October 8, 2020

Brand Image, The Virtual CMO Podcast

Whether it's your personal brand or business, good brand photography is so important. Telling a story is the key for anyone to know who you are and where you are coming from. Written content can be significantly enhanced with an excellent photo to complement the author's perspective.

If you are a photographer, photo enthusiast, or someone who seeks quality visual aid in your personal or business website, this podcast episode is for you. Lighten up as The Five Echelon Group's Founder/CMO Eric Dickmann has a picture-perfect conversation with veteran photographer and WorkStory Brand Photography owner- Tanya Goodall Smith, about brand photography, personal branding, and the importance of high-quality images to your business identity.

Tanya Goodall Smith is a veteran photographer and owner of WorkStory Brand Photography. She acquired her degree in Graphic Design from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in 2004. Tanya has been working in the graphics design industry for over 20 years; in this duration, she had served as an art director for big-time companies such as HP, Guess, Universal Studios, and Hollywood.

WorkStory Brand Photography aims to provide small businesses with high-quality photography that best represents their brands.  Smith and her team provide exquisite storytelling content and superb customer care to their clients nationwide. Working with WorkStory Brand Photography will grow your market and allow other people to understand your business better. Aside from being a photographer, Tanya Goodall Smith is also a talented writer and educational ambassador.

Brand Photography

What makes a good business photo? According to Tanya Goodall Smith, a good business photo must possess excellent lighting, an appropriate pose, good body language, and a stunning background. Paying attention to these details and having a good understanding of color theory and psychology will aid in your brand photography success.

She also thinks that Millennials and Gen Z's show much more appreciation for taking pictures than older generations who are reluctant to take their photos. To ease her clients' anxiety in front of the camera, she assures them that they'll look just fine in the final output. There is always extra pressure in realizing that your pictures will be seen on the billboards and other big advertisement platforms, compared to settling your brand image in your social media comfort zone. Tanya tells us that she loves working with service-based businesses. Service-based businesses assist people and helping them out with brand photography, and other means of advertisement will help them reach more people.

Brand Photography consists of professional images representing your brand, business, client, and organization in the trendiest and most authentic fashion possible. This identifies what kind of business you have and what elements are essential in making your brand recognized by the market. This photography is much more versatile and flexible than commercial photography. Natasia Designs makes us think of brand photography as "a "bank of professional images you can pull from for any use, such as on your website, for a social media post, or even for printed material such as brochures."

Videos you are investing in

According to the website, JustCreative, there are five key benefits of branding:

  1. Customer recognition- Survey says that when a customer recognizes your brand in a shopping mall or online marketplace, they are more likely to purchase your product. 
  2. Customer loyaltyWhen you start to combine good products, excellent service, and engaging branding content, customers will always come back, and their brand loyalty for your product will strengthen.
  3. Increases credibilityCustomers will see your brand as a serious professional business if you pair your excellent customer service skills with stunning photo and video visual aids.
  4. Attracts talentPeople can easily spot good advertisement from the unconvincing ones. Having a solid brand image will encourage bright, young professionals to be part of your company’s vision and mission.
  5. Gives confidenceAs a business owner, it is essential for you to ensure that your team’s confidence in your business is 100%. Having a good advertisement and branding system will boost your team’s morale and push them to make higher sales. 

Investing in Brand Photography

In Carol Sankar's article at the Entrepreneur.com, she emphasized how many celebrities and social media influencers utilized high-quality images to their advantage to gain likes and followers. It is not enough that you have a good brand or service, or even write-ups to testify the effectivity of what you have to offer. In this generation, customers demand more intimacy with the goods they wish to buy through photo and video marketing. Sankar notes that with the online businesses and marketplace booming, the best investment you can make as a wise business owner is clear and concise photography. With smartphones nowadays equipped with high-quality cameras, anyone can create photo and video content. But still, not everyone can produce quality and high standard visuals to support your business or personal branding. 

Type of Instagram Stories with brand photography you are most likely to watch until the end

There are millions of brands around the world, with different concepts, goals, and products or services to offer. How can your company's brand, products, and services stand out from the crowd? Tanya states that a website is your brand's persona. It tells people the vibe of your brand and makes your audience feel the emotion you want to relay. Having a website gives a strong impression on the global market that your company is successful. Every bit of information you have posted on social media or online selling sites shall all be rooted back to your company's main website. With people visiting your site daily, you and your team must make it as presentable and up-to-date as possible.

