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Paws, camera, action… Veterinary Practice Photography
How to create storytelling photography that captures the character and personality of your Veterinary Practice, by business photographer Nick Cole.
Before we get started, let’s imagine a pet owner lands on your website for the first time – what do they do first and how do they interact with your content?
Most will scan the home page before digging deeper. At this point you only have a few seconds to grab their attention, so the headline and the hero images (the ones you see first) need to make a great first impression.
A powerful hero image or a series of images, combined with a strong headline should create an emotional reaction and reassure the viewer they’re in the right place. Beyond the headline and the hero images, your photography should help tell your story, strengthen the emotional connection and guide the viewer through your content.
Let’s break this down and explore how you can create engaging storytelling photography that feels on brand and leaves your viewers ready to take the next step.
Align the style of photography with your brand
All brands should have a personality, so it’s important to create photography that’s aligned with the brand and personality of your practice. If you’re not clear on your brand positioning or your target audience, I would recommend doing the groundwork first before you invest in photography.
I always ask a new client to describe their brand (or business) in three words. It’s a simple technique and helps develop a narrative for the photography. Let’s say the three words that reflect your practice are care, trust and personable. During the planning process we can explore what this means to you and your clients, and how we can capture your brand personality in your photography.
Show and tell your story
We’ve explored your brand personality, now it’s time to show and tell your story. Your practice is unique – the building, the people, their experience, the services you offer and the way you work as a team. If you want to show and tell your story, I would encourage you to create and use your own photography. Be proud of who you are, your role in your community and bring what you do to life with bespoke content.
Getting the most out of a business photo shoot
Once you’re clear on your brand personality and you’re ready to capture your unique look, the next step is to consider where and how you’ll use your photography. Storytelling photography can be used across all of your marketing collateral, including your website, blogs, case studies, social media, print and much more. As part of your planning process, it’s helpful to break this down into categories and consider the content you need for each one. The final stage is to create a shot list which you can share with your photographer before the photo shoot.
By taking a structured approach you won’t miss anything important, and you’ll have a diverse mix of content in your image library to use throughout the year.
Show the team
It’s the people that make your practice unique, so I’d encourage you to show and talk about your team, from the vets to the nurses, the reception and admin team. In fact, everyone who comes into contact with your clients.
If your clients have scanned your team page, when they arrive at reception they’ll recognise a familiar face and they might even know their name too. This helps them get closer to your business, building stronger, closer relationships.
Show your services and what goes on behind the scenes
A trip to the vet can be stressful, for both the pet and their owner. Showing behind the scenes photography is a great way to educate your clients and show the care and attention you take.
By sharing simple storytelling photos of your services, your clients get to se the team at work, using the equipment or even carrying out a procedure. When you combine these images with carefully crafted copy it’s so much easier to understand how it all works.
I’m sure one of the biggest worries pet owners have is how their pets will behave at the vets. If they can see photos of the veterinary team handling the pets with a fear free approach, you’ve already helped put them at ease and you’re well on your way to creating a stress-free consultation.
Catching the perfect pet photo takes a little patience
Finally, if you’re looking for relaxed photos of your team with animals, a pet centric approach is essential. I would recommend choosing pets that are great with people, keep the photo set up simple and don’t expect them to perform too long in front of the camera.
If you’re photographing pets that have bags of energy and can’t sit still, it’s best to be patient, allow them to settle and work around the pet. It might take a little longer but you’re far more likely to catch the perfect shot, and it’s less stressful all round.