So. you wanna create beautiful photos that people love and engage with? You’re in the right place. We are going to cover all things branding, photography, graphic creation and flat lays so that you are able to able to grow your following and attract your audience with ease.
Branding 101: Consistency
First thing first. As you consider your strategy for capturing beautiful photos for your brand, be sure you first have defined your brand story and style guide.
A style guide is a visual blueprint for your brand. It is used to have collective alignment on your brand assets.
Click here to learn more on how to craft a cohesive brand including logos, colors, fonts and moods.
Once you have created your brand style guide and have a good handle on your colors, fonts and the feel of your brand you can begin to strategize on what images you will use to represent your brand.
My first recommendation is to go back to your mood board to keep consistent with the look and feeling of your brand.
A mood board is a visual representation of the vision for your business that you are looking to achieve.
It is a really easy way to begin to see your vision come to life. If you want to learn how to create a mood board click here.
Once you feel good about the types of colors and the look of your brand you want to create, then you can plan on what photos to take for social media, your website, print, and Pinterest.
Remember, be consistent above all else in branding as that will help you create brand recognition as well as a cohesive look.
3 Ways How to Strategize on What Photos You Need for Your Brand
Know your platforms
In this day and age, you need a website, plain and simple. You do not own any social media platform so to ensure that you continue to grow your audience, you need to own your website and your email list.
Know your content strategy
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” As per the Content Marketing Institute.
Based on your current audience and where they meet you, you will want to devise a content strategy that produces ongoing content to entice your customers to buy your product.
Know all points of contact with your customer
Just as you need to know your platforms, write down all points of contact. Here is a list to get you started:
- First person
- Store front
- Trade show
- Linked in
- Business Cards
From here determine what types of content are distributed at each touch point. Once you have determined the types of content you can discern what types of imagery you would like on those pieces of content.
The Most Important Consideration in Taking a Photo
What is the number one criterion that you need in every photo? Light.
Even in the darkest of places you will need a source of light to capture a picture.
There has been a lot of talk and new lighting options that one can use to manipulate their pictures.
If you are looking for a super clear picture, consider buying a ring light for ultra-illumination.
Here are the top three Ring Lights on Amazon:
- Best Seller: More Expensive: Neewer Ring Light Kit:18"/48cm Outer 55W 5500K Dimmable LED Ring Light, Light Stand, Carrying Bag for Camera,Smartphone,YouTube,Self-Portrait Shooting
- Best Seller; Less expensive: LED Ring Light 6" with Tripod Stand for YouTube Video
3. Most Portable: Most Affordable: QIAYA Selfie Light Ring Lights LED Circle Light Cell Phone Laptop Camera Photography Video Lighting Clip On Rechargeable
Most of us these days use our phones to capture photos used on social media, however of course if you have the camera and the skill set this is the optimal way to capture the perfect photo.
Top Five tricks to consider as you take pictures using your iPhone:
- Be sure that you focus on one particular item, tap on that item on the phone screen so that it can focus further on that item.
- Portrait Mode can be used to capture close up photos and to blur the background, also you can adjust the type of lighting on the iPhone XS and up to create alternative effects.
- If you are trying to zoom in on a particular item, try to get closer rather than zooming. Your picture quality will be better.
- Take pictures from up high rather than down low when shooting people as it will elongate their shape.
- When snapping that next photo, think about its purpose and the emotion that you are looking to evoke from that setting.
As you take pictures be sure to do so with intent and not just randomly.
We all have enough photos in our phone and to take random photos that you will just plug into a space can seem counterproductive.
It is best to have a strategy in mind prior to filling your memory card.
How to Create Graphics for your Brand
I personally work on a PC and so although I have had adobe Photoshop and illustrator in the past, it can become costly for anyone looking to keep the price down.
Also, my tech savvy abilities aside, I do not use Photoshop / illustrator enough to pay a monthly fee for it.
What’s my alternative? Canva.
Canva is a lifesaver! It is free and produces high quality graphics, offering a variety of template, fonts, patterns and customization at your fingertips.
I use Canva on a daily basis for graphic creation. It can be used for a variety of sources and placement from business card creation, website banners, to Instagram posts, stories, flyers and document creation.
It is easy to use and you are able to publish pdf’s, jpeg and even png files with ease.
How to Create Flat Lays
What is a flat lay?
A flat lay or a laydown are images that are created with objects placed on a flat surface in a way that appeals to they eye.
You see these everywhere, however until you have a trained eye you will not know the process for which they use to create these types of images.
I personally use flat lays in my business as backgrounds for graphics that I use on social media and on Pinterest.
I also use these types of images for my blog posts and for my email list.
Steps to Creating the Perfect Flat Lay
- Identify where you will be using these photos.
- Will you need square photos, vertical photos, horizontal?
- Will they be used on Pinterest or on all things social?
- Create a theme
- Is it?
- Is it?
- Determine the types of items to use in the photo.
- You may need to do a bit of shopping to ensure that you have the right props in your photos. For ideas take a look on Pinterest and get an idea of those who are in your trade's props and ideas, then make them your own.
- Will your need to add text layered over them?
- Determine the background (color and amount of space you will need) I have found that buying tag board white, black and gray are beneficial as backgrounds.
- Have at least three sources of light or a circle light to illuminate and reduce any shadows for the image.
- You will be taking the photo hovering above the objects below, be sure there is enough room to do so.
As a blogger, creating photos that have each size requirement by platform helps the photos to be more versatile.
One of the most important elements in creating a flat lay for my business as a blogger is to ensure there is enough white space to be able to fit a message.
What is White Space
White space is the space between objects. It is a highly regard concept as typically your average human appeals to having white space even if they do not know it. There is a significant amount of value in focusing in on a particular object and keeping a clean and welcoming background so that the customer can focus on what you intend for them to look at.
Think about it. When you look at a picture and it looks like a game of “I SPY” you probably feel overwhelmed and your eyes get tired just looking at it. Having the proper size of text, accents of color and enough white space are all elements of creating an appealing graphic.
When working to create beautiful images keep a few things in mind:
- Make sure the images flow with your brand story and style guide.
- Ensure that your images have the right amount of light and focus.
- Work to evoke an emotion rather than just taking a picture.
- Think about the image’s purpose and make sure that the way the picture is captured will work across size dimensions and platforms.
- Keep enough white space to allow for the image to be appealing to the eye.
Good luck and just remember, a picture can be worth a thousand words…when it is thought through.