The impact of custom photography

Photography is the easiest way to quickly connect with your audience. Nothing conveys a thought or feeling faster than an artful, authentic photo. Quicker than post copy or captions, a photo is an instant human connection. This is why we recommend a library of custom photography for many of our clients’ campaigns and brand initiatives. Not only is it a real look into your organization, but it can convey a visual mood and consistency to reinforce your brand. 
A day in the life

A great example of an organization that effectively used custom photography to their advantage is Rossman School. When they approached Magnetize, their objective was to grow their reach and maintain a pipeline of strong student candidates to attend Rossman. To do so, they needed a refreshed messaging strategy and a new, strategic marketing campaign to educate and inspire parents, faculty and key stakeholders to take action and become advocates for the school. 

One of the first things we suggested was a full day of custom photography. People love to get an inside look into a place before they make any commitments. Imagine yourself checking out photos of a restaurant or bar before you go; you want to see what the food looks like, what the seating is, what the parking situation is. This is especially true for schools, because where your child will spend most of their time is incredibly important. Will they be happy? Will they feel important to the staff? Will they be cared for? What does the overall student experience look like? Capturing aday in the life of  Rossman School students was a great way to answer those questions for prospective families.

From drop-off in the morning with parents to end-of-the-day story time with preschoolers, we photographed an entire day at Rossman. We visited all grade levels, all class subjects and visited all areas of their expansive campus. Beforehand, we made a shot list of what images we were hoping to capture, and worked with the team at Rossman to build a timeline with teachers, staff and students to effectively use every minute of the day. 

When all was said and done, we had a custom library of hundreds of images that Rossman School could use on their website, social media, and most importantly for the marketing endeavor we were about to embark on through print materials and digital advertising. 

Valuable perspective

Magnetize’s photography capability was born from our need to bring some agility to the creative process and intentionality to capturing images. Having the same team shape the messaging strategy, design and photography ensures that we’re creating images that truly meet our clients’ needs, in terms of format and content. We know how to create photos that will not only stand alone, but also be easily placed in the campaign, leaving room for text and graphics. Nothing is lost in translation because our photographer, designers and art director work together from the beginning to ensure we capture not only the big important things on the shot list, but the small nuances that give a glimpse into the intimate moments at an organization. 

At Rossman, we focused on happy, smiling children and teachers, but we also captured little details that told the story of the environment at the school – paintings drying at empty desks, small hands at a piano in music class, a shared laugh in the courtyard. Because we know the messaging strategy and overall tone of the brand or campaign, it informs capturing these spur of the moment images for other uses. 

Having custom photography to use for building the marketing campaign visuals, we didn’t have to waste hours trying to find the right kind of stock image, and our partners at the school didn’t have to hastily try to take photos themselves. We had high-quality photos of real students, wearing Rossman branded shirts, at the school. Our photography was part of the bigger brand value we brought to this campaign project, as it will help Rossman tell their story.

Proven success

After updating their website photography with the photos from our photoshoot, our client shared with us that they had multiple families tell them that they chose Rossman School because the photography accurately portrayed what a welcoming, happy environment it was. 

Custom photography easily conveys that human connection through digital screens, and if used strategically, one full-day photoshoot can be used for years. Magnetize’s strategic approach to creating a shot list and thinking about how these photos will be used within the overall brand in different formats ensures the longevity of a photoshoot. 

To see another example of custom photography at work, check out this case study for Embrace Living Communities.