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Photography and Branding Yourself


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When you are starting your business there are so many concerns—the product, fundraising, the website, marketing.  Photography is often the last thing on founders’ minds and it doesn’t seem as important.  However, having good portraits of the founders and employees is essential to building the personal brand of your company and is a part of the company’s presentation and narrative.  Especially in the early stages of a startup’s life, the saying goes that  “investors invest in people not in the company.”  So why not represent the people in the most professional way possible?  Here are four quick tips on how to optimize your branding with photography.

Pick an emotional theme

When you think about your company and the service that you provide, what type of emotional connection are you looking to make with your audience?  Are you in a type of service that values security, where trustworthiness is critical?  Or, are you trying to make a process that was previously complicated and turn it into something fun and easy?  Most disruptive startups fit somewhere along this spectrum, so when you consider the emotional theme of your team’s portraits, aim to think carefully about where you fit and then represent yourself accordingly.

Pick backdrop colors that match your site themes

Typically photographers choose between two main categories of backdrops -- environmental, and colored backdrop.  The environmental look can be very impressive but it is sometimes hard to keep consistent or it’s difficult to match your website’s colors to color-complex office space.   White is the easiest colored backdrop to match with your website and it looks professional.  That said, the colors of your site and app design should drive the answer to the question of what’s right for you.

Pick a lighting style that matches your brand

The most standard, professional lighting style is a “flat” lighting, which is accomplished with even lights such as Kino Flos.  Even, flat lighting can make everyone look attractive with minimal shadows on their face.  That said, other looks can be very compelling, such as edge lighting, where a light behind the subject is used to separate them from the backdrop (and sometimes produces a “halo” effect in the hair), or an angled front light can add a bit of intrigue and drama to the look.  The desired lighting should be chosen according to the emotional theme of your product and service.  

Try to stay consistent and on brand

Most of all, once you’ve chosen the right emotional theme, color background, and lighting style, it’s important to stay consistent.  A hodgepodge of different photo looks is analogous to a having a website where some of the pages have the new design and some have the old design.  It’s a poor reflection of attention to detail and can be a detriment to your brand.  


Whether you’re shooting images yourself or working with the help of your friendly local portrait photographer, your team portraits are a great opportunity to represent yourself well to your customers and audience and grow your brand.  Each time you get the attention of your audience gives you the chance to put your best foot forward, and since your team is a critical part of your story, your portraits are an important part of your brand.  

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