Brand Photoshoot For Intangible Product or Service

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tips for branding photoshoot with intangible product or service

I’ve worked with my friend Kristina for a long time. Her business involves being a life coach and has honed in on helping people with their mental health. She takes a wholistic approach in that she stresses taking care of both the physical well being as well as the mental thoughts because it is all connected. Body and mind, mind and body. Many of her images addressing physical well being have been fairly straight forward. We create shots of her working out, meal prepping, and sleep. We have her in the kitchen cooking, bedroom sleeping, outside running, hiking, stretching. But what if the subject is something intangible? For people that have brands that sell or offer customers “a way of being”, “a way of taking charge of their lives”, “a way of battling depression” there is no straight forward “before and after” shot. Kristina wanted to have images that addressed about past trauma, healing, self discovery, self care. Here are 5 tips that you may want to consider which helped me create these types of images for her. 

1) Focus on emotion: In a lot of my branding work I aspire to create emotion. Images of someone shown running up a flight of stairs or doing pushups on the ground can say many things. It can say this person is fit or into fitness. It can also allow for stories of perseverance and determination. A lot of that communication will be through the subjects facial expressions so have them do them all! Happy, sad, thoughtful, excited, frustrated etc. It is fun to play around with this and the best way to get genuine responses are to help them think of a time they felt that way.

Keep in mind body language, facial expressions, and lighting. How can you light the scenario to support the mood? Light and bright can show happy. The creation of shadows can make the environment more moody. However, a light and bright scene can have an unhappy subject which can add to the feel of intended disconnection. 

2) Windows: Windows are awesome. The light is beautiful and gives you so much contrast. You can work with light and shadow to make the mood feel bright and light or contrasted and dark. Putting the subjects away from or facing the window gives you so many options for drama. In my shoot we used the window to make her look trapped, afraid, sad. I wanted it to look like someone locked into the fear of their own mind looking out to find courage. 

3) Reflections: The reflection play of the window was a perfect representation of someone looking either out at the world or at themselves and their inner thoughts. I loved it so much I decided to bring a mirror to our shoot. We played around with this concept of reflection. Mirrors and reflections are a great symbol of who we are, how we see ourselves, how the world sees us and the dualities in life. 

4) Hands: When I am trying to make a connection of something intangible come across as, well, tangible, I find the use of hands can help make that happen. Hands out or open can make the connection of being open to or receiving an idea. I think about receiving intentions from the universe as well as sending out my intentions to the universe or even the viewer. Hands folded can say peace or calm. Hands writing can depict understanding or self discovery. Hands touching grass or rock can also evoke ideas of discovery. Hands physically touching a person or nature can symbolize our connection to them.

5) Sun Flares: I love a cool sun flare for any type of photography. It creates all types of crazy haze, shadow and desaturation but I absolutely love it! Incorporating the sun reminds us of time passing. Sunrise and sunset can often represent the ending of one thing and beginning something new. It is renewal, forgiveness, new beginnings, a new day. The passing of time which is necessary for healing. 

 

Bonus Tip: Location Location Location! Location adds to the narrative and can really bring home the idea or feeling. A gritty street full of trash and concrete can convey the cold loneliness of abandonment. The warm sunshine on a face in a nicely manicured park can portray joy or content. For Kristina we took advantage of the beautiful mountains that surround us in Colorado to give the feeling of grandeur. That greatness gives one the feeling of humility. We are just one small part of a larger whole that is this world, this life. What a blessing it is to exist in this moment, at this time, in this state of mindfulness and gratitude. 

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