Koroberi is a B2B integrated marketing agency located in the North Carolina's booming Triangle. Koroberi specializes in branding, content creation, PR, advertising and digital strategy.
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Take your brand photography to the next level

Overview

It’s easy to let the written word take the lead in B2B marketing. We draft a lot of content about our clients’ products and services, but oftentimes, especially with highly technical subject matter, seeing is more powerful than reading.

In fact, consistent, high-quality photography has the potential to be one of a business’s most influential branding and marketing assets. It can either immediately grab and hold attention, or hurt your credibility and turn people away just as quickly. So whether you’re shooting original photography or purchasing stock images, it’s important to carefully consider each asset for the most effective use.

Making the most out of stock photos

Although stock photography has a reputation for sometimes being cheesy, it does have some advantages. Stock photos are generally cheaper than producing original photography and many stock sites offer subscriptions and credit packages that make bulk purchases even more cost effective. Sites also offer video footage and audio clips, giving you additional variety in assets.

However, there are some significant drawbacks to using stock photography. One is that libraries can be limited, especially when it comes to specific industry shots, meaning they may not necessarily have the images, videos or sounds you’re looking for. You should also consider that stock photos are readily available to the masses, so other businesses can purchase and use the same images, making it more difficult for your imagery to be a differentiator.

If your brand chooses to use stock photography, here are some tips to make your imagery feel more like original curated assets:

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Avoid perfectly posed shots.

Instead, opt for a more candid and natural style.

Giant yellow caution sign
Don’t be too literal.

Think about related subjects when searching to find more creative visual representations. For example, if you are promoting a green initiative, consider a photo of trees or a grassy field instead of a recycling symbol.

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Try to pick images that have similar styles and colors, so they feel like a set.

Also consider angles – wide vs. cropped, straight-on vs. perspective or aerial.

This or That ?

Recycling

Closeup of hand holding plastic bottleCollection of commonly recylced goods within a recycling symbol

Social media

Person holding an iPhone with a close up of Social tabStylized graphic of a social notifications popping off a smartphone

Lift truck driver

Closeup of a lift truck operator riding a fork lift in a dark warehouseCloseup of a man in a safety vest smiling and giving a thumbs up

Businessperson

Black businessman sits at desktop Mac computer with head in handsMan in a suit with illustrated urgent time icons surrounding him
There are many stock photography providers, so do your research and decide which will work best for your needs. In our experience we’ve found:
  • Shutterstock is more expensive, but higher quality and offers more variety.
  • iStock is less expensive than Shutterstock and has credit packages. It offers less variety than Shutterstock, but more variety than others.
  • Getty is targeted to the media (think BBC) and offers expertly curated assets that are more expensive in comparison to other sites.
  • Adobe Stock is comparable to iStock in terms of bulk-credit options and assets, and integrates with Adobe Creative Cloud, making it more efficient for larger teams.
There are also some great royalty-free sites when you need to be more frugal with budget. These sites have less variety than stock sites and some photographers request attribution or donations, but they often have more creative and artistic options to choose from.
  • Pexels offers higher-quality images that feel more curated and unique, but fewer options. Pexels would be a good resource for lifestyle-type assets with a genuine feel.
  • Pixabay has more of a balanced offering of creative curated images and more generic stock images.

Shooting original photography

There are many advantages to sourcing original photography, like the ability to develop a style closely aligned to your brand and setting up shots specifically for your needs. Unlike stock photography, commissioned photos will feature a business’s actual products, services and people, providing the opportunity to further distinguish your brand. The primary downside to shooting original photography is the cost – both in terms of budget and time. It’s a commitment to plan, arrange for and execute a photoshoot, especially if locations are difficult to gain entry. When shooting original photography, here are a few things to keep top of mind for a successful and versatile image library.

Consider usage.

Think about where the images will be used and shoot a variety of angles and orientations. For example, if you’re shooting a wide-angle header for your website, consider leaving room around the focal point for a text overlay. But if you’re shooting photos for a hang-tag or brochure, take some zoomed-in, detailed shots. When in doubt, shoot every angle and every zoom level so you’re set up for as many use cases as possible.

Less is more.

Avoid cluttered areas and backgrounds that would distract viewers from what you’re promoting. The simpler, the better. If a busy background is inevitable, put extra consideration into composition and how you use space, or try pulling the product further away from background elements and let distance and focal points work their magic. This will naturally blur the background and draw the eye towards the area of the image that is in focus, producing higher quality images and saving time in post-production as well.

Establish a dress code.

Set a dress code for all models to establish consistency and maintain a desired look and feel. If models wear clashing colors or multiple patterns, they can distract from the photo’s intent. Keep clothing and accessories subtle and brand compliant. But if safety equipment, bright clothing or other specialized gear is required while operating your products, that should be reflected in your photos.

Go to the light.

Lighting sets the mood and atmosphere of an image, and can also be used to create emphasis and dimension. Proper lighting will display elements accurately and highlight appropriate areas, while poor lighting can alter the appearance of products and greatly diminish the clarity and quality.

  • Choose or create a space with ample lighting. Natural light is always preferred, but studio lighting is a good substitute when needed.
  • Think about shadows and highlights and where they fall. How will they affect your image? Is the main product in the shadows? Is there a harsh highlight on the model’s face? Move your subjects and lights around to achieve the best result.

Consistent editing.

When shooting original photography, it’s extremely unlikely that the images will be used in their original form, exported straight from the camera. Instead, they’ll need color correction and retouching before use. Apply a consistent editing style to your photos to help mirror your brand’s aesthetic and create a cohesive appearance across all brand photography. Editing does not have to be obvious or unnatural. It can be as simple as increasing contrast and adjusting the temperature.

The big picture

While these tips are important to remember when selecting or taking B2B photos, one concept should stand above the rest: make sure your photography fits your brand. After all, we’ve written 1,000 words about photography here, but our images did most of the talking.

Need a hand with your brand’s imagery?