The importance of photography in your marketing campaigns and projects cannot be overstated.
Photos touch us on an emotional level in a way that words often can’t. If your ads, website and sales collateral feature years-old photos or rely heavily on low-cost stock photos, your sales results might end up reflecting the same weakness of your images. In our experience at Stride, we’ve found that the old adage is truer about photography than almost anything in marketing: You get what you pay for.
A dull or off-the-mark photo in your expensive ad or brochure simply won’t move people. It won’t stop them in their tracks, capture their imagination, and motivate them to act. As consumers are bombarded by images more than ever, and at the same time craving authenticity from their brands, there’s nothing like an ill-fitting photo to kill your marketing mojo.
A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.”— Irving Penn
The best way to get great photos that are authentic to your brand is to create them — by scheduling a photoshoot with a qualified professional photographer.
At Stride, we work with a handful of trusted local photographers to create amazing images that make our clients’ marketing messages believable and their promotions impactful.
So how do you get what you need from a photoshoot? It boils down to these basic steps:
1. Plan ahead. (Way ahead.)
A photoshoot without a plan is a day of missed opportunities and wasted money. As soon as your photographer arrives at your shoot, he or she is on the clock — and you’re on the hook for making sure you get your money’s worth. To make every hour count, you need every detail covered.
Planning should start weeks ahead of time, with a date (and rain date!) secured and a list of photo needs in hand. Detail matters here, so we itemize each shot according to where it’s being used, the message we’re trying to send, and the specifics of the scenario or product we’re shooting. Location, props, people, wardrobe, styling, and photo orientation are all addressed within a detailed schedule. After the list of immediate needs is complete, we ask about your wish list: what else might you need for future marketing communications? We’re often able to include some of those in the plan as well.
2. Know the rules of the road.
Photographers have different terms of service, so when hiring one, it’s important to know how, where, and for how long you’re allowed to use your photos. Is usage restricted or unlimited? This detail is important and is usually connected to cost. (We primarily hire photographers who offer unlimited usage.) Will people will be featured in your photos? You’ll need them to sign model release forms that agree to your ownership and usage of their images.
3. Plan to be there.
On the day of the shoot, it’s helpful for you or an associate to be present, even for part of the day. We want your input! If the shoot is on site at your facility and involves your staff, your participation helps set the right tone and alleviate concerns of disruption and the occasional case of camera shyness. If it’s a full-day shoot, your assistance with securing food for a lunch break is hugely helpful (and much appreciated!). Don’t worry – you won’t be counted on to run the show. That’s the director’s job.
4. Plan for a director.
Photoshoot direction is extremely helpful in getting your photos exactly right. When we’re directing a shoot, our job is to ensure the photos will meet specific design and messaging goals, so we work closely with the photographer to review and approve each shot. We assist the photographer, make sure everything’s in place, help models or products look their best, and keep everything running on schedule. Direction ensures that your investment in photography is maximized.
You got this.
Not to worry. Photoshoots demand a healthy amount of planning and proper execution, but with the right team in place, they’re a fun, productive, and adrenaline-filled day honoring what makes your business great! The most successful photoshoots are a three-way collaboration between the client, designer, and photographer, with each party bringing a unique perspective to the process. And not coincidentally, the most successful shoots tend to be the most enjoyable as well.
At the end of your photoshoot day, you’ll to be able to sit back, put your feet up and smile, knowing you created a library of stunning new images that will make your marketing efforts shine — and help your business grow.