Why You need an image library
I remember walking into the library with the feeling of magic in the air. Here there was wonder, knowledge, and adventure just waiting for me to find. While I wasn’t an avid reader growing up, I still understood the potential that any library held. It had the answers, I just had to find the questions. Much like the magic of a real library, there is magic to behold with your brand’s photo library. A place that will all you and your team to tell stories and build connection. All it takes is a little planning and some good organization.
Why Have an Image Library?
As a contractor almost the first question I would have for a brand was “do you have a folder of images I can use for this project?” Whether it was building out social, creating an ad campaign, designing emails, or updating their website, I needed high quality images that told their story and matched their brand guidelines.
Often times, brands wouldn’t have a folder with images and it would take a couple of weeks for them to get organized or even book a photoshoot to provide the materials I needed to market them. This is why I encourage EVERY brand I talk to to build an image library. You want to have the tools you need to connect with your audience whether you’re handing it over to a contractor or needing to update something yourself. By having a folder of images you can always turn to, you’re saving yourself time and stress.
How to Start Building An Image Library
In my blog posts about different styles of photos in you marketing, I break down all the different ways you can get photos. From iPhone photos to stock photos to professional photography. Where the photos come from is less important than having a good handful to work with.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about having the highest quality images you can have that match your branding and tell your story. But having some images is better than no images, and we all start somewhere. So, if you don’t have a budget for photos, build up your library of images with stock images and iPhone photos. Make a list of the imagery that will tell your story and start collecting those images.
As a photographer, I always take my camera with me on vacation. But I’m sure that you carry a smart phone with you wherever you go. Think about the styles of images that match your brand based on where you’re going and what kind of stories you could tell. My brand is all about intention with an emphasis on nature so when I’m on a camping trip I’m capturing the views and the landscapes. I photograph the moments of taking it slow and serving ourselves. These all match with one of the topics I talk a lot about in my brand and the images align with my brand guidelines. If you’re business is all about fun in the sun then highlighting beach trips, showcasing sunny weather and the active lifestyle the at comes with it, would be a great way to build images for your brand.
I love taking my camera and walking around town or my neighborhood looking for images to capture. This can be a great way to decompress and get creative. On a photo safari you might have a list of images you want to capture for your brand. For example, if you want to talk about summer fun you might look for a cute bike against a brick wall to capture. Or if you’re an online only business you might want to get some photos in of your desk, computer, or technology.
Use Stock Images
Stock images are high-quality, clear, and professional but they won’t be personal. So while these have a place in your marketing I try to use them sparingly. They’ll be really great on your website but should be used at a minimum on your social. People would rather see authentic images on social rather than high-quality stock images.
Capture Your Product
Of course, you’ll want to get a few photos that highlight your product or service directly but don’t feel like EVERY photo needs to have your product in it. We like lifestyle photos that showcase what life looks like as a part of your brand.
This video shows you some tips on taking photos of your products for your image library. The tips I teacher here are referencing flat lay photography, but they apply to lifestyle photography too!
Hire a Brand Photographer
Whether you have the budget to hire a brand photographer on a quarterly basis or once a year, making space in your marketing budget for this is important to your brand. A brand photographer will not only provide you with high-quality images but images that are personal and relate directly to your brand. From capturing your team to your product, a brand photographer will help you create a deep connection with your audience that will keep them coming back for more. I cannot stress it enough, you need a brand photographer in your life. And if you’re in the market one, I happen to know one you’ll love…me!
Build Your Image Library
It doesn’t matter where your images come from, you need to start building your image library today. Commit to taking 3-5 images a week to add to your library and as you business grows your library will grow too. When you’re ready you can invest in a brand photographer on a regular basis to continue to add to your library. This library will make building social posts and designing websites so much easier for you and your team.
Katie Leigh is a brand strategist and photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. Her experience as a former graphic designer and former marketing director provide a unique perspective when it comes to your brand. Whether you want to get clear in your message and create a brand strategy that supports your work-life balance or need to update your website with photos that tell your story, Katie Leigh will help you get clear in your marketing and create sustainable practices to build the brand (and life!) of your dreams. Get the guide to work-life balance and more marketing resources here.