February 28, 2019

The Do’s and Don’ts of Brand-Centered Photography

You’re about to reveal your brand. All the messaging is perfect, social handles claimed, and your CMS in place. You’re ready to launch only to realize that your images across your scheduled posts and website, well, they just don’t look right.

Brand-centered photography is a part of your brand’s style. Just as those fonts and color palettes speak to what your brand represents, so does your photography.

Understanding the Different Types

Brand-centered photography is a broad term that breaks down into several categories. We’ll explore the different types that exist below:

Portraits (Headshots)

Customers see companies with team pages as more trustworthy than those without. A headshot done in your brand’s style is even better.

collage of team headshots

Beyond your website’s About Page, headshots are useful if you’re a part of a speaking panel at a conference, distributing press kits or putting a face to the name on your LinkedIn profile.

Product and Service Shots

Photography is the quickest way to show what your company does. The quicker someone understands what you do, the quicker they can find out why they should work with you. It’s a win-win for both the customer and your business.

Culture and Office

Be a business in the business of people. Photos that showcase company culture let potential employees know if they’ll be a good fit for your organization. And, they give other businesses a sense of if they want to work with you.

Culture photos also do well on social platforms! Incorporating the occasional behind-the-scenes post between your regular social strategy posts will deepen your brand’s story.


Lifestyle shots for brands are a little different than normal lifestyle shots. Instead of a beautifully arranged flat lay of brunch, a branded lifestyle photo presents how a client’s life unfolds with your brand.

For example, an HVAC company might use images of a happy, cool family indoors to show that they provide comfort. Or, a local supermarket might share images of delicious dishes made with ingredients from their store.


If you’ve invested time and money into an event, taking photos of it will help round off any of your marketing efforts.

If your organization has an Instagram account, try taking live event photos for Instagram Stories. Or, consider investing in professional shots to use in promotional images for your next event.

The Do’s of Brand-Centered Photography

After understanding the different types, you’re now ready to create images. Here are some do’s and don’ts to navigating brand-centered photography to ensure you get it right.

Start With a Branding Brief

Devote time to figuring out how photography fits into your brand by asking important questions. Are you looking for headshots? A library of blog post hero images? What impressions do you want visitors to come away with after visiting your site?

Set Expectations

Setting clear expectations before shooting ensures you get the photos you need and it makes shoot day more efficient. Sit down and document what the goals of the shoot are, how the photos will be used, and if the photos should be evergreen or follow a content calendar.

Evergreen means that the photos can be used all year round and won’t need to be frequently updated. If you need photos for different times of the year (think seasonal events, seasonal promotions), you might need to schedule another shoot later.

Communicate With Your Photographer

Share your expectations with your photographer. If you have a brand style guide, share it with them! Discuss what style you want (candid vs. posed, professional vs. casual) and be ready to hear their opinions. Maybe your personal taste leans casual but your photographer suggests a more professional tone for your brand.

The Don’ts of Brand-Centered Photography

Get in the Stock Images vs. Custom Debate

Stock photos get a bad wrap, but the truth is, they can be helpful in certain situations! Stock images are great for background images on websites or when your industry has challenging location or equipment restrictions.

We suggest custom photography any time you want to showcase your team or office, or if you have specific image requirements.

Ignore Social Media

One of the best places for your new images to live is social media! Social media can help grow your business and legitimize your story.

Different social platforms have different image requirements. Working with a photographer or agency that specializes in marketing photography can take a lot of that guesswork out. Just be sure to mention social media as a use case in the branding brief discussions.

Mix Styles

This should be ironed out in the planning, but along the way, you might be tempted to throw in a few different photography styles; however, it’s crucial that your photography uses consistent colors and lighting across all images. The idea here is that if clients get confused by your site and message, it decreases the likelihood of them exploring your site further.

It’s a Wrap!

Photography is a powerful marketing tool. These tips will help you get started on the right track for developing brand-centered photography. But, if you need more inspiration, check out some of our past projects to see how we leverage photography for our clients.

Catherine Meschia

Catherine Meschia

With an educational background in Industrial Design, Cat brings a little bit of everything to the team as PHOS’ first Creative Associate. She delivers research and user-based results, whether that be in a new branding campaign or your next photoshoot.