The 4 Essential Brand Images Every Creative Business Needs

The 4 Essential Brand Images Every Creative Business Needs

And How to Use Them On Social Media!

Maybe you’ve decided to hire a brand photographer, recruit a friend’s help, or DIY your own brand images. Whatever route you’ve chosen, prepping for a brand photo shoot can be overwhelming. 

Once you’ve decided what to wear, the next question that will naturally cross your mind is…

“What kinds of photos do I need to take during my brand shoot?”

All too often clients come to me with a collection of photos that, quite frankly, look exactly the same. Usually, their brand photos are a jumble of standard product images and selfies they churn out in an effort to keep up with the universal need for regular social media content. 

There is nothing wrong with the images they’ve taken (this is a no-shame zone!), but there’s definitely something missing!

While each type of image is important, variety is not only the spice of life, it’s also the fuel behind your creative business’s visual branding. 

Here I’ll walk you through the 4 essential brand images your creative business needs to cohesively tell your brand story, communicate your message and mission to your audience, and connect with your ideal customer. 

#1 Portraits

The first type of images you need to capture for your brand are portrait shots. As a brand photographer and strategist, I tend to focus on environmental portraits when working with creative businesses, but depending on the type of work you do, headshots or traditional portraits may be valuable to prioritize as well!

The goal of portraits in your creative business

The purpose of your portraits is to put a face to the business and showcase the person(or people) behind the brand!

Portraits should tell your story! 

I am a big advocate of spotlighting brand owners because truthfully, YOU are the heart and soul of your business. It’s important that your brand images showcase your personality and flair. 

This is your cue to stop hiding behind your brand and start stepping out as the innovative, creative leader you are!

Ultimately, capturing a variety of images of YOU in your business helps to build trust, familiarity, and likability with your audience. This will make them much more likely to engage with your content and invest in your offers. In fact, using images of real people (vs. stock photos or professional models) has been shown to significantly increase conversion rates

environmental portraits for branding Nicole Bedard Photography

Environmental Portraits

The first type of portrait we’ll focus on is the environmental portrait because I find them to be most impactful for creatives! 

Now, these aren’t your typical headshots in front of a solid backdrop.  

Instead, they serve as a window into your world.

That’s why the most effective environmental portraits are taken in your studio, workshop, storefront, home, office, or outdoors! 

No matter which setting you choose, it should reflect what makes you and your business unique such as your personality and brand values. 

branding environmental portraits Nicole Bedard photography

For example…

  • If you are a painter, your portraits could be unpolished images of you at your easel, paint stains on your shirt and all! 
  • If you are a coach or a blogger and don’t necessarily have a physical space where you do your work, consider a studio location that offers different vignettes such as chairs, a couch, or a desk area so we can create an environmental portrait.

Even if the photos are staged at a photography studio, I encourage my clients to bring in props from their own workspace to make the studio feel like their own. Items like books, journals, a special coffee mug, or trinkets add a layer of personalization to your brand images.

In today’s marketplace, people want to know not just what they’re buying, but who they’re buying from. Having a well-crafted environmental portrait of yourself is an excellent way to connect with your community. 

My clients are always so amazed by the warm response they receive when a new portrait is bravely posted!

Quick Tip: looking for some on-location inspiration? Check out these brand shoots.

branding portraits and headshots Nicole Bedard photography


Headshots are portrait images taken with a solid color backdrop, often in a studio setting. 

They typically focus on your face and involve you looking directly at the camera with a tight crop. 

I will usually craft headshots for more traditional industries or large corporations. However, they can make sense for creative businesses too!

If, for example, you have a team and need to showcase your staff on your website, these images will come in handy! 

Quick Tip: Keep in mind, for some businesses, headshots simply don’t make sense and aren’t necessary! 

branding portraits and headshots Nicole Bedard photography-2

Traditional Portraits

Traditional Portraits are similar to headshots, but you may or may not look directly into the lens. 

When taking a traditional portrait, you’ll still be the main focus of the image, but the background is more environmental (indoors or outdoors) rather than a solid backdrop. 

When compared with headshots, traditional portraits aren’t a tight crop and may include ¾ of your body, a seated pose, or even a full-length photo of you.

How to use your portraits on social media 

You can use one portrait in so many different ways to build that “know, like, trust” factor with your audience. Here are a few ideas for inspiration!

Basic Introduction

Portraits pair well with any kind of intro! Use this as an opportunity to connect with people who are new to your feed or to present your business to the world for the first time!

Helpful Tips

Everyone appreciates getting the inside scoop! Use your portrait shots to reveal some insight from a recent client meeting. Or, share helpful tips and tricks your audience can use right away to help them do or achieve something related to your business!

Personal Post

Portraits are especially handy as you’re developing a more relatable presence with your audience. Share your favorite space at home to relax and recharge after another week of creating your product or service. Or share a few of your favorite things about working from home as an entrepreneur!

