Think of your business. What images come to mind?
A building? An office? A website?
Or do the feelings you have about your business come first? Maybe the faces of your customers float by? Or the things you do on a daily basis?
Now think of how a new customer finds you. What do they see?
The answer here is simpler: It’s your building, your website, your adverts and your Social Media profiles.
Ask yourself: Does what a new customer sees match how you want them to feel about your business?
If you don’t have any good photos or images of your business, chances are the answer is no.
The most basic reason to hire a photographer is to improve customer perception. Photography can help you represent yourself to the world in a way that’s positive, genuine and – importantly – unique to your business.
In this article you’ll learn:
- Why images are Important
- When you should hire a photographer
- What photography gives you that stock photos and graphic design don’t
- How to find a good photographer
Why Do You Need Photography? Are Images Really that Important?
There’s no escaping the need for images. Humans are wired for visual recognition, with about 20% of our brains dedicated solely to seeing. And in today’s image-centric world, photos and images of your business dictate customer perception more than ever.
These days customers spend massive amounts of time looking at screens, where images dominate. In fact Aussies spend 12.5 hours per week on Facebook alone, where your business is competing with a steady stream of picture-perfect images and highly distracting cat videos.
Using strong imagery will help you stand out, attract the right people, build trust with your customers, and improve brand recall. Without images, you’re practically invisible.
So how’s your website? What’s on your Social Media profiles? Do the images of your business accurately reflect the ideal customer experience? Or could you benefit from some professional photography?
When You Should Hire a Photographer
Most businesses could use a photographer, but splashing out for professional photos isn’t always in the budget.
There are a few situations, though, where we’d highly suggest hiring a photographer:
If you are a customer facing (B2C) company. The more customers can understand about you from images, the more likely they will be to go with you rather than your competition.
If you are spending ANY money on digital marketing. If you’re spending money to get eyeballs on your business, don’t waste that cash and damage your reputation by showing your customers sub-par images. This goes for image ads on any medium, and your website too.
If you are building a website. This one goes without saying. Your website is your online identity. Many more people will see that than will ever see you or your business in person. It must look good.
If you want to do Social Media properly. If you look bad or don’t stand out, you’ll face a challenge just to get attention. If you look great and eye-catching on the other hand, you may find a great source of incoming business.
If you are planning a promotion or event. Don’t depend on your offer alone to bring in customers. People need to know what they can expect in order to justify making a purchase or (gasp!) getting off the couch.
If you want to look good in the press. Having a few good photos on hand can be very useful if you A) pay for a print ad, B) approach the press with a story option, or C) are approached by the press.
Can’t We Just Use Stock Photos or Some Graphic Design?
There are many ways to get images you can use for marketing your business – photography is just one.
Take this Skip Bin company, for example. They’ve done an acceptable job on their website with stock photos and graphic design.
So yes, stock images and graphic design can replace photography. But they definitely won’t produce the same result. Here’s why…
People Recognise Stock Photos
Today’s customers are constantly bombarded by stock photos so they’re pretty easy for us to spot. They don’t make us feel anything anymore. And sometimes they even annoy us or make us dislike the business for being “fake”.
Now that’s a stock photo!
They Always Prefer Real Photos
Customers often recognise real photos too. Local scenery or buildings in the background can trigger an instant connection. In contrast to stock photos, putting real photos of your business, products and employees on your marketing & website will improve trust, recall and brand consistency.
This is a high quality photo of a local business.
What if my Business is No Good for Photos?
Good photos will benefit businesses in most industries, even if you’re worried your company is just not photogenic.
Let’s take the Skip Bin example a bit further. No glossy images come to mind when you think of Skip Bins and Trucks, but take a look at these two websites and think about which you would go with.
Skip Bin Website – No Photography
This company had better hope they compete on price, because the website’s visual impact doesn’t inspire a lot of excitement or trust. This company might be a big player in the industry, but you wouldn’t know it from the site alone. In fact, you’d have no idea that they’re not a one-man band.
Skip Bin Website – Professional Photography
This photo, on the other hand, says a lot. You can immediately tell the capacity and level of professionalism here is fairly high. You know the image is actually of the business, because the logo is on the truck. This inspires a bit more trust. And the simple fact that you know a bit about who you’re dealing with counts for a lot in a world where people shop around online before purchasing.
Some of this could be achieved with stock images and graphic design, but some of it can’t. If you’re trying to decide whether or not to get photos taken (which can be expensive, but doesn’t have to be), it’s important to know what they’ll get you.
Ok, So How do I Find a Good Photographer?
Photographers make themselves easy to find, but there are a few tips to getting a good one.
Look at their photos (duh).
If their work looks amazing, they can likely make you look good too.
Find Someone with Appropriate Experience
This one is extremely important. A food photographer is different than an architectural photographer. They’ve got different tools, different skill sets, and different very important knowledge.
Find a good photographer that knows his or her way around your industry, and they’ll help you with ideas, walk you through the whole experience, and make you look good. Find one that is out of his or her depth, and you might end up frustrated and with bad pictures.
What about Cost?
Photographer fees are all over the place. Generally, you pay for what you get.
You may be able to score free photos from a student or friend, but keep in mind what’s riding on the photos. If you’re planning to spend a lot on advertising, maybe be willing to spend more on a photographer. If it’s just for a few Facebook posts or a one-off event, that student may be a good bet.
Need Some Help Making Your Business Look Awesome?
Good photography, good design and good marketing can come together to revolutionise your business.
The great advantage to living in the internet age is that, if your business is well-represented online, you can show your business – in its finest form – to tens of thousands of potential customers.
If you’re interested in photography, digital marketing or social media marketing, contact us at Team Visible.
(We also have a soft spot for video marketing, which is the new standard if you really want to connect with your customers online.)