Branding Your Business With Photography

images (24)How you brand your business sets the tone for everything you do afterwards: How you advertise, how you handle your customers… even the appearance of your business and its products.

That’s because your brand is the personality and identity of your organization and everything reflects that identity… your logo, your advertising, your storefront. Think Apple computers: anytime you walk into an Apple store, the facility, its employees, the window displays… everything says “we’re cool, we’re creative, we’re on the cutting edge.” Go to any Cracker Barrel restaurant and everything says” “we’re homey, we’re country, and we serve grits.” This allows the customer to connect on a personal level.

The point of branding is to offer customers a distinct choice. If you hate country home cooking you stay away from Cracker Barrel. If you love fried catfish you know you’re in the right place. Good branding doesn’t try to please everyone, it let’s people know clearly what you are. Then buyers makes the right choice.

One of the best ways to convey the feeling of your brand is through photography. Images are able to project mood and values where words would fall short or seem contrived. Just like packaging design invokes “high-tech” or “intimate” or “elegant” a good product photograph lets someone know this item was made specifically for him or her. Miss the mark, or show the product in a poor light (or cheapened) and suddenly the customer has lost all interest.

In many cases, companies also like to put a face on the business; for example Dave Thomas with Wendy’s, or Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Or Steve Jobs of Apple. And it’s no accident that in all these examples the business leaders are portrayed in a consistent way that is congruent with their corporate culture. If this is the case with your company, a personal portrait should be shot with the same care you would give in creating a logo or advertising headline.

Whether you are planning a shoot for your advertising, collateral material, or web promotion, think about the right look for your company. And the right message for your customers. Good advertising images build relationships and confidence. They should be visually appealing, yes. But they should appeal in a way that works for you! Ask yourself: “What are the qualities my customers seek?’ When photographing the people in your company consider: “What kind of look and expression will my customers relate to?” How should they dress? Leave nothing to chance and your photographs will tell a cohesive and powerful story.

 

How to Take a Picture

images (23)A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Photography may be a more effective and reasonably inexpensive alternative to drawing or painting, but more thought and feeling goes into a painting than a photograph.

Photography is relatively simple in comparison to painting, which is a much more complex task. With photography, the composition is already completely arranged, but with a painting the objective is much more open to interpretation by the artist. The artist has the ability to capture much more emotion, understanding, and significance in an event and apply this fiery drive to his paintbrush when creating his own masterpiece.

When dealing with reality, I think a photograph may represent an actual physical recollection of a person or object, but a painting created from scratch adds the reality of perception to the equation. Reality is always open to a different observation and interpretation.

Artists during the Realism period concentrated on the real world as they saw it, and chose to construct their pieces of work with normal, everyday activities, therefore making it all the more real. One painter during this time period was Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. In his piece titled Ville d’Avray, he chooses to capture a woman in a forest-like setting. The text states Corot worked very quickly so that he could capture the “underlying rhythm of nature” to make his landscapes reveal the magic moment of truth. In my interpretation, his quick brushstrokes in light and dark values are meant to create movement; you can practically see the wind blowing through the rustling trees, gently swaying the woman’s long, flowing skirt. With his choice of colors, I can feel a slight chill from the breeze due to the haziness and dimly lit sky. If this were a photograph, the image would be less blurred, and I would see a woman, a couple of trees, and more defined colors. I wouldn’t feel anything from the photograph. I would just see objects. With this painting however, I interpret it to make me feel a certain way (serene and lethargic), and it provokes me to ponder as to why this woman is amongst the trees on such a blustery day. This painting allows me to reflect and speculate upon whether the artist had similar feelings while creating such a magnificent composition.

Another thought-provoking painting created during the Realism period is Gustave Courbet’s Burial at Ornans. Courbet was viewed as the leader of Realism in art, and he said “to paint a bit of country, one must know it.” This may be the foundation of realism, because the artists chose simple, everyday events (such as Courbet chose a burial in this particular painting), and made them into complex narratives. In Burial at Ornans, Courbet makes me feel mournful from the dark composition, as it unfortunately reminds me of a funeral I recently attended. When I read that Courbet demanded the subjects in his picture of numerous sittings, I can only imagine what they had to think about to achieve such sorrowful dispositions. It is especially heart-wrenching when the viewer painstakingly examines all of the detailed faces, especially that of the altar boys. One innocent child is looking up towards an elder man, probably questioning “Why?” This simple action may be symbolic of so many of us looking up towards Heaven and asking God “Why?” when we lose a loved one. This painting is a true example of realism, and it was probably primarily rejected because people of that time period wanted optimistic pieces of art; not work that made them pessimistically question real life events.

In conclusion, a picture is when the picture is a photograph, a sense of reality is achieved in that the colors, size, and details or the composition are real. There is a lot to be said about a photograph, but there is always something missing. The missing link is what inspires an artist to create a masterpiece with a paintbrush and a blank canvas. Countless hours are spent debating on the colors, the brushstroke, and the detail to be given to each subject. Then, emotion takes over and the artist desperately tries to convey his thoughts and feeling all through a simple painting-a mundane task indeed! Finally, after the artist has committed everything to his masterpiece, only one thing is left to be done, and that is hope his work inspires and provokes thoughts to question the perception of reality in the viewer.