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4 Tips For Taking Effective Marketing Photos

Steve Surdez

We live in an image-driven world and it's becoming more and more visual every year.

According to the Social Media Examiner via HubSpot, a 2017 survey indicated that 37 percent of marketers said visual marketing was their most important form of content.

Live video and social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest are increasingly becoming the norm when it comes to information sharing and engagement.

According to BrainRules, if a target customer hears information only, they'll retain 10 percent of that information three days later. Pair that information with an image, and retention jumps to 65 percent. That's a huge jump, and what's more important than being memorable to a brand?

Now more than ever before your business' inbound marketing strategy and brand awareness depend on its ability to deploy images and visuals professionally and strategically across online platforms.

I can hear some of you now, "Well, there's always Google Images or even stock photography."

For the former, that poses copyright risks and fines. For the latter, to keep your brand authentic, you need to avoid stock heavy imagery and balance it with images of your team, office, and culture.

But don't worry. Even if you don't have the resources to hire a pro photographer, you can still deliver professional and appealing images to your key marketing personas.

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Here are Illumine8 Marketing & PR's 4 tips for taking effective inbound marketing photos:

Get Organized

Start by determining what your end goals are for image use. Make a list of the different types of images you'll need based on your business type and industry focus.

  • For example, if you sell actual products and render services, these require very different approaches to marketing photography.
  • If you're a professional services company only, your images will likely be more focused on people, company culture and your office space.

That's an oversimplification, for sure, but it's essential that you have a plan before spending the time to capture marketing images. If you don't plan in advance, you won't get what you need and your team will get frustrated due to inefficient use of their time.

Once you've determined the types of photos you need, it's equally important to document the process via a photography/image shot list. Here's what you need to include in the shot list:

  • Equipment needed (camera, lighting, etc.)
  • Locations required (secure office space, scout outdoor locations)
  • People (make sure you give advanced notice and set times for photos)
  • Dress code (pre-determine what people need to wear to fit brand)
  • Props needed
  • A detailed schedule with time slots 

For product shots, the process is simpler from an organizational standpoint as there are less moving parts (i.e. staff, locations, etc.). From a technical perspective, product shots can be more challenging as they require a more controlled, consistent photo environment.

Understand Photo Composition & Framing

Generally, follow the rule of thirds.

The photo files your camera produces are rectangles, whether they're in portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal) format.

Rule of thirds

The idea of the rule of thirds is to divide the rectangle into thirds, and place the majority of the subject in either the left or right third, rather than having it be directly in the center.

This is a simple tip but it can go a long way to increasing the quality of your images.

Take High Resolution Photos

Taking photos and capturing images of the highest quality and with the greatest flexibility is crucial to taking strong marketing photos. 

The images you capture will not be showcased in a single size format. For example, your images will very likely be used in thumbnails, blogs, emails, brochures and even large trade show banners or even billboards.

In order to maximize the impact of your marketing photos, they need to be able to scale up in size without losing image quality. The lower the image resolution, the less it can scale up to a larger size without sacrificing image clarity and crispness. 

According to research conducting by SocialBakers, 93% of the most engaging Facebook posts were photos. And you can bet these images were the most hi-res, high quality, relatable and best suited for the Facebook format.

As a general rule, you should take marketing photos at the highest DPI (dots per inch) allowed by your equipment (smart phone or professional camera). 

While these images might eat up more storage due to their larger file size, the benefits to taking hi-res images far outweigh any negatives. By taking hi-res photos, you'll enjoy the ultimate image flexibility for any image size requirements across most mediums.

Photo editing

Understand the Basics of Lighting & Backgrounds

Good lighting is crucial to capturing strong marketing images. 

Don't despair if you don't have the latest lighting tech on hand!

While you might have to be patient, and give yourself up to the whims of nature, natural light works just as well. Here's a few items to consider when it comes to photo lighting and backgrounds:

  • You'll have to carefully consider the weather, time of year and time of day to get the best natural light for your images, but it can be done.
  • Patience is the name of the game when it comes to using natural light for your marketing photography.
  • You'll also need to be sensitive to not only the subject of your photo, but to what's possibly lurking in the background.
  • The last thing you want is to capture a great image with perfect lighting to discover that you got photo bombed or a sensitive client document is visible on a computer screen.
  • Set up your photos as best you can to capture your subject well while showcasing your brand in a professional manner, which includes things like organized desks, proper dress code and awareness of client proprietary information on white boards, desks or computer screens.    

If you're tasked with capturing marketing imagery for your company, jump in head first- don't get analysis paralysis- and use these 4 tips for taking strong marketing photos as a jumping off point and go from there

There will be some trial and error at first, but you'll get there.

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