Additionally, your creative brand can use portraits for:

  • Your Why
  • Upcoming Announcements or Events
  • To Promote Something New
  • Website, Print Media, & Email Marketing
  • Bios
  • Social Media Profile Pictures for platforms like Pinterest or LinkedIn 
  • Speaking Engagements

Quick Tip: I know it can feel scary to step in front of the camera! That’s why I’ve created this FREE Brand Shoot Wardrobe Guide to take the guesswork out of what to wear for your portrait shots so you can feel more prepared and confident on shoot day!

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# 2 Action

Next you’ll want to capture images of your creative process so you can showcase what is unique about business. Action shots pull back the figurative curtain and allow your audience to see how your product is made or your service is achieved. This adds value to your offer and sets you and your business apart from the competition by showcasing what makes your brand so unique! Especially when it comes to creative work, customers aren’t just buying the end result, they are also investing in the process or experience.

The goal of action shots in your creative business

The purpose of these images is to draw your audience in and offer behind-the-scenes access to your creative process! When done right, this can build curiosity and connection. 

Be sure to snap these 3 action shots for your creative business.

working with clients_Nicole Bedard Photo Video

Working with clients

Your audience members want to see you engaging with your clients. Humans respond to images of other humans

Seeing you interact with your clients in a meeting, at your store, in a yoga class, or during a coaching session allows potential customers to picture themselves having a positive experience with you too!

working with materials equipment Nicole Bedard photography

Working with materials or equipment

Showcase the items you rely on in your studio or the materials you use in your client work. The equipment you use may in fact be what makes your business unique!

When it comes to creative products and services, customers appreciate seeing the tools you use to get the job done!

The equipment you rely on all the time, and likely take for granted, is often new and exciting to your audience! 

For example, one of my clients only used vintage machinery to craft their workwear clothing. Another client was a calligrapher who uses handmade ink pens from an American craftsman. Yet another is a florist who only uses local, farm-grown flowers which is an important part of her business’ values.

working in your workspace Nicole Bedard photography

You at work in your workspace

No generic, stock photos here! This is all about capturing you in your element! 

Your space is 100% unique to you and your brand so it’s time to invite your audience in to see where the “magic happens!” 

Snap authentic photos of you working at your studio, in your office space, on stage, or at a client’s home.

lifestyle portraits Nicole Bedard photography

Lifestyle Portraits

Yes, even your action shots may include portraits. 

While you may not be looking at the lens or posing for the camera, lifestyle portraits can help you capture a vibe for your brand. 

These photos may show you at work with the goal of defining your brand aesthetic by artfully showcasing you in real-life, everyday situations within your creative business.

How to use your action shots on social media 

Action shots are GOLD on social media because they can break up your feed, add variety, and set you apart from others in your industry! They encourage engagement and interaction with your community. 

Consider using your action imagery in these ways…

Design Inspiration

You can use action imagery as a tool to explain what inspired a specific design or your latest collection.

Color Influences

Explore what motivated you to use certain colorways in your work. Or tease their interest with a color palette and give them a sneak peek into a collection you’ve been working on that’s coming soon!

Time & Energy

Another great way to use action shots is to pair them with a description of how many hours it took you to cut out a design so they can appreciate the time and energy that went into the end results. 

Your brand can also use any and all of these action shots on social media to highlight:

  • Helpful tips
  • Case studies
  • What makes your brand unique
  • Backstory on logos
  • Website, Print Media, & Email Marketing

Quick Tip: Always include a call-to-action with your social media captions! A call-to-action is a marketing term that’s meant to encourage your audience to take action. A general call to action might ask them to “buy now” or “read more.”
Sample Calls-To-Action for action shots include phrases like, “are you working in the studio today?” or “sign up to be the first to know about my next print release!”

#3 Details

Now it’s time to capture the fine details and nuances that set you and your brand apart. Detail images are the most often overlooked brand photographs which is a shame because they can be so useful and impactful in your marketing and brand strategy.

The goal of detail photos in your creative business

Detail shots allow you to showcase your brand’s personality and what products and/or services you offer. You can even take it a step further and use imagery as an educational tool to demonstrate how to use your products or get the best results!

Typically you can capture these details in two ways…

materials fine details Nicole Bedard photo video

Materials or Fine Details

These are the “cherry on top” elements that you include in your process or end result to set yourself apart from the crowd. 

Detail imagery is about showcasing the craftsmanship of your product or process.

For example, you might choose to highlight how something is stitched, the reclaimed wood details you incorporated in a handcrafted table, or the shiny ink on a handwritten place card holder. 

You can also focus on your creative process. Maybe your detail imagery zooms in on the fact that you include a handwritten thank you note with every order. Or that you offer free personalization to make every purchase one of a kind. 

This is all about paying attention to and highlighting thoughtful details.

close up on hands Nicole Bedard photo video

Close-up of hands working on a project or computer

Close-up shots are so valuable to creative businesses! Often your audience may not realize how labor-intensive making your product truly is or how many steps it takes to get to that end result. 

