Kitchener Waterloo Wedding and Family Photographer » Stephanie Canada Photography

…Use Professional Images to Grow my Business?

It goes without saying that in the business world, you ARE your brand.  When a potential client visits your website (or social media sites) you have approximately 3-5 seconds to grab their attention and hold it before they do one of two things:  Click to learn more about your site, or click away to go somewhere else.  How you present yourself, your products, and your overall business image is a top priority.

In today’s world, many people already own their own DSLR, and feel since it’s such a great camera, they can do their product shots themselves – or attempt a self portrait for a head shot.  This article is designed to show you the difference and why it matters to you, your brand, and ultimately your clients.

Your first impression goes a long way:  I touched on this already, but you only have precious few seconds to entice a potential client visiting your site to stay and learn more.  Oftentimes, it is your initial impression that grabs them – moreso than the words you have chosen (although those are important too!).  Pictures with poor lighting, out of focus, not cohesive, generally detract from your branding message, and inadvertently give off the impression that you are not as professional at your job than someone else.  Likewise, if your “professional” head shot is you cropped out of a family picture while vacationing in Hawaii, you send a similar message to your clients.

Professional head shots and product shots are an investment, no doubt.  But, most photographers provide complete commercial rights within their agreement to allow for you to use the images wherever, whenever, and at whatever size you wish (billboard maybe?).  Since a photographer’s digital negative is like the holy grail of their business, you pay a premium for the commercial release – not to mention their expertise and equipment.   Photographers will generally offer the shoot, some proofs to choose from, and 1 or 2 high resolution (commercially released) photos within their price.  Product shots would be extra, and would be negotiated on a case by case basis by how in depth the job is.  As a business owner, you can expect to pay between $200-$500+ for professional head shots, and product shots with commercial releases can range from $500-$2000+ (all depending on your own business needs).

Pay once, reap the benefits for a LONG time:  Professional head shots and product shots only need to be updated every few years.  It’s good to keep it current, and surely if you have a lot of revolving product or offer new products all the time, you may require product shots more frequently.  Generally speaking, your photos speak to your brand, and once you have a bank of cohesive photos for use in your marketing materials and website, you are set for quite awhile.  Find a reputable photographer in your area who is skilled in head shots/commercial photography, and is licensed for business appropriately (remits HST, pays for insurance and reports income).  This way, your cost can be written off as an expense, and you don’t waste money and time dealing with someone with little to no experience.

Get personal with your head shots:  There is no one-size-fits-all approach to a professional head shot.  Like other aspects of your business and your branding, the images need to fit with your brand and style.  A traditional grey backdrop with suit and tie approach is great for some, and especially if you have many people within your company that require photographs – keeps it simple and easy.  A more trendy approach is to get creative with it – love music?  Sit in front of a piano.  Go hiking on your downtime?  Do a session outdoors.  The best professional image is the one that fits cohesively with your brand and also accurately portrays your personality.  There are countless ways to fit your images to your brand, and a skilled photographer would help you to plan your session to match your branding.

Product shots:  Again, these can be tailored to fit your branding.  If you sell bikes, for example, then action shots of people using your bikes would be a huge asset.  If you sell handmade baby items, then it may be helpful to have a baby using your item.  Simple backdrop product shots are also extremely effective, especially while running a slideshow or presentation – it creates a unified look which keeps your reader engaged and focused.

Professional head shots and product shots are an important asset to any business.  Don’t let the cost deter you – engaging your viewers while conveying your personality through images is one of the best ways to turn a potential client into a real one.


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