By Kathy Bazan, BRC Consultant
Business Recovery Center
According to the ancient proverb, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In social media, a great image be worth thousands of Likes, Shares, and Comments.
According to Mike Hanski in his Venngage article, What Marketers Should Know About the Psychology of Visual Content:
- Colored visuals increase people’s desire to read content by 80%.
- Content with images increases a view rate by 94%.
- Visuals generate more backlinks than any other form of content.
- Posts with images produce 180% more engagement.
- People are 85% more likely to buyyour product after watching a video about it.
Other studies show that our minds process images 60,000 times faster than we do words.
From the images you post, your clients are collecting information and arriving at conclusions based on the visual cues of the colors, the lighting, and any fonts you select—all before they read your posts. For this reason, the right images can entice new customers to buy from you.
Here are 10 tips on creating images people will Like, Share, and Comment on positively!
- Tell a Story
Look at your business: what products or services do you sell? If you are a florist, do you prefer to create prim and proper, neatly tied up wedding flowers or bouquets with elements like willow which extend beyond the boundary of the blooms?
Use images to show the bouquets you design, what cheesecakes you make, or how your life coaching services help someone to feel more joyful! The right images will attract a bride to use your florist shop if your vision aligns with hers. Someone looking for the freshest sourdough bread right out of the oven will come to your bakery if your photos tell your story. Parents and children playing in harmony tell the story of what your life/parent/child coaching can accomplish for your potential clients.
- Select the best equipment
Start with your smartphone. When you need a tripod or a flash attachment so that your photos look more professional, buy that accessory.
- Plan your photos
While it is a temptation to whip out your cell phone and snap a few shots of a tray of chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven, I really want you to pause and plan your shots. Even on a smartphone, you can follow these rules to make your photos more professional.
- Set up your camera: Do you need to set the f-stop, the ISO, or shutter speed?
- Consider the rules of visual composition which professional photographers utilize.
- The Rule of Thirds: Imagine a rectangle placed over your image and that rectangle divided into 9 equal sections. Locate a spot with is slightly off center and place your subject (or your chocolate chip cookies) there. Being a smidgen off center gives the viewer the feeling of movement and attracts the eye to the subject.
- Add elements which balance: The Rule of Thirds may make your primary image feel out of balance. To counteract this, add elements to the other side of the image to make it feel balanced.
- Viewpoint: Find a different angle or viewpoint so that your image does not look like the others out there.
- Use leading lines: These natural lines will draw the viewer’s eyes to where you want them to focus—your main image.
- Consider your lighting: Light focused on the main image in your photo draws the viewer’s attention to that image. It’s why actors like to stand in the spotlight!
- Natural lighting vs. flash
Natural light is softer and gentler while a flash can be harsh (and cause your human subjects to squint). Natural light can focus attention on your subject without highlighting their flaws.
If you are not sure, take several photos—some with natural lighting and some with a flash. See which you like better!
- Keep practicing!
Like writing, drawing, cooking, or driving, practice makes you a better photographer because it is a skill you learn—even on a smartphone!
- Create a signature style for your business
As a small busines owner, you may want to create a style guide for you and your employees so that there is a consistency in your images. Consider the internal values you have for your company and the type of visual images you want to share on the web with the world. How is your brand unique? What do you want your images to say about your business? Prim? Proper? Professional? Or cutting edge? Muscular designs and darker color palettes?
Your photos should convey your company’s brand easily. If not, keep practicing!
- Change your images!
If your business is a coffee shop, make sure that you have photos of people in addition to photos of the food and drinks you create.
If you are a life coach, include photos of dew on a flower, a playful kitten, or other images from nature in addition to images of happy people.
Different images appeal to different people. People like to see people who reflect their own age, ethnicity, or size. For these reasons, the people in your photos should represent different age groups, different ethnicities, and different body types to attract a variety of people to your website or social media.
I had a client who used nothing but photos of young, cute blond women on his catering website. I suggested that if he ever wanted to sell to brunettes, redheads, tall people, short people, and those of other ethnicities, he would need to vary his images. He was reluctant but he did change his images…and his sales increased!
- Use candid photos of your baker taking delicious scones from the oven or a photographer capturing a glorious sunset.
- Ask for user-generated images: Ask clients who come into your restaurant to share photos of what they order. Ask a client whose car you painted if they could share photos of their gleaming chariot in the mountains or at the beach.
- Behind-the-scenes photos: In these times of social distancing, potential customers want more personal contact with you and your business. Take photos of your work area or the customer care team casually gathered. Your very human customers want to connect with your very human staff.
- Personal images: As the business owner, you can use images to paint a picture of you, who you are, what you have done, what you believe. It might be a photo of you leaning against your hot red sports car or you in Hawaii on a beautiful beach during your last vacation. It could be you fixing a problem on the production line or fostering adoptable kittens in the office. All of these allow your potential customers to connect with you and buy from you.
. 8. Zoom is for teleconferencing: Cropping is for images.
If you are using a smartphone, zooming in might reduce clarity and your images will appear blurry. To zoom in, walk closer to the image and then you do not need the zoom feature on your camera. To get the images you want, try the crop feature.
- Brand your images
Add your watermark or logo to each photo before you post it online. Google has an interesting habit of harvesting images and posting them for all to see…and steal. If you add your logo or watermark before posting on social media, it will be more difficult for a rival to use your images without paying you or giving your credit.
- Edit your photos
Your smartphone has built in apps for editing photos. You may want to invest in software such Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop if you want to do a higher level of editing.
Each social media channel has its own requirements for photo size. Make sure that you know what those are and edit accordingly.
During editing, delete any unwanted blemishes or images…like that dog in the background doing um, er…never mind. If your image is underexposed, fix your lighting.
Through photography, you have the power to capture information about your business and share that information through social media!