Photographer Melody Robbins and videographer Stephen Stonestreet shared a wealth of useful tips with FABA members at the Photography and Video in Marketing seminar on October 21, 2015.
Using photos and video online
- Photos and video keep visitors looking at your website longer, which leads to better Google rankings.
- On social media, show customers and potential customers what you do. Show the people you are helping.
- Don’t share personal content like photos of your kids or your dog, but show your personality – why you do what you do.
- Not every business has good imagery. If your work is mostly sitting in front of a computer, choose images that inspire you. Whether it’s photos of your city or a natural landscape, a good-quality, attention-catching image is important.
- Studies have shown that video is one of the first things website visitors look for. Make sure your video content is front and center.
- High resolution images used to be taboo, but now more people have high-speed internet and higher resolution displays. If you are serving a high-tech demographic this is something to explore.
Hints for video
- Your business should have a video that tells your story in 30 seconds to one minute. Write out the script in advance.
- Answer the question: “Who is behind this business?” People want to put a face with the name.
- Make sure there’s something eye-catching in the first few seconds: Facebook now plays videos automatically, so you want to grab people’s attention as they’re scrolling down the page.
- You can also make a longer “story piece” – start off with the content of your 30-second pitch, then dive into a deeper story.
Hints for photography
- Camera phones are pretty good quality these days, but there are other important factors to consider. Lighting, focus, and background make a huge difference.
- Professional photos almost always have a higher quality look when compared with do-it-yourself snapshots. If your business is selling quality, then you should invest in quality work.
- For head shots, choose a background that is simple and relevant. Make sure there are no distractions or odd shapes in the picture.
Choosing a professional
- Read reviews! You will learn who does good work and pleases their clients, and you’ll learn something about their style.
- Look for someone who has a good quality portfolio. Make sure their style appeals to you.
- Most pros offer a consultation ahead of time. This is key to make sure your personalities and style are a good fit. If you don’t feel good after the consultation, look for someone else.
- Have a vision for your project: What do you want to see? What do you want out of it?
- For videography, look for someone who can help create a script, craft a story, and ask good interview questions.
Taking your own photos and video
- Use your do-it-yourself (DIY) images on social media, but stick with a consistent quality level for your core images and brand representation.
- To become a better photographer, take classes – offered locally by Crutchfield, PVCC, Richmond Camera, and others.
- Look at Instagram and Pinterest. Follow people who have great images. Notice the angle and perspective they use in their photos.
- Try different angles and see later what you like best.
- Look at the background as you take your shots.
- Edit your images afterward with software like Afterlight. Increasing the contrast can make a huge difference.
- Some iPhones are compatible with high quality lenses.
- For event photographs: To make a small crowd look bigger, leave out empty space – find the open spot and shoot from there. Try “framing through” two people – position yourself between and behind them so that they form a frame for the rest of the group.
- For food photographs: Use soft lighting. Specular and fluorescent lights cause unappetizing glare spots.