How to select the right photos for your brand

Branding /

December 2022

It’s a digital world baby, and we are all starving for content. Insatiable in fact, we can’t get enough! In 2022, on average, internet users worldwide spent 403 minutes online each day. So in this digital content consumption age we find ourselves in, your brand must be creating content to connect and build relationships with consumers to build brand awareness.

But it’s simply not enough to supply your audience with content. It needs to be the right kind of content, and the right kind is visual imagery. The photos and graphics you use in your branding have an instant and permanent effect on how consumers interact with your brand, in establishing your brand authority, and in building trust and authenticity with your audience. Photos can help your customers to actually visualise themselves using your product or service.

But not all photos are created equally, and not all styles will suit your particular brand. So it’s always a good idea to stop and consider whether the types of photos we are using are supporting or undermining your marketing efforts.


The superpower of visual imagery in marketing

You have to use photos in your marketing campaigns for building brand authenticity and credibility, text is just not powerful enough. Stats prove time and again that people care more about the photos and that their impact is more lasting. The human brain processes images 60,000 faster than text, and people remember 65% of what they see. So, we are naturally looking at and remembering the photos over the written word when consuming content. So don’t stress yourself out too much about writing the perfect caption! Further, most people only read 28% of the words on a webpage, and posts with images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only posts. The people have spoken, and images aren’t just a nice-to-have, they’re a need-to-have. Photos are what your audience is paying attention to and can significantly impact how they feel about your brand. But what types of photos should you be choosing for your website and socials?


Stock photos versus Original photos

There are a few ways you can get photos for your brand. You can source or buy them online via a stock photography website. Or you can DIY it and take them yourself with your iPhone. You could even get all fancy and hire a photographer to take some really high-end snaps that look totally profesh. It all depends on who your target audience is, the story are you trying to tell, and where the image will be used. Here’s an overview to help you decide which types of photos will suit your brand best.


What is a stock photo?

Stock photos are generally images that you select off a stock image website, that are available for free or for a license, but the author retains the copyright of their work. You can sometimes purchase exclusive photos (that are guaranteed not to be used elsewhere) and high-quality ones can be very useful in adding credibility to your website. For instance, an aerial photo of the city your brand is located in. Stock photos are easily accessible via a quick internet search, and can quickly and cheaply add to the visual impact of your content. However, many are overly generic (or incredibly cheesy) as they are meant to appeal to the masses, and you may even see them being used by other brands, diluting the uniqueness of your brand.


What is an original photo?

These are photos you take or a professional photographer takes for your brand. Generating these photos usually requires more work, time, and money from you, and may even be less polished than stock photos. Yet, these types of photos are more authentic, more relatable, and lend higher integrity to your brand.


So what type of photo do you choose?

It depends! On where it will be used, your target audience, your budget, your long-term business goals, and various other factors. Choosing a combination makes sense, as there is a time and place for both depending on the circumstances. Keep in mind when choosing photos, you must always have a cohesive and consistent visual story between platforms. You should be recognisable by your visual imagery and everything should match back to each other.

Think about your brand identity and what you are trying to accomplish. Maybe you’re a café owner trying to build brand authenticity and trust with your customers. When a customer goes on Instagram and sees a post from you about an actual staff member and what they do in your business, versus seeing a standard stock photo of a model in an apron, they have a very different experience, and this can be witnessed in the connection they feel to the brand. Without even realising it, subconsciously they may be thinking, “If you’re not showing the real people that work at your company, how can we trust you and know you stand behind your product or service?” Real behind-the-scenes photos help to humanise your brand. People like connecting with other people. So sharing simple photos of your staff can bring the audience in, as real people are infinitely more interesting than stock models and it builds not just authenticity and credibility, but memorability too.


Where to from here?

The photos you choose when posting about your brand are incredibly important. They have the ability to attract and engage your consumers, allow them to understand and retain information quickly, and even have the power to affect people’s emotions, attitudes, and decisions. All of which help you build deeper connections with your audience as well as brand awareness.

If you really want to ensure you are engaging your audience with the best types of photos and leaving a lasting impression, it may be worth talking to a professional digital marketing agency like Evolution. We can take branding and marketing off your plate, so you can focus on building a real connection with your customers, facilitated by authentic and memorable marketing collateral.

Give us a call to talk about evolving your business on 03 5222 3328 or send us an email at to organise a meeting to discuss your next move.

Inspired by: Stats from: Image credits: Pexels

If you want to receive monthly emails from the Evolution team with our latest blog post, hot off the press, please sign up here.