The quality of your marketing photography makes a big difference in how the public perceives your brand. Great photos will motivate your audience to stay engaged with your content. If your photos are uninspired, readers will pass over your ad or post for something more interesting.
Many nonprofits and educational institutions shoot their own pictures – sometimes a talented photographer is on staff, sometimes not. If you’re in the latter category, consider hiring a freelance marketing photographer for your most important pieces like your case statement, annual report, and website. The investment in photography will pay off because images have much more emotional appeal than the written word. Strategic photography will ilustrate your brand and instill confidence.
I wrote this post in 2016 for another website. I remembered it while I was in a meeting about a St. Louis website that features a carousel of three (not one, but three) photos of the Arch. One of my photography rules is being broken on that site! Feature people, not buildings or monuments. To the hundreds of businesses and organizations in St. Louis with the Arch as your cover photo – enough already! Show-me something inspired.
This post is just as relevant today as five years ago so I am reposting it as the first installment of Greatest Marketing Photography Insights to Engage Your Audience.
Environmental Marketing Photography Beats Studio Shots
What brings a smile to my face? Someone else smiling. Thus, when I opened the 2016 annual report from the University of Missouri Student Affairs Division I laughed with joy.
The publication features environmental portraits of a diverse array of students. No beautiful campus buildings or revered monuments. No trite pictures of students walking through fall leaves. This piece tells stories supporing the Mizzou brand. Way to go, Angela Dahman, marketing and communications manager for Mizzou Student Affairs, and your design team.
Search for a Creative Expression of Your Brand
When I was a development and outreach consultant for the UMKC Honors College, my son Max Hammock and I created a case statement for prospective donors. The cover featured students rowing on the Kansas River. Dean Jim McKusick and I united to promote the nontraditional cover to the rest of the college’s administration. The result was stunning. Eye-catching, surprising ideas win out over students walking on campus any day.
Photography: One of the Most Important Elements in Marketing Communications
Want to find more examples? Pick up marketing communications materials from the most successful organizations in your area. On Sunday, I went to Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, the largest United Methodist congregation in the nation. Eleven thousand people attend services there every Sunday. What a brand! My visit was mostly for my own professional development. I had to answer “How do they draw that many people?”
The church’s branding and business-like approach amazed me. And the fundraiser in me had chills as Senior Pastor Adam Hamilton announced the church raised $1.1 million at its Christmas Eve service. All of the money went to charities helping children, including one assisting refugees in Aleppo, Syria. I understood the story and felt an immediate connection to the church’s mission.
When I got home and looked at my welcome packet from Church of the Resurrection guess what I saw? A girl jumping for joy! Truly. Check out the church’s website and you will see lots of environmental photography featuring smiling people.
Environmental photography is photography outside of a studio with the subjects in their normal setting. This may be a classroom, office, church, or any other place that is outside a photographer’s studio.
Creative directors envision the best photos to illustrate brands and tell your stories. I will work with your marketing communications team, including your photographer, as a creative director for your important projects. If you need a professional photographer, I will bring one in for you. The difference in your product from engaging a creative director and professional photographer will delight you and get you the results you want.