One of the first things your outdoor brand should consider is photography. It's one of the building blocks of your content marketing. If you want to make an impact with photography, follow these simple tips.
Refrain from Using Stock Photography
If you don’t have a bank of high-quality photography in your locker, the temptation is to turn to stock imagery.
Stock imagery can work for some businesses and in some cases (we often use stock photos on our blog to save time), but for an outdoor brand trying to grow its brand awareness and boost its sales, I wouldn’t recommend using stock photography.
A lot of people can spot stock imagery a mile off which can affect how people see your brand. It often makes potential customers see you as less authentic and trustworthy.
You also have less control over your brand image as you’ll have to rely on stock imagery that has been shot in different styles, include different colouring etc. which won’t always match your brand.
Tell a Story Your Customers Can Relate To
It’s really important to showcase your brand and tell a story your customers can relate to through your photography.
So how can you do this?
Lifestyle photography is some of the best types of content you can create if you want to boost your following, engagement, and sales.
Lifestyle photography will showcase your products or services in their natural environments and will enable potential customers to visualise themselves working with you or buying your products.
For example, suppose you’re an outdoor brand selling clothing. In that case, capturing photography of a group of friends hiking in the Lake District, surrounded by stunning scenery, all having fun whilst wearing your apparel, is inspirational.
Potential customers will see that and think, ‘I want that lifestyle or that’s me,’ which will influence whether they choose to buy from you. The more they relate to the story you’re telling, the most they will invest in your brand and the more likely they are to buy from you.
Have a Plan for Your Photoshoot
If you’re planning a photoshoot, make sure to have a plan.
It’s so easy to get swept up in a shoot only to realise further down the line that you didn’t get all the shots you needed.
Make a list of key goals and what you want to achieve from your photography.
Are your goals to showcase a new product to boost sales, create content for social media to grow your following or capture photography for your website?
I would also recommend preparing a shot list/schedule that outlines key shots you need to capture. This should include the models that will be in the shot, the products and also the shoot location.
Use Brand Photos as Part of an Overarching Marketing Strategy
Any photography you capture, whether it’s for social media, your website or printed advertising, should be consistent with your brand guidelines. This is because every photo should be used as part of your overarching marketing strategy.
If I asked you what channels will you be marketing your business on, which channels would spring to mind? For me, a common one would be social media.
Now imagine you didn’t have any photography.
How are you meant to successfully market your outdoor brand on any of your marketing channels without a bank of high-quality photography?
The answer, you’re not.
Photography should be one of the building blocks of your marketing strategy. Without it, you’re going to be seriously struggling, especially when it comes to content marketing.
Wear on Brand Colours During the Shoot
If you’re capturing lifestyle photography or shots of your team for example, make sure anyone who will be photographed is wearing your brand colours.
Every little detail will be picked up on by your target audience so it’s important that everyone taking part in the shoot is reflecting your brand.
If you’re brand colours are muted, you don’t want a member of your team being shot in a bright neon orange t-shirt. They will stand out in the photo for all the wrong reasons and won’t compliment the rest of your marketing photography.
Shoot In An On-Brand Location
A carefully thought-out shoot location is a big one when it comes to photography.
The location of your shoot can make your break the final shot, so pick somewhere that reflects the brand.
If you’re a brand who’s a little rustic or rough around the edges, shoot in an industrial themed space or woodland area. If you’re all about clean lines and being super modern, these locations just wouldn’t work.
Do you research and always explore the shoot locations before committing. Walking the space will give you a better idea of whether it works with your brand and what you’re trying to achieve.
Use On-Brand Props
Another thing to think about for your photoshoot is props. Props can add a lot of interest to an image and also give it context.
It’s important when thinking about bringing in props to make sure they are on-brand. When I say on-brand, I don’t necessarily mean branded items though.
Thinking about your target audience and also your brand values is always a good place to start. For example, if you’re all about climbing, you could incorporate chalk, belay devices, rope etc.
Hire a Professional Brand Photographer
Photography can have a huge impact on the success of your marketing efforts. If you get it just slightly wrong, it could result in a lot of wasted money and not much gain.
Although a lot of brands could capture decent photography themselves, I’d always recommend speaking to a brand photographer to bring that professional touch to your marketing.
They will ensure your vision is realised and will even be able to advise you on the best way to capture your outdoor brand if you’re a little unsure or inexperienced.
Sometimes trying to do it yourself will actually cost you more money in the long run, especially if your photography doesn’t hit the mark.