Photography to market your business
Photography to market your business
First impressions count
First impressions count, and good photography should be at the core of the image your business wants to promote.
Even if it’s some of your own photos you will be using, treating them seriously and knowing their purpose is important
Part 1 of our series of articles aimed at helping small businesses
Northlight Images’ Karen Cooper looks at the importance of good and relevant photography in promoting and marketing your business.
Better Photos 1 – using photography to showcase and market your business
Good photography is not a luxury – photos are often the first thing a potential customer or client sees and will be a big part of the first impressions they form.
When we look at a web page or document, our brain processes the details of a photograph much than it processes the written word. Before you’ve even read the words on the page, your brain has already perceived and evaluated any message contained in the photograph – and we don’t even realise we’re doing it.
Photographs shouldn’t be thought of as just ‘fillers’ for your website or printed marketing material. They should be an important element of your marketing mix, supporting your message and enhancing your brand.
Putting photography at the centre of your marketing strategy
What can a good photograph do that words often can’t?
- Enhance your message – by illustrating your product or service, you can show what you are selling. Photos do this better than words – it really is that simple. Images should be relevant and tell your story instantly. Anyone viewing your marketing material should instantly know from your photographs what you do – before they’ve read a single word.
- Show your expertise – don’t just tell potential clients or customers how good you are at doing something, show them. Inspire confidence with detailed shots of your processes, procedures or products.
- Explain your product or service – a good, relevant picture is better than a thousand words and can often make a complex process or product easier to understand.
- Introduce your whole business to the wider world – engaging shots of staff, premises, products and processes have an immediate impact and tell the viewer a lot about who you are, what you do, how and who does it.
- Strengthen your reputation – using clear photos of your products, showing off your processes and being proud enough of your workforce that you publish photos of them shows you as an open and honest organisation – someone people will want to do business with.
Choosing the right photographs – Have a plan
Before you commission a photographer, buy stock images or take the shots yourself, you should know what photographs you need and what job you need them to do.
Remember, don’t just choose a photo because you like it or think it looks nice – choose images that are relevant to your message and mean something to your audience.
Which leads us on to – Know your audience
First and foremost – and this applies to all marketing material – you need to know your audience. So, when choosing your photographs, ask yourself:
- What’s in it for them – does this photograph mean something to my audience? By using it am I really telling them what I want them to know and will they understand it?
- What is my audience looking for – what do they need and want. Do my photographs address these needs?
- Am I using photographs that show my audience what I want them to see rather than photos that show my audience what they want to see?
- Are the photographs truthful or misleading?
Do not convince yourself that using a bad or irrelevant photograph is better than using no photograph at all.
A poor quality image can look lazy and leave visitors to your website with the impression that you don’t care.
An irrelevant photo that tells the viewer nothing can, at best, dilute your message and at worst be confusing – at which point a potential customer may leave your site, believing you have nothing to offer them.
Quality and relevance is particularly important when using photographs as the primary tool for selling a product or to illustrate a service. If the photo doesn’t enhance your product or service and make it more attractive to potential purchasers, then don’t use it.
Plan properly and there should be no need to use bad photographs.
Finally – be critical
When choosing your photos – or if you’re already using images in your marketing materials – go back and look at them and ask yourself these few questions.
Answer honestly – do your photographs:
- Reflect the image you want to portray to your potential customers/clients?
- Enhance your message – or do they add nothing or, even worse, detract from your message?
- Genuinely explain what you have to offer to anyone looking to work with or buy from you?
- Show the widest possible range of products/services you have to offer?
- Clearly show off your expertise, experience and/or creativity?
If the answer to two or more of these questions is ’No’, then you may need to go back to the drawing board.
Help is at hand…
Convinced you now want – and need – to take your own photos but don’t know where to start?
We offer bespoke photography training courses that will teach you everything you need to know