“A picture paints a thousand words” they say… and so it does.

Whether it’s in print or online, photographs are important to the overall effectiveness of what you want to communicate. Strong photography helps represent your company or business and better communicates your brand to the customer. Particularly for online it helps to draw visitors in to your website. Poor photographs or no photos at all can be less engaging and potentially turn them away.

Buzzword recently completed a rebrand for Cobham Care, who manage two care homes specialising in dementia care. As part of the rebrand we designed a new responsive website. Photography on their old website was underused and didn’t resonate well with their audience. New professional photography was commissioned to help capture the look and feel that the new brand wanted to convey. On sight of the new photography, the client was very happy with the outcome and really saw the benefit for having the new photos taken.

“This is a really great result, from how we previously looked as a company, to where we are now, is a giant leap forward. The photography is stunning and our entire team of staff are very happy with how they have been represented.”

Alan Brookes, Co-Founder & Director, Cobham Care

If you are contemplating having new photography there are some questions that may begin to emerge:

  • “Where do I find a professional photographer?”
  • “How expensive is it going to be?”
  • “Can I download stock photos?”

In order to get the best photos to represent your brand you can either hire a professional to produce the images or you can go down the stock photo route. We take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both of these options:

Professional photography

Understandably, this is going to be the more expensive option but there are a number of key benefits to this.

You want your imagery to deliver the most positive and beneficial portrayal of your brand as possible. Professionally taken photos are unique to your company and respective brand style, helping you to stand out from your competition. Having a consistent style of photography also makes your company appear more professional and brings a positive perception of your brand.

Above: Photoshoot commissioned for The Real Eating Company. Photo by Peter Langdown Photography.

Professional photographers will account for lighting and composition and can better focus on staging the subject involved so that images look less posed and more authentic. Taking photos of your actual business and employees helps to make your company unique. This might include the working environment, fellow employees, and the customers using your product or service. Personal touches like these can help your brand build stronger relationships with your audience.

Authenticity is very important, especially if you are selling a product or service. Professional photography helps to create much more of an emotional connection to your product or service. Cheap looking photography can have a negative effect on how customers perceive a product or service. The best photographers know how to showcase your product or service and maximise its appeal.

Above: Photoshoot commissioned for Chichester Free School. Photo by Peter Langdown Photography.

Whilst there is a bigger up-front cost for professional photography, it does have longevity meaning that you can use the photos across a wide variety of communications. Over time you can also build up your own bespoke photo library that truly reflects your brand style and values. You also have the reassurance that the photos you have taken are exactly what you are looking for.

Above: Photoshoot commissioned for The Bosham Clinic. Photo by Peter Langdown Photography.

If you are looking to run a campaign, photoshoots give you the opportunity to take a number of photos that help to tell a story which resonates with your audience. Photos can also be taken with a slight variation on a theme, something you won’t get very often with stock photography.

Digital communications are becoming increasingly important in today’s marketplace, particularly having animation on your website. Professional photographers can take short video snippets, which can be used online and it can really help to elevate communications for your brand.

Stock photography

If budget is an issue and professional photography is not an option then stock photos are the next best choice.

The quality of stock photography is improving all the time and there are a variety of stock photo websites out there that cater for most requirements. Good websites to find affordable stock photos include iStock and Shutterstock. If you are prepared to pay a little more then high-end stock photo websites include Getty Images may be more suitable.

Above: Photo available on Shutterstock

Many of these websites allow you to create online folders so you can shortlist your images before committing to purchasing them. It also gives you the opportunity to review and ensure that the photos you have shortlisted represent your brand and values.

A real benefit to stock photos is the speed in which you can get hold of an image. For instance, if you are rushed for time and have a deadline, you can download and have the image that you need within a matter of minutes.

It’s important to note that there are a number of classic, cheesy images of smiling, overly posed professionals across the Internet. A common issue with stock photography is company or business perception. If you just see stock photos, how does your target audience know this is a real company? It can take some time to thoroughly research stock photo websites to find quality images that better represent the company or business.

Here are some tips for choosing the right stock photos:

  • Ensure that stock photos you are looking for help to communicate your business. For instance, does this image bring value?
  • Choose images of people that look natural; avoid images of people smiling directly into the camera.
  • Some stock photos can be edited to help transform an image, making it your own. This can include changing the crop of an image or altering background colours.
  • Potentially lots of other websites, including your competition, might be using the same image. It is worth taking a look at some of your competitor’s websites to make sure that they aren’t using the same image.

Above: Photo available on iStock

Whichever option you choose for images, always consider how photos appeal to your target audience, and communicate your brand.

If your brand needs to drive more business, Buzzword are experts in developing brands that connect and drive success.

Read about how we helped Cobham Care engage better with their audience through a full rebrand:

View our portfolio

If you’d like to talk further:

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