Visual Marketing Techniques For Your Business (Part 2)

visual marketing techniques p2

Welcome to part 2 of our Visual Marketing series where we’re discussing the need to visually represent your business in an authentic manner, and how to do it. If you missed part 1 on design, go ahead and start there, we’ll be here when you get back.

Today we’re talking about digital photography. More specifically, we’re talking about some basic tips and techniques you can use to quickly up your photo game and better promote your business.

Despite the fact that most everyone has a camera in their pocket and access to a multitude of editing apps via the App or Google Play Store, many are unaware of even the most elementary photography basics. Just snapping a picture, throwing some Photoshop on it and calling it a day won’t get you very far when you consider that over 95 million photos are shared on Instagram alone every 24 hours. If you want to rise above the endless flood of competing images, you need a reliable strategy.

Whether you’re taking employee photos for your website or snapping a quick pic for your social media profiles, the quality and tone of your pictures says a lot about who you are as a business and helps you stand out in a crowded digital world.

Successful business owners and marketers understand how to tell their company’s “story” and engage their customer base through some basic tips and tricks of the photography trade.

And the good news is, these tips and tricks won’t require any major investment of time or money! You can still use your smartphone and favorite editing app. So here goes Photography 101…

Keep It Simple

A common photography pitfall is the tendency to overcomplicate the picture. But this only clutters up the image, makes it tough for your subject to stand out and tends to confuse the viewer.

Empty space, referred to as “negative space” by the pros, is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, countless awe-inspiring photos have consisted of just one interesting subject and a plain background.

These simple photos are also better suited for sharing on social sites like Instagram where they will, more often than not, be viewed on the small screen of a phone.

Painting With Light

Lighting is SO important! And the 2 different kinds of lighting, natural (i.e. the sun) and artificial (i.e. a lightbulb) as well as different positions and placements of the light will give your photos differing looks and feels…

No post on photography would be complete without a nod to “golden hour”, the holy grail of natural lighting conditions. The “golden hour” occurs about 1 hour after the sun rises and 1 hour before the sun sets each day. Because of the sun’s lower position in the sky at these times, the light is very flattering and you won’t have to worry about uncomely shadows when taking your pictures.

If you happen to be shooting indoors, you can still take advantage of natural light by positioning your subject near a window. But if it’s impractical or even impossible to shoot closer to a window, table lamps, flashlights, or, for the more ambitious, studio lights can help illuminate your photos as well.

Keep in mind that the direction and angle of the light, whether indoors or out, will impact the outcome of your photo. As a general rule of thumb, positioning the light source in front of the subject is great for portraits due to the even distribution of light, but positioning the light source behind the subject can make for some very creative silhouette images.

The Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is one of the quickest ways to take the quality of your photos from average to breathtaking. It’s also one of the easiest.

Imagine that there are 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines dividing your picture into thirds and creating 9 equal sections. Basically, mentally visualize your image beneath a tic-tac-toe board.

(Image created by User:Moondigger)

Where the vertical and horizontal lines meet is where you want the points of interest in your photograph to be. For example, if you were to take a picture of your friend, following the rule of thirds, you might position her face towards the upper right, where the upper horizontal line meets the vertical line on the right of our imaginary tic-tac-toe board, rather than in the middle.

When taking photos, determine the main points of interest and attempt to position them near one of the 4 imaginary intersections.

Shoot From Different Angles

Since most photos seem to be shot at chest level, you can create interesting images by changing the perspective from which you shoot. One of the easiest ways to do this is to simply crouch down and take the picture from a lower angle.

A couple benefits of shooting from a lower angle include the possibility of capturing interesting details in the foreground of your image; details that would have been lost were you standing when taking the photo, as well as your ability to frame your subject against the sky; an easy way to remove distractions and clutter from your pictures.

Use Filters

Yes, you can still use your beloved filter app! But choosing the right one can help your photo pop and get noticed.

First aim to choose filters that represent your brand… A cool-toned, dark filter for a company selling organic baby clothes might not be the best fit.

Also, if you plan to post your photos on Instagram, have a look at the current most popular filters. These are the ones customers enjoy seeing so, if it works with the message you’re trying to convey, slap it on there!


Photography is a beautiful art form and now you have some tricks up your sleeve to make your pictures a bit more beautiful. Never underestimate the value of these tried and true principles! By employing them, you have a better chance of engaging your customers and standing out amongst the competitors in your industry.

If you’re interested in further developing your digital photography skills, learning sites like Skillshare and CreativeLive have many great classes you can explore.

Be sure to check out part 1 and part 3 of this series as well!

