How to develop a photographic brand
Add photos that look the way you picture your own photography working. Collect inspiration from competitors, magazines or lifestyle brands, other products and stock photo sites. Go with your intuition, but also show stakeholders and users your moodboard to see whether it resonates with them.
Aggressively curate, only keeping photos that stand out and harmonise with each other, and eliminate the rest.
Create a style guide with a photography section
Once you start getting a feeling for what kinds of photos are working, look for patterns and collect them into a style guide. Having a playbook for the kinds of brand imagery you want will help you and your team stay focused and consistent. Write guidelines including consideration for these major points:
- What kind of content should the photography depict? Products? Lifestyle? Nature? Portraits?
- What kind of story should your imagery tell?
- What does it convey to the viewer? How should they feel?
- How will the photos be edited? Why?
- What are the key do’s and don’t’s?
Tell a story
When you choose an image, be critical. Ask yourself, “does this photo make me feel something when I look at it? Is there a story here that draws me in?” Select photography that’s more than just garnish and reach for something more meaningful.
Evaluate each photo
Make sure that meets important visual principles:
- Lighting: is it too dark or too bright? Are the important parts of the photo well-exposed, or do their details get lost in pure whites or blacks?
- Contrast: is there an appropriate amount of contrast?
- Colour: are the colours appealing and harmonious? Do they fit with other content on the screen such as UI and other photos, or do they clash?
- Composition: Does it have a strong, compelling composition?
- Authenticity: Does it feel real, or forced? Posed shots can be authentic, but they have to capture something true and interesting about the subject.
Brands are created via many interactions over time. Regularly tell the stories associated with your company or product, and use imagery that fits with that guide. Over time your brand will begin to crystallize in the minds of your audience. Ultimately, when done well, someone can look at one of your images without any caption or context, and say “that looks like a [your brand] photo.”