When it comes to getting your website built, brand photography can make or break how customers feel when they land on your page. In this blog post based on our episode with special guest Kylee B Photography, learn about why small business branding photography is an absolute must.
Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Unexpected Entrepreneur podcast! Today I’m joined by Kylee, from Kylee B Photography, to talk all about brand photography with you, because it’s genuinely something that is very often overlooked in the web design process and also just often as a business in general.
So, Kylee, how about you go ahead and introduce yourself?
Hi, thanks for that lovely introduction! Yes, I’m Kylee, and my business is Kylee B Photography. I know, very original, but it helps people remember. I’m predominantly a wedding photographer, but I also love to do brand photography.
A few years ago – (I think it’s been, like, two years ago. I reached out to you guys now, which is kind of crazy how it’s been this long already) I reached out to you, wanting to amp up my web design because the wedding industry, especially with photography, is so saturated.
I wanted to figure out how I could distinguish myself from the rest. With your process, I’ve gotten so many compliments from my website and it’s just sparked this fire and I really want to hone in on helping other brands and their brand photography.
And yes, photography is essential to getting your vision, and your brand across, especially in web design. Because I’m sure you spoke about this before, but people hop on a website and what is it, like 2 seconds? You need to get drawn in before they move on to the next! So the photography portion of your website is absolutely crucial. I personally think so!
Definitely! Okay, so we’re going to jump in and talk about a couple of questions. But first, let’s start with what exactly is branding photography?
So I always tell people, especially in the world of social media, I get a lot of my inquiries through social platforms like Instagram. Although people think that it’s dead, I feel like for businesses, it’s still kicking and doing great! You need to show a little bit of your personality.
A lot of people want to feel that initial connection and trust. You want to have anyone who is going to invest in your business feel comfortable. I really think that brand photography not only will help you show your face so they know who the face is behind your business, but it also just gives your potential clients a very distinct idea of what the process is going to feel like and what the experience is going to be.
They can actually physically put themselves into the experience by seeing your branding photos before even talking to you. I think that already does so much work for you and your business from the back end so that you are not having to do all of that communication via words. The photos can help you get that across right from the get-go.
Definitely, you want to make that instant connection when someone gets on your site and feels like they know you and they know your business.
Absolutely. And I know that there are a lot of entrepreneurs and people doing their own thing now. Small businesses are making headway. With that, there are a lot of people that are potentially doing the same thing as you and it helps you distinguish yourself and your business from others.
Although we all might be doing the same thing, the experience is going to be different! The way that we communicate or just vibe with our clients is different and it’s important to be able to show that through your website with the photos.
That’s so true! Also, here’s a shameless plug, we actually hired Kylee to do our brand photos and I swear ever since we even started just using them on social media, we’ve seen so much more engagement.
They truly make a difference because it fuels that instant connection people get when they see your photos. People will start to recognize your business in that way.
Yeah, totally! Yours are so much fun. I feel like no matter what, with your designs too, even if it’s like a different type of personality, you pull the personality from the brand or the business or whatever you’re working with and instill that in the website!
Your personality is obviously so colorful and so fun. So we definitely went there with your fun photos! But that’s what you got to do. You got to be able to go the extra step, go the extra mile, go the extra weird if that’s your thing.
That is what will catch people’s eyes and be like, oh yes, I vibe with this. Maybe, I mean, another reason to have really good brand photography is it attracts your, quote, “ideal clients.” I know some people don’t like to use the word ideal clients because they want to be able to work with everybody and be an ideal business owner for the masses.
But if your real, true, authentic personality and the way that you operate is a little bit wild, wacky, and weird, and you portray that in your website through your photos, if there are people out there that don’t vibe with that, then they’ll be like, okay, I’ll go find another web designer.
Which is totally fine, but that helps you. Like I said from the back end, to be able to weed out and really be able to focus on those people that just jive with you so well.
When people are thinking about if they should get branding photography, and when they should get it, what are your suggestions on things that people need to have done or kind of set up before they take the step to get branding photography?
So I feel like a lot of people make the mistake of getting branding photography first. As they think, okay, I’m going to revamp my brand, the first thing I will do is get new headshots. Right?
But most photographers have different types of packages. For instance, I have a few. Some of them are more like a mini-session vibe and then more are full, like two-hour sessions like you guys did with me.
The main problem that I have is a lot of brands will come to me, and even if they’re just booking the mini session, even if they just want a few headshots, if they don’t have that core brand established before they come to me, then I’m essentially just going to take photos that they might be wasting their money on!
