How We Do: Defining Photography Style

By Alicja Colon

If it wasn't the buildings, it was the signs. Everywhere. Non stop. Glaring. We traveled to The Big Apple to meet with beloved client Ted Todd.

We spent a day taking in the sights and sounds of New York City. This country girl was exhausted from the energy of The City That Never Sleeps. But our schedule wouldn’t allow for rest, despite the protest of my screaming feet. I was already falling behind the crew, and that's when I saw it. I stopped and let myself absorb the scene.

Before me was a salon that inhabited the ground level of a several-story tower. A large expanse of glass separated me from what looked like a paradise of hair nirvana. But it was the images presented on the storefront posters that stole my gaze.

They were simple. A white background ushered forth a bare-shouldered model, with carefully-crafted hair. The photographer had labored over the lighting, pose, and additions of minimal color gradients in post-production. The image intentionally communicated that the salon catered to a certain demographic: the modern sophisticate.

Without the use of words, logos, or icons, the photo communicated the business’s service, quality, and target audience. In branding, the adage "an image is worth a thousand words" not only holds true, but acts as an amplifier to your audience.

A Brand Is

Summer, our brand strategist, says "Most people think that a brand is a logo, or even a mark. In reality, a brand is a comprehensive experience." While a brand includes a logo, colors, typefaces, sounds, smells, movement, and consumer-employee relationships, a brand is the emotive summation of the entire encounter.

The Sway

Photography and videography have the power to be deeply emotive. A compelling tool, photography should be given deliberate intention within brand strategy. Failing that results in brand or messaging dissonance. We can use the inherent qualities of photography (composition, storytelling, lighting, use of color, contrast, content, detail, perspective, etc.) to further brand message, in both meaning and reach.

The Meaning

I don't think I can count how many times we've told clients that a logo can't convey everything about a brand. As mentioned earlier, it's a summation. There might be nuances in the brand that are best articulated with photography. The brand might have a DIY vibe to it, so perhaps the video shouldn't be static, but rather have a slow motion. Or the imagery isn't overly symmetrical, but perhaps has a more authentic clutter about it. Photography has the capability to further define a characteristic in the brand.

The Reach

At the salon storefront, photography was my first experience with the brand. Oftentimes photography or videography are on the front lines of marketing strategies. They shape the initial impression of potential clients. They remind current clients. They inspire connection with your business. Because imagery is an integral piece of marketing, it's pertinent to establish photography styles within your band.

There's much to consider when developing photography styles for a brand. Be on the lookout for the next article in this series that will help identify the varying elements one must scrutinize to create a solid photography style.