Showcasing you working on a project can pull the process into focus so your audience is able to appreciate what goes into creating your beautiful ceramic pottery or the bridal bouquets you design!

These detail-focused brand images are more useful than you may realize for things like Instagram posts or blog images. 

Sure, you could probably find a stock image of someone else working on a computer, but capturing your own photos ensures your branding is cohesive and that these images feed into the overarching narrative of your brand imagery! 

I love seeking out opportunities to feature personal items that link back to your business in these close-up photos. I often include items like paperwork with your logo on it, a stack of books related to your industry, your website pulled up on the computer screen, or even your favorite caffeinated beverage on the table!

How to use your detail photos on social media 

Often your detail photos will include still product images and in-use product images that you can share on social platforms like Instagram.

Top Tips

You can use detail photos as a powerful teaching tool! Pair your brand image with your tried and true tips for using your product or service. You can also describe how to care for the product during use!

Introduce A New Product Line-up

Use photos to highlight the unique features of your new product line so that your audience can appreciate the craftsmanship, skill, and expertise that goes into the final product beyond its practicality. 

Share Product Benefits

Another great way to use action shots is to pair them with a description of how many hours it took you to cut out a design so they can appreciate the time and energy that went into the end results. 

Tell A Story

Storytelling is one of the best marketing tools you can use. Consider using your detail photos to tell a story about a specific material, product line, or detail that your community will love to hear. 

Your brand can also use Detail photos for:

  • Marketing materials
  • Industry-related tips
  • Blog visuals
  • Your website
  • Website, Print Media, & Email Marketing

Sample Calls-To-Action for detail photos may include, “do you use zero waste products in your home?”, “do you have a favorite zero waste product?”, or “sign up to be the first to know about our next product drop!”

#4 Results

Last, but certainly not least, you need to capture images of the final result. This could be images of your final product or of you delivering your service. However you choose to capture these final result images, I urge you to go beyond just taking a simple picture with a bland background. 

The goal of results photos in your creative business

While posting… 

  • portraits of yourself to build connection
  • action shots mapping out your process
  • and detail photos to capture what makes your business unique 

…are essential no brand photo shoot is complete without some classic photos of the final result. Whether that’s a service delivered,  a product complete, or an experience created, you need to show the end transformation!

Here’s some inspiration to help you make your final result POP in your brand images.

Results brand images Nicole Bedard photo video

Final result in its environment

I love snapping photos of my clients’ projects in context. This might mean taking pictures of the product on the shelf of their store. 

Don’t have a shop? 

No worries. 

Consider where this item will live or be used once your customer buys it. 

If your creative business is service-based or a combination of a service and a product-based business, capture images of your clients experiencing the end result. 

If you’re a service-based business that provides a customized product such as a calligrapher or a florist, this could look like showcasing what happens right before your client picks up their product. 

For a coach, the final result image could involve working with a client and attaching a glowing testimonial or success milestone to the image to articulate the impact of your work and expertise. ! 

You may also include an image that represents someone going through your service or workshop!

Results Brand Images Nicole Bedard photo video

You with the final product

I know, I know…

You thought you were off the hook. But, your time in the spotlight isn’t up just yet! 

Aside from portrait shots, it’s crucial that you capture an image of you with your final product or service. 

Need proof? 

I found this story really encouraging. 

An online art shop featured images of the artwork they sold on their website. However, they decided to do some A/B testing and found that when they featured the artist’s image instead of the artwork, conversion rates increased by 95% (you can read more about it here).

Clearly, customers respond to seeing the face behind the product or service!

I say take it a step further by including both you and your final result in your images to amplify the impact!

Quick Tip: You don’t necessarily have to be forward-facing in your final product images. Sometimes simply having your hands on the product or ¾ of your body in the shot achieves the desired impact!

How to use your final result photos on social media 

Showcase Your Offers

Use final result images to show your future customer the final product, a service you provide, or a transformation you help facilitate. You can even use this to spotlight the final branding of a specific product in a way that will resonate with your ideal audience. 

Product In-use

Show your audience the product being used. This could be a painting hanging in a space or a bouquet being walked down the aisle.  People will better connect with your products when they can see them being used and enjoyed in real life!

Your brand can use Final Result photos for:

  • Your online shop
  • Product images
  • Maker sites like Etsy
  • Website, Print Media, & Email Marketing

Capture Your Essential Brand Images

Now that you understand the kinds of images your brand needs to be most effective, it’s time to put them into action!

The good news is, I’ve made prepping for your brand photoshoot easier than ever!

This simple formula will help you get started as you map out your brand strategy.


Use your image and identify the category (i.e. a behind-the-scenes action shot). Then, pair that with an engaging caption that shares your brand story and builds on that know, like, and trust factor! Over time, each of those 12 squares on your feed will equal 12 unique categories that showcase different pieces of your brand story.
Click here to download my FREE Brand Your Image Checklist to make snapping the perfect photos as simple as possible! Keep it handy on shoot day or share it with your brand photographer to ensure you capture all of the essential brand images your creative business needs to connect with and convert your audience!

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