Creating Photography That Fits Your Brand

Even in today’s world of Instagram filters, we generally think of photography as a true record of events and people. We know that photos can be edited and adjusted but we don’t think of photography, especially photography done for marketing or advertising purposes, as telling a carefully constructed story. This is a mistake. As much as words, or a logo, photography is part of the story you are trying to tell about your brand.

At BLACKWATER Promotions, when we meet with a client about photography, we send along our Communications Director to ask questions about the company’s history, feel, and target market. The answers to those questions help our Photography Director create a mood board to give the client an idea of different photography styles that might work for their brand. So much of today’s marketing, from social media to websites, depends on photography, and it’s important that a company’s photography match their brand identity.

When creating mood board options, we carefully consider and research these essential elements in marketing and photography to guide our creative process:

Target Demographic

Understanding the target demographic matters a lot when choosing photos and a photo style. Younger audiences tend to appreciate individuality and a willingness to break the rules, meaning funkier, less obvious photos. An older audience tends to want more formal compositions. Saturated, loud colors are more suited for a younger audience, while a more muted color palette is better for more thoughtful, mature audiences. Of course, mixing and matching styles may widen the appeal of the photography. These elements affect both the actual photoshoot (and the preparation for it) along with photo editing.


In photography, as in real estate, it’s “location, location, location.” Where photos are taken matters almost as much as what’s in the photos. Natural settings? Indoor settings? Off-the-wall settings? All of these are options, depending on the story the brand is trying to tell.


The composition of a photo is how the photo is arranged. You may have noticed that some photos are busy or complex, while others are fairly simple with very few items in the shot. A lot of this has to do with the message of the brand. Is the company trying to portray energy and excitement, or peace and calm? Having a consistent composition style will help make photos easily identifiable as part of the brand identity.

Color Palette

Most companies already have some brand guidelines, including which colors to use. Whether it’s across social media, in a magazine, or on a billboard, your photography should be following these brand guidelines. This will help create consistency for your brand, giving it a refined and focused messaging that will increase brand recognition and recall.

These photos from the IBM Learning Center near White Plains, NY show some of the ways that color, composition, and framing can be used to create a mood and identity for a brand. As part of IBM, the Learning Center has to be seen as fully modern and wired, but as a corporate retreat, it has to be seen as warm and inviting.

Photography should be considered part of your brand identity. Keeping your photography consistent and creative will help add to the story your brand wants to tell.