One of favourite “funny-because-it’s-true” gifs is this little animation. Three on-off toggles labeled Good, Cheap and Fast. You can only ever have two toggles selected at one time and it’s a pretty accurate representation of most services, not just photography.
If you want Good and Cheap, it’s not going to be Fast
If you want Good and Fast, it’s not going to be Cheap
And if you want Cheap and Fast, probably not very Good.
So how do you find the balance between all three when scheduling a branding or headshots shoot? Can you find a balance?
Yes, you can!
For Brand Photography, there are three more factors that you’ll need to take into consideration:
Volume (how many images you need)
Resolution (the file size and pixel dimensions required)
Retouching (the level of image editing you need)
Let’s consider two scenarios: Client A requires headshots for their company website, LinkedIn profile and printed company annual report. They don’t need volume - two to three really great portraits would be sufficient. They need high resolution files that will be suitable for both online and print usage, and need professional skin retouching and blemish removal for a really polished final image.
Client B on the other hand needs a large volume of images. They post to social media at least four times a week and they post a variety of content, including their store space, their products on the shelves, and their staff at work. They don’t need huge file sizes nor require the high end retouching - in fact, they use a filter on their Instagram feed so that their images always look the same. Colour and exposure correction are enough for Client B. For them, volume is key.
For most of us running our own businesses, a Headshots or Portraits shoot makes sense - you can’t promote yourself with an image of someone else (that’s the stuff of dating app nightmares).
But how does that relate to Branding photography? With so many free stock photo websites available do you NEED to create bespoke content? My answer to that is yes - and here’s why: now more than ever, people do business with people.
There is nothing wrong with using generic imagery in your marketing...but the word “generic” says it all right there. We’ve all seen those typical stock shots before, and it can happen that the same free image you’re using is also pretty popular with your competitors.
If you’re a small, local business with a physical space, then shooting bespoke content in your store/office makes your images instantly recognizable to your clients and followers. Behind the scenes images always do well on social media (remember, people buy from people) and what could be more authentic than images featuring you and your staff at work?
More now than ever I’m excited to get out and support local business, and here is a great tip if you really don’t have the budget to invest in your own bespoke shoot:
ask your clients to share images of themselves in your store, using your products etc and tag your page on Instagram and Facebook. Resharing that content on your pages not only gives you images for your social media, but also boosts your “social proof”. Potential new clients see other satisfied customers and you’ve just boosted your brand’s credibility. Always remember to credit the original poster - I love Repost App for Instagram.
So let’s get back to our original question - can we find a happy balance between good, cheap and fast? We know we want good content, that’s a given. Do your research and narrow your photographer choice down to the styles you prefer and the recommendations you may have received.
I hate the word cheap, so let’s scrap that and use cost-effective instead. Yes, it's easy got get free content, but what would it be worth to you to invest in bespoke imagery that boosts your brand awareness?
And that leaves us with fast.
Unless you are creating content for a very specific advertising or marketing campaign, both headshots and branding content will have longevity and don’t require a next-day delivery.
Set a realistic expectation around deliverables and discuss these with your photographer. Remember that high-end beauty retouching on headshots can take anything from 30 minutes to 3 hours PER IMAGE depending on the level of work required.
In summary, consider the options that best suit your usage requirements and budget:
Low volume of images per shoot
High resolution images at print quality
High-end skin retouching
Higher cost per image
Branding and Social Media
High volume of images per shoot
Lower resolution images sized for use online
Basic cropping and colour balance
Lower cost per image
For more Headshots and Brand Photography tips click here.
For a selection of commercial client showreels click here.
P.S. I love being social on social media - connect with me on Facebook