Branding Photographer in Los Angeles
BRANDING FOR COMPANIES WITH 1 TO 500 EMPLOYEES IN 2021
"A new client asked me why I call myself a visual branding specialist, instead of simply a photographer?"
To me, the distinction is extremely important. In fact, it’s how I define the uniqueness of my career and how I’ve been able to create success for my most prominent clients. I’ve been fortunate to find great success as a commercial and advertising photographer, with many celebrity shoots and exciting assignments. But I believe it’s important that my images do more than just reflect beautiful people and places. They have to make a specific statement that enhances the message a person or a company wants to send.
I start with the word branding, a word that’s always very buzzy but not always very clear.
Here’s how the dictionary defines Branding: “The promoting of a product or service by identifying it with a particular brand.”
What’s a brand? Now we get a cluster of meanings:
A: A class of goods identified by name as the product of a single firm or manufacturer.
B: A characteristic or distinctive kind (a lively brand of theater).
C: Having a well-known and usually highly regarded or marketable name.
D: A public image, reputation, or identity thought of as something to be marketed or promoted.
BRANDING IS VISUAL.
We all know that the world is more image-driven every day. We can take in a ton of information from an image, literally in the blink of an eye. It’s not just the object or person portrayed, it’s the mood, the tone, the color -- or lack of it. A whole list of factors has to be click before an image becomes...unforgettable.
If I say, “Think Different,” you probably still remember the famous Apple ad campaign from a few years ago. You can still picture the black and white images of everybody from Gandhi to Jim Henson and Kermit. The power of those visuals is so strong, they still reach out and grab you. The visual decision to keep those famous faces in black and white added greatly to the drama.
There’s more to it, though. Yes, the “Think Different” campaign featured excellent photographs of interesting people. But their power came from context -- from what they said about the Apple brand. Apple knew what they were selling: extraordinary people use these extraordinary computers. If you want to be extraordinary, choose Apple.
What photographic ad campaigns have really grabbed you since? You’ve seen thousands of images flash by, literally every hour, all this year. Which brands do you remember? The ones that go further than just taking great pictures. You remember the brands where the great picture tells a great story, AND the story is perfectly matched to the brand.
Here are just a few things to keep in mind when you wonder what separates the champions of visual branding from the also-rans.
KNOW YOURSELF When I meet new clients, I start by asking whom they want to be and whom they want to reach. Believe it or not, really smart business owners are often confused about this. Then again, sometimes you’re the last person to know when an outfit you’re trying on doesn’t quite fit. If you’re a banker, best stay away from fluorescent colors in your ads. But if you make running shoes, break out the chartreuse!
What are you really selling? It’s not just a product, it’s a feeling as well. Say you’re Home Depot. Orange aprons and friendly faces, right? The impression is: Easy to find, approachable, expert customer service. Or what about Subaru? It’s not just nice-looking cars on mountain roads. It’s stories of families, parents, and children, and the Subaru lasts so long, it actually starts out as dad’s car and winds up his daughter’s car when she goes off to college. So: endurance paired with family love over generations!
KNOW YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC You have to take into account the ideas and symbols that resonate with the customers you want to reach. For instance, one of the worst mistakes companies make is to try to be hipper than they are. You should be confident in your offer and know that a talented creative team can serve up an array of powerful images that represent you for the strengths that are authentically yours.
Nobody does this better than Nike, of course. Their slogan, Just Do It, is perfectly illustrated by action photographs of the world’s finest athletes pushing themselves to the limit as they push their sport forward. It’s a great opportunity for dazzling photographs that are the opposite of pretentious.
LET A PROFESSIONAL HELP YOU
Personal brand photography is the most effective way to authentically show your brand story and portray your own unique personality to your audience. It can help you showcase your strengths, build credibility and stand out from the competition. By creating a strong, unique brand, you can make your business easily identifiable and different to everyone else out there. Your brand sets you apart from your competition before your clients ever meet you.
If you don’t have the benefit of a world-famous name already (like Apple or Nike or Home Depot), start outright, by engaging a skilled creative specialist who’s fluent in all the symbols and cues that can be put at your disposal, as you work together to craft a message that cuts through the clutter and says: CHOOSE ME.
Personal branding involves influencing the way potential customers see you and view your products or services, which is why personal branding photography can have such a massive impact. Sure, in this age of software and stock images, you can try to do your branding for yourself. But do you have the objectivity and insight to make all the right choices? Few companies do.
What my clients and I create together are branding statements that get the results we planned. With images that go the distance, tell the story, hit the message, and will never be forgotten.