It starts with an image.
Above is the order of engagement when making a sale on line. Four steps in the order in which they occur. I didn't make this up, the information is the result of research conducted by, amongst others, Amazon. Have another look, it's important.
1. First look at the photo.
2. Check the price.
3. Then read what others say about the product.
4. Lastly glance at the product description.
Without an image the process of engagement never gets off the ground. When you have something you wish to sell, from a house to a pen, you need a photograph. Preferably a good photograph.
A good photograph is not necessarily one that was taken by a photographer. Photographers can take poor photographs and an amateur can take good photographs. You just have a better chance of getting a good photograph from a professional. A fair question is why do you need a good photograph and what makes a photograph good?
A photograph is simply information. Information can be clear, concise and elegant or it can be none of those things. With poor information you are left scratching your head. It is never a smart move to confuse and irritate a potential client. Provide the prospect with the information needed to enable an informed and confident decision to purchase. A professional photo provides such information efficiently and cost effectively. A good photograph helps make a sale and the money spent on a photograph should be easily recouped in sales.
The chances are, whatever you are selling, someone, somewhere, is competing with you. A potential buyer is without doubt looking at a number of options. Trust must exist before a purchase is made. I will be blunt, if a product is photographed on a dining room table with a curtain in the background, out of focus and at an awkward angle, you will come across as unprofessional. The absence of a good photo of the product will result in the client questioning your ability to supply the product itself. An unprofessional photo erodes trust. Improving the photography of your products will increase your chances of making a sale.
As bricks and mortar stores become difficult and even dangerous to access in the Covid world, your online presence becomes your store front, your showroom. A well designed clean website with professional quality images helps create trust in the mind of an online purchaser.
If you decide to explore the possibility of hiring a commercial photographer how should you instruct them? The photographer should be given as much information as possible so she/he can supply you with an image that will work for you. Explain what you are selling and why, then take careful note of what the photographer says. At this point they should ask a lot of questions.
It could be anything but for the sake of an example lets say you are selling a pen. The photographer should ask to see the pen, they should ask the retail price and what makes the pen special, its u.s.p.(unique selling point)? Does the photograph need to be placed with existing images? Can you supply examples of those images? Does the pen come in multiple colours? Who is the competition and how do they photograph and market their pens?
Your potential photographer should be interested in your business. It is vital that they engage with you and ask questions about your business in order to provide the images best suited to help you make a sale. After all, the more you sell the more likely you are to return with more products for photography. It astonishes me when photographers are not awake to this rather obvious commercial reality.
Not convinced that you need to hire a photographer? I will surprise you and say you may be correct. Perhaps your requirements are so simple, and phone cameras so good, that you can take the photograph yourself, or have a talented staff member do the work. That is certainly a thing. Some simple techniques and you are good to go. Stick around, I will help with this in the coming weeks
Personally, when a client asks me to photograph something I feel they could do themselves, I will tell them so. I only take on work if I think I am adding value and helping a business to be more successful.
If you weren't to begin with, I hope you are now convinced that a good photograph is a vital component of a marketing and sales strategy. There is a reason Coca-Cola uses so much photography when we all know exactly what a can of Coke looks like. Photography sells products, thats a fact.
In the next few days I will write an article to help you decide if you need to hire a photographer or if you could do the work yourself. The best camera is the one you have with you and the best photograph is one you can send to a client the moment they need it.
Coming soon: When to do your own photography?