Learn how to create a library of photos showcasing your new brand and services, rather than using generic stock photography.
- [Male Instructor] Up until this point, nothing we have created for this brand redesigned rollout needed photography. When this client wanted to create additional print collateral, it brought up a new challenge, retaining brand continuity. Let me define the problem more specifically and then show you how we resolved it. This was the brand direction were were moving forward with. All the various brand assets we've created from the primary logo, secondary, horizontal logo, the brand character itself, and the iconography that represents their services.
We've rolled out the vehicle graphics so it carries that brand vernacular forward and acts as publicity and promotion and advertising on a daily basis as they're driving around doing their service calls. Now, the client needed a tri-fold brochure that he could hand out. That required some photography. What do you do? The client suggested we pick some stock photography. I am frankly anti stock photography and it's because stock photography is never an ideal fit in my opinion.
If you look at most stock photography, it's going to be very hard to align the stock photography with our established brand aesthetic at this point. There's a lot of problems that you deal with when you decide to use stock photography. I want to go over those. That is it's hard to find specific content. Certain things are so specialized or so specific to the given brand or company that a stock library isn't going to contain anything that is a perfect fit because frankly, they're doing general subject matter and imagery that a lot of people might want and they're not going to focus on something that's a little more obscure.
It's hard to find specific context. There's no art direction or control on your part. It's what it is. You either want to use it or you don't. It's hard to align with your current brand. This photograph of a plumber is very stereotypic and that makes it a little amateur feeling in my opinion but it also makes it really hard to align with the current brand. Let's say we decided we're going to buy this. Branding colors aren't red and gray, it's blue, this orange, and a gray.
I'd have to go in and somehow do some Photoshop work on that shirt to either turn it blue or turn it orange. I'd probably turn it blue but that's going to take time. Any amount of time and effort we've so-called saved and going with stock photography because a lot of people just automatically assume it's lower cost than hiring a photographer, we've lost it and I'm going to build the client for that time to customize stuff. It's not necessarily always cheaper.
A lot of people don't think about that. They don't value their time. I value my time. I don't want to do all that kind of Photoshop work. Frankly, it's not necessary as I'm going to show you. It's not ownable meaning anybody else can buy this same image and they might be in the same area as you and they're using the same image and it can become problematic very quickly. This has happened to some pretty big brands by the way over the years who got sloppy and instead of shooting their own stuff decided to use stock photography.
There's limited rights usage. You don't really own it, so you're limited in terms of how you can use it. Tends to be overly generic I think this photograph is a good representation of that. It lacks an artistic flair and this goes back to art direction. You can't art direct anything. It's very pedestrian in the way it presents ideas and imagery. This one is very stereotypical. That's true with most stock photography therefore it makes it a little bit cheesy meaning cornball or amateur-ish feeling rather than distinct professional.
That's why I don't like stock photography. When this client needed photos, I suggested we shoot our own photos because that's going to work well. He kind of took that the wrong way and he decided to grab his cell phone and shoot some photos. Here's a photo of my team with the new uniforms and truck. That's not going to work. That's out of focus. Here's one of the employees dealing with some equipment, bringing it out truck. That's kind of out of focus too. Here's another one.
I have no idea what they're doing. What is this communicating? It looks very professional, the composition, none of these compositions look very engaging. There is a difference between amateur. Here's amateur shooting employees in front of a truck. If you hire a professional photographer to do a photo shoot, this is what they can produce. It's still a small business, it still capture everything, but it's done in a professional manner.
That's exactly what we did is we hired a professional photographer, sourced one out in the area where he operates which is a suburb of Chicago and we hired that photographer to do a day shoot. A day shoot is they just pick a calendar day, they come out for that calendar day, and you have a photo shoot list that shows the email of the photos that I kind of itemize what I wanted to make sure to capture and also giving him the leeway to do what he thought looks good as well because he's the photographer, I'm not.
As he's shooting other things, he might figure out something else that works better or looks cool. By all means, do that as well. We just define a photo shoot for him and the reason why this is important is you're allowed to define the specific content you want shot, the compositions. You can art direct and control it. I could even have been on site as they did this and really control it. I didn't do it for this project but I've done it for past projects for other clients.
It easily aligns to the given brand because you're controlling everything. It's completely ownable. You own the photos outright and it's unlimited usage. That's also a nice part about it. You don't have to worry about limited visibility because you own the photograph and you can cater to specific services that are really hard to do through traditional stock photos. Over time you can build your own brand photo library. That's the best part about it.
This is the first time we've done this. We're going to do it several other times moving forward and keep adding to that library. We can always go back and pull from to do other things as you're going to see moving forward. That's how we utilize and approach a local photographer. Day rates will vary in terms of how much that costs but ask for that when you talk to a photographer. Say hey, what's your day rate? What's your half day rate? Could you get this many photographs done in a half a day or do you need the full day? You're going to get a feedback and if you look at that and really think about the usability of those photos, it's going to pay for itself.
It's a really effective way to think. You also get the flexibility of having photos that are easier to work with and edit however you wish. Here's a photograph of the team standing in front of one of their vans and it's easy for me to go into Photoshop, isolate that crew, and drop in a brand graphic. It's the type of flexibility you want with your own brand photo library. That's why I encourage you to shoot your own photos when you're working with a client like this because it's going to make rolling out that brand and communicating and advertising the brand far easier.
Let's walk through a few other brand photos. Employee coming out of the van. Here's the owner working on an AC with a client on the side of the house. That's a nice context that we can definitely use in the advertising. Working on a filtration system. Here's another one of the vehicle itself. Here's another one showcasing the yard sign that they put up when they're working locally at a service call. Another thing that I requested the local photographer is I wanted some B-roll shots.
Not employees, not vans, not doing work, but more focus on creating textures that are based off of the everyday things that these service calls require such as wiring and conduit and the fuse box and the little pieces that they use to do all of this work. Why did I do this? Because I'm going to be able to take these elements and utilize them as background elements in layouts as you're going to see shortly.
Having your own brand for the library is really important. It captures that forward facing aspect of the public interacting with your brand and it really makes the whole experience more engaging than using generic stock photography. Once again, arranging a photo shoot with a local, quality photographer is an investment that will pay for itself over time and continue to grow the more you add to your image library. The best argument to justify custom photography, what's the relegated to mere cost though? It was making sure we retained brand continuity and didn't fragment the brand experience with the consumer.
The return on investment, the ROY on the photos, have already paid for themselves.
Join Von Glitschka, illustrative design guru, for this hands-on project that demonstrates what successful rebranding involves from the designer and the client. He takes the existing brand for a small plumbing and electrical company and asks questions to get a deeper understanding of their goals. He maps the answers to a new name and develops a logo that better represents the brand values. He solicits and incorporates feedback from the client, and then presents the final brand assets. Last, he reviews the uniforms, vehicle wraps, asset library, and advertising campaigns that were developed to complement the new direction.