A (good) picture is worth a thousand words

It’s the year 2021: we’re still in an age of lockdown and compulsory homeworking. Most of us conduct their meetings online. Sigh, there goes the Microsoft Teams Jingle.Be honest, what appealed to you most back then: talking to someone whose face or photo you could see or talking to a bubble with someone’s initials? Right. Nobody enjoys talking to a wall or a faceless pictogram. That’s just one reason why photography matters, but obviously there’s a lot more to it when we look at branding and brand recognition. Time to delve into the subject! You’re reading the gospel on the role of photography (in branding), according to Unmute You.
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Trust and connection

The power of photography has to do with ‘feeling’ and psychology rather than science, so bear with us. Photos can elicit trust and a sense of connection. Whether you’re trying to attract new (client) relations or to keep current ones alive, connection and trust matter. In times like these when it’s not easy to find and retain employees, it’s important that possible candidates know who you are as a company, and as a team.  

Make sure your website tells them your story. Your applicants, when asked, will admit that they ‘felt like they knew you already’, especially if they identify with the style or vibe that your pictures are oozing. In other words: they trust that you actually exist, and that it might be as fun or as interesting to work with you as you indicated in your job posting. Moreover, they’ll connect with you fairly easily from the start.

The same goes for ‘corporate’ photography. Are you putting cases on your website about the latest projects you’ve been working on? Excellent, but don’t forget to attach consistently visually attractive and relevant images to the posts. That way, people can see what you’ve accomplished and that you’re currently active: yet another reason why they would trust you as a partner or possible employer. Have you been proclaiming to be cutting-edge? Be sure to put visuals on display of the innovative technologies or products you’re working on. Amaze those visitors!

One of the most crucial elements, though, is authenticity. Don’t post pictures of your team going out for a crazy adventure if, in fact, you rarely go out at all. Don’t showcase products you’re not that proud of or that don’t look the same way ‘in real life’ as they do on screen. If there’s one thing people can’t stand, and rightly so, it’s being hoodwinked. It's better to be an honest company that shows colleagues enjoying a beer together after hours and having fun, if that’s what you usually do. Or exhibit a product that's still in the process of being finished but looks awesome already!

Stock vs authenticity

Let’s continue down the path of authenticity. Don’t get us wrong, we understand that photography doesn’t come cheap. There’s the photographer who has to be paid, as well as the pictures they take and – often forgotten – their editing process. For example, if your company exudes a dreamy atmosphere, the photographer will probably make sure that photos are edited to look soft. The corners might be smoothed, and so on. You get the picture...

Specifically for start-ups, we completely understand that the budget simply doesn’t allow for authentic images. Not to worry, there are online databases with superb stock photos in abundance. However, it’s still important that you don’t lose sight of your brand. If you’re going for a swanky style with an exclusive feel, look for pictures with golden elements, people who are dressed up in suit and tie … Material that presents a more premium style, so to speak. Keep in mind that you’ll have to switch to authentic imaging at some point, if you want to stay credible. There aren’t many people who trust sites where you can’t find a single real image. Do you?

Another good reason to opt for stock images or illustrations as opposed to photography, is practicality. If you’re a Belgian-based company, for instance, whilst (some of) your team members work abroad, it’s hardly possible to get a nice shot of you all, working together merrily. That’s where you can get creative with stock images or with animations, illustrations and so on. There are possibilities aplenty to appear original and trustworthy.

Interested to know more about the difference between, and value of, stock and authentic photos? Let’s have a listen to our Art Director, Gauvain Debisschop: Unmute You | Dag van de fotografie

Pictures we took of our clients and our own team.

Photography at Unmute You

True to our baseline (Always Different, Always You), we’re big fans of real and personal photography. If you ask us, they always offer added quality, even when we're talking abstract images. People prefer to see a picture of the building of your company than a random office. Photography helps people connect to who you are and what makes you different from others in the same field of expertise. Stock pictures simply aren’t at the same level as authentic ones, and they unavoidably come across as slightly generic...or are we the only team that hasn’t thrown paper around in a meeting room while laughing and posing like models?

Most of our clients are situated in the IT sector: a market that has become quite saturated. Many are working with similar technologies or creating comparable products. They truly need marketing and kick-ass branding to stand out in the crowd. Again: photography helps them towards this goal. Besides, since they’re so active in digital worlds, it seems extra interesting for them to be represented online in the best way possible. We make sure potential customers or employees see who they are, what they stand for, what they’re making and why they are ‘the best’. Our clients look trustworthy and, depending on their branding, cool, fun, inspiring, innovative ...

Our process

We never get started without knowing exactly who our client is, so we make sure we get together first. Our common goal is interaction: people must be hooked in the story you’re selling. That’s how they are called to action, whether it is to get in touch or to apply for a job posting. Sometimes, we’ve already provided our clients with their branding. They’re the easier customers, of course, since we (co-)created their visual language. We have a clear idea of what kind of photography they need.  

If that isn’t the case, we make sure we’ve talked things through together and really listened to who they are and what they want. Are they looking for team photos and headshots, or rather abstract photography? How much can they spend, what are they hoping to gain, what do they imagine the process will be like? Have they worked with a photographer before? How did that go? Those are the kind of things we’re interested in. We don’t come barging in to tell them how it’s done but prefer a strong partnership. Once the playing field has been determined, all that's left is to make proper arrangements.

Finally, there’s something we truly want to stress. We understand that having your picture taken isn’t something everyone enjoys as much. We make it our priority that you feel safe in our hands and don’t feel exposed. We won’t make you pose in front of your colleagues or let you do things that are too far out of your comfort zone. One more time for the people in the back: authenticity is all the rage.

Did we convince you of the importance and influence of photography within branding? Interested to get creative together? Music to our ears! Please get in touch so we can get to know you! Curious about all our services? Here you go!

Did you like the pictures in this blog? We featured some of our clients, Coretecs and Plaza, to showcase our point.

Pictures we took of our clients and our own team.

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