Visual Content for Small Businesses

wedding party around the pool table

Visual content is king in the age of social media. It’s a visual world, and without engaging visual content, you are missing out on first contact opportunities. Unless a potential client is specifically looking for you, it’s safe to assume they are making a decision on who to contact first – based on referrals and search results.

The first organization they click on (be it on social media, or a website) has a huge statistical advantage over it’s competition already. If that customer, patient or client has their questions answered, needs met, and gets a good “feeling” from the content on that first contact, they may not even look at other options before making contact.

Obviously your search engine optimization and high placement is a critical factor, but even if you are a high first page search result, you may lose the opportunity to be that first contact if your site isn’t engaging, attractive and fully predictive (at a glance) of being a high level customer experience.

For our commercial clients, Shipman Photography’s simple goal is to give that client all the visual tools they need to: 1. Capture the attention of the searcher. 2. SHOW the searcher the answers to their unasked questions 3. Engage the searcher and keep them on site to read and consume positive impressions. 4. Firmly establish in the mind of the searcher that our client as the first call to make. And for us that means ALL of your marketable branding content from headshots to TV commercials.

While we also work with large brands through advertising agencies, in this article we will specifically focus on the very unique visual content services we provide directly to small and medium sized businesses.


The basic headshot is still the cornerstone of branding content for many small businesses – especially the independent contractor. The smaller your organization, the more important you and your team become as a living brand. Anyone who directly interacts with clients and patients, needs to be able to present a personal image that is professional, approachable and most of all – authentic. What that means for you and your business may be different than what it mean for someone else. It’s our job to represent your individual or corporate brand, and in some cases, help you find and define it. Headshots can be shot in studio, at your office, or on location outdoors. The studio headshots can be simple or can have a photorealistic digital setting (composite photography). The options are endless, and we can discuss the best fit for you and your brand ahead of time, or at the shoot itself.

Personal branding & lifestyle

Similar to the headshot, a personal branding image conveys a sense of “who” a client may be doing business with. While headshots are more focused on the initial first impression of being professional, trustworthy and approachable – the personal branding image goes a little deeper into personality, style and purpose. They show a subject in a little more creative and artistic presentation that goes a little deeper than the headshot. Great for social media, “about us” pages, blog posts and other marketing materials which help a searcher “get to know” you and what makes you interesting. It may help to have them see you working , laughing or simply look cool and fun. These help present our clients as someone fun or interesting, and again this is a valuable branding tool that enhances the likelihood of being a first call for our client.

Product photography

The visual presentation of your products is incredibly important. It’s a great example of why you shouldn’t take shortcuts on how you display them. Packaging, websites, social media, sales platforms like Ebay & Amazon, print ads and even billboards… However you choose to let the world know what you sell, you are leaving money on the table if you don’t show that product in it’s best possible light (literally). Lighting, setting, lens choice, color grading and staging are all elements that go into good product photography. These are choices that brand your product and say things about it – who uses it, how it’s used, build quality and more.


Depictions of customer service interactions create a relatable image for clients and customers to imagine themselves eating a great meal, winning at the roulette table, receiving empathetic quality medical care or simply making a purchase from a trustworthy sales staff. Depictions of professional staff interactions and team members enjoying their job send clear messages to a searcher that those team members are not only competent and authoritative experts, but that they are fun and nice and probably would be that way on the phone or in person. Again, it is about creating an anticipation in a potential client’s mind that what they see in staged images is what they will experience. That’s a powerful motivator to go ahead and make that first contact with your organization.

team composites (updatable)

When part of what you are selling is the customer service experience, its popular to include in your marketing materials and website a staff photo. Your office staff, your sales teams, your physician group, your law firm senior partners and associates… whatever your business, if it is large enough to have a team but small enough that your team consists of people a potential customer would interact with, a team image can be a good idea for generating trust by a searcher who is looking for a reason to make that point of contact.

It’s important to remember especially in some industries that clients aren’t looking forward to doing business with ANYONE, but they need something are looking for people that look trustworthy. Nobody shops for a dentist, divorce lawyer or funeral home for the same reasons they search for a travel office or a gym, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still create a positive connection with a searcher through their being able to see the people they would interact with. It removes some of the distance and facelessness of an initial email or phone call.

There are challenges however… Gathering everyone up for a physical team photo either disrupts productivity or eats up time before work, after work or during lunch – all are impositions on your company time or the time of your staff. And then there is the matter of turnover. Any midsize business will experience periodic positive or negative turnover and the result is that your team photos are rarely up to date for very long.

The solution is one of our most unique and popular services – the team composite. These are created by shooting your team members individually at our studio and then creating a team photo from several individual images. The benefits to this are that we can put them into any kind of digital background that fits your brand and even change that background if your branding changes. We are also able to work with one staff member at a time – greatly reducing loss of productivity. And lastly, adding or losing people is simply a matter of sending the new hire down for their photo and removing any files of team members who’ve moved on.

Custom studio creations

When the power of the group composites is unleashed to create truly custom digital art, the sky isn’t even the limit. There are no limits. Any concept you have for branding, mission statements, themed events etc. can be created from scratch as eye catching content. In today’s world, we are bombarded daily with thousands and thousands of branding impressions. The vast majority we simply tune out.

For a impression to avoid that mental filter and grab someone’s attention – from billboards you drive past to and from the office to social media content you scroll through on facebook and instagram, it takes something that really stands out to grab someone’s attention. That’s where photography meets graphic design and becomes true digital cinematic art. It is a creative service option, the quality of which few commercial photography studios can offer. We can.

video production

We have written, directed and produced award winning videos for a wide variety of clients. TV commercials, Interview style, testimonials, drone, tours, music videos, client & patient interactions and more.

We offer a full scale production staff for every video production. A typical production would include writer, producer, director, videographer(s) and video editor. Professional television quality gear.

Tulsa music awards 2020 video of the year, “pbr”

TV Commercial – Wilson Cadillac

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino New Years Party ’22

S force watch commercial video (full length)

Metro Tulsa foot & ankle physician interview

Riverside Rebellion ‘blood moon’ music video

This video received nearly 44,000 views within two weeks of publication.

For more information on visual content

Visit our dedicated Commercial Photography site here:

Read more about our basic commercial photography services here and portfolio here on
See more headshot and Personal Branding samples here on

Visit some of our multiple project small business clients:

Holden Litigation

Metro Tulsa Foot & Ankle

Nowlin Orthodontics