Does your business use photography to connect with your audience? Photography is a valuable tool for businesses and organizations of all sizes to form and grow relationships with people. This is because having high quality imagery not only, literally, shows your community and potential clients and customers what you do, but also that you care about what you’re doing. It shows that you care about how you are perceived and lets you be in control of how you are seen by your audience and other businesses in the industry. Professional images set you apart from other companies like yours that use average or below average photos taken by amateur photographers, or worse, by Instagram. If you don’t believe that companies are using photos from Instagram, take a look at Facebook.
Now, using a cell phone image or something of similar quality on Facebook/Twitter once in a while, in a pinch, is not so terrible – if it’s a rare occurrence AND if the photo meets the basic technical requirements of a decent photo (in focus, properly exposed, etc.), but should definitely not be the norm and definitely not be used on the official company website.
These types of photos have their time and place, but once you start lowering the bar for images on your website – a place meant to be professional and impress people, basically your virtual storefront – you will start to lose people’s trust and faith in your work. Poor photography gives a bad vibe to viewers because it suggests a lack of professionalism and a lack of caring for the appearance of your business. Bad photography makes the viewer question the values of the business and lowers expectations of quality work/products because it’s clear that not much time or thought or effort went into creating and choosing the photo, so perhaps that lack of thought or effort will translate into the work or products of the company.
Don’t believe me? Think about, for example, an artist’s website. What value would it be if the website had no images of the artist’s work and only described it in writing? What about the next time you visit a website for a restaurant. What happens when you see a site with professional quality food images (well-lit, properly exposed, nice depth of field/focus, colors, etc.) versus a snapshot taken of a dish in poor lighting (lots of grain, not sharp, too dark, blurry, distracting background, direct on camera flash)? Do you lose focus on the important elements because the photo is not really making the dish look appetizing? Or, if you go to two different restaurant websites for the same food style – one has great, professional images, the other has iPhone photos. They have the same type of cuisine, are in the same part of town and cost roughly the same amount. Which are you more likely to want to go to?
Compare the screenshots below. All of them come from Italian restaurants in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Which look most appetizing or appealing to you and would you want to go to?
Photography is how we connect to people in a virtual age. Quality images speak volumes to prospects and current clients – and it’s subconscious, intuitive.
Low quality images = low standards across the board. Perhaps this isn’t true for your business, but it is certainly a feeling that can be derived. If it’s not true for you, then this is the moment you need to decide to start being in control of how people perceive you. This is the moment to decide to invest in photography. Invest in a professional, or at the very least, invest time in learning about photography.
What are your thoughts, questions, concerns? Have you experienced anything like this, or have a story about how changing your images changed your business? Share it in the comments. If you want to start learning more about image quality, how to produce better looking images, etc, stay tuned to this blog and/or join the CC Photo & Media newsletter via our Facebook page.