Commercial Photography Services [3 Considerations for Small Businesses]
Well-executed photography is a powerful tool in engaging your customers.
Taking time to plan and shoot commercial photography that highlights the emotional core of your product or service can create a response that resonates with your customer and earns you more business.
Photography can capture the attention of your potential clients or patients much faster than captions or website copy. Think about it, there’s likely been a time when you’ve double-tapped a dozen or more photos on Instagram before you even started to read the captions.
Beautiful images are easy to digest and tell a story without saying a word.
A picture truly is worth a thousand words and that is why custom photography can be so important to a small business’ marketing strategy.
Yet, as budgets ebb and flow, creative marketing services (like web design, photography, and videography) are among the first to feel the belt-tightening.
If you’ve found yourself asking “does my business need commercial photography services,” you’ve come to the right place!
Read on to learn about custom photography services and how you can begin using it to grow your small business marketing plan.
Custom Photography vs. Stock Photos
Many brands will spend countless hours fine-tuning their product/service offerings to differentiate themselves from the competition. Yet, when it comes time to choose a photo for a website or social media, many small businesses find themselves scraping at the bottom of the barrel to find a high-quality picture that accurately represents their brand and vision. Some may even be tempted to opt for stock photography.
Unfortunately, stock photography just won’t cut it anymore.
As the name implies, stock photos are readily available to anyone for purchase. While it can be a cheaper option in the short-term, you can run into some serious problems.
Despite the millions of stock photos that exist for purchase, the industries highlighted are fairly generic. This means your competition could just as easily be using the exact same photo as you. That quickly takes your brand from original to ordinary and destroys your ability to separate yourself from the crowd.
Custom photography, on the other hand, highlights your company’s products, office, staff, clients, etc. This makes custom photography services more personalized and customizable.
Ways to Use Custom Photo Services
Photos taken during a commercial shoot aren’t just for one time use. In fact, having an archive of images that your business can use on social media, in digital marketing campaigns, or for traditional print ads can greatly benefit your team for years to come. Let’s take a look at some benefits of using custom photos.
Across Your Website.
Engaging photos enable your business to grab the attention of both information seekers and casual browsers alike. In fact, hiring a photographer to shoot custom images of your product or service has been proven to significantly improve the user experience of websites.
As users browse your site, photos can go a long way in gaining buy-in for your brand. Some commercial photography — like office shots — is functional in that it gives customers a sense of what to expect when they arrive at your practice/office. Other types of photos, like professional headshots and product photos can help establish trust and openness, removing any feelings of uncertainty that a customer may have in advance.
On Social Media.
Because our brains are programmed to respond so quickly to pictures and color, in contrast to other types of information, an image is an almost invincible draw on social media.
If you want your small business to stand out from the crowd, it’s important to develop social media visuals that reflect the same quality offered by your products services.
Email marketing is all about getting your customers to respond to and engage with what you send. As you’ve probably guessed by now, images have the potential to make people stop and give your content a second look.
That said, using high-quality images in email marketing is a delicate balance. If your images are too large, they may cause loading errors while too many images in general (regardless of size) may cause your message to end up in your customer’s spam folders.
Planning Your Photoshoot
When it comes to scheduling a professional photography shoot, there are several considerations to be made to ensure the best outcome.
Choosing a Photographer
When it comes to choosing a photographer, you’ll have a wide array of options ranging from freelance photographers to full-scale creative agencies.
Generally speaking, freelance photographers are best to use on one-off-shoots, whereas, agencies are better suited to longer-term projects. If your business has plans to create/update a website with your photos, it would be most beneficial to hire an agency that can handle all of these projects (photos included) under one team. This gives you the most bang for your buck!
The other benefit of choosing an agency is that you can rest assured knowing they have the capacity to handle multiple clients at one time.
Scheduling Your Shoot
At Harris + Ward, our typical photoshoots are planned to last 4 to 6 hours. Though this may seem like a long time, it moves very quickly!
We will start by taking care of any schedules headshots for your staff or customers. Then, we’ll spend time gathering candid shots that show you/your team in your natural environment. For most business photoshoots, our goal is to capture the authenticity of your brand through normal day-to-day interactions.
Following Safety Protocols
As many businesses struggle to return to “normalcy” in the face of new health and safety protocols, we often get asked, “can I schedule a photoshoot during COVID?” The answer is yes!
“For us,” explains Harris + Ward Partner, Bradley Nolan, “it is important to document the changes brought about by COVID but we also want to continue to focus on your business’ interactions with clients.” Though this may look a bit different, with proper social distancing measurements you can still showcase your brand in creative ways.
“You can imagine everyone wearing masks in the photos makes that a bit more difficult to get,” Nolan notes, “but, we are working harder than ever to help our clients prepare for shoots by notifying patients, staff, and customers ahead of time.” This allows everyone to prepare for the shoot and make any necessary arrangements to ensure everyone is comfortable throughout the shoot.
Finding Custom Photography Services
If you have great photography that is on-brand and high quality, you’ll connect with your ideal clients in an instant. Photos of your business allow you to show your staff, work environment, services, and products in a way that cannot be achieved with stock options.
To schedule your own custom photoshoot or inquire about other creative marketing services, contact us today!