When you see a blog post, a website, a Facebook page, or a piece of mail, what do you notice first?
Cool fonts? Maybe.
Great copy? Probably not right away.
The pictures? You got it!
Pictures are often the first thing that draws a viewer’s attention, and they help to create that initial attraction to a brand. Because of that, it’s really important to think about what the images you have posted on your website, social media sites, and even those that appear on your printed materials say about your business. If they’re crummy, people will think you’re crummy and that’s not the direction we want to head in. We want to be totally un-crummy and maybe even amazingly spectacularly gorgeous and wondrous.
Your pictures, just like your words and actions, represent your brand. They’re your big chance to stand out from the crowd and create interesting and memorable images for your marketing materials. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, right? It’s completely true, so as representatives of your brand, your pictures should look professional so they can help you communicate all the right things to your customers.
By professional, we don’t mean to say that your images should be predictable or stuffy or boring. In fact, they should be anything BUT that, but they also shouldn’t be pictures you took at home of your pet chicken or your kid unless they’re relevant to your brand and they look professional and polished.
Part of what’s special about a professionally done picture, is that they’re very high resolution. This is important because the resolution requirements for print and web are different and your pictures must be appropriate for your purposes. Pictures intended for use in print need to be much higher resolution in order for them to print clearly. Pictures intended for the web will probably not be good enough for print materials. Web pictures will not have high enough resolution to be used in print. That’s why the pictures on those invitations you made for your Great Uncle Carmine’s 90th birthday party came out kinda wonky even though they looked great on the computer. A professional photographer can help you sort all that out and make sure everything looks sharp.
Another thing a professional photographer can help you establish is consistency. Pictures that are of the same style and quality help to create consistency throughout all of your marketing collateral. This helps create that ever-important brand recognition. Another part of brand recognition is having images that draw people in by making an emotional impact on the viewer. Your pictures should work to connect your customers with your products and make them remember that connection. Animals and children are great for evoking a viewer’s emotions. If you’ve ever wondered why we use so many pictures of Bella and Dolce, there ya go. Aside from the fact that they’re wicked little divas and they sulk until we post pictures of them, we also do it because they’re adorable and people love adorable things. We’re always careful though that Bella and Dolce are relevant to our content. Their sweet little Chihuahua mugs wouldn’t work so well on a website that sells home security systems, for example. You’d need a Rottweiler for that at least.
But why should you bother hiring a professional photographer when you can just Google stuff and find great pictures for free online? Well, there’s a little thing called copyright. It’s very, very naughty to take images you find on the Internet and use them for your purposes without permission. You can always buy stock photography from a web site and that’s totally cool to use, but those photos can be kind of pricey and generic. You can always purchase exclusivity rights to the photos you choose, but that can be costly too, especially if you’re purchasing a lot of images. If you don’t own the photos, there’s a chance you’ll see that same photo on something a competitor is doing! EEEEK! It’s like showing up to Prom wearing the same dress as that annoying girl from math class. That’s so embarrassing!
We hope we’ve successfully communicated to you how important it is that the images you use to help you with your branding and marketing are tip top and full of The Fabulous. You want everything to be, well…Picture Perfect!
Sorry. We had to say it. We held it all the way to the end though! Aren’t you proud of us?
PS: Next week we’ll talk about creating content that has great viral potential. These days it’s not just enough to be cool or interesting--you’ve got to be contagious!