Here at xneelo, we love telling our customers’ stories and sharing their growth journey with the world. To help us tell their story visually, we rely on photographer Mike Rose, whose emotive images capture the heart of the brands who host with us.
In honour of World Photography Day, we asked Mike for his top tips on using photography to tell a brand story, which we hope helps you create a brand that makes a real impact.
How do you use images to engage your audience and promote your business?
As a visual artist, I communicate through images – telling stories through shades of light and dark, colour and line. I always try to look for authenticity in my subject, whether it be portraiture or documentary and hopefully that shines through in my work. My website serves as my online portfolio. I also share my work on social media (Instagram and Facebook). I try to link back to my website wherever possible. Linking back to your website creates credibility with the Google algorithm. So remember to backlink! It’s important.
What photography equipment do you use?
I work with Canon mirrorless camera gear paired with Godox portable strobe lighting and studio setup that I take out on location with me where I need it. Portable Off Camera Flash (OCF) has come a long way in the last few years and has been a game changer. I do like to be light and work with minimal equipment as much as possible, but ultimately I will often need to add a light source as I’m often not working in a controlled environment. I do a lot of business stories, as I have been doing for xneelo for the last five years or so, which I really enjoy.
How important is photography for brand-building and telling a brand story?
When our eyes are open, our vision accounts for two-thirds of the electrical activity of the brain – that’s a full 2 billion of the 3 billion firings per second. Humans are still driven by visuals and no matter how good your copy, content or products are, if your imagery is not engaging, they are not going to get the attention they deserve! So yes, photography is very important as part of your design and branding and it needs to compliment your products and services.
What advantage does bespoke photography have over stock images?
Using customised or bespoke imagery means that you set yourself apart from the crowd. It is the age of cheap stock images that everyone has access to and uses. As a customer, it’s always hard to know when a website is legitimate or not. When I see generic stock imagery, I’m always a little weary of that website. I tend to do a little more digging and look at Google reviews before I trust that website. Credibility is huge in an online space. I really believe when I see curated, customised imagery and continuity in design and imagery, that this business knows what they are doing and can be trusted with my hard-earned money. Photography plays a big part in creating credibility with customers and connecting with them on the human side.
What are your top tips for SMEs wanting to use photography on their website?
- It’s worth investing in getting a professional to take some pictures of your offices, management teams, and some pictures documenting what you do in the business. It adds a human element.
- Your website is the face of your business online. Make sure it represents your business well.
- Google is often a customer’s first port of call and if you’ve registered on Google My Business, and have uploaded some images there, you’re off to a good start.
- If you really can’t afford a professional photographer, do it yourself because I truly believe even bad pictures create more credibility than generic stock images with no authenticity. At least people can see your business is real.
- WordPress is a great platform for creating your website, with handy themes you can use to showcase your photography at its best.
When it comes to engaging with your customers and fostering a connection with your brand, nothing beats authentic photographs of your business and team. Not only does it show the human side of your business, it also helps establish trust and credibility.