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DIY or bring in the professionals – Part 2: Pictures

When should you publish, photograph or produce video yourself and when should you plan, create and deliver creative content with the help of the professionals? In this the second of three posts we consider the pros and cons of Do-It-Yourself image-making.

 

DIY or Bring in the professionals – photography

Instagram, the photo sharing app, revealed, last year, that it’s global community had grown to more than 400 million users – yes, you read that right and every single day more than 80 million images are posted. Meanwhile, marketeers and digital agencies have realised that adding a picture to a brand post, page or account can, almost instantly, increase or even double traffic.

DIY:

Pictures are powerful devices, they can invoke instant and emotional reactions, but get it wrong and they also have the power to damage your reputation, take Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, who just recently made, possibly, one of the most high-profile mistakes of his career – when he tweeted a blurry picture of the American Super Bowl game. Within minutes of posting it online he got ridiculed, not just on Twitter, but globally in the wider press. So when is it the right time to use amateur photography?

If you are new to posting images online, take care before you publish and read these tips:

  • Make sure your subject takes centre stage in the frame.
  • Allow some space around your photo, so you can crop and reposition it, using the publishing app editing tool.
  • Experiment with filters – but keep it simple – you can overdo it.

Never use images that are not yours, it is an infringement of copyright laws and could land you in hot water. Although, there are plenty of websites who offer free images, it is good practice to create a library of your own images.

Here’s an example of a client who runs a floristry school. They use Instagram to demonstrate the floral displays created by students attending their courses – they really capture the essence of their brand, the images are authentic and interesting.

Bring in the professionals:

At Touchpoint Design we rarely advise clients use amateur photography on their website, emails or printed communications. On a practical level, photographs need to be high resolution and provided in the correct aspect ratio. On a creative level, a professional photographer will light and compose a shot far better than any amateur – no matter how enthusiastic. Commission a professional and build a corporate image library to be used, long-term.

Here are some tips for appointing a professional photographer:

  • Ask for recommendations and look at their areas of specialism.
  • The cheapest isn’t necessarily the best. You need to be happy with the results and most people are very critical when it comes to pictures, especially of themselves.
  • Get advice from your photographer in the planning stages, it is a creative and a technical business and they will often have good ideas.
  • Agree on the copyright ownership – in advance.
  • Provide the photographer with a clear brief. Outline the purpose of the shoot, the running order of the pictures, the usage, the formats needed, timings and brand guidelines.
  • Factor in travel expenses and post production work (all photographers touch up images after a shoot).
  • Agree on how the photographs will be provided: high res, low res, JPEG or TIFF, on DVD or via the Cloud.

Don’t be a mug

In terms of team photos, there’s nothing worse than a hodgepodge of shots that have been taken in different locations, with varying light and composition. Your website might look fantastic but a gallery of random, low quality photos will let the whole site down. Here’s an example of a clients’ team photo gallery that is consistent, relevant and well executed:

Professional team photos

Photographer: Matt Lincoln

 

Plan B: Stock up

Whilst commissioned photographs are ideal, time and budgets can be limited. For service-based businesses, it might be the best option to use royalty-free stock library images. Whilst a good alternative, remember you won’t own them out-right, you may see the same image used elsewhere.

Our advice: select a consistent photographic style and avoid overly-polished ‘inauthentic’ images.

Bringing in the professionals will allow you to spend time on the most important part of your business, turning those potential leads into legitimate clients.

At Touchpoint Design, we collaborate with a wide network of photographers and illustrators. We passionately believe that the whole becomes greater than sum of its parts.

If you have a particular project in mind or you merely want to hear more about our approach, call us on: 01225 291 044.

Read next:
Part 1: Words
Part 3: Video

Useful links:
How to brief a photographer

Sue Bush