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.
This is the first test shot on my new 360 rig, software works, hardware works, lighting set-up works – it’s been a long road but I’m delighted!
The next step is to employ software to make these images into a file that allows drag and zoom features, I’m starting into that right now.
Danish scientist Dr Jakob Nielsen, who has been applying eye tracking technology to improve web usability, has made a startling discovery about the way images are viewed online – “Some types of pictures are completely ignored. Other types of pictures are treated as important content and scrutinized. Photos of products and real people (as opposed to stock photos of models) often fall into this category.”
Dr Nielsen goes on to explain “It’s long been a guideline for presenting a company’s image online to include portraits of the executive team so that users associate real people with an otherwise faceless corporation” but adds the caution “The key point is that these are real people who actually work at the company. In contrast, users ignore stock photos of generic people“
This may sound familiar to anyone who has discussed the merits of commissioned photography versus stock images with a commercial photographer so it is interesting that Dr Nielsen’s research concurs with the advice imaging professionals have been giving their clients. Using eye-tracking infrared emitters placed around a computer monitor it has been possible to map the way web pages are browsed. The possibilities include a track of the viewer’s journey around a page as well as a hot-spot map which shows where the gaze has rested for longest. The image below is a clickable link to Dr Nielsen’s fascinating research, I would strongly recommend it as “must read” material for anyone using images online.
Great to see so much progress on the Nomadic over the last few weeks and I have been really lucky with the weather for shooting on the ship.
This industrial photography pic is the first piece of above deck structure being craned into place and the same week I shot the hot riveting process from start to finish. Unlike 100 years ago, when young boys diced with death and hot coal burners, the rivets are inductively heated now and the hammering is done by air.
Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue checking the reach of their appliance, having realised that its only a matter of time before they have to remove someone from Belfast’s new super-sculpture. One fireman commented that whether it’s as simple as local kids figuring out how to climb it or as unpleasant as a suicide taking place on the structure, they will be called to gain access to the incident. This is an example of a Belfast photographer capturing the latest developments in the local community as they happen.
Key people are the greatest asset of a successful company and showing them in the best possible light to prospective clients should be a priority. Biographies, qualifications and other details are often provided across a range of media but what about images? If you look around some company websites or literature what you find is pretty variable in quality.
The Flip-Side Portrait works on the same principle that has seen social media being integrated successfully into marketing strategies, I think this breaks down into 3 areas:
If you like someone you are more likely to do business with them.
If you can get to know someone socially it helps build your working relationship.
If a person is interesting they become more three-dimensional in your mind and therefore more memorable.
So the aim of the Flip-Side Portrait is to provide a high quality “at work” picture and an “outside work” image to go with it. These can be used online where the text beside the work picture encourages the viewer to roll their mouse over the image to reveal the other side or in all kinds of printed media where the alternative image adds depth to the person being described.
This is John McKee, Chief Executive of Linkubator, CEO of Amtec Medical and co-author of “STAR – Leadership Behaviours for Stellar SME Growth” (written with his Father, Will McKee).
And this is John McKee, breeder of saddleback pigs, being watched over by his ever present and always faithful friend, Flash.
Researching this concept has revealed that captains of industry enjoy a diverse range of activities outside work – sailing, motor racing, mountaineering and flying gliders were among the first I encountered when I started to ask around!
It was also interesting to hear how many successful business people spend their own time helping others; the image below is of Mike Mills, former Chairman of Ulster Carpets and Business Angel, speaking to encourage new start-ups and aspiring business people at a “Get Up and Grow Conference” – http://www.seedpse.com/conferences/
I first saw large-scale photography used to produce building wraps when I rode my motorcycle into Berlin in the summer of 2008. I was struck by the use of the media to provide environmental appeal in areas where buildings were in a state of disrepair and to preview the possibility of reinstating historic buildings that were lost during World War 2. The concept being that, in addition to their obvious aesthetic qualities, these representations could serve with a view to gaining support for building projects.
I was already producing images for print onto outdoor display media to be used in banner advertising and felt that this work could naturally extend into the concept of much larger formats to enclose entire buildings. In order to proceed certain technical issues had to be overcome:
The image has to be geometrically correct and perfectly matched for the individual application, as even the smallest error viewed at the size of a computer screen will translate into a massive discrepancy once enlarged to the size of a building.
In addition to this the photographic post-production process has to be suitable for interpolation to the truly gigantic files required to make this size of print.
The first application of this work can now be seen at the Belfast Harbour Commissioners Office in Corporation Square, Belfast where the renovation process is taking place behind scaffolding which is shrouded in life size images of the building. The clock tower was the first piece installed and the whole front of the building followed a few weeks later. The main frontal image had to be printed in sections and an empty warehouse was hired for the jointing process to be carried out.
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.