We all like good photography. Whether it’s on a brochure or a website, well placed photography in design can do a lot to enhance our marketing message. But there are contexts in which photography really comes into its own, and when failing to incorporate it can be detrimental.

With that said, let’s take a look at some of the more common instances in which we might choose to use photography to enhance our designs.

Capturing the essence of a product

If you’re looking to showcase the design of a new or existing product, then photography is the way forward. Portrayed through professional photographs, your product will be displayed in all its physical glory. From colour to contours, it will be represented down to the finest detail, so customers aren’t left guessing.

There really is no alternative to photography when it comes to visually representing an item. Illustration can and does work well under certain circumstances. But for the most part, a solid, real-life image is going to prove most effective.

This is because there’s something tangible about a photograph. It shows us that what we’re dealing with actually exists.

Essentially, nothing can capture the soul of a product like a photograph.

It all comes down to thinking about what emotions your brand aims to evoke. What will persuade your audience to buy what you’re offering?

For an obvious example, if you’re selling a diet plan, you’d likely want to show before-and-after images of real people. You wouldn’t necessarily want cartoon illustrations. Equally you wouldn’t just want a text description of how good your product is. You’d want visual proof to show that your product works.

Showing your company at work

Showing your office space, employees, or the area in which you work is not only professional, but can build trust with your clients.

Being able to put a face to a name, or a location to a brand, can do a lot for how we perceive people and businesses. By sharing images of yourself and your workspace with customers, it not only enables them to see who they’re working with, but it humanises you in a way that traditional marketing can’t.

The homepage of your website is the perfect place to display a representative image or two. Whether it’s just you or the whole office. Alternatively, you can include a ‘who we are’ page on your site, on which you and your employees all feature (headshots included).

Realistic representations

Nothing can visually represent what your company does in the same way that a photograph can. And, in a similar vein to capturing a product’s essence, the need for realistic representation may depend specifically on what you do.

For some businesses, showing a service or product in action is essential. For example, anyone in the food and/or catering industries might consider the realistic representation of their products to be of particular importance. They’ll want their food to look appealing and appetising, and as such will need the help of a photographer to properly capture the necessary mouth-watering aesthetic.

If your aim is to portray prestige, quality, or craftsmanship, photography is a necessity. Equally, if you want to communicate the affability of your employees, or the friendly and welcoming atmosphere of your workplace, photography will serve to do the job better than anything else.   

Final thoughts

When it comes to effective marketing, using photography in design is an indispensable tool. It allows us to communicate a message without saying anything at all. And often the mere presence of a photograph can boost our professional image and build trust with our clients.

Furthermore, there are certain marketing and PR contexts in which failing to incorporate photography could reap negative consequences. It’s just a case of being aware of those contexts, and making sure that we know when and where the application of photography will be most effective. 

For more on photography in design, check out our Quick Guide to Photography in Web Design.