This post is the second in a mini series on the theme of visual style, you can find the first post in the series here.
In the first post I explored what visual style is and my own issues with having a consistent style, in this post we are going to look at how I help my clients define their own visual style, a task that might initially seem daunting but really is quite painless! But first let’s have a look at why having a consistent visual style that reflects your business values is important.
Your photographic style is just one element of your business branding and all elements of your brand should work together to create a memorable impression that encapsulates your personality and the values of your business. Your visual style helps to differentiate you from your competition and helps you to connect with potential clients and customers who share your values. With a consistent visual style people who share similar values will subconsciously feel a connection when they view your website and social media. It’s important to attract people with shared values since we naturally create our best work when we feel a connection to someone, these are generally the clients where we take a collaborative approach and everyone enjoys the experience of working together.
Occasionally my new clients have a clearly defined visual style and have a style guide that I will be working to, but these are very much in the minority. Most new clients will have a brand but aren’t sure how to translate it into their photography but sometimes they haven’t fully defined their core business values. Whatever their situation I love to work with business owners to help them uncover their visual style.
The work starts well ahead of the photoshoot with a telephone consultation and a help sheet that I send to all my clients. We’ll discuss what to expect from the shoot, I’ll give advice on clothing, location and props and I’ll look at my client’s website to get a feel for their branding and key colours. If a client hasn’t already defined the core values of their business I suggest that they ask a number of friends, family, and business contacts for three words to describe them. Looking at the words that recur is a great starting point in identifying core values and once these are clearly defined we use them to guide the shoot. We will also use Pinterest, I send links to some of my boards for ideas and we will also share secret boards for likes and dislikes and ideas for the shoot. At the end of this process we usually have a clear idea of how the shoot is going to look and if necessary I’ll source props to match the branding and provide recommendations for hair and make up artists.
On the day of the shoot itself we will discuss how the images are going to be used, I like to know that my clients can gain maximum value from their images so we will ensure that some are great for PR uses and we will discuss the use of negative space to allow for text overlays, great for social media and print. I always recommend a variety of images that include formal, semi-formal and relaxed and I’m happy to help with the choice of clothing. I often find myself hunting through a client’s wardrobe and making suggestions that they wouldn’t have considered but look great in their images. If a client has a pet I always suggest we include them for part of the session, not only does it make them seem more approachable but social media always loves a pet photo. After the shoot I’ll provide a gallery of images that have been ‘soft edited’ and when the favourites are selected they will be fully edited.
If you would like to discuss your own photographic requirements please feel free to get in touch via the Contact Page, and keep look out for the third and final post in this series.