You’ve heard time and time again that a picture is worth a thousand words. These days, we certainly live in a photo-centric world. Whether on your company’s website, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, Yelp, or any other digital platform—images are the cornerstone of the content you share with your prospective customers online. They also dramatically increase conversions! Without them, all the words in the world won’t be able to effectively sell your business. Get ready for a crash course in visual marketing- how to take great photos!
Invest in a Professional
Yes, this is a blog about taking your own great photos of your business, but we would be remiss to pretend that professional quality images aren’t an important investment. Of course you don’t need a professional photographer for everything. But having a base of great, professional quality images as a starting point for showcasing your business is worth every penny spent. More permanent photos, like the ones on your website, are best left to a professional. With all the different outlets you can share them on, you’ll get your money’s worth!
At a minimum, you’ll want to invest in professional head-shots for your team members, great photos of your retail location, and product images for your cornerstone offerings. Not only will you be able to use these images on your company website, but you’ll repurpose them over and over again on social media and on your company blog. This type of visual marketing is especially important if your site has ecommerce abilities.
Learn on the Fly
Once you have your base of high quality professional images, you’ll want to supplement with your own decent quality photos. It’s not cost effective to hire a professional photographer for each tweet or status update, so you’ll want to take some decent quality images of your own. Luckily, that’s what the internet is for!
There’s no better resource than the AdoramaTV YouTube channel for picking up quick and easily actionable photography tips. If you have a nice camera but have no idea how to use it, try their Digital Photography One on One. And if you are just doing your best with an iPhone, that’s okay! Their iPhoneography series can really help you elevate the quality of your iPhone images.
Visual marketing, and good photos, doesn’t have to be terribly complicated. Here are a few quick tips to show you how easy improving your photos can be!
Dark lighting Use sunlight or a bare bulb
Light reflection Use a white piece of paper to filter light
Too much background Get as close as you can to the subject
Having a complicated background Use a white piece of paper, for a white
Capture What’s Behind the Scenes
With so many reality television series in production these days, it should come as no surprise that people love to know what it’s “really” like to work somewhere, do something, or live a life that is outside of what they know. The same is true for your customers! They really want to know what it’s like to work at your company, and what happens there on an everyday basis.
This tactic of visual marketing is all about using social media images to show what’s behind the curtain of your work environment or the production of your products. The best part is, with this style, these images do not need to be professional quality! Snap a quick picture with your smartphone the next time you’re up to your ears in boxes from a new product shipment. Sharing the behind the scenes stories will help to visually connect your customers to your brand.
Understand Viewer Preferences
When adding photos of your products or services, think about the images that appeal most to you! Ask your friends and co-workers which of two options they prefer more. Another top-notch idea is use your social media as a laboratory to test different options. Consumers often need things visualized for them, so a general rule of thumb for view preferences is to show your goods or services in an attractive setting. Aim for natural, relate-able settings as well. You’ll also see more interest if you inspire your customers with ways to utlize your product, by telling them what they can accomplish with your product or services, or in general paint a “life-style” picture for them (e.g Your life will be happier, less stressful, you’ll have more time, etc). Another strong customer viewing preference is for “down to earth” images. Encourage your happy customers to send you photos, and use those!
The Wonders of Editing
Easy to use, modern editing tools mean you don’t need to be a professional to share great photographs. There are so many programs that can take your less than stellar images and make them look great! While Photoshop is the industry standard for photographers, it can be difficult to use without training. That’s why we love Fotor (both the smartphone app and the full desktop program) for simple, no frills editing. Five minutes going through the product tutorial, plus an hour or so playing around with the desktop program, will teach you enough basic editing skills to take your images to a new level. Editing your photos before posting is highly recommended, you want to present the most polished, good looking version of your brand possible.
Look at the difference in these two presentations: Brittany Spears, who clearly uses no help or photo editing software for her Instagram posts…as compared to Beyonce, who obviously does.
Editor’s note: They also use the “behind the scene” tactic!
Try and Try Again
You’re not going to become a professional photographer overnight. But with more high quality, easy to use cameras and editing tools available on the market (and even inside our smartphones), it’s easier than ever to take great images of your business. So don’t be afraid to try something new! As you gain new skills, your marketing photos will get better and better. And, no matter what, any images you share of your products and business will be better than no images at all.