We're Erica + Jon, professional photographers, Mr + Mrs and Mom + Dad. We like to share insights into our industry, behind the scenes and stories about our life and chips + salsa obsession.
Hey! Welcome to the blog! If you’re new here, we’re SOOO glad that you’re taking time to check things out. And if you’re new to us and our story, we wanted to recap some of that for you. We are a husband and wife brand photography team. BUT…. it wasn’t always that way. We started as a wedding and lifestyle photography team with a goal of serving luxury brides and establishing our place in the luxury wedding market. We went so far as getting a logo done that honestly looked like it should have been embroidered on a luxury hotel bathrobe! Jon was wearing chinos and bow ties while Erica was wearing pink dresses and we decked out in ALL the things that would scream a lovey-dovey wedding. NOW, we’re not knocking that!! We love weddings and when people get married! Although, we found out pretty quickly that we were kinda being imposters in that specific space. We are MUCH more of the gym shorts and t-shirt variety, so dressing and acting in a way that was not us just didn’t feel right and was not natural for us. Coincidentally, around that same time we started shooting some work for different businesses on the side to fill the gaps while we were trying to build our business. We didn’t really know what to call it at the time, but eventually we realized that this stuff we were doing was purposeful, intentional….and well, it was brand photography! In 2017, we made a decision to step into the brand photography space full time and haven’t looked back since!
One of the biggest differences between being a wedding and lifestyle photographer vs a brand photographer is in the purpose of the photos you’re creating. So with that, we want to break all this down for you on the blog today and explain why the value of brand photos are different. Let’s dive in!
Wedding images have a TON of value. They capture a once in a lifetime event and a love story that will live on for generations. Not only will the bride and groom and immediate family and friends get to relive the moments of the big day, but future generations will get to see and experience all the same feelings their grandparents felt the day of their wedding! There is a HIGH value for those photos. This is why wedding and lifestyle photography can be so lucrative. It’s because people feel the emotion and are willing to spend the money to make sure their moment is captured and captured well.
It’s such an emotional day that even the cake is usually in tiers. (← Sorry, couldn’t help but throw a Dad joke in there!) BUT here’s the thing. If you have your wedding photos taken and then print off a nice big 16 x 20 picture to hang in the entryway of your home, your friends and family, who know and love you, are going to see a TON of value in the picture because it represents you. It’s going to have a ton of emotional value. But if we, as strangers walked into your house to look at your picture…and let’s forget for one second how creepy that sounds… we’d look at it for a second and probably say “Oh, nice picture!” Or as photographers, it’d be more like us to compliment something like the nice rim light or the composition. But in all honesty, it’s not going to have any compelling value to us beyond that. So wedding and lifestyle photography does have a TON of value, but all of that value is tied up in the emotional side of the image.
Brand photography on the other hand has a very tangible and direct monetary value! The images you are creating as a brand photographer have a primary focus of increasing brand awareness, creating exposure for the brand, and letting strangers know that there is a new product or service they really need to try! Ultimately, it boils down to increasing sales and revenue for your client!
Now, there miiiiiight be some emotion tied to that. Maybe the photos are created to support a brand that is all about a cause – in that case, emotion might play heavily into their brand message. But still, the main point of the photos is to increase brand awareness by evoking those emotions. Or even still, the photos may be very emotional for the brand owner. Maybe it’s a small business – and let’s be honest fellow business owners…your business is like another baby…so it’s definitely emotional! Again though, the focus is creating interest in the brand and driving up sales, not capturing an emotional moment for the brand owner!
Brand photography has a very direct value because the pictures you take as a brand photographer are going to ultimately lead to an increase in the businesses sales and revenue. So going back to the example of the wedding photo in the house that had emotional value…. Outside of the bubble of friends and family that LOVE the picture, the picture doesn’t really have a lot of value and worth. Now let’s reimagine that situation with brand photos…to a complete stranger walking by a storefront sign or seeing a billboard that’s showing a new product or service that I didn’t know existed prior to seeing that…all of a sudden I’m going to be interested! Like, if we see a new queso dip come out and it meets a need that we have (which who’s kidding…it’s ALWAYS a need we have…), I’m going to want to know more! So those brand photos directly tie to increase revenue for a business and carry a lot of weight.
Okay, so now that we’ve unpacked the emotional and the monetary value of photos…which one do you feel more comfortable selling on!? When you think about it, in wedding and lifestyle photography, you’re relying on the subjective emotional value placed on the images. If a wedding client is a more emotional person and values having keepsakes and memories forever, their subjective emotional value is going to be incredibly high! But what about the bride who doesn’t share that view? This can lead to clients being very subjective on the emotional value and a struggle based on the client to warrant your price point.
As a brand photographer selling on the monetary value of a photo, it’s much more objective. There’s not a whole lot of give or take here in the value of what a photo can do for a business. The value is really there and provides a leverage of consistency. It’s not tied to something subjective like emotion. If they want increased sales, increased revenue and increased brand awareness….they are going to place those photos pretty high on the value spectrum.
It’s also important to know that sometimes you may have to unpack the amount of value brand photos will bring to your client. The reality is, a lot of small business clients that you shoot brand work for, their experience has been purely on the emotional side. It’s been their daughter’s wedding or their own wedding or even family photos they’ve taken for their Christmas cards. There’s a little bit of explaining to do sometimes to help them make the perspective shift in their mind to realize, WOW!!….these images are more than just images! They’re not just being printed and sent out to grandma and grandpa to memorialize a wedding or a family stage. These images are making them money. PERIOD. And at the end of the day, that’s why we absolutely LOVE being brand photographers. We get to help businesses make MORE money, and we definitely feel more confident on selling on monetary value.
Which one do you feel more confident selling on? We’d love to know! Leave your comments below.