Whether you are a start-up or an established business, sooner or later you’ll need photography of your product or service. For established businesses that could mean a call to your regular Commercial Photographer, but for the majority it will be a case of trawling the internet for a photographer who’s work reflects your view of your product...and then comes the inevitable question of price!
So, is it worth it? Will your outlay be justified? Would it be cheaper to hire the local General Photographer, Wedding Photographer, or even take the photos or shoot the film yourself?
As an industry insider I’ve discussed this topic many times with marketing professionals, CEO’s and small business owners, and listened to the feedback from a great many customers. The over-riding opinion (as you would probably guess) is an emphatic yes, hiring an experienced commercial photographer is well worth the spend. But what are the reasons.....and the fees?
Buying is an emotional experience for most of us, if something looks good the price quickly becomes a secondary consideration. This is especially so with food, if it looks juicy, succulent, crispy, sweet, savoury, etc., if we can imagine ourselves eating it we’ll buy it (think of the M&S adverts). So that’s part of the emotional aspect from the customers point of view. And good commercial photography will help to evoke those emotions.
But what about the business owner, what about their emotions? Will the fear of the costs of hiring a good photographer over-ride their desire to have their product or service looking its best?
What if we remove the business owner’s fear from the equation and simply look at the facts? There’s a huge amount of information available, the figures vary slightly depending where you look, but it all supports the idea of hiring a professional. So instead of quoting charts or surveys, I’ll draw on some anecdotal information from the experience of customers....
Overall, and from various sectors, small business customers reported an average of around 16% increase in turnover between poor photography on their websites & advertising material, and good commercial photography. Although for some it is as little as 7%, my clients with larger businesses were either unable or unwilling to provide me with the information - for obvious reasons!
So, for arguments sake, lets look at that as a modest 10% increase and assume a turnover of €15k, which gives us an increase of €1500 improved sales in the first year, offset against a spend of between €400 - €600 for a days photography (UK 2016). And when you consider that most businesses update their photography every 3 - 4 years (unless you are regularly introducing new products) the figures are looking very favourable indeed.
There is also the added bonus of the confidence that your website and advertising material looks as good as, if not better than the competition. But we are letting emotion creep in again there!
Video is king! Some analysts predict that video traffic on the internet will increase by 60% in the next 5 years. It’s no wonder, since most of us would rather push a button on a website and be entertained for 2 - 3 minutes than read through many pages of text.
Following the introduction of a short film on their website, a customer in the tourism & hospitality sector reported that they quickly became fully booked for the summer period - something which had never occurred in the preceding 14 years of trading. And when you consider that a ‘talking heads’ video costs around €150 all-inclusive and a full corporate film with a voice-over and music can be produced for as little as €700, it is a very cost-effective tool for businesses wanting to up their game.
Therefore, the question you should be asking is NOT ‘Can I afford to hire a commercial photographer or have a corporate film produced’ the question is can you afford not to?