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Marketing Goals: Create an Internal Photo Library

internal photo library

Marketing Goals: Create an Internal Photo Library

Confession time: I take photography for granted. As someone who worked in retail and insurance in my “Life before Coyle,” it’s easy for me to think that there is a photo for everything when I am surrounded by images. 

Until I don’t have the photo I need. 

By then, it’s usually too late. Internal photography assignments can be delayed for client work, and we’re happy to do so because we love our clients. Life in a small business is rewarding, but it usually means prioritizing others before yourself.

Internal marketing teams can relate to this as well. Working in the same office space as your “client” often means that internal teams’ boundaries are ignored, and they are forced to address questions and needs immediately. They don’t always have the luxury of scheduling projects as a vendor would because their client can walk into their office at any time and make requests.

One way to prevent last-minute photo panic is to set up an internal photo library. I’ve been using my time working from home as an opportunity to get organized, look ahead, and start planning for months of upcoming content and campaigns. Spending time auditing your photos now will save you time when you are back in the office and catching up on the things you couldn’t do from home. Here are a few ways to get started:

Get Organized

Pull the photos you currently have together in one spot. Take stock of what you have, and organize them by type and use. It’s important to know what you want to use for print, web, social media, office art, or to have on hand as back up. Create folders that make sense for your team, and sort the images into those folders. You may want to identify images by subject category (employees, a product, a service, etc.) or by usage. Whatever you do, make it consistent.

Identify the Holes in Your Library

After you organize your current photo assets, you need to start filling in the holes in your library. Take a look at your editorial calendar to see what you’ve done in the past and plan to share in the future. Identify where you can improve and make lists of images you’ll need. Build your photo wish list and prioritize the immediate needs from the “nice to have” pieces.

Find Your Photo Sources

Where can you get the photos you need? We are strong advocates of using original photography over stock, but we understand that you cannot use custom photography for everything. Instead of pouring over stock galleries, get creative with your photo sources. Ask your clients to send you photos of your product or service in action. There are some vendors that share their content with their customers as a way to help them streamline marketing efforts. You can never go wrong with custom commercial photography. 

Whatever photo source you use, make sure you understand the photo permissions. The last thing you want to do is use a copyrighted image that you were not granted access to.

Set Up Processes

The benefit to having an internal photo library is that you’ll have a gallery approved by marketing that is on-brand to share with multiple departments. However, this doesn’t mean that every image can be used however anyone wants. For example, photos that are being saved for publication pitches cannot be shared on social media prior to printing. The story could be pulled. Develop a process for people to find, download, and use the images that works for your company.

In this process, make sure you have a system in place to back up your files. We have received too many requests from clients where an intern has deleted everything, and they never had a back up. Use external hard drives and cloud services together. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did.

Keep Adding Photos

You are always going to need more photos for new content. Keep organizing and identifying holes in your library in order to stay ahead of your marketing needs. It will require time to plan and get the photos you need, but your marketing will always be fresh and exciting.

Having an internal photo library will ensure that your marketing is authentic and on-brand. It will save time and money because you won’t be scrambling for an image that you may not even like in the long run. Set some boundaries, and prioritize your marketing. Your future self will thank you.

Need tips on creating authentic images? Check out our article “Authentic Marketing Photos: Show Off the Real You.”