The Role of Photography in Building a Brand

The high-end line-up of panel discussions joins the New York-based photographer Jonathan Bookallil. He is speaking about the importance of photography in building and developing a brand.

Growing up in a family of a well-respected Australian fashion editor, Jonathan has always been living within the heart of fashion industry. Bookallil is well-known for being a preferred celebrity photographer – he has worked with Heidi Klum, David and Victoria Beckham, Elizabeth Hurly and many others. Some of his most notable work is for Harpers Bazaar, Elle, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Marie Claire. He is best known for his graphic portrait style fashion.

The Role of Photography in Building a Brand

Building and developing a brand always benefits from advertising. But when it comes to fashion or design brand, photography turns out to be playing much bigger role than simple advertising. In order to create a successful brand, one should  have consistency of vision, says Jonathan Bookallil. And nothing can develop a vision like photography. Nothing happens over a night and you can’t expect to progress by launching something big and working little to develop it. He, as many other successful people in various spheres, puts quality over quantity. It’s logical – if you can’t provide quality, identity and high standards, your place is just not in the fashion world. Many will rush to over produce content, but Jonathan says it would be a mistake. “All you need is a few key pieces to make people understand what you want to tell them”.

Working with the right kind of people is essential, too.  “Bring branded people into your campaign”, says Bookallil. You need to work with people who know what they are doing, people with vision, like you. They will help you create a better strategy and boost your efforts. Of course, building a good team will also take time. “You need to be consistent and work in the long-term with the same team, he says, “The longer you work with the team, the better you get to understand each other.”

What will bring your brand on the map, is bold, visible photography, he explains. Supermodels might be expensive, but their work is exclusive, too. According to him, it’s worth paying for high quality photography, as it can give a great push to your brand. It will give you the right vision, and with strong identity and the right people, you should succeed. But he adds, “Be prepared for the success of your photography.” Make sure you have enough stock and good managers to cope with the demand. Otherwise, it will backfire to you.

Jonathan also explains there are different types of campaigns. It depends on what you want for your brand, and how you want to show it. Remember, photography is visual, so it can help you go on the market,but at the same time, if you are not careful, it can bury your brand for good. The content of photography is very important – your vision and your message depend on it. What will your brand will look like, will it be strong, and who will it target? These all will be decided by your content. “The consistency of image could drive you huge amount of sales“, adds the photographer. “And you can use the same images over and over again, and they can be even credit for the success of your brand.”

He continues his speech with a focus on local designers, saying that they should understand their environment and stick to it. Your culture and your history are an important part of your identity, so you should incorporate them in your designs. “If you live in Dubai, don’t try to be European.”, he adds.

On his opinion on pre-production, Jonathan says, “It is extremely exhausting, because you have to prepare people for your vision. And sometimes they hate you, because it is too much you want. It is also very hard work to please everyone involved.” Of course, there is always a risk, but you have to daring to take it.

When choosing a photographer, designers should pay attention. Today, photographers have become celebrities in their own right. They have probably been in the industry longer than you. “It is important to choose well-established photographers, because they have followers, connections and experience that you can benefit from”.

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