Every successful brand has a curated visual style and strategy. And the most compelling ones use their visual communications consistently with their messaging in order to build an authentic connection. Beyond understanding the services we offer, our clients are interested in knowing what kind of experience we are promising. Meaningful imagery can intuitively tell our brand story in a way that sets us apart from our competitors and elevate how we are perceived. Photos have this incredible unspoken language that can communicate our core values and create trust before our clients even meet us. (It’s also been proven that including imagery in your social posts encourages higher engagement and drives more traffic, so another win there!)
Here are some of the key types of images that are essential in communicating your value and service offerings.
1.Personal Branding Images
We want to see your gorgeous face!! Some beautiful photos that really show your genuine personality are the most important type of images to market yourself. Why? Because clients are looking to hire someone they know, like, and trust. A warm, inviting, authentic photo helps clients feel like they know you even a little before they reach out. It makes you feel accessible and like a real person. When I go to a website, before I click on “services” I ALWAYS click on the “about” page because I want to hear more about the mission of the business and the person who founded it. It’s the quickest way to get to the heart and soul of what you do and share a little bit about who you are. Clients make purchasing decisions based on emotion, and photos of you can help. If they can feel connected to you before they’ve even had a chance to hop on a call with you, you’ve removed the first barrier to building rapport and you’re one step closer to working with them. I’m definitely not encouraging narcissism, but genuine connection matters. How many photos you use of yourself depends on the kind of work you do. You know your clients best. But at the very minimum, you should have 2-3 go to shots to use on your site, social media, press releases, or even in your email signature.
2. Behind the Scenes / Lifestyle
Lifestyle images images showcase a “day in the life” of your creative business. If I can get a glimpse of you at work painting or hand lettering stationery, matching fabrics, or sketching out strategy documents, I can actually begin to envision what working with you could be like. As we talked about above, humans are very motivated by emotion, particularly when making purchasing decisions. So if you can paint a picture of what the experience is that you’re going to provide for me then I can start to dream about how your services will help me grow.
3. Your Workspace + Tools (Where the Magic Happens)
While images of YOU communicate the magic itself, your workspace is where it all happens. Seeing your space helps a prospective customer get a sense of your creative aesthetic. If the lifestyle images are the WHAT, this is the WHERE. This could be a peek into your artist’s studio, your desk styled with gorgeous florals – or covered in those aforementioned strategy documents, or a look into your favorite nook at home you’ve decorated with care. The tools you use to get your work done are often shot as flat lays, but these images can be styled a number of different ways. They’re great photos to use in social media or as banner images on your site to illustrate some of the tangible things you use to serve them. These detail shots or custom styled stock images put the focus on your values and promises. They’re perfect for the header of a blog post or in a social post that talks about the nitty gritty details.
4. Your Products or Services
If you are a service based business, this may overlap slightly with behind the scenes. Photos of you engaging with your ideal clients whether on the phone, at a conference table, or at a café can really help them visualize what the experience will be like working together. And if you sell any kind of tangible products, you are absolutely going to need images of those items! It’s helpful to have both product shots (sometimes flat lays) and more lifestyle images of items in use. As buyers, we are visual, and we won’t buy what we can’t see.
5. What Inspires You / Things you Love
This is perhaps one of the most underrated types of images to include in your social media and on your website. But the thing you are best at you are probably also most inspired by, especially if you are an artist. While ultimately your marketing efforts need to be about your client, incorporating some things that fire you up are a great way to showcase the kind of energy you pour into things. And sometimes you end up forming a connection with a customer that is just as obsessed as you are. As creatives, our behind the scenes and everyday life can be a point of connection for our clients. Those things we love – fur babies, a particular kind of tea, craft beer, travel, coffee – can often indicate an alignment of similar values between us and our dream clients. Sure, maybe you just need the extra caffeine, but it’s also that you care about how the beans are roasted, ground, and prepared because you appreciate the finer craft of developing flavors. Maybe you’re a tad biased and feel your pups are irresistible, but you’re also passionate about adopting rescues because you have a huge, caring heart. Maybe you just really love how it feels to have the pavement beneath your feet as you run, but you also value goal-setting, self care, grit, and determination. The things you’re inspired by may be different from that of your dream clients, but chances are the kind of people who are most attracted to what we do have similar underlying values.
As a photographer, I rely heavily on the type of imagery I use on my site to communicate my core values and create trust before my clients even meet me. As a creative entrepreneur who understands how important it is to build genuine relationships, I love the opportunity to help other business owners do the same. The brand imagery we use in our newsletters, our marketing collateral, on our websites, and in social media outlets is about so much more than beautiful photos. It’s about attracting our dream clients and creating resonance. It’s crucial we identify the message or intention behind our imagery so we can truly be effective. If you need help developing a visual strategy that authentically represents your brand, I’d love to chat with you!