Creating a strong visual brand: Creating your own images with your own technology

We talked in our last post about how to treat stock images to tailor them for your own brand communications. This will help you achieve some measure of ‘stand out’ when using images secured from free or paid stock image libraries.

In this post, and in advance of our next course on ‘Photo and video for the web’ course, we are offering some tips on trading up in your visual marketing strategy; and on using your own technology to create and add your own images to your portfolio.

Creating your own images and manipulating them further has never been easier, now we have genuine pocket-sized, high-resolution cameras packed into our phones. The ability to snap and share with minimal editing and cleansing has led to scores of companies opting to go down this route, especially in giving their social media a boost.

So, if you are looking to create your own images for marketing purposes, we hope these ideas inspire. All these ideas support social media strategies designed to engage audiences with your content.

At the heart of your thinking though, ensure you have some grounded sense of positioning and what it is you are trying to communicate whether it is core values, service offers or association with hot topics. Having keywords can trigger photographic creativity.

1. ‘Atypical’ staff shots

Every business needs classic head and shoulder shots of its key people for websites, press, professional documents and so on. Businesses and business people increasingly need to appear approachable, accessible yet professional.

So, why not mix the use of these conservative shots with some smart phone equivalents perhaps adopting a “Match of the Day” style where the subject is looking slightly off camera; in a candid and un-posed ‘reportage style’ (usually used at weddings and social gatherings) or ‘in situ’ where you might normally find them performing their duties.

2. Product shots

Standard product shots are shot either in isolation so they can be easily ‘cut-out’ and re-used or ‘in-situ’ where they are designed to operate. What about abstracts, using zoom in/out, cutaway, cut-through, from above, from below, from inside and other ways to demonstrate specific features and benefits?

Professional photographers will take hours getting the perfect shot because of staging and lighting requirements. Using a smart phone or DSLR enables you to quickly create a huge collection of images around one specific element, such as showcasing a particular process or a customer order moving through the system.

3. Brand / corporate shots

Every company needs shots of its teams, facilities, sites, signage but you could move away from those classic ‘straight on’ shots by starting to work with depth of field and creating a little distance between the foreground and the background.

Play with angles; working 10-25% degree angles into your shots to create a different style, for example shooting down the main sign outside the building so it looks like it is zooming away to a point in the distance rather than being taken straight on.

Play with lenses too. Lens attachments aren’t just for DSLRs; you can now buy inexpensive fish-eye and other types of lenses to create some powerful and unique workplace images too.

As a final thought, consider your selfie stick too. They do provide significant range, especially if you are managing this on your own, and can be used to create some fun images in meetings and social occasions if that type of photo supports your brand. (Think recruitment and how you are attracting new recruits as well as customers with your visual marketing).

4. ‘Over the shoulder’ shots

All businesses need ‘library shots’. So commit to doing more to showcase what goes on behind the scenes by adopting an ‘over the shoulder’ approach.

This is especially useful in environments like manufacturing shop floors or call centres where the staff can be notoriously protective of their privacy. Essentially you are photographing people doing things behind the scenes but you aren’t actually showing them in the shot – the essence and value of what they are doing is the focus of the shot.

5. Treat your images

Also consider applying some of the colouring, filtering and cropping techniques we discussed in our last post – especially those around layering and using images as backgrounds for more interesting content (quotes for social media, PowerPoint slides, tender documents and proposals).

Summary

Our advice is always to look at creating your own or indeed briefing a professional, because these images could be used on your brochures, website, email, social media, exhibition stands, packaging and in accompanying press material.

In upcoming posts, we’ll review creating your own images with available technology and provide a brief for working with professionals.

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Upcoming course

Book on our next upcoming Photo and Video for the Web session, 24th February, 2016