3 differences between a brand and a portrait photographer

Most of us have somewhere between 1-50 photographer friends in our circles. There is rarely a shortage of options for wedding portraits and family photos. So when it comes to our business photography – does the category of photographer really matter? Can I just ask my family photographer to come take pictures for my business? And why do brand photographers charge more for their services when I could get the same length of shoot from my portrait photographer for less?

First, I do want to say that many portrait photographers are completely capable of taking your business images! The actual skills of taking and editing pictures is similar and I am in no way discrediting their talent. But let me share a few differences we’ve focused on since switching from a personal portrait photographer to a brand photographer.

Business Photography in Portland Oregon

1. Process

For portrait photographers, most of the preparation for a family session includes getting to know the personality of the family, maybe helping with outfits, and scheduling the time and location. Portrait photography is absolutely meaningful, but because the goal of the images is to show the emotion and connection in the moment, in most cases, the primary work is done on location with the family.

As a brand photographer, the goal of the images is to represent a brand, to fill specific slots on websites, and to be versatile throughout your business. We can’t rely on the emotion of the moment, but instead need to have a plan for the direction the shoot needs to go. So we prepare for a shoot by learning about your business, your market, your visual aesthetics, and brand values. We make a plan for exactly which images are needed on your site, to ensure we have images with extra space on the side for text or images that can crop to square format. We plan props that will personalize the images to fit your brand. And we plan for enough variety in layouts, angles, and props so that you can cycle your images throughout instagram without them looking identical.

I do know some business owners that have brought on portrait photographers for their brand photos and have received beautiful images, but this always puts the work on the business owner then to communicate their entire vision, plan the images needed, and to provide the props or supplies on their own.

>> See behind the scenes on exactly what our process looks like here! <<

2. permissions

Many portrait photographers have specific guidelines on how their photos can be used. It can be unclear whether you actually have permission to use the images in promotion for your business, which reaches more eyes and has great financial impact than framing a family portrait for your wall. Portrait photographers often make you agree to not edit or change their images in any way (under some definitions, this can even mean not adding text over images or altering the image slightly to better fit your visual style). Obviously as brand photographers, we do our best to present you with a final image that doesn’t need any retouching, but we don’t restrict you from making needed alterations or overlaying with graphics for your own promotions.

Portrait photographers also rely on the tagging and crediting of their work to gain referrals and make more money from your session together. We love it when clients tag us so we can see them using their images, but we completely release them from the pressure to do that, since in some cases, it could distract from their own brand promotion.

We also provide every client with a full Commercial Use License so they can use their images everywhere in their business – website, ads, print, social media, etc. Some commercial photography companies nickel and dime for each separate license to use each individual image, but we’ve incorporated an overarching license into our pricing that saves you an immense amount of money and hassle. We don’t want you worrying about what is and isn’t allowed!

Business Photography in Portland Oregon

3. Price

As you may guess by now, each of these factors is incorporated into our pricing. The thorough research and preparation before the session, the detail and variety during our session, and the rights and permission to put the images to work in your business.

I absolutely love our personal wedding and family portraits and they have huge sentimental value, but the reality is that brand images are much more valuable to you monetarily than personal portraits. So to invest in the complete experience – with a team who understands brands, will coordinate with your web designer, and offers you freedom with your images – will absolutely pay off for your business!

Do you have any other questions about the differences between a personal portrait photographer and a brand photographer for your business? Ask them below and let’s talk!