Today I will be giving a talk to my local WiRE group about photography and specifically photography for business.
We all have this love hate relationship with social media and the internet and to many they blame it for the demise of our High Street. The plus side to it is that it now gives small business a foot in the door so to speak. Not all of us can afford rent, business rates and all the associated costs of a High Street shop. We don't all have the time to go from shop to shop searching for the perfect gift for Aunt Joan's 70th birthday. This new era of social media & internet shopping has seen huge opportunities for small business to add a valuable contribution to our economy. Take a look at Etsy and Not On The High Street and you will see straight away what I mean.
Here are my top tips for small business. This is for those who want to make the most of this free resource.
1. Take your photographs near a window. Natural light is gorgeous. You don't need fancy lighting all the time!
2. If selling items is "your" business invest or create your own little photoshoot area. Use some fabric as a backdrop, a wall unit or shelf, possibly purchase a simple backdrop off eBay and clip it up.
3. If you create items that are to be worn. Ask a friend to model them or hold them. Perspective/size/shape/texture are all so much more pleasing to the eye when you can see them on someone. I love Fat Face clothing and on their Facebook page they recently posted pictures of their own staff modelling the new season clothes. I LOVED IT!! It screamed personality and fun.
4. Style your products. If you are a small business you don't need to have a bland white backdrop. The background tells its own story. My favourite site for personality and general all round loveliness is Emma Bridgewater. Look at those colours, the home screen is alive and draws you in. Keep in mind that not all people are creative, sometimes they need to be taken by the hand and shown that the product you supply or make would look fabulous in certain settings.
5. Brand it baby!! We tell our kids that images go everywhere once on the internet and that they are there forever. So, why are you not stamping your business name all over that image? Say it loud, say it proud people. Use a consistent colour, a consistent font, put your website or business name on it. You could even put your Facebook address on it. Tell that customer who you are and where they can find you. If you really aren't that savvy with editing apps and adding a watermark or text why not pop a business card against your product when you photograph it?
6. Images tell a story. It doesn't need to be all about the sale, create some interaction with everyday pictures. This is hugely applicable to those of you who provide a service. Everyday items tell their own story. Maybe it's a new item of stationery, your shoes by the door ready to go to a meeting in this case it was my daughter bringing home a leaf bouquet for me.
7. Use what you have. If you have an iPad, Samsung tablet, smart phone or dslr camera then utilise them and learn how to use your device properly. Edit the image using the settings available to you. Something as simple as cropping it and upping the contrast can change an image straightaway.
8. Take a photograph of something mid process. Maybe you make jewellery and are selecting a clasp or gem. If you write blog posts for a living take a picture of your schedule/brainstorming. If you are a NYR or Forever Living rep you could photograph your orders stacked up and ready for delivery. Images create chat!
9. Ask your clients or customers for an image of your work or products in their home and share it. I love seeing images of my family photography being loved and enjoyed. Nothing sings to my heart more than seeing all that hard work actually loved! Every now and again someone sends me a BTS (behind the scenes) shot. I always share it!
10. Find an editing app that works for you. Canva, MuseCam or Snapseed.
11. Finally, some images need a pro. When I go to the hairdresser I am paying for so much more than just a haircut I am paying for the level of expertise they have, the training they have had invested in them as well as their kit. Photography to me is no different. Leaflets, brochures, roll up banners and website images all require good quality, consistent imagery. Invest in a professional for this. Headshots are also something I think are best handled by a pro with great kit. It doesn't have to be taken in a studio with bright lights but a good quality head shot, edited by a pro can do wonders for your confidence and be a good investment in you and your business.
If you like my blog post or found the talk I gave interesting then please feel free to share this blog, say wonderful things in the comments and like my page.