What I’ve learned being a marketer at a brand video and photo shoot

Relevant brand imagery plays a role in the effectiveness of your marketing in websites, social media and promotional items.

As an entrepreneur, you’re always learning. As the lead marketing strategist at SmartCat Marketing, I help you with websites, emails and sales funnels. As a long-time sales professional I also help you get more client yesses. What does this have to do with a brand photo shoot or a professional brand video? Everything. Here’s what I’ve learned , as a marketer, when you’re with a client at a brand video and photo shoot.

Let me first say I have seen the difference a business can experience in client attraction, when  imagery represents the brand in the best light. As a marketer, I’ve been guiding my clients and educating them on the difference a professional brand shoot and video can do to increase awareness and attract clients. And that the opposite – images that don’t reflect your product or service – has the potential to pull you right out of the competitive arena.

I recently provided creative direction for one of my clients. It was a ton of fun. But there was a lot of prep work that happened behind the scenes.

Here are 5 tips on how to make the best of your brand photoshoot:

1. Wear appropriate clothes and bring extra

Wear clothes that you can layer and swap out pieces for others. It’s a good idea to bring extra clothes. You never know what might not work and you’ll wish you brought that other pair of pants. Try and select colours that match your brand colours. If your main brand colour is aqua blue, wearing lots of brown may leave you disappointed in the overall look once the photos are implemented into your website.  Bring a different blazer, shirt, or sweater to change into so you have different looks you can use in your future social media posts , promotional materials such as brochures and workbooks.

Do pay attention to your footwear. Your photographer may be capturing vertical shots where all of you will be in the photo. Leave the old, tattered sneakers home.  If you work in construction, then work boots make a lot of sense in your shots. I do recommend cleaning off yesterday’s mud. If you want a casual look for social media for when you are not on site, then a nice pair of clean jeans, a nice wrinkle free shirt and in-style pair of shoes works great. Oh, and do pay attention to the socks you are wearing.

If your photo will be causally hanging out on the sofa or having your feet up, an old pair of nubby socks could be a turn off for your online browsers. If you are wearing black pants, I suggest black socks – unless you want attention to go to your feet. (Not sure why)

2. Do pay attention to your hair and make-up

Do pay attention to your hair and makeup.  You don’t need a professional salon up-do. However, you do want to represent yourself in the best way, yah? 

If your hair is straight and long, keep in smooth. You can add a product that adds shine and helps you with fly-a-ways. Yes, many photographers can edit this, but not all of them do, unless you ask. (It maybe an added cost).

When it comes to make-up I know so many women who really hate wearing “makeup”.  Here’s the thing. Who is your audience? If your audience is a group of nature goers who  live off the grid, living off the land and raising their own chickens and goats, they will be ok with a natural look…….or will they?  Ask yourself how tired do you look? I don’t know about you, but me without concealer looks a bit like your local raccoon bandit. You may be one of the lucky ones who have naturally rosy cheeks and blushing lips, and no circles around your eyes. Then, I’d say you’re good as you are.

If however, you have not been blessed with naturally glowing skin and your clients are in the world of coffee shops, urban shopping, networking on LinkedIn, posting pretty pics on Instagram…..you could miss opportunities if you are perceived as “not caring about how you look”. Unfortunately, people judge. It’s definitely something to consider.  I’m not suggesting this is right. It simply is what it is.

3. Work with professional photographers and videographers if possible

Many entrepreneurs start a business on a shoe string budget. We boot strap a lot of our initiatives and so money is tight. However, what will it cost you to not show up in a professional manner? Who will walk away from your offers because you’re judged simply by how you show up? It happens. It is what it is. If you’re using your phone for photos or getting a family friend to take photos, use the points already mentioned to avoid photos that you’ll later notice things and want to delete.

4. Do pay attention to the lighting around you

A brand photographer will help you position your business competitively. If your photos are dull, flat and downright bad, the ones laughing will be your competitors. If you are DIYing this, avoid direct sunshine. This will over expose your photos. And the opposite, watch that your face isn’t picking up extra shadows. That stuff can age you baby!

Think about when you buy products. Take cabinet makers for example. People buy mostly on what your products look like. If you have beautiful maple cabinets with a rich hazelnut colour you want that reflected in your photos. A bad photo could make your cabinets look yellow and outdated. Good luck getting that client to call you.

Restaurant owners have tapped into professional brand photography for some time. Nothing like seeing a photo of a lobster with butter melting on the roll that sits beside it and the crisp salad in the bowl next to it. Makes your mouth water just looking at the photo.

5. Plan out what you’re going to say in your video in advance

Videos are something we are all doing and DIYing. If you’re looking to create more of an infomercial, or a video to embed into your website, and/or share on your social media channels, a professional video company is highly recommended.

With video, there are 2 main things to consider. What you say and how you say it. Having someone who can help you create the content that will invite your viewers into a story is a game changer.  

Nicole Gallant, StoryBrand guide with her client Kathleen Bulger, RHN. Photo credit: Dandelion Digital

As your StoryBrand guide, I can help you create a script that can answer the questions your audience wants to know in digestible and memorable words.

It is safe to say that working with professional people who excel in their craft can be what makes the difference for the business hiring these services. And, when they all work collaboratively and not against each other, your process and outcome will be the difference like night and day.

Always measure your investment with what opportunities will appear because of it.  Way the pros and cons. Things will seem expensive when you don’t have clients and low cash flow. When that investment pays you 2x or more, it no longer will feel expensive.  

Client featured : Kathleen Bulger, Holistic Nutritional Consultant

Photographer : Dandelion Digital, located in Halifax, Nova Scotia

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Nicole Gallant

Nicole Gallant is the lead marketing strategist and long-time sales professional connecting buyers to sellers for 20+ years. Buyer behaviour is definitely her jam. She helps you generate sales with content rich websites, crystal clear offers and effective social media plans. The trick is knowing which words trigger curiosity and interest with your brand and which words to avoid. She coaches entrepreneurs how to #ditchthepitch and stop using ego-centric content. Learn more about me »