A few weeks ago I opened my inbox to a company asking me to photograph some of their products. I’ve seen the company in question’s work over the last couple of years and absolutely love what they do so I didn’t hesitate and got on the phone to them straight away. I went through the in’s and out’s of what I could do for them, did they require studio or a location etc and then it got to that inevitable question….how much?
Living in a small town I would hate to feel that people think I’m over charging them, I invest heavily in my business so I can buy new equipment and of course I have studio overheads, so when it comes to pricing I keep it fairly straight forward. I have an hourly rate and then a price per download. I don’t think I’m over priced, the price would also have included travel and realistically even though I was only there for an hour it would have wiped out my whole morning, but it seemed in this case the customer did think I was a little too pricey.
So it got me thinking – is there a need for photography in a business or is it a sheer luxury?
There aren’t many companies that will want to go without having any photos. They may think it’s an expense that they could do without, they may have a go at doing it themselves or use stock photos, they may think that their money can be spent better elsewhere….or can it?
I truly believe that every business in every sector should budget and invest in a professional photographer.
About 12 months ago I had a client ring me. At the time they were taking their staff photos on their mobile phones which was fine for what they needed it for, but when it came to having literature produced the designer they were working with suggested that it was now time for them to invest and have their photos taken professionally. This resulted in a panicked phone call. I remember that I was part way through photographing a posh clothing line when I had to stop what I was doing, change my lighting set up and photograph the staff members as they needed the images edited and ready to go to print by the end of the week! I’m pleased to say that I got it all done for them and resumed photographing my posh clothing line until late in the evening.
Like most photographers I like to pass the time looking at photographs. I like photos that stop me in my tracks, I like my clients to push me and like to create a unique photo that is just for them, not just a run of the mill headshot, but images that will make them stand out from their competitors. I think because I put so much time listening to my clients requirements and creating lovely photos for them that when I’m scrolling through the likes of LinkedIn one of my big bugbears is people being photographed standing against the office wall, with a big shadow behind them. Now I appreciate that it may not be feasible to have all members of staff photographed, but it is definitely worth investing in the key members of staff. I remember reading somewhere that the headshot is the new handshake, therefore this could be your first introduction to a potential client – don’t skimp on that first impression!
Your clients want to know you, they want to know who they’re dealing with. Stock photos have their place and are easy when you don’t have much time on your hands or simply feel that a photoshoot isn’t an option. I’ve had clients that have used stock photos initially and overtime felt that their websites needed to be more personable. They’ve got me in because they want their clients to know them, they want them to know the team and they want them to know their products.
Professional photos are a great asset to your business. I always ask my clients to think about how they would like to use their photos over the next 12-24 months. Not only are we now able to market ourselves on our websites, but we have a vast social media platform with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. Photos can be used to make all of these platforms more engaging.
I’m always impressed at how a Virtual PA friend of mine uses her photos. She posts frequently on Twitter and seemingly has a different photograph of herself in each of her posts. They are either of her alone or of her engaging with a client, but in these individual posts, she makes each photo relevant to the message that she is trying to get across.
So now this leads me to ask you again….does your business really need professional photographs? I hope this time the answer is a big YES! 🙂