Commercial Photography - How To Give Your Small Business The Edge

By: William Penworthy

If you’re looking for an edge, you’d be highly advised to consider taking advantage of the commercial photography experience of a creative commercial photographer. Having a professional photographic packshot makes such a tremendous difference in terms of getting the attention of potential clients, giving an impression of a higher level of professionalism, and generating that all too elusive click appeal.

Although the internet has been hailed as the great leveller, allowing small businesses to compete on an even footing with global brands, the reality is that it has still been all too evident which is which when looking at either a website or printed promotional material. If a picture can paint a thousand words, a good quality, professionally developed photograph of a product speaks volumes, and is immediately eye-catching. A commercial photograph taken in just the right way, with just the right lighting, the right tone, the right props, models, background and angle will stand out, and immediately gives a professional, established sense of authority to the business.

Unfortunately, largely because of the high costs charged by many commercial photography studios, small businesses have chosen either not to use photographs at all, or to take them in-house. The trouble with these two options is that the advantage small businesses have been given in trading online against bigger brands immediately becomes void. The very nature of online retail tends to be image driven, with customers scanning web pages for the visual images relating to the products they are after. It’s this tendency that has given rise to so many search facilities now offering image searches. If your business has decide not to use a creative commercial photographer then you will be allowing a vast proportion of your potential customers to pass you by.

Using no image at all tends to suggest you have something to hide. Most customers have become rather cynical, and like to see an image of the product before they buy it. By providing text only descriptions, you give the impression you may have something to hide. Although taking photographs yourself may seem like a good idea, often they cause more harm than good. There’s simply no way that even the best of us can hope to compete with a well established, highly experienced creative commercial photographer. They’ll have all of the experience, and will have a huge list of contacts for things like locations, propos, models, lighting and so forth. They’ll also be far more likely to come up with creative ideas which help lift a standard packshot photograph up out of the family photo album category and into the modern, visually competitive world of business imagery and marketing.

In some cases you may even find that the commercial photographer has access to a large professional studio, and if they have an infinity cove installed then you’re definitely in the realm of successful business marketing and promotion. An infinity cove is a specially designed wall which has no edges, and when lit correctly gives the impression of disappearing into infinity. This allows the creative photographer to photograph images of your products without any distracting backgrounds. Most catalogue photographs are taken this way, and give a very professional look, and one which allows the product to stand out clearly and cleanly.

It’s easy to see the difference between an amateur in-house photograph and a professional one, and for a quick range of example you need only look at one of the popular online auction sites. Increasingly many small businesses now use these sites as an additional means of generating sales, and have invested the time and money into having professional photographs taken of the products. This allows potential customers to see the product clearly, perhaps even zooming in to see the detail. The product looks clear, stands out, and ensures the listing is clicked on far more frequently than those either side. Amateur photographs are easy to spot, often with the image looking unclear, badly lit, set against distracting backgrounds which draw the eye away from the product, or which give a less than encouraging impression of both the product and the business.

By using the commercial photography experience and understanding of a professional creative commercial photographer you can allow your business to stand out, competing with the bigger names and established brands on an even footing once again. In fact, with many creative photographers able to work with you in identifying new, novel angles and promotional ideas, you may even find your business gaining the edge. As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression - what impression will your product photos and packshots give, and how will that help generate more customers in future?

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