Let Go of the Handshake Photos For More Appropriate Brand Visuals |

In the words of our nation’s top infectious disease consultant Dr. Anthony Fauci: “The handshake is dead.”

As many federal and state social distancing protocols remain in place, the handshake has all but completely disappeared from our daily lives. And although we can certainly look forward to life as we knew it returning soon, it’s likely that handshaking with colleagues and business partners will permanently become a pleasantry of the past. As such, it’s both savvy and socially conscious for marketers to begin shifting away from the ubiquitous handshake stock photo to convey partnerships, collaboration, and teamwork. 

If your website and marketing collateral are adorned with handshake photos, never fear — this is a great opportunity to launch a creative exercise for selecting more meaningful and effective visuals. 

We recommend these questions to kick off your brainstorming exercise: 

  1. What is the message we want the image to portray?
  2. Who is our target audience and what do they value?
  3. How do we want our audience to feel when they see the image?

Depending on the stage and size of the project, these questions may or may not be easy to answer. In many cases, it’s helpful to have external input to help uncover answers your internal stakeholders may overlook. Being able to build out a basic set of answers to these questions can go a long way in adding authenticity to the design. Ultimately, your primary goal is to select images that will resonate more meaningfully with your audience.

To Stock or Not To Stock?

Unless you have an in-house photographer or are working with a marketing agency, it’s likely you’re purchasing stock photos to populate the visual elements of your website, collateral, marketing emails, and social media channels. And while there are some truly fantastic stock photos available — don’t get us wrong — it’s extremely common to run across nearly identical depictions of generalized corporate activities. While they can be fine as placeholders, stock images — when overused — tend to have a sterile and generic feel that have a less than compelling result. 

Whenever possible, hiring a photographer to capture original images helps establish a valuable content bank you can draw from for a wide variety of digital and print channels. The subject, feel, and tone of your images are best when tailored to your brand and the specific project. Generally, the best images are ones that showcase your workforce, your customers or your products in action. 

For alternatives to the classic handshake photo, select compelling images that are relevant for the times and situation. Now that’s something we can all shake on!