It’s a tough gig being a photographer these days. With a camera in every phone and apps that make picture-editing super simple you’ve got to wonder why anyone bothers with professionals any more.
Well, as far as we’re concerned, professional photography is a must if you’re selling a product. Here’s a few reasons why:
Shining a light
You want to show your product to your customers in the best possible light, literally. No matter what you’re selling, the way light shines on your product makes a massive difference to how people perceive it. For example, if you’re selling artwork, taking a photo of the picture framed in glass may result in unwanted glare from the reflection of a flash or the ambient light. Similarly, if your product is in shadow, it can be difficult for a potential buyer to properly gauge the dimensions or texture.
Even if you’re selling a service, not a product, lighting makes a huge difference to portraits. Lighting can work in your favour to soften your features or show off your assets; bad lighting can have the same effect as fluorescent lighting in a pub toilet at 3am – ‘aint nobody got time for that!
No imagination necessary
Back when Emily was auditioning for film and TV roles (which is a whole other story that we may or may not talk about in another blog), one of the pieces of advice she received from her agent was to ‘dress for the part’. Ie: if the audition is for the part of a motherly, old-fashioned housewife, don’t come wearing your leather jacket, ripped jeans and punk t-shirt. Directors don’t want to have to use their imagination – wear a costume that the character would wear and they’re more likely to see you in the part.
The same goes for your customers. Don’t make them use their imagination – show them how to use your product by photographing it in a scene. If you are selling jewellery, show it on someone’s body. If you are selling homewares, place them in a room. The way you style a shoot is incredibly important and a good photographer can give you tips on how to create the right composition.
Brand, brand, brand
If you’ve taken the time to define your brand style, don’t undo all that hard work by posting photos that don’t match your guidelines. If your brand colours are pastel blues and pinks, a photo with a heavy green background (whether it’s on your website, Instagram or even your business card) is going to send the wrong message to your audience. Similarly, if your brand is dark and mysterious, a bright happy photo of the beach is probably not going to attract the right customers.
Building a library of photos that have been professionally shot and retouched will ensure your brand remains consistent across all your marketing mediums.
The Gumtree test
If we haven’t yet convinced you of why professional photography is good for business, take a look at a few listings on Gumtree or eBay. Which products/suppliers are you naturally drawn to? Which ones do you think look like you could be buying something cheap and nasty? Chances are, the latter have poor quality photographs attached to the product.