To be authentic and stay true to yourself, quite possibly the most important thing you have to always remember is that it's your brand. It's your story and it has to be told by you.
I have seen so many brands falling into the trap of many photographers who are selling their services as a ‘Brand Photographer’. Now, I know a lot of photographers and majority of them are fantastic. They offer a service with value and individuality, then there’s the small minority who turns a unique brand into an object that’s just come off a conveyer belt. Over the past few months I’ve come across many brands who have lost their brand identity and in turn, lost their brand value.
Imagine working so hard to build a beautiful brand just to ruin it all by making a very simple mistake of employing a photographer to produce images which look identical to 20 other brands in your industry. Why would you do that? Why would you dilute your identity?
Would you knowingly dress the same as 5 other people in a party? Would you order the same food as all your peers in the industry just because they’ve ordered it? So why would you have identical brand photography to so many others in your industry? These are all pretty obvious questions with obvious answers. So, your choice of a photographer should be obvious too. One simple rule I have, and that is to always remain true to myself and my brand. As a brand photographer, I ask a lot of questions to my clients. The reason is not because I'm a nosey person, on the contray. It's because I need to know as much information about you and your brand as I possibly can to be able to delievr your story through photography.
Any good brand photographer will spend a lot of time getting to know you and your brand. It is not something which is achieved with a 30 minute free consultation phone call. That is only the begining. At this point, you have to allow your photographer to get to know you as well. When it comes to over all branding, it's even more indepth. If a brand designer walks away or goes silent on you because you're not forth coming with information. Make no mistake, that is the person you need for your branding. Whether they are working on your brand strategies or brand photography, that is the person who will deliver authenticity. Not the person who will come up with your entire branding with a quick questionaire followed by a sizeable invoice. Always pick a photographer or a brand designer who asks you a lot of questions about you and your brand. Pay attention to how much time they spend on getting to know your brand. Don't be afraid to ask them what they know about your brand. Ask them specifics about if they know your brand message, if they know your brand values, if they know the type of clients who you are targeting your business towards and much more.
Recently, I received an enquiry from a brand owner who fell into one of these traps of receiving imagery which had the identical setting as so many other brands in her industry. The same desk, the same books and notepads on that desk, even the same pen and iMac. The only thing which was different was the image on the iMac screen. She wanted to showcase her office yet ended up showcasing the same office as 6 other brands in her area. Do they all share the same office? No. But they all shared the same photographer. The enquiry was to see if I could change the notepads on the desk, change the colour of the desk and to change the room background. My reply was a simple no. Instead, I talked her through how she could photograph her own desk with her own notepads during the lockdown. She did this reluctantly but in the end, it gave her piece of mind that she was telling her true story to her own clients by being authentic. She didn’t have to pretend that someone else’s office was hers. And that is priceless. Your customers deserve the real you. That is the only way to build real customer relations. Your brand photography is part of that authenticity.
As with every industry, the wedding industry also has people in it without much experience and take advantage of brands who are willing to pay for all the fluff without any real substance. Many of these conveyer belt photographers don’t really care about your brand. Ultimately, they care about their own bank balance. You need to care about your brand and how you relate to your own brand. What your message of authenticity is. How will you convey that to your clients? What makes you different to everyone else? Are you being true to yourself?
Are you working with a photographer who respects you as a person and takes the time to find out about you and your brand? Does your photographer think about how your brand is reflected? Do they know your brand identity? Do they understand your brand’s ethos? All these things cannot be learnt over a 30 minute phoecall or a quick questionaire. This takes time and research. It's time to call the photographers who went silent on you because you didn't open up to them about your brand.
Brand photography is so much more than just pretty images. It tells your story; every image is a reflection of you and your brand. Let no one ever to come along and dilute your brand for you. Your photographer needs to have a good level of understanding about your brand to be able to deliver the best results for your brand. It's up to you to choose the right one.