What Differentiates a Website That Utilizes Brand Photography and the One That Doesn't?

Smith tells us that people doubt a brand's credibility when visiting a website that has few pictures on it. People would want to see the people giving the service, their products, and actual snippets of their business' location. Having low-quality images posted online reflects the quality of service you can provide to your clients. People will start comparing your brand name with competitors that offer higher-quality photographs. Before photography shoots, Tanya sets up a strategy session with the client to ensure that their messages are expressed in the photos.

Showing a bit of your personality helps a lot in an advertisement. The website is not about you; it's all about the convenience and comfortability your platform can give to your market. People want to feel the warmth and excellence of your product or service every time they window shop on your site.

Tanya Smith suggests that you should hire a person who could do both photography and video. Ensuring that you have some style guides in place and consistent lighting is crucial in keeping your high-quality photo and video content consistent. Tanya mentions that they love to tell your story through the medium of pictures and video. They prefer to see their client wearing what their position is, but at the same time, revealing what kind of personality they have through the background they use. Smith also added that she is very keen on the smallest of details in your picture because every element displayed reveals something to the viewer. Expressing yourself lively and freely is always better than a stiff studio headshot.

tanya goodall smith

Color can be a strong, an easy thing to use to tie everything together. Maybe you just have to put a little pop of your brand color.”

Stock Photography

Stock photos have their place. Organize a photoshoot over purchasing stock photos. Having stock photos posted on your website is the antithesis of branding. You want your brand to be unique and stand out, not the same as the hundreds of competitors who also have the same stock photos posted on their sites and social media accounts.

Keeping Your Online Content Fresh

WorkStory Brand Photography offers its clients with a quarterly photo shoot. Clients inform them of their upcoming products and services, and the team helps you present it in the best way possible. Choose your tone from light to dark, and mood from airy to moody. Tanya gives her customers a set of guidelines to remember and follow, so your content will go well with the taken images. Be clear on what you want your brand photos for, so that the team can set aside a certain amount of space or "dark areas" where you could input content. Color is a simple but powerful tool that binds everything together. At times, you have to pop your brand color there and then. Wearing your brand colors or infusing a touch of your brand color palette to your brand photography will make people recognize you more and understand your brand better.

Challenges when creating effective Visual Marketing

Businesspeople nowadays find the importance of building their personal brand. Making yourself known in sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and even YouTube builds a strong sense of authority and credibility to your identity. Tanya's provides tips for enhancing a personal brand:

  • Have a good headshot. Make sure your face is the profile picture. People recognize famous personalities because they see their faces everywhere.
  • Have a budget. If you are really dedicated to enhancing your brand, hire a personal brand photographer to help you strategize what kind of photos and stories you want to take and tell.
  • Think about what message you want to convey. Make sure that your photos are in rhythm with the story you aim to narrate to your readers.
  • Show your face. Whether you are a CEO, doctor, lawyer, or guru, you must use the same headshot everywhere you go. Smith emphasizes that no matter what you wear, your face is the most recognizable thing about you. Get your headshot updated at least once a year; use it for at least six up to twelve months. Don't switch your pictures all the time; your goal is to make people recognize you for what you look like online or personal.
Channels you use the types of visuals

Improve Your Photography Skills

Tanya happily gives us a few takeaways on making yourself a better photographer. Look for the light. If you are in a dark room, get a little light by the window, or go outside. If you can, get a ring light; it helps a lot in your daily bits of photography. Play with your phone camera's light settings, adjust your angle there and then, and see the great results.


  • A good business photo must possess excellent lighting, appropriate pose and body language, and a stunning background
  • Showing a bit of your personality helps a lot in advertisement.
  • Organize a photoshoot over purchasing stock photos.
  • Get your headshot updated at least once a year.

Episode and Guest Links

Eric Dickmann - Founder/CMO of the Five Echelon Group, can be found online on Twitter or his personal webs

Tanya Goodall Smith - Veteran photographer and WorkStory Brand Photography owner can be found online on LinkedIn.

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