Cameras have come a long way in recent years. DSLR cameras are becoming less expensive, more user-friendly, and in general, just more intuitive to use. Even the cameras on your phone have become of a technological marvel nowadays. Think back a few years to what your flip phone’s camera used to take and compare it to the stunning photos on phones today!
Even with the tools of great photography at your fingertips, you as a business owner might wonder how to make sure your photos on social media, websites, digital marketing, printouts, etc. are up to the task of making sure your business gets the attention it deserves in your market. The question you may ask is, “When should I do it myself and when should I hire a professional?”
Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut answer. The decision between DIY photography and professional is quite subjective and nuanced. Have no fear though! We’ve compiled a helpful guide for each to help make the decision-making a little easier.
Do it yourself photography is appealing to many people because it puts them directly in control of what people will see about their business. The image can go directly from their phone or camera and straight to the desired platform . No matter your skill level, DIY photography can help people see a business in an organic, natural setting or lens (pun intended). It’s quick, it’s easy, and best of all, it’s free.
Just because someone owns a great camera, it doesn’t mean they’ll automatically take great photos, or the time to get the perfect shot. Any expert will say that there is quite a bit that goes into getting the perfect shot. And by quite a bit, they mean a lot. Lighting, color balance, composition, shutter speed, movement, and on and on! It’s a long list, it’s no wonder people go to school just to learn how to take good photos!
Quick – Photos can be posted right from camera or phone to the platform .
Organic – This gives customers a look into day-to-day goings-on of your business and feels down to Earth.
Control – You are able to oversee the whole process from click of the camera to click of “post now” button
Cost – It’s free (except for whatever the cost of the camera/phone itself was)
Time – There’s a lot that goes into decent DIY photography and business owners are busy!
Inconsistency – Because it’s time-consuming, it can be hard to be consistent. The same is true for keeping consistency with a business’s branding as well!
Poor quality – Whether it be grainy photos because of poor lighting, everything looks slightly blue, or everyone suddenly looks like they’ve gained 10 pounds, getting a good shot can be hard if the photographer doesn’t know exactly what they’re doing.
Hiring a Professional
The old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” has been around so long because it’s true. Think of your website and the photos you use there. You want them to be intriguing, to tell a story, to be remembered by viewers and visitors, and most of all you want and need them to be high-quality. Put yourself in the shoes of those who will be visiting your website. What do the images you use there tell them about your business?
There is most certainly a time and place for DIY photography, but using a professional photographer is a must in many instances.
Any professional photographer should have a profile or collection of their best shots to show potential clients. When hiring a professional, familiarize yourself with their past work and look for how they have benefitted previous clients. As you look through, remember that for every gorgeous shot you see, there are dozens and dozens of similar shots that just didn’t make the cut. It’s hard work to get that perfect image, and it may very well be worth it to hire someone with the knowledge and skill to get it for you.
Expert knowledge – Professionals have a trained eye and know how to make a great image.
Tools and equipment – As great as smartphones are nowadays, they can’t compete with the lenses and cameras the pros use.
High quality – DSLR cameras are able to capture more info in each shot, so no grainy photos, only higher resolution.
Editing – Beyond just the shoot itself, editing can make or break a shot. Professional-level editing is worth every penny.
Consistency – Not only what photos work, but what photos work with your branding and don’t look out of place.
Cost – It is an expense, but you get what you pay for.
Time – You’re saving time by not doing it yourself, but you do have to wait for the photos to be edited and processed, but a bit of patience can really pay off!
Control – You’re not in charge of the photos yourself, so let the photographer you hire know what you want and expect.
Essentially, if you need a quick shot to post on your business’s Instagram or Facebook page, pull that phone out and snap some shots. Learn some DIY tricks and get to know the settings on your camera to get your shots looking nice. Those quick images you get yourself are convenient and can be a sweet touch to your brand. However, just like anything that could be considered “convenient” or “sweet”, they are better in controlled amounts. The big parts of your photography needs (the photos on your website, for instance) should be the best you can get. You put a lot of work into your business. It deserves to be shown off with some great photographs!
When you’re ready to put one or more of these tactics to work for your business, we can help. Visit our offices page for a media consultant near you.