This blog post has been kindly written by our good friend Joanne Withers
We’ve all heard the saying, ‘A picture paints a thousand words’ and in today’s ever increasing digital world, it becomes more apparent every day. With an average time of 3 – 7 seconds to grab the attention of a scrolling viewer, it is those visuals that are more important than ever to gain somebody’s attention long enough to make them pause and consider their interest in your post, blog, or article.
Obviously as a photographer, I am always going to say images are important to your marketing message, but I also say this as a person who takes in data better on a visual level and there are plenty of us out there.
Now you don’t need to have a professional photographer on your team, a fancy camera, or shares in a stock image library to get those visuals on to your website, but I would recommend considering the following.
Tell the story
It is often three things that make photographs stand out to us and that is the shock factor, a sense of emotion, or an image that tells a story. It can even be a photograph that draws the viewer in to ask what is going on in the image.
Taking a look at some emotive images here, I am using these to start you thinking about how we engage with these images.
Well of course, as a business owner you will not always have access to such dramatic images, but the overall ideas can translate down to your products, or services.
Do you have a story to tell about the ethics, or values of your business, or a real emotional aspect to your brand? Are you located near a famous landmark? Do you have tools of your trade, or even an oﬃce pet? Can you get images of your products in action to create more drama to draw in attention?
Remember: A picture paints a thousand words – it can help to tell your story beyond what you could possibly write.
Behind the scenes
Everybody these days with the rise of social media, loves a good old nosey behind the scenes of a business. These can be simple phone images such as your business donating a charity cheque, the hobbies of your team workers, you all wearing Christmas jumpers for Save the Children day, or even cake day on a Friday.
Showing the personalities of your business in an image creates more emotion in your viewer than words and ﬁgures stating the facts.
Your branding, Your Tribe
As with every part of your marketing, your images need to attract the right customers. There is no point having stunning images if they don’t ﬁt with your style of business and hence generate an interest from the people who do not suit your service.
Take M&S versus Urban Outﬁtters as an example. Both sell clothing, but to very diﬀerent demographics. Their website images target the customers they know will buy their products.
The clothing on the Marks and Spencer website are on mannequins, where as Urban Outﬁtters have a graphic of clothes on a scrunched up piece of paper. You can also bet your life there is not such a messy, unmade bed on the M&S website.
So when you are considering the images for your branding, take a look at the message it is giving out. What props do you have to add the right vibe, or tone? Are the colours in line with your logo, or branding? Do you need graphics on top of your photographs and have you left space for that?
Create a style
I am a fan of ‘What Katie Ate’ and not because of her food recipes, but because of her back story and how her photographs generated a distinct style of food photography. So much so, that she even had to rap the knuckles of a major high street company for practically copying one of her images.
Katie was never a domestic goddess in any sense at the beginning and as she tried to learn to cook for herself, she started to take photos of her achievements. As time went on, she found herself becoming famous with her images and now her photography and styling is truly inspiring, with several best selling books.
Now you may be saying, well it is easy for her because she has gorgeous food to photograph, but if you look at this page I photographed from her book, there is not always food in her images.
There are props that relate to her profession and they are captured in a style that is true to her brand. So consider what are your tools of the trade? Can you be quirky with them?
So how do I create these images? (Pro-Tips)
Firstly, you do not need a top of the range professional camera to start generating your own images. Smart phones are incredible these days, but whatever you are using to capture your visuals there are a few things to consider with the photography.
Find the light – this can be as simple as moving the items, or people you are photographing, either to by a window, or even outside. It saves having to use direct ﬂash which can result in an image that looks too false.
Hunt out the props and backdrops – consider investing in some colours card, or take a look around your workplace for surfaces and walls that are interesting for your visuals. Props could be anything from a pencil, to a monopoly board and you don’t need to be out shopping for items if you think creatively enough about what your team may be able to get hold of.
Think graphically – you may not always be able to have a photographic image for your social media post, but maybe a graphic, infographic ﬁgures, or a quote could draw in attention just as much. There are many free tools and apps to help with this, such as Canva, being just one of them.
Know when to outsource
There will be times that what you need to create will be beyond your capabilities. Even as a photographer, I still outsource some photographic projects, because I need to actually be in the images. You may have an event that you are hosting that is important to be captured, with you as the guest speaker. You may have a product that is going to a venue that you don’t have time to photograph when there, or the lighting is too dark.
My best advice is to create a relationship with a photographer and work out what is important that you spend your budget on. They can advise what is best for them to capture and help you to know how to create the other images yourself potentially.
Joanne Withers is a professional photographer and can be found at https://joannewithersphotography.co.uk or you can give her a call on 07815 187583.