Photography has become a global cacophony of freeze-frames as millions of pictures are uploaded to the internet every second.
To understand the impact of photography on our lives, think of all the ways your brand uses images every day. In your logo, catalogues, campaign posters, guides, programs, menus, LinkedIn profile, email signatures, website, social media, brochures and press releases. It’s probably harder to think of when you wouldn’t want to use a good image to promote your business.
And the key word there is a ‘good’ image. To make sure you’re making the right decisions and getting the best out of your marketing photography, here are some words of advice from over 20 years behind a camera.
1. Build your own image library.
Building up your own bank of photographs to use across your business provides you with a heap of benefits compared to relying on expensive stock imagery.
Firstly, you have instant access to a deep pool of image assets specifically designed to meet all your marketing and business needs quickly and cost effectively. An in-house image library also allows you to react to unplanned events with timely social posts and commentary, making your brand look up to date.
Developing your own library also enables you to build a consistent look and style for your brand. All images will be unique, on brand, and reflect your business culture, personality and audience. Also, planned well, you can re-use image assets on multiple physical and digital marketing touch points and platforms to save money.
Having your own image library saves time and money in the long run. Endlessly trawling through image sites looking for a photograph that might only exist in your head is no fun, and you’re often left going with the least bad option and then paying for the honour.
2. The camera never lies.
Since the first iPhone launched in 2007, we’ve all started to think that we’re expert photographers. How hard could it be? You just need to point and shoot, right? The reality is, it’s not that easy.
As a business, you need to work with professional photographers and subject matter experts to build up a collection of top-class images that can be used across all media. It takes a professional’s eye to get everything right, from the lighting to the angle, set up, framing, branding and the big idea shots.
Working with professionals saves you the disappointment, lost time to market and high cost of an emergency re-shoot. And working in bulk with a supplier that has access to art directors, studios and multiple photographers in house can save you money through excellence in production, efficiency and innovation by getting it right first time, every time.
It’s probably harder to think of when you wouldn’t want to use a good image to promote your business.
3. Nail the brief.
The more accurate information that you give photographers, the easier they will find it to fulfil your needs.
When you’re creating your brief for a photographer, be specific and explain exactly what you are hoping to use the photos for. You also need to let them know who your audience is, what your budget is, what your timeline is and what your overall objectives are.
Spend time explaining your brand and its USPs. Communicate what has worked well in the past and share examples of photography you like. Look at your competition and see how they use photography in their marketing and have a look online and make a note of the websites that attract your attention.
Getting the brief right means you’re more likely to get the images you want the first time, without having to go back for expensive reshoots.
4. Industry insider.
Look for a professional photographer with previous exposure to your industry and has developed knowledge of its peculiarities. This helps to make sure that they understand your business and its needs and starts the relationship off on the right foot.
No matter the length of their time as a photographer, there’s no replacement for someone who makes you feel 100 per cent comfortable in your relationship. It’s critical to work with someone who invites open and constructive dialogue.
Marketing is often all about getting the right image across first time and being able to trust your photographer helps here. Consciously or not we all make snap judgments and if our first impressions are not the best, it takes us a long time to change our minds. So you need to make sure your images are as close to perfect as you can.
5. A picture tells a thousand words.
Today there’s simply no excuse for using substandard photographs in any of your marketing collateral.
By dealing with expert suppliers with access to professional studio locations, software and equipment you’re improving your chances of getting the right image for your business every time. And best of all your making a sure bet on finding that ‘good’ picture that will make an impact on your current and future customers.