For this week’s blog post, I simply wanted to take a lighthearted look at 5 signs that you work in brand photography. As with many creative businesses, it can be hard to switch off, and your senses can subconsciously be on alert all the time. I’ve tried to cover a couple of these in this article, and I hope fellow brand photographers can relate!
You’re always looking out for images to capture
It’s an old cliche, but it is true that the best camera you have is the one you always have with you. We all have phones with cameras in our pockets wherever we go, and you’ve begun to train your eye to spot that unusual composition, that perfect light, that contrast in the shadows.
Something as simple as a road sign, a leaf or a pair of shoes can be so evocative at giving a snapshot that tells a whole story. You don’t need the latest SLR camera or phone to create these images, and you don’t need to haul 20kgs of gear everywhere with you.
The limitations of a camera phone’s capabilities will probably encourage you to be more creative, so do what feels right.
You want to buy things in your brand colours
Whether it’s a pen, mug, notebook, dress, belt or necklace, you want to know if you can get it in one of your brand colours. If you can, and you know you’re going to use it, why not treat yourself?
If you can’t get it in your colours, chances are you’ll see that item in a colour that you know someone else will love because it matches their branding. That’s what is so great about nailing your brand. If you do it right, it’ll start flicking a switch in people’s heads when they see something that they know fits in with your values, ethos and marketing.
You’re constantly looking out for locations for photography sessions
A wheatfield, a beach, a local park, a clapped-out trading estate where a murder scene has been filmed for “Vera”. All great locations in their own right for some dramatic, unique images for a brand session!
Don’t be afraid to ask hotels and cafes about having a session on their premises. Usually a booking or a food and drink purchase, along with a shout-out to the venue on social media can go a long way to sweetening the deal.
Maybe your client knows the owner of a restaurant well enough to ask permission, or their sister has just had a kitchen renovation completed. Get right on it!
You see both the wood and the trees
You can look at a candle and see not just the candle, but the “why” behind it. A candle is not just a candle, it’s a whole story of someone making it. They’ve sourced the wax from a local beekeeper, from bees who have been producing it for millennia.
They’ve tried hundreds of ingredients to create that perfect balance in the calming, nostalgic or invigorating scents of the candles. The glass jars they come in have been hand-blown by a craftsman who uses the methods that have been around for almost 3000 years.
And why is the candlemaker going to all this trouble? To support her local economy and to create beautiful items that bring joy to her clients. She does it to keep a roof over her head and provide for her family. She does it because she loves it, and her passion and dedication keep her customers coming back for more.
You’re a storyteller
You think about things from the perspective of a storyteller; whether that’s your favourite writer, film director or songwriter. How would J. R. R. Tolkien tell this story? What about Steven Spielberg or Jim Steinman?
Maybe you draw inspiration from Dickens, Tarantino or Lennon and McCartney. Don’t feel pressured to match or better these iconic names, or come up with something completely new and creative. Everyone is inspired by something that came before them. You can still tell the same classic stories, just do it in your own unique way.
There you have it: five signs that you work in brand photography. You’re not just a photographer. You’re a location scout, a set designer, an observer and a storyteller. Now go out and share these talents with the world to help others to spread their own message.