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    To Selfie or not to Selfie

    selfies vs professional photographyWe receive as much as 80% of the information through our eyes. With the growing pace of everyday life and our vision as our main sensory receptor you can understand why a picture says a thousand words.

    With online presence and social media playing such big roles in the success of our business, it is more important than ever to show yourself in the best possible way. Every day there are new businesses starting and buying URLs with the hope of creating a competitive brand. And with the majority of business exposure being online, this is the first impression for a lot of your clients.

    It’s quite clear for most of us that if we had an online shop that sells products then we’d get a professional product photographer to take seamless, shiny photos with colours popping out, because we know that when the customer can’t see or touch the item, the photo needs to be the best representation of the item. The photographer will have knowledge of best layouts, lights, shadows and compositions. Just remember your last online purchase and what made you choose the item or the seller? Would you buy a pair of shoes online if the colour or pattern is hardly recognisable because of a bad photo? Those features are important to a customer and we all agree that images should be good.

    I don’t sell any products online, so I don’t need a photographer…

    Are you using Facebook? LinkedIn? Do you have any pictures on your website? Are you part of any marketing or networking group? If you are active in social marketing then the answer to all those questions is “yes” and you most likely have a photo trail on the Internet. In social media most of our marketing and posts are done with illustrative images. If you don’t then it is time to consider getting some.

     

    “Professional images are part of your brand and should be part of your overall strategy. Once you take photos of your products or location and staff, these images don't have to be used just on your website.”  https://keystoneclick.com/blog/web-design/why-professional-photographer-important-your-web-presence

     

    Let’s take another example – food photography. I would like to use this example to discuss using photography as printed media. As food photography is my other passion, I tend to notice menus and restaurant windows with food photos. If the photo in the menu is underexposed and out of focus it’s not going to create a desire or appetite for that meal, nor will the photos that are too blue or too yellow, taken with a phone, or obviously printed with a home printer that isn’t meant for photography. Yes, they may sell the most wonderful food and probably the best places I have eaten at have those menus and windows. But does that help the business grow? Get new customers? Invite in someone passing by? Maybe you do not need to grow your business, in which case you wouldn’t put those photos up in the first place. Compare that to a fast food chain and even though mostly unhealthy, just driving by will make you want to pop in for a hamburger. And why? Because we see the images.

    Every business runs some form of events and in most cases use pictures taken with phones or use stock photos. As marketing people say - that just won't cut it nowadays. It is time to start your own collection of photos with the specific purpose of using them for advertising and growing your business. For starters, it’s enough to book a photographer for a couple of events to start building up your collection. Trust me – it will help you sell the future events. The shiny and clear photos make you feel happy and joyful, and the right lighting and bright photos reflect professionalism in your business.

    I am not an event organiser, or workshop creator

    Yes, we all put photos taken with our smartphones up on Facebook or LinkedIn if we’re just having a quick coffee or in a catch-up network meeting (even I have done so, as it was a matter of getting it up there right now, rather than waiting for evening and getting to the computer and felt so bad afterwards). And it is not reasonable to have a photographer follow you around all the time. Nowadays mobile cameras have super number of pixels, so they must take good pictures? Well, that is a totally different topic at all – ask any professional photographer, they will tell pixels are important, but not the most important decision in camera choice – many professional cameras have less pixels than modern phone cameras and still they take better pictures. Most mobile phones won’t take good pictures in low lighted rooms for example – pixels are not the feature to count there. Also without a specific lens choice … but I think I will leave that for another article….

    Do you use image to illustrate your posts and shout-outs? What do they say about you? Are they portraying a professional business image? A quick sum of what I’ve seen today - raffle and yoga class photos, removalists, music teachers, holistic gems and other items, sporting activities, landscaping and gardening, body piercing, artist workshops, skin products, health products and so on, and so on. Wouldn’t it be great if every time you go to make a post, you have a folder full of quality images to choose from? 

    Alright, alright, I am getting to selfies….

    Every morning we get up and make an effort to get ready for our day– we shower, wash, choose the best clothes, the female of us puts on make-up – why? To reflect an image of professionalism.
    Your portrait is your on-line business card, your brand, so it should reflect your professionalism. Your portrait needs to be inviting, bright and colourful, and create a feeling of welcoming. Ideally it also needs to represent your business and your personality. 
    Sounds like demanding a lot from one photo? No, it’s actually not - we need professional photos because they represent who we are and who we wish to be perceived like – professionals.

    To summarise –why go pro?

    Don't forget-

    • Professional photographer not only presses the shoot button, they also give you advice on the setting, background and overall style of the photo to go perfectly with your business.
    • Professional photographer will know how to set lighting and bring out your best features.
    • Professional photographer will see the best angles and poses
    • Professional photographer will make the experience of taking a portrait photo fun and relaxed

    I hope this article has helped you understand the importance of professional photography in any business. Book in a consult or a session with a professional. It does not need to be me, but let’s all make the image space on Internet a prettier place.

     

     


    Pille Repnau

     

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