How much has your business invested in top-quality photography? If you’re like most business owners, photography is an afterthought. It may be essential for some advertising pieces, but overall it’s an extra luxury that isn’t necessary to help your business grow.
However, photography has more potential to move your business forward than you realize—and having quality photos is easier than you might think.
Why photography matters
The quality of your photography is going to speak to the quality of your brand. Not only are better photos more eye-catching, they also will make your products look better, and form a better first impression of your company for your customers.
The importance of good photography is compounded by the sheer number of applications in the modern marketing world:
- Your website. Photography has the power to show off your brand in exciting, dynamic ways. You might be able to capture the mood and tone of your brand personality with a single snapshot, or show visitors your physical location with an impressive photo.
- Advertising. The right image can grab someone’s attention and convince them to take action, while a bad or amateur photo might compromise your brand reputation.
- Product showcases and packaging. Before customers buy a product, they want to see it in action. Product images on your site as well as packaging visuals should have photos that highlight your product at its best.
- Social media. Photography is so important for social media that some have argued the medium has changed photography forever. Platforms like Instagram require you to take good photos—or else be lost to a sea of irrelevance.
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How to get high-quality photography
How are you supposed to achieve the photography necessary to make the best impression on new and existing customers alike? Here are some options:
1. Hire a contractor. Thanks to the gig economy, there’s no shortage of part-time and independent contractor photographers eager for some side work. Use freelance boards, social media, or a good old-fashioned web search to find photographers in your area, and take a look at their portfolios. It’s a good idea to find someone who has had experience shooting photos for a brand. Also keep in mind, you get what you pay for—more experienced photographers tend to charge more
2. Recruit a full-time employee. You could also hire a photographer as a full-time employee, provided your business is large enough to support full-time hours. The obvious downside here is the level of commitment you’ll need to offer. Full-time photographers can be expensive, and if you don’t have ample need for them, you could end up wasting money.
3. Train one of your own employees. If you don’t want to spend the money on a full-time employee or don’t have the time or patience to weed through freelancers, you could train one of your own employees to take photographs. This is advantageous for several reasons: You know they have a good work ethic, you can save money, and you can prevent the need to recruit or go through the hiring and orientation process for someone new.
4. Work with a full-service agency. If you work with a marketing or advertising agency, chances are they’ll have a professional photographer on staff. Your monthly retainer fee will likely cover at least some of this work, especially if it’s going to be used in advertising or promotional materials also being produced with the agency. Just make sure you scope out the photographer’s credentials first. Of course, if photography is your only goal, hiring an agency probably isn’t the most cost-effective choice.
5. Subscribe to a photo service. Stock photography services are becoming more popular and offer millions of professionally-taken photos for a reasonable monthly rate. However, there are several downsides to using stock photography. You’ll have a limited supply of photos, none of which feature your product or your company, and chances are they’ll look like stock photos, and your customers may have seen the images before.
If you want your business to be competitive in today’s market, you’ll need a high-quality photography resource to help you. The question is, how much are you willing to invest, and how much flexibility do you need? There’s no right answer here, but if you skimp on your photography or neglect it entirely, it could damage the brand reputation you’ve worked so hard to build.