Six musts of magnetic business photos
Want more clicks? Use more photos. So goes the popular marketing advice these days.
Not so fast. Just because you have a camera and good intentions doesn't mean you can expect people to start clicking away. Downloading a generic stock photo won't encourage anyone to read your posts. Taking a yawn-worthy photo will have the same effect as a bland headline.
If you want the kind of photos that attract more readers, you must give your images the same attention you give your headline, messages, keywords and other strategic elements of your marketing material.
Whether you snap or select them, here are six musts for more magnetic business photos.
1. Create a hero
Like many boys, I was always attracted to the idea of heroes and villains. From Superman to Spiderman, I loved stories where we all knew that all eyes would turn to our hero, who would save the day.
When you are creating a photo for your business, you should be thinking about your hero. There should be only one point in the picture that you decide is most important, and it should be obvious. That's your hero. It can be a person. It can be your product. It can be a concept. Whatever hero you choose, make it unmistakable.
The reverse is also true. If you ever find that you aren’t crazy about one of your pictures, ask yourself, ‘what’s the subject, or hero?’ If a long, awkward pause follows, you’ve just solved the puzzle for your lackluster photo. Create a hero.
2. Make it prominent
It’s not enough to have a hero, you must make that hero prominent. Nobody wants a superhero who gets lost in the crowd.
The easiest way to create a prominent hero is to give it most of the real estate in your image. That often means getting close. It might mean standing back and zooming in. Either way, it means filling the frame.
The reverse rule also works here. If you look at your image, and your subject isn’t obvious or imposing, you are probably too far away. Zoom with your feet, and get closer.
3. Look for the light
There's an old adage that photography is painting with light. If that’s the case, you have to find the light to create great pictures. Your employees, customers or products will look their best when they are in plenty of light. Many new cameras can take great pictures in low light, but that will also require some more skill with camera settings. If you want tomake everyone look their best, photograph them in lots of light.
4. Show the action.
Here is a question most people will wonder as they look at your photos. "What are the people in this photo doing?" The least interesting of all business photos is called the grip and grin. It is a staple of awards ceremonies. The awardee and the boss clutch hands in a fake handshake and manufacture a smile for the camera. Better to ditch that boring concept and capture your awardee doing something. A more interesting image shows them at the task that earned the award.
If you are taking a picture of a product, showing it being used also helps people answer the question "...but what does it do?"
Take every opportunity to photograph action. A photo where there is action will usually be more interesting than one where people are just standing and staring.
5. Tell me a story
A great picture usually tells a story at a glance. The photo’s elements, characters, and setting all communicate in an instant exactly what is going on. That makes it easier for your reader to connect with you.
What stories are you trying to tell with your business? What problems do you solve? Great storytelling has strong characters, an obvious challenge, drama, controversy, and a satisfying conclusion. It might be hard to get all these elements into one photo, but with enough creative elements, you can tell a story that helps me connect with your brand. An effective picture must tell me a story.
6. Make me care
Here’s a question you must answer with your photo: So what? So many messages and images clamor for our attention. Why should I stop to look at yours? Great images have an arresting quality about them. They create a mood or evoke an emotion. They make me stop. They make me look. They make me feel. You must evoke my interest if you want me to care.
Can you get all six musts in every photo? Probably not, but the more you do, the more likely your photo will capture attention and lure your prospects to act.
This we must do.