Why You Need Strong Brand Images & The Difference Between Branding and Product Photography

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Here you'll find a collection of branding/commercial photography articles and business & marketing tips for small creative businesses, as well as a smattering of client to get a taste of the work I create that helps businesses increase sales and revenue.

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Maybe you’re wondering, are strong brand images (or photos) really worth it for my business? Think about it this way, is there a certain business, or company that when you think of their name, an image comes to mind instantly? For example, when you think about a big global brand like Coca-Cola, can you immediately picture the polar bears or the glass bottle they use in their commercials immediately? Before we get started, it’s important to note that the phrase brand photos (or images) is different than a BRAND IMAGE. Brand photos (or images) are a part of your VISUAL IDENTITY, and our goal is to make this component strong enough that it draws people in so they want to learn more about what you do or have to offer.


While having product photos and photos of the services you provide help people understand what it is you do, the strongest images also known as HERO IMAGES that best represent your brand in an appealing way, are the ones that you need. These are the ones that will stick in people’s minds, create further brand recognition, and are more likely to go viral. These images might be hero images because they are very aesthetically pleasing, follow current events, or they are novel and new on the market that has never been seen or done before, hero images can also refer to any images you use to link to an article or are the first visuals someone sees when they click onto your website.

When you have a strong brand images that showcase how your brand is different from your competitors and your unique strengths, potential customers or clients are more likely to spend time interacting with your content or it is your brand that comes to mind when they or someone they know are searching for something specific.

Now how do you create strong images? First you need to have a strong BRAND VOICE, a solid BRAND FOUNDATION, and an understanding of what it is you are setting out to sell and how you want to do it.

When the pillars of your brand voice and brand foundation are strong, you can begin to flesh out your target audience in greater detail, what kind of imagery are they attracted to, and then start consistently creating them.  Regardless of what you plan on marketing, keeping it within the scope of your current brand colours, theme and/or design will give you the parameters to begin sketching and visualizing what the potential strong images can be.

For example, for a recent Christmas campaign I did for a coffee shop I work with regularly, because I know the foundation of the business is built on education, relationship, and process, and that the brand voice is fun, light, and educational, I made sure the images reflected that.  For the holidays we created curated coffee boxes to get people brewing at home. With that in mind and knowing that the bags of coffee have a really fun motif, I played up on that and created a set of images that were both playful and nostalgic, while creating an approachable introduction into brewing specialty coffee at home.

These are the images we started the Christmas campaign with as they made the biggest impact when compared to what we were posting day-to-day prior to, and it signaled a change to our marketing throughout the holiday season. People loved it as it was so wildly different than what similar companies were putting out for the holidays, and they have been some of our most popular and shared images this past year.

Going past strong images (or hero images), branding photos can also be the photos showing the day-to-day process, photos of the item(s) stylized and being used in real world settings, or even conceptual images that overall relate to the brand or your business.

Product photos, while they can be stylized, are the photos that you may use in listings on your website when selling goods. While these photos are not exclusive to just brick-and-mortar shops or businesses who sell goods only, product photography usually refers to businesses who have tangible objects where the customer needs to see information such as the shape, colour of an object, dimension, and other pertaining information.

Service-based businesses looking to hire a photographer to create their content may benefit more from a branding photography session as the photos taken would be showcasing the experience the customer/client would have if using their service. For small business owners, branding photography sessions is the time when content used for promotions, social media, and so forth are created.


Brick & Mortar/Product Based Business Service Based Business
Benefit from:
– Product Photography
– Branding Photography
Benefit from:
– Branding Photography


Key Definitions

Brand Image – This is the perception and beliefs current and potential customers have about your brand and what you have to offer. When your consumers use your product or service provided, this is the mental image of the benefits they associate with it: be it how you make them feel better (emotional benefit), how what you do is better (functional benefit), or why they believe you are better (rational benefit). 

Visual Identity – the visual elements that make up your brand, from the colours, graphics, logos, mages, and so forth that are chosen to represent your brand. Your visual identity cues emotional responses from your audience and tells the audience what it is your product or service is. Your visual identity affects your brand image, aka the visuals you use for your brand will evoke an emotional response that will help your audience form a perception or belief about your brand. 

Hero Image – these are the images that are front and centre in your business, literally. These are the first images that a customer or client may see when they click onto your website.

Brand Voice – this is the personality and tone that you use to convey the message about the product or service you are providing. Different tones a business can take on for example are: motherly, motivating, fun, educational, nurturing, authoritative, etc. While the tone affects the language you use to convey your message, your brand voice is your positioning and the personality of your business. Think of brand voice as the skeleton of everything you do, and the tone is what changes depending on the content you are putting out. 

Brand Foundation – these are the pillars to build your business on, and include your visual identity, target audience, brand values, and the transformation you will provide with your service or product.

Comments +

  1. […] Hero images showcases a product in a way that is eye catching and prominent. In product photography, these images usually feature a single product, usually in the centre of the image and is meant to catch the viewer’s eye immediately. Hero images can be used in a variety of ways but one of the most important for e-commerce brands is as a website header. […]

  2. […] this lesson, we’re looking at looking at 4 different holiday themed hero images and how to recreate these kinds of product photos at […]

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