I was recently invited to write a guest blog for my accountants, which really got me thinking about the different ways you can go about capturing images to help support all aspects of your business. You can read the full post over here however I thought it made sense to include a shorter summary here on my own blog!
The key thing to consider right from the start is we're living in an increasingly visual world, and that images and the impact (positive or negative) that they can have on your business has probably never been greater than it is right now.
So when it comes to photography for your business there are three ways you can go about it:
- Shoot the images yourself
- Use stock photography
- Hire a professional
However I believe there are two key things to consider before you decide which is right for you:
* Image quality
To create the right impact your business needs to have beautiful images that stand out from the crowd. Poor images will probably lose you sales and average ones won’t really grab people’s attention or encourage them to find out more, so you really have to make sure the images are the best they can be.
* Investment required and the return on that investment.
As with any investment that you make into your business, you need to consider ROI before deciding whether it’s the right … or wrong … investment for you to make. It’s no good spending hundreds or even thousands of pounds on something all shiny and sparkly if the volume you’ll need to sell to recoup your investment is so large that it doesn’t even figure in your 10 year plan. Though conversely penny pinching and not spending on something that would only need a couple of extra sales to recoup your investment, is perhaps cutting your nose off to spite your face! You could even find you don’t make any sales if you don’t make that investment.
Basically what we’re looking for is authentic and real, stand out images that deliver a great return on investment.
So taking each way of achieving your commercial photography in turn:
1. Shoot the images yourself
Assuming you have access to a camera or have a friend with a good camera you can probably get this for free – potentially an excellent ROI! But what’s the quality going to be like? Will they stand out? Do they represent you in the best possible light? Will they encourage people to find out more and buy you or what your business has to offer?
2. Use stock photography
Now with stock images you will get great quality and, depending on your size and licence requirements, you could get them for a pretty reasonable price.
But it does take time – a lot of time – to find the right images. And going back to my earlier point of standing out from the crowd, you’re not really going to get that with stock images. Other businesses will be using those images and they do have a very distinct look about them.
3. Hire a professional
When hiring a professional, getting great quality images should, as with stock photography, be a given and you’ll definitely get something that is unique to you and your business. And whilst it’s unlikely to be as cheap as stock photography you may be surprised at the true value of bespoke imagery once you start to consider the ROI.
Absolutely hiring a professional is an investment, however just look at the difference it can make.
Getting the best commercial photography that you can is an absolute must for any business operating in today’s world.
Good or bad photos can have a huge impact on your success and when you’re looking at whether hiring a professional photographer is something your business can afford, I’d ask you to really look at the return on investment. And is it actually perhaps something you can’t afford not to invest in.
“Shoot them yourself” images kindly supplied by: JD Brown Jewellery, The Lamb Inn Great Rissington, Walton PR and The M’Hencha Company. Professional images also feature: Mums2BFitWear and The Cotswold School.