Updated: Nov 15, 2021
You will probably hear about a lot of options when looking into photography for your business - headshots, personal branding, lifestyle... but what do they all mean and which is right for you?
I've compiled a list below explaining each of the types of commercial photography available and shown examples so you can see exactly what kind of photos you could get for your business and figure out which combination might be best for your needs. If you're still unsure, this is exactly what your pre-shoot consultation is for - to discuss your business, style and your visual identity to ensure the photos you get for your brand elevate your online presence and help take your business to the next level.
Headshots or brand portrait photography, is probably the most obvious type of commercial photography. Traditionally headshots are just that - a head and shoulders shot to show your face, but you can be more creative depending on you, your business and your style and your photographer is there to help you with that.
If you're a creative or have a more colourful style, we can incorporate that as shown in the examples above. If you're a more corporate style company, you can stick with something simple and refined while still including your personality, like the image below.
Simon Cristal, SWC Partnership
If you’re planning headshots for your whole team, it's a good plan to make a list of people you need and the order you need them in - much like you would for group photos during a wedding. Let them know in advance so they can be fully prepared, looking smart and ready to show up for your business. This will keep things simple and speedy on the day with no-one hanging around or panicking at the last minute.
Product photos require a unique approach depending on what it is you create. It’s really important that you think carefully before making any choices about style.
Should the photos of your products be in situ, in use or isolated? What kind of background should they be against? Will photos be straight on, from above or at an angle? Will you need models? There’s actually a lot to think about - and you need to establish exactly how you want to show off your products before the day of the photo shoot to make sure you have everything in place that you might need.
Need bespoke photos like these for your business?
Not everyone has products to sell, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about branding photography. It might even be that your workspace is a venue you want people to visit so you need to show it at its best with the atmosphere you want to convey - see below examples of a dark and cosy pub and a bright and clean dental surgery.
Lots of people like to use shots of their offices or shops, with or without their team hard at work in meetings or even with customers as part of their brand photography library. This is where workspace photography crosses over with lifestyle photography (see next category).
Simon March, Marchand Son paint store
These are the sorts of images you can find lots of on stock websites, but you can usually spot them a mile away. They tend to be very generic and plain, often with models looking a little cheesy. If you take workspace photos in your own office, with your own staff, you can create the style and ambience you’re looking for whilst also keeping it authentic.
Workspace photos can be really varied, you can choose whether you want to focus on details or have a nice wide shot of the space, or whether you want staff and customers to be part of the picture too.
Lifestyle is where you really get to tell the story of your business in your images, it doesn’t always need to be about you and your space. A lot of the time you want your branded material to show what it is that you actually do and it often includes your customers or clients.
Mermaid Dental Care (with a member of staff modelling rather than a real patient)
For this type of photography, you need truly bespoke branded photography, this makes it easy to capture images that feel authentic and real - even if they do take a bit of staging! Having said that, not all of the images need to be staged, the right photographer will capture beautiful moments of storytelling as they unfold while you go about your work.
Both images of Emese Csoma in action, My Beloved Makeup (taken two years apart)
The key to good lifestyle pictures is to make sure you have a really good range of them, with lots of different people doing different things in a variety of types of shot. These also tie in well with our next category to tell the whole story using details.
These shoots really do benefit from a photographer’s eye, as they’ll be able to create a diverse range of options for you. A great photographer will know how to make these shots look candid, not staged, keeping that really natural and authentic feel.
Rebecca Love, Love Baby Swim School
Details in brand photography are a great way to round out your story and get some gorgeous, attention-grabbing shots dotted throughout your website and social media. They're also some of my favourite kind of photos to take!
Most corporate or brand photography focuses on the big picture and forget that often the real story likes in the more abstract details.
Holiday Rental Property
You want to focus right in on the minute details - abstract images allow you to show, not tell. Like the paint on the floor of an artist's studio or the battered cup of a steam train driver clutched in his blackened hand.
Spa Valley Railway
It’s a nice way to create an atmosphere, whether that’s about luxury, fun, relaxation or professionalism.
Plus, it’s a great way to bring more variation into your brand photography library as well to really mix up your feed and keep your followers and potential customers interested.
Personal brand photography
The final category on the list is a style of branding photos that is more suited to entrepreneurs and small business owners than companies - personal branding photography. This is usually a collection of photos based around the business owner, using the founder’s personality to promote their business. As Seth Godin says...
"People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic."
Gabriella Lee, Insta-blogger
A personal branding photography session is a great way to connect with your customers by showing a different side of you, the face AND heart behind the business. It's a chance to show the fun you, not just a serious business owner but someone your customer can relate to.
These types of photos can be taken at work and/or at home and/or on location depending on what it is you do and what you want to show and say to your followers.
Agi Lebiedz, Photographer
So there you have it, a rather comprehensive guide to branding photography in its many forms. Hopefully this has given you an idea of the kind of photos you need for your business so it'll be less overwhelming to decide where to start. Of course, a combination of some or all of the above might be just the right thing for you which is what my half and full day branding sessions are designed to do - tell your full story and cover all your needs.
Remember, your photographer is there to help you with all of this and can help you come up with a clear plan for your own branding session.
If you think I might be the right fit for you and your brand, please do get in touch for a free, no obligation chat. I'd love to hear all about your business!