A strong visual identity is an essential aspect of branding…
Yet when you think of a ‘brand’, I am willing to place bets on your mind immediately straying to thoughts of logos, colour palettes and catchy strap lines; rather than photography.
As I am a commercial photographer you would be forgiven for thinking that of course I would suggest imagery is the most important aspect of a brand, but let me explain why this really is the case.
The human mind responds to and processes visual data far better than any other type of data, including words – 60,000 times faster in fact! This is just one of the reasons why photography is so powerful when it comes to branding.
Yet, far beyond the science bit (remember, “you’re worth it!”), I don’t need to tell you how effective photography can be, particularly when it comes to evoking emotion or desire… Think back to every holiday photo or photograph of a special occasion you own, and remember the warm memories and feelings that come flooding back whilst you flip through them.
That kind of power is hard to beat.
Using photography to evoke emotion, whatever the subject
Holiday companies understand exactly how this works; with carefully chosen imagery of sun, fun and smiling faces creating that ‘want’, that ‘need’ even, to fly off to the promised land of unforgettable memories yet to come.
So why would this concept be any different when it comes to commercial imagery of a product or even a building?
“Let your images do the selling for you”
My job as a creative and commercially-focused photographer is to help brands emulate this concept in their branding and product photography – guiding them towards the look and feel that will not only resonate with their target audience but be truly reflective of their brand values – and ultimately translate into better business.
Perhaps one of the best ways for me to demonstrate this process is through my recent work with a new high-end luxury fashion brand, Stoned & Waisted.
Founder Rachel has created a stunning range of bespoke jewellery, shearling and belts, alongside launching a sister company producing a range of quality, contemporary dog coats, beds, leads and collars.
She came to me for help in bringing her luxury products to life through creative imagery that would do justice to their quality and style.
Starting with understanding her brand and core values, I was able to style each shot uniquely – making abundant use of natural light to provide an ethereal feel, whilst maintaining focus on the product and its quality in question.
Far from your standard ‘product photo’, each image tells a story about the brand – setting the scene, drawing you in, and enabling you to visualise each product in your home, your hand or on your person.
Achieving visual consistency for the perfect ‘brand’
Key to this style of photography is consistency. It was important for Stone & Waisted’s new imagery to become a recognisable part of their brand – easily identifiable across all mediums.
Alongside styling the shoot and ensuring that each image would appeal directly to the target audiences’ lifestyle, likes and values, I also needed to keep in mind their intended use.
These images had to be suitable for large print (look out for them at the Burleigh Horse Trials!), newspaper and magazine advertising, Point-Of-Sale (Stoned and Waisted products can be found at exclusive stockists such as Really Wild Clothing), direct mail and of course, on their very own website and social media channels.
Across all uses there can be no doubt that the products you are viewing are Stone & Waisted – this is just one of the reasons it pays to instruct a commercial photographer who won’t simply ‘take photos’, but work with you on the bigger picture.
It’s also why I recommend an integrative approach to commercial photography – working with both the client and wider marketing teams to ensure that all images actively support the brand rather than detract from it.
Think of it this way. If you are flicking through your luxury fashion magazine, drooling (is that just me?) over the high-end goodness it contains, then visit the brand’s website to make a purchase – only to be confronted by soulless, one dimensional product imagery that is not consistent with what you have just seen; you may question whether you have made the right decision (or indeed that you are in the right place).
I hope that by talking you through this project candidly, I have given you some idea of how commercial photography can be used to both create and enhance a brand’s identity. You are more than welcome to browse through the gallery for more examples, or, go straight to the Stoned & Waisted website to view more of their stunning range.