? Why not hop on a free, no obligation online video consultation with me to talk about your own brand needs? BYOC^

^Bring your own coffee.

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