KBB - April 2013 - (Page 64)
Six reasons to invest in professional photography
In an industry dominated by clients known to make snap decisions, you
must ask yourself if you’re putting your best face forward to draw new and
retain former clients. Beautiful photos are an ideal way to attract attention
for your clients and your business.
Professional photography can be expensive, but there are a host of
good reasons that prove its value even if you decide to document only one
or two projects each year. When you budget for the expense, you’ll quickly
see it as a business investment. Later in this piece I’ll share some ways to
manage the costs to make it more affordable.
Photographers are creative professionals and business people (like
you) who can be counted on to go beyond strict documentation to create
images that can help you communicate a specific message as well as
create personality and buzz for your business. Approaches to the work
vary, so make time to study portfolios online and certainly later in person as
you’re narrowing the field of prospective photographers.
Public relations and marketing. Clients are visual, and nothing
grabs attention like a striking image. Showcasing a state-of-theart innovation creates memorable marketing, industry buzz and can
get potential clients talking and bookmarking your site. My friends in PR
and at publications tell me that nothing cinches the deal for editorial
coverage like great photos (in fact editors routinely call me asking about
my recent shoots). Not only does your client get the added prestige of
seeing their home published in a magazine and sharing the story among
their friends and associates, an article is viewed as an objective thirdparty endorsement, which can dramatically extend your business’ reach
and reputation. My work has been featured on dozens of covers and in
numerous trade magazine articles, as well as in Businessweek and Fast
Company for general audiences.
Sales presentation. Showcase past work to future clients. From
web portfolios to one-on-one presentations, using high-quality imagery
not only presents your products and services in the most professional
manner, it also elevates your brand.These images can be part of your sales
process for years to come. The advertising industry knows the power of a
great image to drive sales.
Tradeshow presentations. Many companies rely on tradeshow
presentations to showcase innovative designs and ideas, making you
the expert. Some show organizers need imagery for special exhibits. Do you
have the images you need to effectively communicate your expertise from
a distance of 50 or 100 feet? Attractive photos can make people on the
move stop to take a closer look, which allows you to start a conversation.
Awards and competitions. My photography has garnered
more than 100 awards for my clients within various competitions.
This exposure not only serves as a congratulatory note to clients but
also to related professionals and manufacturers who contributed to the
project. Let them do some marketing for you. The “win” also increases the
opportunity for additional marketing and media coverage when you share
an announcement and a photo of the project via press release.
Social media. Sites such as Houzz, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram
Legal considerations. Every once in a while it’s necessary to protect
and LinkedIn are hot and where potential clients look for designers. A
word of warning: Do take the time to read all fine print, especially privacy,
copyright and reuse policies. There have been recent dust-ups with
Pinterest and Instagram over who owns photographs once they are posted.
Better to be informed and make a conscious decision about how you’ll
allow images to be used. However, the sheer ease of sharing information
via social media can mean that your work will end up in surprising places.
or prove your work. Corporate attorneys will frequently use photography
as documentation for copyright issues — which brings us to contracts. As
with any creative professional, work is based on a contract. Discuss the
thinking behind your project — what you want to communicate and your
— objectives for the photo shoot-down to listing each image that needs to
Contracts with individual photographers can and do vary, so be
sure to read the contract and discuss the details upfront before signing
anything. I grant clients unlimited usage permission for all marketing
efforts with the exception of advertising (meaning instances where they
are paying for media space). However, I also restrict use by a third party. If
there are additional companies or professionals who might be interested
in using images of the project, investigate sharing the cost. The general
contractor as well as many suppliers or local distributors of fixtures and
appliances might very well be interested in photos. Cost sharing reduces
their overall outlay. Talk with them before you hire the photographer so
they can be included in the contract and can communicate their needs
before the shoot.
I hope I’ve illustrated why investing in high-quality photos makes
good financial sense for your business. It not only will boost your searchengine ranking but also enhance your brand and your bottom line.
Professional photographers have highly specialized skills and utilize the
latest equipment. It goes far beyond point and shoot.
—Mark A. Steele is founder and principal of Mark A. Steele
Photography, Inc., a full-service architecture interior photography studio
that specializes in creating images for a variety of uses. His work is
regularly published in design trade magazines. Contact him at mark@
April 2013 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of KBIS www.kbis.com
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