If there’s one thing your business needs to get noticed, it’s consistent brand imagery – photographs and graphics that represent your brand style, values and message in every way that you can share on your website, collatoral and social media. But when you’re starting out in business, have rebranded or are launching a new product or service it’s practically impossible to have a library of images waiting to be shared.
The tempation – and easy route – is to either purchase a bulk of generic stock images (dangerous territory!) or resign yourself to sharing the work of others that you wish you’d created. Also dangerous territory. The problem with using generic or re-shared content is that it doesn’t authentically communicate who YOU are and what YOU can create. Not to mention the endless hours spend sourcing imagery and credits that could be spend on more important business tasks, like, you know actually making money?
So what should you do?
The answer is actually pretty easy, and you don’t need any expensive equipment or to be an expert photographer or stylist to pull it off! Simply grab yourself a few sheets of A1 card (purchased for a few £’s from your local art store), a window and your phone, and start creating your own beautiful brand imagery! Flat-lays are a simple place to start creating images that you can use on your Instagram and Facebook feeds to communicate your style and creativity to your dream clients.
To create beuatiful brand imagery you’ll need a selection of pretty props. If you create your own products, use them! Small items like stationery, accessories – even cakes – can work. If you’re a service provider like a planner or stylist you’ll need to think a little outside the box – what about printing out some pretty schedules or budgets and using these as props, or contacting suppliers to send you samples you can use?
Next, create yourself a prop box; ribbons, handmade paper, clips, twine, notebooks, pens and other small objects you might have lying around the house or office. I’d also suggest investing a small amount in key props you’ll use over and over again – like ring boxes (I love La Petit Box), silk ribbons and fabrics (Kate Cullen‘s are gorge), stamps (you can buy packs in WHSmith) and some good quality silk flowers (for the days you just can’t face changing out of your PJs to go to the shops!)
You’ll also need a good backdrop that works for your brand. If your brand is clean and modern you might get away with a flat white surface, but otherwise you’ll need to create some backdrops with pattern, colour and textures to suit your brand.
PhotoBoards have a huge range of gorgeous boards perfect for this (use code BLOVED10 for 10% off) or make your own! I created mine from 3mm MDF board – cut to size at my local DIY store – and covered with sticky-back plastic (Wilko have a good selection)and fabric off-cuts from my local fabric store for a cost-effective alternative.
Now you’ve got your backdrops & props together you’ll need to find a space near a large window to provide you with lots of natural light. You want to set your board up just away from the window, ideally on the floor, so you get a nice even light and not too many shadows – use a sheet of plain white card if needed to reflect the light back onto your props, or diffuse the light in certain areas if it’s coming in too strong. You’ll perfect this over time with practise!
It’s time to create your flat-lay! Start with your hero piece, this is the focus of your image, and choose a selection of objects that work with it to tell a story. For example, if your hero piece is a cake, then add a plate, fork and maybe some crumbs to tell it’s story and put it in context. Choose props that coordinate and flow well together – while considering your brand colours and aesthetic. Consistency is key!
Before you grab your phone and start shooting think about what message you want to convey? Is your brand light & airy, or dark & moody, or bight & fun? Think about composition, if your brand is clean and modern then straight lines and angles work well, but for a romantic and elegant brand softer shapes and flowing lines may work better.
You’re ready to start shooting! Turn on the grid on your camera phone if possible, and play with angles. Does your composition look better straight on, from above or from the side? Try to shoot a variety of angles and compositions with each set up to create a set of imagery from each set up you create rather than just one!
Now you have a set of gorgeous styled brand imagery on your phone you’re almost ready to share, the final step is to edit them consistently. To do this, use an app – my go-to is PicTapGo (£1.99 in the app store) but you could also try VSCO or SnapSeed to find the one with filters and settings that work best for you and your brand.
The secret to creating your own beautiful brand imagery is practice! In a few hours you can create a range of imagery that you can use again and again across your social media feeds, keeping it relevant and on brand – and not having to worry about appearing generic or showcasing someone elses work!
Got a question? Come and join my free Facebook Group for Wedding Pros, where I’ll be happy to help! Want more tips and advice for styling brand imagery and styled shoots? Take a look at The Art of Styling Workshop, where I’ll teach you my process for creating beautiful wedding imagery that gets published in the world’s top bridal publications.