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  • Writer's pictureEmily Marcella

Icons and Brand Photos: How to Send a Big Message with Simple Items

I have a big obsession right now: brand photos in front of a clean backdrop with a few simple items.

Yes, it seems silly but here you are just as curious as to why this works so well. Like look at these three photos, you're intrigued right?!

But hi, it's me. Nothing is just simple and straight forward. Here's where I challenge myself to keep this post super simple and explain why these photos work so well and how you can try this method yourself.

1. Why Do These Images Work So Well?

We consume SO MUCH content on a daily basis. Whether that's scrolling through social media, listening to podcasts, streaming a favorite show - our brains are constantly bombarded.

For the purpose of this explanation, I'm going to focus solely on social media feeds.

We, as business owners, are victims of the algorithm always trying to play by the best practices to get in front of our audience. It's exhausting.

Then when you finally get in front of your audience your content needs to grab attention and hold onto their attention. Think of your content as Jack, and your audience is Rose, and the door, an important player, is the feed keeping Rose afloat. Jack tries desperately to stay in front of Rose and keep her attention while Rose stays afloat on the door. But eventually Jack (your content) becomes cold and sinks down into the ocean never to be seen again.

Those tears in your eyes aren't for's for all the content you've created that sunk to the depths of the social media ocean. And all your time and energy that went with that content.

SO how do you grab attention and get a message across quickly?

Simple, clean imagery.

All it takes is a split second to see something different - something easy for their eyes and brain to process - to grab your viewer's attention.

A solid color backdrop brings the eye directly to the subject. Psst...that's you, Jack.

The message then needs to be clear and to the point once you have their attention.

Enter icons.

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Icons are very simple props that generally represent either what you do, how you do it, or a look into who you are.

The intention with props is to drive home a message with your audience in that short window of time that you actually have their attention.

Okay to recap: a visually simple message with a straight forward message will likely keep Rose's attention long enough to leave an impression. Making your brand that much more memorable.

2. How Do You Create Simple Brand Images For Your Business?

The big question - how do you go from everything that is you and your brand and boil it down to a backdrop and a couple icons?

You hire me as your brand photographer and we figure it out together. [Feeling brazen over here, that Titanic comparison was epic ;)]

However, you can plan out these photos on your own. Have a pen and paper ready to take notes...

In an effort to keep this so straight forward, I give you my three steps:

Step 1. Think About Emotions and Values

Ask yourself, what emotions and values do you want your brand to evoke? What's your brand's message? Write down all the ideas that come to mind.

For me, I want my audience to see my brand as comforting, approachable, and knowledgeable. Those three adjectives weave in and out of emotions and values and lend themselves to my message. Brand photography can be intimidating and overwhelming but I want to encourage those interested to approach me (inquire), educate them through the process, and feel comfortable working with me.

All of those points, and more, would be written down in my notes.

Step 2. Pick Out Your Backdrop Color and Icons

Once you've done some thinking, hopefully you'll see some common themes and direction come to the surface.

Decide what backdrop color you'd like to use. Use color theory and your brand colors to pick out a good fit.

My recommendation is to pick a color that best aligns with the emotions you want to evoke. Happy and upbeat? Pick something warm and vibrant. More calm and laid back? Cooler tones match your style.

Moving on to your icons (or super simple props), write out all of your ideas on one list. These could be your tools of the trade, outputs, raw materials, or even items your clients would expect to be around when you perform your service.

I encourage you to get creative without getting complicated. Remember what you came up with in step one and come up with a simple message.

For example, are you a baker who prides themselves on quality? Maybe your icon is a golden whisk conveying the message that your craft is the gold standard. Other icons for this example - icing bags for creativity, a clean freshly pressed apron for cleanliness, pink bakery boxes for a classic touch.

Remember we're going for simplicity to convey your brand message.

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Step 3. Bring It All Together In Your Photos

Now's your time to shine and let creativity flow.

Because these images are so visually simple, it's imperative that you drive the message home using your emotions and posing.

Mirror the emotions you want your audience to feel when they engage with your brand. Let's use the examples from selecting a backdrop color. Is your brand happy and vibrant? Show big time happiness - bursting smiles, laughing at the camera, and body movement. More calm and laid back? Coy smiles, soft eyes, and chin resting on your hand are a good place to start.

Drive your message home with the icons you chose to represent your brand. Take lots of photos with all your icons and individually with your icons. Think of composition and flow. Get silly, get edgy, get creative.

Finally, working with the right photographer will help you nail your vision and feel comfortable. The first 15 minutes always feel awkward in front of the camera. Lean into that discomfort and I promise you'll work through it and be better for it on the other side!

Did I Keep it Simple?

Asking for my marketing pro - am I still hanging on to the door or have I sunk to the depths of the freezing content ocean?

Maybe I made it to the life boat with you and you're ready to inquire ;)

[Or you've already closed this tab because you're not a Titanic fan]

Go out there and create fun, simple content for your brand! Have fun doing it, too!

More About Confetti Clip Social

Confetti Clip Social is a wedding and event content creation service. Allow yourself and your guests to be in the moment as Confetti Clip Social captures all the important moments, candids, and behind the scenes of your big celebrations. Photos and videos are available immediately for you to enjoy and reminisce all the wonderful moments shared with your family and friends. Connect with Confetti Clip Social on Instagram and TikTok.


About Emily Marcella for Creative Brands Emily Marcella is a Northern Virginia Brand Photographer serving personal brands and creative small businesses. Emily has a three-part approach to brand photography - together we plan strategically in order to shoot creatively and generate images that allow you to market intentionally. Connect on Instagram | Connect on Pinterest


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