Using photos is one of the best tools a business has to tell a story. Yet I see a lot of people doing an exceptionally bad job with their photos. And others using photos with great success. With today’s smart phones, there is no excuse for bad pictures.
So why are bad photos such a common thing?
What prompted this was a post by a friend of mine who has bought and sold more houses than most realtors by my own perception. He looked at a house that had been on the market for well over a year.
The price was right. The location was good. The financials were solid. It was a perfect situation. Yet their realtor was so clumsy with a camera that the house looked terrible in pictures and got little interest.
My friend actually bought the house, did a very minimum amount of cleaning, shot a bunch of new pictures and sold the house himself after just a month at a handsome profit. Not a bad deal for a few pictures, right?
When we bought the house we’re in today I actually was reticent to look at it as the realtor did such a terrible job with the photos I thought the house was one sneeze away from falling to the ground. But my own realtor told me I should at least see the house and, when I did, I bought it that same day.
Later, my insurance company saw those same pictures the realtor had taken and actually canceled my policy, saying the house was in derelict condition. It wasn’t, but that’s the story the pictures told.
Pictures have a unique and powerful way of speaking to us. The same sandwich or house or individual can look completely different depending on the skills of the person behind the camera. And while having exceptional camera gear certainly can reduce one’s photographic limitations, even the basic smart phone today has a pretty darned good camera. And it’s always there with you.
It’s not just real estate, either. I’ve seen great pictures telling a lavish story in the restaurants that I follow, and wineries have used effective photography to tell a convincing story. Today with services like Instagram and Pinterest there are real opportunities to use great photography to help tell the story of your business.
It’s also possible to take a mediocre photo and turn it into something that tells a story by using tools like Photoshop to effectively crop photos or change the lighting somewhat. Minor things can really make a difference.
And with today’s smart phone cameras you can use effects like bokeh, which is where the item you want to highlight is in focus with the background being out of focus. But this is also an effect you can fake in Photoshop.
Bokeh comes from the Japanese word boke (ボケ), which means "blur" or "haze", or boke-aji, the "blur quality." Bokeh is pronounced BOH-Kə or BOH-kay.
As part of planning your marketing moving forward now would be a great time to learn improved photography skills and I’ll be here to help. In the next few weeks we’ll cover some tips, tricks and resources for those of you who use photography to tell the story of your business. And, really, isn’t that all of us? Make sure you’re subscribed to our Monday Morning Marketing emails.