Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Great Photography: Why It’s Still A Powerful Marketing Tool

March 31, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Marketing, Photography

Credit: Dorothea Lange Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-USF34-9058-C

Even though it seems that video is the hot topic in internet marketing these days, great photography still holds an important placein the marketer’s toolbox.


People really enjoy looking at photos.

A photograph gives you pause and a chance to really look at it, extract details about the image, and then commit it to memory.

You’ve seen how really powerful photographs can change the way you think about a subject. Who can forget that haunting image of Nick Ut’s award winning photograph of the young Vietnamese children running from a napalm strike. Or the images from the battlegrounds of the Civil War.

Photography is the first medium that brought reality to people’s doorsteps in a visceral way. Illustrations, while powerful, were just not the same.

Because photographs contain a frozen moment in time, they are a different experience from watching a video. Think of the stark portraits taken during the Great Depression. Those black and white photos have the ability to communicate so eloquently what even films cannot do.

Ansel Adams’ timeless landscape photos would not have the same power on film.

Photographs are more portable than video.

Another advantage of photos is their portability and ease of viewing. You don’t necessarily need a computer, smart phone, iPad, iPod or anything like that. Photo paper can be a low-tech option.

Social media thrives on photographs.

In the wildly popular social media world of today, people represent themselves, their friends and activities with photos even more so than video. Don’t forget to use your photography arsenal in your social media marketing.

Quality – and a caption – is important when posting your photographs.

Yes, photos still play a crucial role in your marketing messages, but all photos aren’t created equally. The better the photo, the clearer the communication and the greater the impression.

When you add photos to websites, blogs and social media sites, don’t forget to add the icing on the cake – a well-written descriptive caption. I try to write one or two sentences that turn the photo into a micro-story. Be creative and have fun with it. It has been proven that people will read the caption under a photo before they’ll ready anything else on a page. Hint: this is also a great place to put your link back to your website!

Photography is the basis of video.

Like I said at the beginning, all the marketing buzz today is about putting videos on your website. However, don’t forget that video, like movie film, is simply a series of photographs played so fast that the eye and brain interprets it as motion (persistence of vision). So, if you learn the fundamentals of good photography such as composition, lighting and the effect of aperture and shutter speed on an image, you’ll quickly see your videos improving, even if you are just using your cell phone for a camera.

And, let’s face it, photography is fun!

Going On Camera? How To Do Your Best

Are you going to be on camera?

Feeling a little stressed by that?

That’s a very natural reaction. Even though I’ve been on camera a lot lately and I have what I’m going to say all lined up in my head before hand, and even practiced it a few times, when that camera light goes on and I know it’s recording, I freeze. (You can imagine how bad it was when I was being filmed for a segment on CNBC! Poor cinematographer had his job cut out for him that morning.)

What has been helping me is to take a nice breath and pause a moment or two before I begin speaking, right after the camera begins rolling. You don’t have to launch right in. In fact, it is easier to edit if you don’t (give the editor a handle). That way you can calm your nerves and ensure you’ll have enough breath to finish your first sentence. It’s like a micro moment of meditation. In fact, your delivery will likely be better since you’re starting off on a better foot.

During the Internet Marketing Cruise we went on this past January, one of my fellow internet marketers and cruisers, Dr. Wendy Guess of DancingAwayStress.com, wanted to share with you how you can do your best on camera. Here is the short video we recorded on the Lido deck one early (and windy) evening.

Don’t you agree that even though she was dealing with the wind, her delivery was strong and confident? You can do the same!

On a side note: We shot this with our external Sennheiser shotgun mic with a foam wind protector attached. Hear how good the audio was even in a really windy situation? If we had our big wooly wind protector on you would not even have a hint of wind noise (we didn’t bring it on the cruise). For a more in depth overview of that mic, be sure to read my post on external microphones.

Still Photography: Is It Less Important Than Video?

March 24, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Photography

Is still photography less important than video these days? 

Maybe it’s the email lists I’m on or the company I keep, but it seems to me that all the focus (pardon the pun) in internet marketing these days is on video. Yes, it is important, no question about that, but let’s not forget about good old photography.

That’s right, I’m a video producer telling you that you still need to think about the skillful use of still photographs in this business. Why?

Photography is an important and a powerful marketing tool for several reasons.

1) People enjoy looking at photos.

You can study a photograph, extract details about the contents, commit it to memory.  Really powerful photographs can change politics and even alter history. Consider the iconic photos of the great depression, the world wars, Vietnam, Marilyn Monroe, the Beatles, the murders of John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert … a photograph can fix an image in your mind in an instant.

2) It is easy to put photos up on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and share them with others.

I know plenty of people who still are baffled about how to upload videos, but photos are pretty darn easy.

3) Photos are important to send with press releases.

Newspapers, magazines and journals love photos with stories and press releases. You have a better chance of getting a story run if you include great supporting photos with captions.

4) Photos enhance books, eBooks and PDFs.

A photos can say so much, and you can’t put videos in books.

5) Most website items incorporate photos.

Banners, headers, profiles, backgrounds, articles, blogs… all incorporate photographic elements. Keep that camera handy and look for photographic opportunities to support your website.

6) Bad photos are everywhere – good ones will always stand out.

Great photos are priceless. Like I said in item #1 above, a great photo can stand the test of time. Strive for better photography even in your social media activities. That alone will give you a leg up on the competition.

Don’t know how…. watch for future articles and tutorials.

7) Photos can be an important component of your videos!

Think about Ken Burns’ extraordinary film series, “The Civil War,” composed almost entirely of still photographs.

When I shot the video of my dad, the author of one of Florida’s best read novels, A Land Remembered, I relied on extensive use of historical photographs throughout the production. This video, “Patrick Smith’s Florida: A Sense Of Place” has been my best selling product for the last 5 years!

8) HD video requires vast amounts of storage space on your hard drive.

Photographic requirements are minuscule in comparison. In other words, photos are easier to handle, upload and download, and to archive for the future.

9) Photos are important components in ads and printed marketing materials.

If you are promoting events you need photos for posters, flyers, handouts, etc. They are also a key element in many direct mail marketing materials. And you can’t play a video in a magazine or newspaper ad!

10) Buying good stock photography has become very affordable and easy.

I work mostly in video today, but I started my professional career as a photographer and earned a degree in fine art photography. My wife Kim also got a degree in photography. As much as I love film and video, I will always have a love of photography.

The principles of photography – exposure, shutter speeds, aperture, composition, the effect of focal length – are also the foundation of video. It’s just that today’s cameras have made it so easy to get good exposure that most people don’t have a clue about what the camera is doing. By learning more you will have greater control over the look and feel of your videos and will most like enjoy photography, and video, more.

Over the next few months, I’ll be exploring each of the above points. Next week I’ll write about people’s love for looking at photos and how you can use this to your marketing advantage.

This list is not inclusive. If you have another good idea for why you photography is important to marketing your business, share your thoughts below. You will probably give me some more food for thought and a great idea for future posts!

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