If you have been in business for a while, the terms “brand photography” or “brand imagery” and what they mean may be very clear to you. But, if you are new to the entrepreneurial life, you might be thinking – “Huh? What are these brand photos of which you speak?”

So, right out of the gate, let’s address the elephant in the room. What the heck is brand photography anyway?

You can certainly Google this question and, if you do, you’ll likely find variations on similar definitions. But, the most comprehensive definition we’ve found came from Abby Grace Photography on her podcast The Artisan CEO. In her episode entitled Why I Left the Wedding Industry, Abby stated that brand photography is “a branch of commercial photography that’s focused on providing professional, cohesive images for entrepreneurs and small business owners…it tells the story of the small business owner’s offer with visuals in order to connect with the business’s target market.”

Brand Imagery v. Brand Photography

The terms “brand imagery,” “brand photos,” or “brand photography” can often be used interchangeably. However, there is an important distinction. “Brand imagery” is a broader term, while “brand photography” is more specific.

According to Indeed, the term “brand imagery” refers to “every type of visual that represents your brand. It includes the aesthetic appearance of all the marketing materials that communicates a message about your brand. Brand imagery allows you to tell a story about your brand or product with visuals that also reflect your vision and mission.” This could include:

  • photos
  • video content
  • logos
  • fonts
  • brand colors
  • charts and graphs
  • icons
  • info graphics
  • illustrations

“Brand photography” is just what it sounds like. It is the actual photography illustrating your brand’s personality, services, and products and these fall under the umbrella of your overall brand imagery.

Make sense? Cool. Cool, cool, cool.

“Brand photography is a brand of commercial photography that’s focused on providing professional, cohesive images for entrepreneurs and small business owners… it tells the story of the small business owner’s offer with visuals in order to connect with the business’s target market.”

-abby grace photography

Why Do I Need Brand Photography?

It goes without saying that the growth of social media in the last 7-10 yrs has exploded the demand for fresh visual content for entertainment but especially for business and marketing.

People do business with people, and audiences want a peek behind the curtain. They want to see and know more about who they are working with. They want to feel invested in the businesses/brands with whom they ultimately decide to work. In any given industry, there are multiple options where consumers can spend their dollars. As such, business owners now need to show more about how their products are created, what it is like to work with them, and the heart behind why they do what they do in order to build trust with their audiences.

In short, people do business with brands they like, know, and trust. Stand out visuals are the fastest route down that path.

According to this article from Email Audience, humans process images 6-600x faster than written language. Both images and words are important in marketing, but the images will get processed faster…which will then compel your audience to slow their scroll and read your words.

Brand photos can:

  • convey professionalism, quality, and therefore give legitimacy to your business/brand
  • set your brand apart from your competition
  • position yourself as an expert in your field
  • present a consistent and cohesive image for your overall brand…increasing that all important “like-know-trust” factor

Headshots have their place in brand photography. But headshots alone aren’t going to get the job done!


Obviously, there are certain elements that are needed for photo shoots of any kind – location, lighting, a photographer that knows how to work the camera, etc.

Don’t get us wrong! Those are still critical for a brand photo shoot too. However, today we are going to focus on the key elements of a successful brand photo shoot on a macro level. Those elements are:

  • doing your research
  • communication
  • understanding your brand
  • strategy
  • trusting the process

This is a 30,000 ft view of the brand photography process, but we promise that in future posts we’ll talk more about shoot day specifics. The fact of the matter is, whether or not a brand photo shoot is successful starts LONG before the first click of the shutter button.

Let’s dive in!

Do Your Research

Just because a photo is TECHNICALLY beautiful or well done, does not mean it is a BRAND PHOTO. Photographers who specialize in brand photography understand this. A brand photographer will approach your photo shoot with a marketing mindset and specific strategy. (More on that below). So first, do your research and make sure the photographer you are considering actually specializes in the niche of brand photography.

Secondly, it is important that you click with your photographer. (Ha ha! “Click”. Get it. See what we did there? πŸ“Έ). You and your photographer (or photography/videography team in our case πŸ˜‰) are going to be spending a good bit of time together as you prep for the shoot. You’ve got to make sure the two of you are a good fit!

In any given geographic market, there are likely multiple options for brand photographer. Finding “The One” for you is about finding the photographer that creates images that fall in line with your aesthetic tastes, understands the heart of your brand, can translate that into strategic images that are specific to you/your brand with creative direction, and who’s vibe you generally enjoy/want to work with. Yes, your budget is important, but the decision should not be made on price alone.