Because if you’re going to take the photos first and then do all the back-end work, you might realize that those types of visuals don’t align with what you’re creating for your brand anymore. So I would say before you contact a photographer to have just a core brand established first.
Everyone likes to think of a logo and color palette, which is a great place to start. If you wanted to get a few headshots and get away with that, I think that would be fine.
But if you’re going for a full brand like you guys did, having backup photos for social media, having things to go across your entire website, you really need to have an actual feeling, I almost like to say, behind your brand.
So almost thinking of the client experience, thinking about your personality, are you more artistic? Are you more silly and goofy? If there are highlighted phrases that you like to use or that really represent the vibe of your business from the back end, those are the things that you want to be sending to a photographer.
Even if you have somewhat of a vision for your branding photos to start with, a good photographer will also bring some other examples to help you kind of hone in on that. Also, things like mood boards. Everyone loves Pinterest to be able to have some must-have photos.
Or if you are struggling with figuring out what feeling you want to have your business evoke, or your brand evoke. When people are looking at your website, a great place to start is just to scroll around Pinterest kind of aimlessly, not really thinking too hard.
Pick and choose things that attract you and then find that board that you’ve created. And then from the photos that you’re already drawn to and that remind you of your business, you can kind of hone in on, “Okay, so what is it that I’m actually drawn to? Is it like the color palette? Is it moodiness? Is it bright and vibrant or silly? Is it graphics?”
Those type of things are really important to figure out your brand so that you can bring all that information to the photographer. Then they can kind of replicate that so that it’s really easy for you to take your photos and plop them into your website or have it aimlessly go into your Instagram feed.
Because if you’re putting the money into their branding photos, you don’t want to waste your money and your photographer also doesn’t want to do that work for you and then have those photos go to waste for you.
That’s so true. And we personally have learned – our first set of brand photos was mostly headshots. And, honestly, it’s just because we didn’t prepare for it, we just kind of showed up, and we’re like, all right, here we go!
Really taking that extra step to put in all the work beforehand makes it such a fun process. When we got our photos done with you, it was just so fun. The entire time you were throwing out ideas. The whole time we were throwing candy around, it was just so much fun.
You’re probably still finding Skittles!
I was going to say I had another photo shoot where we moved furniture, and we’re like, oh, there’s Skittles on the ground. Two weeks later, I’m like; I don’t know where that’s from. Don’t ask, but just go to my website, and you’ll see at some point where that came from.
I know you touched it a little bit, but what do you prefer people to give you before the shoot or even the planning process just so that you show up knowing what’s going to happen?
Yeah, so definitely colors, especially if they want to have headshots with a backdrop. So I know what type of backdrop to bring, but one of the most helpful things that I have gotten is a mood board PDF type of things from the client’s actual brand designers.
Yes, it’s great to have the color palette. Yes, it’s great to have the logo. But the most helpful part of those mood boards is words or key phrases or feelings that the brand evokes.
I’ve also had a brand developer share the opposite. So what we don’t evoke, what we’re not wanting to represent, so that I can really hone in on, okay, this is what this brand needs to be about.
And especially, I found that if I don’t get those specific copy key phrases, what ends up happening is I kind of will just input my style into the branding photos, because if I don’t have anything to go off of as a photographer, it’s going to kind of look like Kylie B photography, because that’s what I’m naturally falling on.
But if I get a client that’s like, okay, we’re very serious and professional, and that’s not my vibe, but I can kind of put myself into that headspace and photograph in that way so that it is representing that brand and not my brand.
Like I said, if I don’t get those keywords, then naturally, I kind of just fall back into what I know because I don’t have anything to work off of. Then that’s not necessarily authentically your brand. That is more so just like what I am creating with my brand. Do you know what I mean?
Yeah. That makes so much sense. It almost makes me think of, like, if you’re in school and a teacher gives you an assignment and the teacher just says that you’ll know what they want.
Like, yeah… I don’t know what you want. You’re not giving me the rubric for this paper here.
Our last kind of thing that we want to talk about is you mentioned it a little bit earlier, but do you want to talk a little bit about your packages and what people actually get with the branding sessions, what it kind of looks like, maybe a branding session itself?
Like, the day of what happens, anything like that?
Yeah. So basically, I have an in-home studio now, which I love, because I can kind of service a broader range of clients based off of their budget. So I offer mini-session packages in my home studio. That way I’m not lugging my stuff all over the world and the country for 30 minutes of a session.
