Hiring a pro
Do you own a small business? Or perhaps you’re a solopreneur who is the heart and soul of your business and brand?
If you’ve been thinking for a while that you need to be photographed professionally for your business, you’re dead right.
Or perhaps you’re contemplating just taking some photographs yourself, or using stock photos, because aren’t there other more important things you should be spending your money on?
If that’s what you’ve been thinking, you’re dead wrong.
The importance of professional photography in your business
High quality professional photography is an asset that contributes to your overall brand and to its success, making it a business expense which should be at the top of your list.
Professional photography can increase your sales and your conversion rates hugely, plus it also has an immensely positive effect on things like people’s perception of you and your business, engagement rates on your social media and website, and your general brand awareness.
1) Professional photography conveys quality.
Your website and social media profiles absolutely need a great, well lit and well posed professional headshot of yourself at the very least.
You should be consistent and use the same headshot across your online presence - be recognisable!
You should be consistent and use the same headshot across your online presence - be instantly recognisable!
High quality professional photography on your online platforms instantly increases the perception of quality which people associate with your brand.
The photos you use in your marketing represent you and your business just as much as the products and services you offer, and poor quality, amateurish photos reflect badly on you and make people wonder, if you’re skimping on the photography, what else are you skimping on?
You could be the most highly qualified person EVER in the history of highly qualified people doing [that thing you do], but if people can’t see good images both of you yourself, and you doing [that thing you do], how likely are they to actually book you or buy from you?
People need to see what they’re investing in, and when they’re considering whether to invest in a highly personalised service with someone like you, seeing who you are and getting visual insights into what it will be like to work with you is crucial.
Because let’s face it, if they can’t get that impression instantly from YOU and YOUR website and social media, they’ll get it from one of your competitors.
The baseline these days is for businesses to have good photographs showing what they’re all about, so if you don’t have this, you better make sure you have another ace up your sleeve which will make up for it.
If you publish crappy, poor quality imagery that looks like it was taken by your kid on a smartphone, what does that say about who you are and the service you provide?
Smartphones are getting better by the day, but they can’t compete with the technology of a professional camera and lenses - if they could, I would just whip my phone out of my back pocket when I rock up to photograph my clients. I mean, can you imagine ..?!
Even if in time smartphones CAN come close to the technology, the photographer you engage will have the eye, the skills, the creativity, the knowledge of light, and the experience in editing to do what you most likely can’t. Because, well, that’s our job!
2) Professional photography is aspirational
The photography you use in your online presence and marketing materials should be used to make people feel a certain way about not just you, but about themselves.
The images they see on your website should help them visualise very clearly what it would be like if your service or product became part of their lives and what the benefit of them investing in you will be. What kind of person will they be if they work with you? What kind of person works with you, and do they want to be that kind of person too?
Strategically shot and produced professional photography will help them form the impression you want them to form almost instantly.
What do your potential clients aspire to? How do they want to see themselves and what kind of people do they dream of becoming?
What kind of lives do they want to lead, and how does your product or service help them achieve this?
You need your brand visuals to show this very clearly, and this is where personal branding photographers like me come in. We help you translate these marketing messages into high quality imagery which encourages people to book you.
We help you make people think about your business the way you WANT them to think about your business.
3) Professional photography can be used everywhere in your marketing
Another advantage of getting your headshots or personal branding photography taken professionally is that you’ll be able to use them anywhere - you’ll be given high resolution images which will be suitable for print, your website, your email marketing, and social media.
Amateur photos, in comparison, can look okay on social media on a wee smartphone screen, but try to print them or use them on your website and they often look blurry and pixelated. And just a bit crap, really.
Which leads us back to the whole perception of quality thing again, doesn’t it??
4) Professional photography increases traffic to your website
If you use proper photography properly on your website, you can get up to 90% more traffic than if you didn’t use any imagery at all.
The photographs you use can boost your SEO if you compress, alt-tag, and describe them properly when you embed them in your web pages, because then search engines can gain a better understanding of what your website’s about and how it hangs together.
By the way, here’s a brilliant guide to making sure the images on your website support your SEO efforts.
Also, when you share your professional brand photography on social media, people are more likely to engage with it, and even share it, than if you post quick snaps taken with a smartphone. So if you post links to articles on your website which have great photos attached, they’re more likely to be shared, resulting in more eyes on your website and even more brand awareness!
5) Professional photography sames you time and effort
The whole process of planning your business photography and then executing that plan can be pretty daunting for many business owners and entrepreneurs. So why not engage a professional brand photographer to take care of it for you?
When I work with clients we go through my in-depth brand discovery process together and identify the key marketing and brand messages they need their visuals to convey.
Then I get to work planning with them how exactly we will translate these messages into imagery.
As well as taking the logistical reins for all this, I have the technical skills that my clients don’t - and why should they? It’s my job to know about lighting, posing, editing, retouching, and to have the necessary specialist equipment, not theirs.
6) Professional photography keeps your social media fed
How would you feel if you had a big folder of bang-on-brand images which you could draw from for three months?
No more scrabbling around for stock photography which is never unique anyway, or doesn’t quite fit in with your brand aesthetic, wondering what on earth to post tomorrow.
Having great photographs of you and your business can give you enough content to post for ages, and if you hire your brand photographer on a subscription basis with one shoot per quarter, it’s something you need never worry about again! (Get in touch with me if this is something you're interested in.)
7) Professional photography strengthens your brand identity and gets you better clients
Unique imagery taken strategically and intentionally can convey pretty much any marketing message you want and shape the way your potential clients see you and inform the way they think about you.
Ultimately, it can help the right people decide whether to invest in your service or product, or whether they’d be better off elsewhere.
If your brand identity is bright, fun, and bubbly, for example, your photographer could get shots of you with lots of bright colours, striking angles, and open, engaging poses. Or perhaps you want to convey an aura of quiet calm with a hint of luxury? Dark, rich colours and tones in your images might convey this.
Even the locations and props you use will make people think certain things in a certain way about you and what you offer.
Your brand archetype
How do you want you and business to be seen?
Perhaps you’re the Sage, the analytical, wise thinker who values knowledge and facts?
Or perhaps you’re the Explorer, the trailblazer, the adventurer who leads her clients to freedom?
With your own brand archetype in mind, a good professional brand photographer can help you show who you are and what you’re all about.
This, in turn, attracts like minded clients whom you will love working with as they just GET you. They're a pleasure to work with!
Where do you start?
Where do you start? Do you just dip your toe in and book a headshot photography session? Or do you book a full personal branding photography session?
I’m going to talk about this next week, so check back then to find out!
But in the meantime ...
don't hire a brand photographer until you've read this!