The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is truer today than ever before. We can quickly share our emotions and experiences without having to say a word. With our phone in hand we quickly capture the impressive, the beautiful, the hilarious, and even the mundane. Our culture thrives on the visual so much that just last year Instagram announced their incredible achievement of reaching over 400 million users!
Why use photography?
Your marketing strategies can benefit tremendously from adhering to our culture’s love of captivating imagery. Use images for print marketing (postcards, brochures, sell sheets, trade show booths), online marketing (website, online newsletters), and social media posts and pages. Using the same group of images or similar style of images across all platforms will create consistency in your brand and messaging. This is key in helping your target audience recognize who you are and engage with you. Just look at the facts:
- According to a study, if content is paired with a relevant image, people are able to retain 65% of the information three days later as opposed to remembering only 10% without an image.
- Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.
- Visual content is more than 40x more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.
So now the question becomes, “how do I get good imagery?” No worries, friend. We have 4 ways to hook you up regardless of your budget.
Professionally taken imagery is always our first and best recommendation. This way, your images are yours and yours only. A good photographer can capture your organization’s brand, vision, mood and tone. This is crucial for connecting with your audience. Custom photography acts as a window into who you really are. Where you take your photos, lighting, staging, and even how you are standing in the images can make or break the impact of the picture. A professional photographer can easily guide you through these types of decisions. We work with some really great local photographers and can help you get connected. Just contact us and we can introduce you!
Pros: Custom pictures! You will be the only one with your images. You’ll have more freedom with your images for print and web. Plus, you’ll have a large database of images to use.
Cons: Investment (but it is worth it) and finding a photographer that understands your vision (but we can help with that!)
We understand that it is not always feasible for every project. If this is the case, we suggest using quality stock imagery. Stock images sometimes have a reputation for being cheesy (and we admit, there are some out there), but with a little digging you can find some gems. If you go this route, we suggest using the following websites:
Pros: Using paid stock images decreases (but doesn’t ensure) the chance that others will have the same exact images that you have. Paid stock images are taken by professional photographers so you can rest easy knowing the images are of good quality.
Cons: Some images can get a little pricey, so you may want to opt for a photo plan package.
Free stock images
No budget? No problem. There are a number of free stock image websites that we recommend if you cannot use a photographer or buy images. Some sites offer more of a variety of photos than others, but with a little effort you can usually find something that will work pretty well for what you need. Here are some of our favorites:
Pros: Free. Need we say more?
Cons: Less of a variety of images to choose from.
Do it yourself
Using a camera can quickly become second nature with a little practice, but we do suggest taking a photography class so you end up with quality images. Don’t worry, you don’t have to pack your bags and head off to college! Most local art associations offer photography classes or could at least direct you towards a location that does. If you are in the central PA area, we suggest checking out these local spots:
Pros: You’ll learn a valuable new skill set that you’ll be able to use forever.
Cons: The initial investment in a good camera and class costs.
How do I get started?
If you’re not sure how this all fits in with your brand, we suggest some time to create a marketing plan before you start shaking it like a polaroid picture. We’re thrilled that you’re excited to start using images in your marketing, but we also want to make sure that your foundation is solid. If you already have a marketing strategy in place, we encourage you to evaluate and improve it with these ideas about photography and improving your visual assets. Let us know how it is developing (a little picture pun)!