But it’s great for people to come to me. And I still have the backdrop, I still have the studio with amazing natural light, and it’s also available for you guys. You did not have a mini-session. You had a full session, but you don’t have a key location spot on the East Coast.
So naturally, it made sense for you to come to my studio, where we had all the things. But I have the mini session, which is like 30 to 45 minutes session. We have one general photo concept I call it. So if you have like an outfit that represents your brand and we will grab some more professional headshots for like an about me page.
It’s kind of like a little bit of as much as we can so like the skimming the surface of getting the headshots, getting a little bit of movement, getting a little bit of like, maybe pretending like you’re like on your office computer or whatever it is that you do in your business.
But of course, fitting a whole slew of things with lots of props in 30 minutes is not necessarily reasonable. So it’s more so just like skimming the surface as I said.
But then they also have the full branding sessions where you can bring in props, you can bring in certain items for like, flat lays to really get a deeper vibe. You can bring in like, personal items if there are certain things that you’re known for, like if you just always talk about the fact that you’re guzzling down Starbucks coffee, like bring a Starbucks cup.
Things that will allow your clients to see your personality, and see the personality of your business. People who love stickers, like bring your laptop with just covered in stickers in the back that again, will help build that authentic connection with your clients.
But yeah, we go a lot deeper into the business with the full session. It is 2 hours. I think it’s upwards of like 200 photos that you can get. So again, you could probably book a full session if you really are honed into your brand, and you’re not constantly changing your brand every year.
You could essentially gather photos from a full branding session and use them for the entirety of the year on your social media and your website, and it’d still be feeling fresh and up to date because we’re getting all sorts of different stuff.
We can also experiment a little more like getting shots of a lot of movement or bursts of photos that you could use for fun things like gifts on your website or your social media.
Yeah, we just have a lot more fun and a lot more play time with that full 2 hours. Just thinking about how we had the consultation beforehand, where you send me your mood board and I get an idea when you get to my studio or if I come to your location.
I’ve done a lot of hairdressers, so I’m in their salons, talking about just like, okay, what are the outfits that you have? Let’s check over them again. Let’s look at the space now that I’m here, or let’s have you look at the space is there anything that you’re drawn to or attracted to or like any pieces of furniture that you do or don’t want to use?
Again, trying to really just scope out the area so we can get a gist for how the session is going to go, how to plan for everything so we can get the maximum amount of shots in that two-hour span that you have with me.
Our session was seriously so much fun. If you are on the East Coast and like, or even if you’re not, we road tripped out there. We drove all the way out to do it, and it was 100% worth it. It was so much fun.
Kylee makes you feel so comfortable and we’re both pretty awkward and not super comfortable in front of a camera, but it was so much fun. The pictures turned out absolutely amazing. Definitely if you are looking for branding photography, you should check out Kylee because she is a top-notch photographer.
Well, thank you. And I was just going to give you all the praises too, because from a photographer’s perspective, I know you’ve done some website work for some of the branding clients that I’ve had and nothing makes me happier than seeing the brand photos being put to use in such like an amazing, efficient, creative way like that is.
I will just like go back to those websites sometimes and just scroll through them and be like, oh yes, like, as a photographer, it’s just so nice to see your photos go to use. And like I said in the very beginning, so often we’ll have people come to us and be like ready to get their headshots, ready to get their branding photos and then I might see one Instagram post of like, hey, it’s me.
This is why I am behind the camera if it’s a photographer or like, this is the person behind the chair if it’s a hairdresser. And then that’s only the really only picture that I see. And I’m like, oh man, we had all those great shots. So to have that web development developer know what to do with the photos, it’s the perfect pair.
Well, thank you, we agree. Would you mind letting everybody know where they can find you?
Yeah. So I am based in the central Pennsylvania area, but I will travel basically anywhere like Philly, up to New York, down to New Jersey, and Maryland. If you’re willing to help pay for some travel, I will go pretty much anywhere in the country.
That is where I am actually in real life. But on the interwebs, kyleebphotography.com is my website. Like I said, I do predominantly wedding, but I also do couples and lifestyle branding. I do some mentor sessions here too.
In the off-season in the wedding industry right now, it’s a little bit dead. So we’re bringing in different things like mentor sessions. And then I am on Instagram @kylee_b_photography. That’s where you can find me on all those sites.
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. I hope everyone gets a lot out of this, and if you haven’t already gotten brand-new photography for your business, do it. It is 100% worth it.
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