Photography is so important in digital marketing – whether it’s on your website or your social feed, a photograph can serve so many purposes in improving your results.
While related to the previous post in our strategy series on graphics, we felt that photography is so important, with some factors that are significantly different from general information about use of graphics, that it deserved its own post.
3 key points in making sure your photography is effective
Catch the eye
Good photography can make your content more eye-catching. It’s getting harder all the time to stand out in your audience’s social feeds and a really strong photograph can stop the scroller in their tracks.
Send a message
You’ve heard the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” and it’s worth the effort to enlist good photography to take advantage, you don’t have a thousand words to make an impression online so photography is key in making sure that you are sending the correct message in an effective way.
The photograph you choose to use on your website, on your blog post or on your social media post tells your audience about you, your business, your style and how you do things as well as telling them what your content is about. That can be the difference between them reading or not reading your post.
Create a brand
Tying in with the last point, your photography can be an important part of creating your brand, the style of photograph you choose should tie in with the overall brand that you are creating – remember that your brand is not just about logos, colours and fonts but about the overall feeling you create with your online presence.
6 key points for good quality control in your photography
A poorly focussed photograph is a definite miss. It indicates, in a subtle way, a lack of care and attention and a lower standard in quality. This reflects on you as well as your image.
Check your photograph is as sharp as you can possibly make it, if it isn’t sharp then retake it. It’s one of the things that cannot really be “fixed” by editing later!
Make sure your shot is well lit – that your subject is clear and that the brightest part of the photograph is where you want the viewer’s attention to be.
You can, of course, spend a fortune on lights and if you are doing a significant amount of product shots then a photography tent can be a good investment. However for most purposes it’s enough to make sure you are not shooting into sunlight, shoot outside or by a window and make sure the light is directed on the subject of the photograph correctly. Play with position of the subject and the camera in relation to the light until it looks right.
Get rid of the background
Always check the background! We tend not to notice what’s behind the subject in our photograph but another person looking at it won’t be able to see anything else if there’s something cluttering up the area behind your subject!
You can, of course, use Photoshop or equivalent to remove distractions later. However, it is generally easier to move things before you take the shot than to edit later, and gives better results.
Get in the shot
Make sure that all of the subject is in the shot, a cut off arm or leg (or head!!) is one of those things that you may not notice but it will affect your impression of the photograph. Check the edges of the photograph (in camera before pressing the shutter, as well as after you’ve taken the image) to make sure that everything is fully in shot.
If the photograph is of a person, make sure they (or you!) maintain eye contact with the camera. This improves the connection felt by the person viewing the image.
Without being fake, a smile is also usually a good idea as it further improves that connection.
Practice definitely improves the quality of your photography.
For portraits and selfies, there’s an exercise you can do to see the impact of connection on a photograph.
- Take a selfie where you’re looking at the screen, rather than at the camera.
- Take a second selfie where you are looking directly at the camera.
- Take a third selfie where you are looking directly at the camera and smiling.
- Take a fourth (and last, promise!) selfie where you are looking directly at the camera, smiling and thinking of someone you care about.
Look at each of the photographs in turn and notice the difference between the 4 images. Which would you prefer to see on someone else’s website if you were considering doing business with them?
Photography plays a huge part in increasing engagement and connection online, in reinforcing your brand, catching attention and building the know, like and trust factor which is so important.
Take the time to get it right and your photography choices can make a huge difference in your online marketing results.