The increasing number of images required for use on the web has fueled the expansion of online stock image libraries and while these images are often cheap and certainly convenient for web developers they are not always the best solution from the website owners’ perspective. It is important that any business owner considers all the implications of this important decision which can affect their sales potential and reflect upon their brand image, however it seems that many web development companies use library images by default – perhaps because they are familiar with it and are put off commissioning because they do not understand the process.
If a picture speaks a thousand words what does the corporate photography on your literature or website say about you? Great character portraits are produced with insight and attention to detail – they should squeeze every available ounce of the subject’s essence into the picture because your key personnel are among your major assets – the way they are portrayed to potential and existing customers is of the utmost importance.
I have been enthralled with the debate raging around the European Court’s decision to make Google remove historic information from it’s search results. It’s a many sided argument and to be honest I’m not sure where I stand for now,
I was talking to a small group of other business owners today at a lunch event, some of us already knew each other and some were meeting for the first time but most seemed to be fairly like minded in their approach to business – pay it forward types with an open mind, really very refreshing.
Many of the images I am commissioned to provide are destined for web use, to get the best from these images I wanted to share a technical tip with you. Obviously the first step is to ensure that your product or service is displayed online with a high quality image which reflects the values that help make your prospects into clients. However there is another way your images can help to secure revenue for your company – by making your website more visible to search engines. Yes, we are entering the world of search engine optimisation (SEO) here. When an image is added to your site the code for the page will have an entry something like this:
David Ogilvy’s “man in the Hathaway shirt” campaign in 1951 produced sales that outpaced factory production capacity. The reader was intrigued by the mysterious portraits of Baron Wrangell wearing an eye patch photographed in a variety of interesting settings and so they read the copy to find out more, this copy sold shirts, lots of shirts. Ogilvy summed it up – The kind of photographs which work hardest are those which arouse the reader’s curiosity. He glances at the photograph and says to himself, ‘What goes on here?’ Then he reads your copy to find out. ‘Story Appeal,’ the more of it you inject into your photographs, the more people look at your advertisements.
It may shock you to hear these words from a commercial photographer, it certainly took me by surprise as one of the guiding principles handed down when I started to serve my time in Advertising Photography in 1986, but it was great advice and remains just as relevant today.
1.) Would you rather spend £300 on some pictures to keep your website up to date with your product range or spend £1,000 on insightful product photography to see a significant growth in sales?
The cheapest is usually not the best value.
2.) With the future of your business on the line would you rather benefit from theproven results of an experienced specialist commercial photographer who knows how to maximise your sales or would you prefer to take a chance on someone without this specific expertise?
A talented wedding photographer is not a commercial photographer; similarly I am not the man to call if you are getting married.
3.) A picture speaks a thousand words so would you like the photography you commission to display quality, insight and professionalism in a manner that speaks to your customers?
My ABC of clients includes Asda, the BBC & Coca Cola, who insist on nothing less.
As a commercial photographer in Belfast, it is my job to blend science with art in order to give an advertiser access to their clients’ hearts and minds – in my experience people who strive to produce a first class product or service know that it must have a first class image.