By Kelli Gardener
Photos are a powerful marketing tool. They draw people to your content and help enhance your brand’s standing in the image. Great pictures not only help your bank stand out, but they also make it appear more relatable and interesting on social media and more.
Taking your own branded photos is a game changer when you want to show the customer a personal, approachable and more sympathetic image of your company. Shooting your own marketing images for the first time can feel like a big leap, but there’s no need for digital photography to feel intimidating. Not only is it impermanent and endlessly manipulable, but there are also simple guidelines for getting the best shots out of your camera.
Whether you’re using your phone to capture an ordinary day around the office or whether there’s a DSLR waiting on your marketing manager’s desk, following these three key ideas can help you take better photos.
1. Compose a tight shot.
It’s common to try to capture too much with our photographs. If you’re trying to show an ordinary day at your bank, getting everybody in the same shot as they do their different tasks will feel busy and indistinct.
A good picture relies on focus—and this doesn’t just mean camera focus. Purposeful and specific frames are the best way to capture the tone and feeling that you want to convey.
Composing a tight shot can even go as far as limiting the color palette so that the image doesn’t send confusing or contradictory signals. Images that feature too many different colors can flatten your subject or make it hard to focus on what’s most important in the picture.
To do this, you want your subject matter to be tight and your perspective to be zoomed in on the action. Speaking of the action, it’s best to try to fill the entire field with your subject.
2. Tell a candid story.
Even in a traditionally rational business space, photography is an opportunity to capture the emotional and empathetic responses of real people. Candid photographs with humans in them are more likely to elicit an emotional response. Your marketing photography can use this to tell a story.
Ideally, the composition of the image should control what your viewer takes away from it. To compose a story from your image, use tone, color and the relation of objects in the frame to each other. Viewers will interpret the image based on:
- Whether the objects are close together or far apart
- Whether they are in the background or foreground
- What the light is like around them
- What the images convey with their colors
If you find that your image isn’t creating a clear enough story, tweak it by removing unnecessary objects and adding things that might serve as hints to what you’re trying to say.
Storytelling doesn’t always have to incorporate a human subject. Graphic designers and marketers frequently work with flatlays because they put the viewer into the perspective of being in a certain situation.
Generic flatlays may seem like an array of the tools of the trade, but even they tell a story based on their arrangement. For instance, is the composition orderly and full of straight lines to suggest precision? Or are many of the objects going in different directions to suggest creative disorder?
3. Slow down and try out different angles.
It’s really easy to go up to a scene that you want to photograph and snap a quick, top-down, high resolution, brightly colored image. But the fastest route and perspective can often create the dullest pictures, which may force you to snap photos over and over, all the while wondering why you aren’t getting a lot of traction and customer response.
The most interesting photos are the ones that challenge and intrigue the mind. To do this, it’s necessary to shift the camera’s perspective. You might also need to move your body to find different angles for taking the photo.
For instance, if your shoot from below, your subject will look grand, even imposing. Whereas, if you shoot from above, your subject will seem smaller and in some cases more sympathetic.
Taking a little time to do this can give you many good, well-composed and varied shots that are all usable for your website and social media posts.
When done well, in-house marketing photography gives your customers the feeling that they know and can trust the people behind the business. This can be daunting to implement when you’re worried that you don’t have the tools of professional photographers or that your photos won’t stand out amid the stock photos and professional work of other companies.
But remember that even the average smartphone has the capability of taking high-quality photos when you apply the right techniques. It also helps to pay attention to what other photo-heavy content marketers are doing. It’s all about developing a skill for observation and composition—and being able to see the side of your company that will make it sympathetic to customers.
Kelli Gardener is a lifestyle blogger for GroomandStyle.com. She has been a regular contributor to sites talking about the newest trends in photography, smart style, fashion, and fitness. When she’s not writing, she enjoys photography, hiking and pretty much anything outdoors.