Brand Photography

Types of Photos You Need for Small Business Branding Photography

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Molly, the owner and chief dreamer at Molly Hebda Photography, has a passion for helping creative, purpose-driven women in business feel seen with confidence and strength. Without compromising their femininity.

Hello & welcome

When it comes to small business branding photography, there are some types of photos that you will 100% need. If you’re wondering what those photos are, then you’re in the right place!

Brand photography for small businesses can often be overlooked as a “nice-to-have” business expense, but it’s really a need. Getting professional branding photography done is one of the smartest investments you can make to showcase your business and maintain a consistent aesthetic across all areas of your business, from your website to your social media content and even your press publications and features.

As a brand photographer based in Lemont, Illinois, I have had a lot of first-hand experience working with local small business owners to help elevate their visual profile and uplift their branding. Your business photos can make or break the image that you are trying to portray. Your branding is what draws your customers in and what makes that emotional connection.

So, if you are ready, let’s dive into small business branding photography and the types of photos you actually need (featuring some photos I took for a boutique coffee shop, Folklore).

What is small business branding photography?

Before we begin, let’s briefly recap what small business branding photography is.

Small business branding photography is about helping small businesses present themselves uniquely and tell their own personal story through professional photos. It showcases the vibe of the business, the personalities of the owners and staff, and the quality of the product you may be selling. 

Branding photography is what makes you different from all the other coffee shops or small businesses out there, highlighting your values and expertise that resonate with your potential customers. Whether through headshots, product images, or photos of Bigfoot (more on that later!), branding photography tells the story of a business in a captivating and impactful way.

Branding Photos Your Business Needs

Now that you have a bit more background on small business branding photography let’s talk about the types of photos you should have on your shotlist!

Owner Photos

First things first (and yes, this may sound obvious), but always get owner. Photos of the owner are so important to get for places like social media, your website’s team page, etc.

They can even come in handy for places like LinkedIn or even if you get any press or speaking opportunities. Trust me, there’s always a time that you’ll need an owner’s photo (yes, even a “boring” headshot), and you’ll wish you had one!

A woman joyfully holds a green mug adorned with pink flowers at an outdoor table decorated with colorful candles and vibrant spring flowers. She is dressed in a green top. The background features a scenic view of a lake and blooming trees.

Team Photos

If you have a team, it’s also great to make sure you get photos of everyone at your business. This includes getting both team headshots and also photos of everyone together.

You can have fun with these, too. The photos of everyone together could be all of you doing part of your process or working in the business. They could even be event or retreat photos if you host a fun day or weekend for your team members to get together for team-building exercises. 

The Process

Don’t sleep on the power of showing your process in your photos, especially as a small business! For instance, with Folklore Coffee, this meant getting photos of lattes being poured into mugs, ground espresso being tamped down before being made, and even small tasks like cleaning off the espresso machine.

This applies to you no matter what type of small business owner you are, too. If you’re a florist, this could look like getting photos of putting together bouquets. 

Process photos work so well because everyone loves seeing behind-the-scenes content – it’s one of the reasons short-form videos like the ones on TikTok have been able to become so popular over the past few years.

Even though it’s a video and not a photo, you can see a great example of showing the process on my homepage. I have a video of photographing in action, allowing my website visitors to easily see exactly what I do when they first land on my site!

Staged Features and Details

Detail photos are a must for every small business. Think of these almost like your own version of “stock” photos that are actually on brand. They show the features and details of your product or service.

You know the age-old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words?” These types of photos do just that – they very easily show what you want people to know most about your product, service, or business.

With Folklore Coffee, I was able to photograph their products including mugs, apparel, and more, which is so easy to be used across all marketing content. I even took some great photos of their coffee bags that they are able to use to show off 1) the details of the bag and 2) the product in general.

I have a photography studio in Lemont’s downtown area which allows me to control the lighting for detail photos like this!

Personality Pictures

If you take a look around my website and through my portfolio, you’ll see I love a good personality photo! This is basically just a photo of the owner or someone else showing off the personality of both the person and the brand.

The personality cues can come through in a few ways, whether it’s the clothing you wear (such as wearing a love is love shirt to show your values) or even holding a mug that says something quirky on it. It can also come through in your posing, your location, or even your facial expression.

Lifestyle Portraits

Think of lifestyle portraits like photos that you’d expect to see from big brands. They should show off the lifestyle associated with your brand. 

As an example, if you’re a yoga studio owner, this could be having photos that show off peace, like vacation photos. That’s why so many yoga studios end up using photos of the beach; they’re calming and give off the lifestyle associated with yoga.

Team with Clients

If you have a small business that has a lot of client-facing or in-person interactions, showing off the team with clients can be great for marketing. 

For instance, at a cafe, this could look like handing a warm chai latte over the counter to a customer who is eagerly waiting. Or, showing friends deep in conversation over iced mochas while they sit at a table in the cafe near the window.

Bonus: Seasonal Photos

Last but certainly not least, when it comes to small business branding photography, having seasonal photos can also be great. This is perfect too if you work with a photographer on a monthly or quarterly basis.

For instance, Bigfoot is Folklore’s mascot, so we went around Lemont with the mascot getting some fun Easter photos for the season. We also did some more general evergreen photos to make sure the Folklore team had a mix of photos that they could use as needed.

We even got some fun photos in May at the Lemont Quarries for the owner’s birthday month. Even though they feel seasonal, they can continue to be used throughout the year in order to convey a certain feeling if needed!

A person in a Bigfoot costume stands in front of the Folklore Coffee shop, holding a to-go cup with the Folklore Coffee logo. They are pointing upwards with their other hand, creating a playful and whimsical scene. The shop's green exterior and logo are visible, along with reflections of the surrounding buildings and sky in the glass windows.

Final Thoughts: Small Business Brand Photos

I truly hope that you have been able to create your beginning shotlist for your brand photos as a small business owner. Whether it’s your first photoshoot or you’ve got a few under your belt already, I’m very excited for you to take this step in your business to represent your brand visually.

If you’re in the Chicago tri-state area and you’re looking for a photographer to collaborate with to bring your brand to life, I’d be so honored to learn more about what your business stands for. I love coming up with fun and unique ideas with the brands I work with to help them truly stand out while representing who they are.You can click here to learn more about my offers or here to get in touch.

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On this podcast, host, Molly Hebda, and her brand photography clients as they cozy up on the emerald green couch to have fun, intimate conversations about their transformational journeys. These conversations are meant to inspire other women on their entrepreneurial journey, so they don’t feel so alone in their struggles, fears, and doubts. 

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