My column in August’s “The Image” magazine is all about the importance of professional business photography. I’m also offering you the chance to win a half day’s “Telling your business’s story” session with me, worth £495. Here’s the article and details of how to enter the competition. Good luck :-)
How important is professional photography to your business?
The answer should be “very important”, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a photographer. Whether you’re a sole trader or running a multi-national corporation, or somewhere in between, having inspiring, professional images of you, your products and your services is essential for engaging existing and potential customers. It’s become even more important with the increase in business being done via websites and social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. If you’re not convinced, read on.
Why do I need a great business portrait?
People buy people. They tend to do business with someone they know, like and trust, so when you’re developing your marketing materials consider including pictures of you and your staff so potential customers can see the real faces behind the business. Social media is now a very important marketing tool so you’ll need to engage with your customers on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook too, and a great portrait will help with that – if you hide behind your logo, you risk making your business seem less personal.
So you’ve made the decision to use a photo of yourself. You now need to be sure that it portrays you as you’d wish your potential customers to see you. Most adults dislike having their photo taken, so you see lots of profile images that have been cut from holiday photos or a quick snap on a camera phone. They’re often badly lit or unclear and look unprofessional – not the great first impression that you need to give potential clients. Professional business portraits needn’t cost a fortune, and should be much better than the staid portraits you probably remember from your school days. For instance, I aim to give you business portraits that would look at home in a Sunday supplement. I do this by spending at least 20 minutes with you in your own environment, often longer, so you relax in front of the camera and we capture your personality. We try out different backgrounds and you get chance to do a change of clothes too, so you’ll end up with a variety of images with different looks. You’ll find some examples of my work along with prices on my main website.
Why do I need professional images of my products and services?
But it’s not enough to have great photographs of you and your staff. With more than half the population allegedly being visual learners who prefer to learn via pictures and diagrams, you need to include imagery on your website and printed marketing materials to help get your message across. You can achieve this by buying images from stock photography websites, but those images won’t be personal to your business and your competitors may be using the same images. Getting a professional photographer to produce quality pictures that are unique to your business will help you stand out from your competitors and, by making sure those images fit well with your brand, they will help attract the right customers too. If you sell items online, product shots on white backgrounds are perfect for helping customers to see exactly what they’re buying, but including images of those products in context will help your clients to understand better how they could use them. If you run a business where your location or your premises is important – e.g. a B&B – a professional photographer can create images that will help to show those off to best effect. And if you make bespoke items, such as cakes or wedding dresses, or provide services, like beauty therapy or coaching, including images of you at work can emphasise your skills and your personal input into your work.
A chance to win photography for your business
Hopefully I’ve convinced you that great bespoke photography can make your marketing efforts more effective. The good news is I’m offering you a chance to get me to create the visual story of your business for free. I’ll spend half a day with you, taking photographs of you, your staff if you’ve got some, the products and services you offer, and how you deliver them. We’ll have a planning discussion beforehand too so we can work out together what images best tell your story and you can get the most from your half day. You’ll be able to use the finished results on your marketing material, including your website. Normally, I’d charge £495 for this service, but the lucky winner won’t have to pay a penny. All you have to do is write, in 100 words or less, why you and your business would benefit from my photography, then email your words to me by Friday 16 September 2011, and include a link to your business website if you’ve got one.
The small print:
- Your business needs to be based in Warwickshire, Worcestershire, West Midlands, Oxfordshire or Gloucestershire.
- You need to email your entry to email@example.com by 11.59pm on Friday 16 September 2011. Sometimes emails do go astray so I will reply to your email to acknowledge that I’ve received it. If you haven’t had an acknowledgement, feel free to email me again or give me a call.
- Only one entry per business. (If you run several businesses, you can have one entry for each one.)
- I will decide who the winner is based on the quality of their entry.
- The winner must allow me to use the pictures I take on my websites, including my blog and Facebook page, and on other marketing and promotional material, including articles for Linda Scannell Photography – but I won’t be selling them as stock photographs so you can guarantee they’ll just be representing your business.
- The half day session must be done by 30 November 2011.