The more comfortable you are with your photographer and their expertise, the more relaxed and more yourself you’ll be in front of the camera come shoot day. And, THAT means better photos!

“…my favorite part of the entire process was the preparation: the meetings, the vision board, the open communication, the checklists before the shoot, and even a timeline of our photoshoot day – they had it all covered.”

-Stefanie stroman, stroman studios calligraphy


Communication is key! We can not stress this enough! Yes, a good brand photographer will actually serve as both the photographer and the creative director for your brand photo shoot. And while a good brand photographer knows the right questions to ask to guide the creative direction process, they aren’t a mind reader. All of the planning that goes into a good brand shoot is based on the information you are willing to provide your photographer.

Here are a few tips for keeping the lines of communication flowing with your photographer:

  • Be responsive! No, we don’t expect you to respond to texts and emails within 30 sec. (#boundaries, right?). But do be mindful of responding to texts or emails from your photographer in a timely manner – especially for matters such as booking locations or coordinating hair/makeup services.
  • Be thorough with any pre-shoot questionnaires that your photographer provides. Yes, it takes time. But, the more information you provide, the better your photographer will understand your brand and be able to design the exact right photo shoot for YOU!
  • Have strong thoughts about images you need, want, or don’t like at all? Send examples of those to your photographer. Again, humans process visuals much faster than words! So send those Pinterest pins and have a clarifying conversation with your photographer later!
  • Give feedback when requested! Here at Harmonie House Images we put together a mood board and video storyboards for the shoot as soon as we receive the completed pre-shoot questionnaire. We then send this back to the client to ensure that we are on the right track before diving deeper into the final shoot plans. The feedback we get from our clients on these initial mood boards is critical to making sure that we are all on the same page from the get go!

Understand Your Brand

With brand photography, the photographer is actually creating images that will attract the photography client’s audience. We know – so “meta” right? But, seriously, does that make sense?

You need images that will help you land your ideal clients and customers. To create that you, and subsequently your photographer (through that good ole communication we described), need to understand:

  • who your ideal client is and what problems you solve for them
  • your why – why do you do what you do?
  • what is unique about your business/brand within your niche
  • the overall vibe and personality of your brand

All of this information helps to craft the story of your offer with visuals so that you can connect with your market.

If you are anything like what we were in the beginning, you might not feel like you’ve got that all perfectly figured out. That’s ok. Start where you are. Go with what you know right now. Brands and businesses evolve. You can always update your imagery down the road as you grow and change!


If you take nothing else away from this blog post, we hope you understand this – Strategy will make or break your brand photo shoot!

Once more for the cheap seats in the back:


We will shout it from the roof tops! Having a photographer simply show up and take some photos without considering your target audience, what makes you unique in your market, and your goals for your business will result in generic images that don’t drive your sales or fill up your services calendar. If you want photos like that, you are better off purchasing them individually from a general stock photography website.

If you want photos that are purposeful, valuable assets that are specific to you/your business and help you convert they need to be strategic! Good brand photography is an investment for your business, both in time and money. You need your photos to WORK for you. That requires strategy!

Trust the Process

We get it. It’s a lot. Like, A LOT a lot. But, with the right photographer (again or photography/videography team πŸ˜‰) it is smooth as silk.

There is a reason why:

  • we don’t simply send out a pricing guide to new potential clients. We’ve got to have a conversation to better understand you, your imagery needs, and for us both to feel like we are a good fit.
  • our pre-shoot questionnaire is extensive. We need to understand the who, what, when, where, and why of your brand.
  • we collaborate, strategize, and ask for feedback all along the way. It allows us to craft the exact imagery you need for a brand photo shoot that runs like clockwork!

You started your business for a reason. You believe in your business. YOUR WORK MATTERS! But, your ability to keep doing your work is dependent upon continually attracting your target customers. To do that, you have to make sure that your business doesn’t get lost in the crowd. That starts with the right images…which starts with the right process. Trust that process and be an active participant in it.

Brand Photo for Nest Analytics by Harmonie House Images Charlotte, NC


We Can Help

We speak passionately about this because we know it is true. You work does matter! It brings beauty, delight, design, and structure to your community. We would love nothing more than to help your business thrive with beautiful brand imagery.

If the process we just describe sounds good to you, we would love to grab a cup of coffee and get this party started. Click the button below and…