Visual Marketing Techniques For Your Business (Part 1)

Visual Marketing Techniques
Alice Achterhof

It’s become apparent over the last few years that quality design and an authentic visual representation of your business are essential to success. And it make sense… we live in a culture where what we see helps dictate what we think and feel.

Take Minnetonka, for example, a footwear brand specializing in handcrafted moccasins. Everything on their website, from the color scheme to the chosen fonts, screams comfort and make me feel like cozying up to a fire, hot cup of cocoa in hand, a pair of warm slippers hugging my feet.

The truth is, the “look” of your company is important. The design of your website, your product packaging and social media posts, even the uniforms worn by your employees all help tell your customers a “story” about what your business stands for, the quality of your products or services, and more.

But what if you have ZERO budget to hire a professional graphic artist? Or your favorite design firm is booked out for 3 months? Just because you’re a business owner or marketing guru doesn’t mean you can’t tackle various design tasks yourself when the need arises.

In this three-part article, we’ll learn the basics of visually marketing your company to the world by exploring a few key priciples of design, photography and videography.

By the end of this series, you’ll have the tools to confidently craft infographics, post more attractive Instagram photos and film more engaging YouTube videos – Even if you consider yourself “design-challenged” or “uncreative”.

Part 1 (this article) will focus on some basic design secrets, Part 2 will explore photography tips, and Part 3 will hone in on various videography techniques. Let’s dive in…

A Common Trap
First, I think it’s important to note that though professional designers generally use high-end tools like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, that doesn’t mean you need to use them too… These softwares are expensive and require a serious time commitment to learn how to use.

Thankfully, websites such as Canva, Pablo by Buffer and others offer amazing design tools to help you craft better social media posts, banner ads, posters, and more, for free!

Design 101
Professional graphic artists will tell you that design is composed of 7 elements: line, color, texture, size, shape, space and value. But as a business owner or marketer, that’s a bit more information than we’re looking for…

What we need are a few basic principles and ideas to help us create visual content that pleases our customers and better conveys our company values – without tearing our hair out in frustration.

What Inspires You?
Begin by gathering inspiration. Which websites, logos and brochures speak to you? Have you caught yourself looking at a competitor’s social feed and wishing yours was as creative and professional? This is where you should start!

Now, we’re not planning to make an exact replica of someone elses work; that’s called stealing. Rather, we’re trying to give ourselves a starting point. If we have a good idea of what we’re trying to create, we’ll have a much better chance of actually making it happen.

Also remember, your designs need to align with your company values… You wouldn’t expect to see a website for a men’s outdoor clothing store arrayed in shades of pink and purple. That probably wouldn’t relate to their customer base or tell their “story” in an authentic way. So gather inspiration from companies that sell to your customer base or hold similar values.

Observe and Analyze
After you’ve gathered some inspiring designs, ask yourself what it is you like about them. Is there something about the way they combined different fonts or chose to arrange certain elements on their latest infographic that captures your attention?

By analyzing what you like about an artist’s work, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re hoping to accomplish with your own designs.

Next, you need to keep in mind the basic design principles of alignment, color cohesion and readability…

The human eye appreciates uniformity because it allows us to better make sense of what we’re looking at. Whether you’re designing a business card or captioning your latest Instagram post, do your best to keep your creations symmetrical and aim for proper alignment.

Color Cohesion
Would you wear brown pants, a yellow shirt and a red jacket? Hopefully your answer is no… The same holds true for design. Choose a couple (not 6 or 7) colors that compliment each other and stick with those.

If your design is hard to read or look at, you aren’t finished with it… The designs for your business should flow and easily convey information. Many times, aiming for a minimalist approach is a good bet so resist the urge to keep adding elements. Too much contrast is unpleasing to the eye.

The Rules of Hierarchy
Finally, respect the rules of hierarchy. This means you need to prioritize certain elements over others in your artistic works. What is the purpose of your latest infographic, Facebook header or banner ad? Are you hoping to inspire action, invoke a specific feeling, something else?

The artistic decisions you make need to reflect this purpose. If your latest design is supposed to create a somber, reflective mood, using bright colors is probably counterintuitive.

This is similar to what we were saying earlier in regard to designs that align with your company values, but takes it a step further… Not only should your designs connect with your unique customer base, but they should also accurately represent the feel and tone of that specific piece of marketing material.


So that’s it; a few basic design tips to improve your visual marketing efforts and better connect with your customers. Though these tips alone won’t help you win any awards, they will drastically improve the quality of your designs, infographics and social media posts and that’s what we’re after.

If you’re interested in further developing your design skills, digital learning sites like Skillshare and CreativeLive have many great classes you can explore.

Be sure to check out part 2 and part 3 of this series as well!