The world’s largest companies have detailed photography standards for marketing. They will have entire guides dedicated to how their products should look, who should be included in photos, and even what types of situations the photos should show. While you might not have a giant library of photography rules, you should consider some broad thoughts about selecting imagery for your company:

A. Diversity- One of the biggest faux paus we see when working companies is failing to include diversity in their messaging visually. When working with a company or a community that has a diverse customer base/collection of service providers, it’s important to reflect that in the marketing materials. This will sometimes require intentionality on the part of the customer and the photo provider. 

B. What do you want to be associated with?- When doing styled shoots or selecting community sourced images, we need to evaluate what we want to be associated with. If you do a photoshoot with someone wearing a six shooter on their hip, you should ask yourself, does your brand want to be connected to guns? I use that example because the reaction normally goes strongly one way or another. If you are using community generated content, you may want to do a quick look on the social profiles of those submitting content. This may help you flag potential trouble spots before they arise.

C. Quality of the photos- Do you want highly polished stock photos or are you looking for images that feel a little more organic. This will guide your selection of stock photos or investment in local photography.

D. Sizes- If you do not tell photographers what size of photos you want, they will deliver you whatever size they want to. It’s a good idea to plan ahead. Think about what you want in return for working with a photographer.

E. Color Themes- If you go for a highly styled version of photography for your company, you may want to have a lot of a specific color involved in the shoot. Think of a company like T-Mobile; they have pink everywhere.

F. Outside Brands- When working with models or in a location, be sure to scan the photographs and sets for outside brands. People may be wearing a Nike shirt or have Nike shoes on. A party shoot might have specific brands of beer in the shoot. This may not be a problem for you, but it’s something to consider. You never know when the next big brand will become toxic to your customer base.

G. Formal vs. Informal. When thinking about the setting of the photos, the wardrobe, the expressions on the faces of the people, ask: Are we going for formal or informal in our photos? Some companies may want a more formal looking photograph, while others opt for informal and fun. A lot has to do with who your customers are and how you position yourself in the market.

This blog post is a portion of Attention and Action. The book walks you through the marketing process that Adelsberger Marketing follows with its clients. You can read this book for free as a blog on the Adelsberger Marketing website or purchase on

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