A recent discussion on Linkedin about how photographs are undervalued really struck a chord with me. Mahshid Rasti, a local Stockholm-based photographer, posted about being approached to do some food photography for an image agency. The fee for the work was negligible and far below what a professional like Mahshid should receive.
Many of us chipped in, discussing how photography seems to be increasingly undervalued. It seems businesses are happy to post stockphotos or poorly composed cellphone shots on their social streams, just as a mere illustration rather than a genuinely eye-catching piece of content that will benefit their business.
With Facebook posts with images getting 2.3 times more engagement and social share service Buffer reporting that tweets with images are retweeted 2.5 times more than non-image tweets, there’s a real opportunity for businesses that are sourcing great photos for their content.
I’ve done a lot of photography over the years. First, as a journalist for newspapers in the early 00s, and then for businesses as online content increasingly became important. I’ve also done photography for commercial adverts.
From a marketing perspective, I can’t stress how important it is to have great imagery across your marketing channels. Sure, you can’t always afford to hire a professional, but even if you’re working in-house on a shoe-string budget, you’ll benefit from having a consistent visual identity across platforms, and gorgeous photos.
The strongest brands online have a consistent visual identity which is easily recognisable. They work hard (and invest a lot of money) to ensure this. If you’re not sure how this can translate to your (small) business, think like a corporation, making sure your brand guidelines include a photography section that outlines your photography style, key photo characteristics. Formalise clear guidelines on image use on social media and your website, and where necessary, include examples so everyone in the company is on the same page.
This way, potential customers will not only recognise your brand, you’ll maintain quality across your content output.
Finally, I can’t stress how the right photo will engage your audience better than just any photo.
Hiring a professional photographer can help you tell a more accurate and compelling story, and help you stand out from the crowd no matter the digital platforms you’re active on.