How many times have you seen a photo like this on Kijiji or eBay? A product photo – taken with a Point and Shoot or cellphone camera.
While suitable for selling second-hand goods, would you use this image to represent your company? What about your brand?
Why would any successful, self-respecting business owner use a snapshot of a product to represent one of the most important attributes of their business – their image?
Recently, at a networking meeting, the speaker pointed out that he focused on tasks that could he perform well himself – marketing, planning, et cetera. And then he stated he outsourced tasks for which he was not properly equipped to perform – writing, photography, finance. This speaker is a genius, yet too many small and medium businesses try to do too much themselves.
First, let’s try to answer the questions above. The first thing visitors to your website or social media pages notice is how it looks. This is especially important for any business selling products – since customers cannot touch and feel online (yet!), appearance is everything. If the above image was used by a company selling watches, the impression would not be favourable. It might even detract from the impression of the brand you are trying to sell! Not only will you not gain valuable customers, but you could also lose your key suppliers.
Thankfully, all is not lost. If you realize the importance of your company’s image, you are now in the right place. By hiring a professional photographer to manage your product images, you have taken step one. Your photographer will consult with you to determine what type of images you need. They will also look at where you will use your images.
Let’s compare the previous image with how a pro photographer may approach the subject:
Image 1 is our snapshot. Image 2 is how many photographers handle a product – a clean background that doesn’t detract from the product and flattering lighting to show the product’s details and contours.
Image 3 shows the night light function – users know they can view the time at night. If a product has colour or function options – these should be displayed with actual photos. Colour swatches are an alternative, but photos are ideal.
Image 4 sets a tone for the product. By removing the white background, the product image can be added on top of another photo to demonstrate potential uses.
Image 5 shows the product in real world situation. In the case of this watch, it is worn on the wrist of a model in a casual shirt and jeans.
Each of the images from 2 through 5 present your product in a far better light than Image 1. Images 4 and 5 set the tone for your product, beyond simply displaying it. Humans are visual and need to see how a product can be used. They then can quickly imagine how they will use the product, if the product is desirable. The automotive advertising industry does an incredible job of showing appropriate uses of their products – and some inappropriate uses that attract attention!
While automotive companies work with budgets of which most of us can only dream, professional photography is within reach of all businesses. Photographers will work within your budget to provide what you need with what you can afford.
Before you post another cellphone image of your product online, ask yourself “Is this how I want customers to see my business?” If the answer is “No”, find a professional photographer right away who will work with you and protect your image!
© Will Prentice, 2012. All rights reserved.
Will is owner and chief photographer at Captura Photography and Imaging, a photography and design company in Whitby, Ontario, Canada. Click his picture in the upper right for more details.