Are you thinking of getting brand photos done?
There comes a point in many businesses where selfies taken on your phone may no longer cut the mustard with your branding and business identity.
You’re thinking about hiring a photographer to take some professional shots for you to use on social media, as profile pictures, in media press packs and in your marketing efforts.
Often, people get photos taken at the same time as a rebrand.
As a designer of many brands and marketing materials, I have seen a fair few photos taken by professional & amateur photographers. And there are some practical requirements that need to be met for a designer to produce their best work.
Now, your photographer may very well take excellent, creative and professional shots. You may well be delighted, with good reason. They hit the nail on the head. They look amazing and high end. Your coach may love them too.
But often I groan!
That is the end product in their eyes. Job done. Some may not consider what the next stage in the journey is.
Here are some vital things to get your photographer to consider before and during your shoot:
- Take each pose in landscape AND portrait. Often when creating Facebook banners or full width imagery on PDFs, designers need landscape. Portrait, which is vertical, just doesn’t fit the horizontal nature of some templates or document dimensions.
- Ensure some photos have plenty of room in the shot above and around your face or body. A jaunty, close up portrait shot with the top of your hair missing makes for a creative composition, but if a designer needs to print it, they need a 5mm trim & bleed around the edges. Which could mean more of you being cut off, making for an awkward end design. We can always crop a photo – we can’t add to it!
- To summarise, have a selection of close up and distant photos, in both landscape and portrait.
- Careful with green screens! This is often just a green cloth or tension panel, which for video can be used to swap in a background image using a chroma-key editing technique. Using a green screen for photos may create a slight green tinge on your skin and clothing, which is probably not the look you’re going for. And careful with lighting – any shadows or big creases and will affect your superimposed background. Only use a green screen if you are 100% confident of your set-up, photography & post-production skills. Nothing says dodgy more than badly edited green screen photos. It’s also really hard to edit all the green out of wispy hair if it’s for a static photo. You need great Photoshop skills.
- Use a plain white or mid-tone, neutral backdrop colour for photos you want to remove the background from. Never a green screen or fussy pattern.
- Make sure you know your brand direction or colours before you take photos. If you don’t know yet what they might be yet, wear whites or monochrome neutrals. Nothing looks more incongruent than wearing a frilly hot pink top, if your business brand vibe is rustic or outdoorsy. It’s really hard to make it work as a designer!
- Even if you do know your brand colours, have a few outfits ready; some with your brand colours, and some just plain black, white or neutral. Gives you and the designer plenty of choice in the future.
- Get your branding started before your photo shoot. I always give my clients their colour palette and brand vibe early on in the design process, so they can inform their photographer.
If in doubt, get your photographer and designer to chat – that way you avoid Chinese Whispers and you can rest assured that the professionals you hire will get the absolute best results for you.
I hope this gives you some insights and prep ideas for when you’re planning new branding and photographs.