Friday, January 21, 2011

Tip #1 - Lifestyle Photography

When appropriate, great lifestyle photography can add pop, color, and relevance to your collateral or package. It's an effective way to draw your customer in and get them to take a closer look.

When selecting stock images or putting together a professional shoot, there are a few rules of thumb that should be applied.

1. Make sure they all "sound" the same. If multiple images are to be used, as in a piece of corporate collateral, they should be consistent in tone and visual style. This helps to maintain continuity through the materials and keeps your reader focused on both your piece and your brand.

2. Say something specific. Images should have something to say. Their message should be as focused and specific as possible while still looking natural and logical within the context of the piece. If you're adding an image to a product package, make sure that image conveys something about the product - ideally about the primary selling feature of that product.

3. Avoid a crowd. You can't always get everyone in the shot. A loud bulls eye always gets you more points than the vague scatter of a shotgun. Analyze your target market and determine most important and central segment - then select or create your images focusing on that group. The others won't feel left out. Trust me.

4. Aim higher. A commonly missed opportunity in lifestyle photography is the chance to appeal to the customer's ideal image of themselves. If your primary target is businessmen over 50, they won't necessarily respond as strongly to a gray-haired man in pinstripe as they would to, say a dark-haired man wearing a tieless Armani. your lifestyle should reflect a model who looks a bit younger, a bit wealthier, and a bit more polished that your actual buyer might be. Everyone wants to be more than they are - and products that speak to that ideal will appeal more strikingly.

5. Use metaphor carefully. Too much metaphorical imagery can come off as pretentious. Use metaphors sparingly, especially in the retail sector. Also, if you choose to go the route of metaphor for some of your imagery, make sure it's a common enough reference that your customer gets it immediately. Private jokes are not always the best conversation starters.

These are a few general tips that will help you select photos that will more effectively convey your brand. Of course these suggestions vary based on the specific products and targets, but I find them good general rules for selecting images, and use them without fail in selecting photos for my work.

Happy marketing. js