One of the top discussions I love to have with my clients is surrounding the golden question,
You spend all the time and investment planning, shopping, scheduling and then shooting for these amazing images to only post them to social media….. I think not! Your images add so much value to you and your brand and they deserve to speak volumes for you, about you! So, let’s get into some Do’s and Don’ts of How to Use Your Lifestyle Branding Images!
First, I can name a reason or two as to NOT use stock photography or when it’s necessary for your business beyond the following points, but I will save that for another blog. If your business has a physical location that clients visit on a daily basis, the worst thing you can do is show them a space that isn’t yours. Presenting your space in a way that is unrepresentative or inaccurate creates a distrust amongst your clients. Stage your space in a way your clients can actually experience the space and you’ll better manage their expectations. Images that don’t present the reality of your space can be initially pretty but in the long run, not retain trust.
Your audience and potential customers connect better with real life people. It’s always refreshing to associate a familiar face when you arrive at a new location, be it a restaurant or a physician’s office, for example.Showcasing actual staff shows them in action and demonstrates the hard work and team effort that pours into the service or product. Including actual staff in action also paints a colorful picture of the brand’s culture and sense of pride for the brand or business. Humanizing your brand’s experience also helps people connect emotionally, they feel apart of curation and growth of the brand, as it belongs or is tailored just for them.
You can have the best backdrop, natural light, all that jazz but what is missing is an actual customer using the actual product. If you’re a photographer include some behind the scenes or a client admiring their portraits on the walls of their home, you have a coffee shop, capture someone relaxing on the patio of the coffee shop on a cool sunny morning holding a cup of your best coffee or a customer and staff member interacting. It’s about the experience. If your a florist, get images of you shopping for a particular flower at different wholesale dealers or you picking a flower or customizing a bouquet. Don’t be the business that has the amazing products or service and your clients don’t know what you sell. Too often we see lifestyle images where the products a business is actually selling are missing. The story is incomplete without including the product + the experience showing customers what you sell, when and how to use it, why you should use it and most of all how you will feel using it.
Professional lighting doesn’t follow us around in real life . Too much curated and staging looks unauthentic. Authentic lifestyle photography captures your brand in a non fabricated way, you know like the real life kitchen scene after you have shopped, unpackaged, washed , prepped all the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies. Yes that kind of real life, unapologetic moment. Use natural light as often as possible to show real life conditions as clients experience.
Use images where people are going about their day in a natural way. Photos of people interacting with one another, on the job, engaged in what they are doing or with customers is a great way to get candid photos that don’t look posed or staged.
Curate shot list to help make a concrete list of what parts of your business are important to showcase to your audience. Start by asking yourself what you trying to convey. Luxury? Relaxation? Innovation? Reliability? Customer Service? Financial Success? Whatever it is these concepts need to translate into real-life human situations. Work closely with your photographer to ensure you have an adequate variety of shots that represent the different audiences your business caters to. Shot list are mostly for inspiration purposes only, not a shot by shot to do list on shoot day, however DO be sure to highlight the MUST HAVE shots!