So here you are, a small to medium sized business owner working long hours getting your baby off the ground. Toiling over your business plan, marketing strategy, financial outlook, pouring over your breakeven analysis, and more. So far, you've done all the right things, secured financing, launched your website, had your grand opening. You're hitting up your social media accounts on a regular basis, keeping your website up to date, life is good at this point. Clients are happy, your client base is growing, you even have some regulars making their presence known. Everything is running like a well-oiled machine.
Now you want to get the word out for a new service or product. You want brochures, maybe a menu, a handful of mailers, some fliers, an advertisement on your website, on social media outlets, and others. You take your time, plan the budget, plan the layout...now what? Now you've got to get the images. Easy enough! You'll trim a bit of fat from your budget, save a few bucks, and do it yourself. You've got a point and shoot camera, they'll take images good enough, right? Or, how about the fifteen year-old niece or nephew who took a picture of some tulips that looked pretty cool at grandma's during the family reunion last summer? While it might not cost much more than a tank of gas, and from a short-term investment perspective...may not be such a bad idea. In the long-term, not so much.
This is where things start to get a little fun. You start arranging the products until you've got a warm fuzzy, hit that shutter release, and then scurry off to upload them to your computer. Only now you discover there's a problem. Some of the images are blurry, some are dark, some have so much light coming through the windows everything is blown out. You even noticed some of the images aren't the correct color (green or orange color cast), there's quite a bit of clutter in the background, and those once promising images just don't look nearly as cool as what they did before. Even that "Selfie" you took to use as your corporate head shot is starting to look a little less than desirable. Now what?
You could take another "Selfie", and with any luck, will turn out better than the last. Perhaps, the first time was a fluke, and the next go around with another product or service campaign will be better. Perhaps. But then again, it could quite possibly end up being not what you were after and leave you disappointed and frustrated.
Now you're at a point you feel you're starting to waste time and money, and just decide to buy a fistful of stock images for the campaign. Nothing wrong with that, businesses do this all the time. Big problem arises once the images are uploaded to your webhost, or sent out for print. You start having buyer's remorse and ask yourself, "Why did I choose to use images that have zero connection to my brand, my business, or myself and expect them to represent my brand or business?". Once again, here comes the perpetual cycle of questioning and doubt.
As unfortunate as it is, those images sitting taking up disk space on our webserver do in fact speak volumes to our customers. It speaks about our brand identity, level of professionalism, dedication, and pride we take in our businesses.
Creating images is fairly straight forward and simple. Honestly, anyone with a camera can do it. Especially with the automatic features today's cameras have. However, when it becomes more difficult, frustrating, and a distinct separation begins to show is when you start troubleshooting and taking corrective action over those images in camera. What causes images to have a green or orange color cast to them? Why are they consistently too dark or too light? What are all these strange anomalies when the images are enlarged? How can I arrange a group of objects so they are more aesthetically pleasing? How can I utilize existing light, supplement that light, or shape it to create a more appealing image? When would a narrow aperture be more favorable than a wide one, and vice versa? When should or shouldn't I use a fast shutter speed, a wide-angle lens, or a macro lens? Matter of fact, what the monkey is a macro lens, anyway?
If any of this is beginning to sound all too familiar, and you want to take your images for your next campaign to the next level, it's definitely time to put some serious thought into letting someone else worry about them for you! It's time to put some serious thought into someone who understands the difference corrective and creative white balance. It's time to put the iPhone down for a bit, and put some serious thought into someone who understands butterfly, loop, or Rembrandt lighting patterns make for a more flattering and professional corporate head shot. It's time to put some serious thought into someone with the equipment and knowledge to make your vision a reality! You've got enough to worry about, there's no reason to add any more to it.