When it comes to your brand and product photography, are you operating in the dark? How do you know if you have the right resource, and how can you tell when it’s time to leave your current photographer and find a new one?
Unless there’s something obviously wrong with the quality or the relationship, most brands will stay with the same photography resource for a long time. This, however, might not always be the best decision.
Original photography is critical to your brand. Regardless of your industry, every brand should be working towards one goal: building a library of compelling and original images that tell your story.
We live in a digital, visually-oriented world that’s saturated with content. Boring, overexposed stock imagery erodes your brand value and turns off audiences. It doesn’t work on your website, in your social media feed or in your presentations. At best, your audience ignores it; at worst, they laugh at it.
Original photography gives you the chance to shape the story, to connect with your audience on a deeper level and to separate yourself from the competition. An effective library includes more than product photography. It also includes images that represent your company values and the values of your audience. Lifestyle, editorial and inspiration shots should be part of the mix.
The right photography partner is crucial. An ideal partner will be an integrated part of your team, bringing real value to your marketing strategy. They will work with you to accomplish your goals and build your library. They won’t just take orders and make things look pretty—they’ll push you to do more, dig deeper and tell a bigger story.
5 Warning Signs that You Have the Wrong Photography Partner
They still charge usage fees.
Leasing images is an out-of-date practice. As the client, you should have unlimited, worldwide usage of your photography. You need the freedom to use those images across multiple channels as you see fit. If your photography is still incurring usage fees, you need to have a conversation or find another resource. This practice will not help you scale your brand.
2. They charge per shot.
This is another archaic practice, left over from the days of darkrooms, that is preventing you from growing. Your photographer should be willing to work with you to get all of the shots you need. In fact, your photography partner should be thinking of and suggesting additional shots that will help you tell your story, including close-ups, behind-the-scenes images and inspiration shots. Furthermore, these suggestions shouldn’t increase the budget.
3. Your photography partner doesn’t contribute to marketing strategy.
Your photography team should be thinking about how to activate your brand across multiple channels. They should be giving you ideas on how to use photography to build enthusiasm for your brand or build excitement for a new product launch.
4. They make it hard for you to budget and grow your library.
Photography requires a team effort, but paying for a lot of separate talent can get expensive. Props, sets, scenery, studio rentals, models and other factors impact pricing, but a strong production partner will know how to keep these costs in line with your budget. When every shoot goes beyond your budget, it makes it difficult to build a comprehensive library.
5. Your photographs don’t have a unique style or point of view.
There is more to photography than good art direction and pretty pictures. Your photography should be a unique reflection of your brand and its’ value. It should have a point of view that’s different from the competition and a style that reinforces your company’s core beliefs.
There are other signs as well—ones that are related to image quality. Images should be crisp and sharp. Pay special attention to the quality when you enlarge the images for branded spaces or large, graphic print jobs. Also pay attention to how your photographer uses light. Are they chasing daylight, or can they create light even under less-than-ideal conditions? And, most importantly, trust your gut. If you aren’t moved by your photography, your audience won’t be either.
It’s time for brands to take control of their photography. If you need help evaluating your images or creating a strategy to build a powerful library, let us know. We will work with you to create a visual communications roadmap that aligns your images with your company growth goals to create a unique, competitive advantage.
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