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    ColourbArs

    Spring is here and I hope many of us will be heading to the nature. We’ll be sharing these moments with our families - enjoying the colours, the blossoms and freshness in parks, by the sea or in our back yard. Naturally you wish to take photos and with phones taking pretty good pictures, it has never been easier.

    Here are couple of simple tricks you can use to make your family photos in the nature look more pro even with taking the images on your phone.

    1. Use a tripod or phone stand

    MiniTripodSet up your scene and make sure your phone is securely set up to take the photos. There are several options out there that are suitable for phones, from mini camera tripods that cost around $6 to large expensive tripods. But even the smaller ones are well worth the investment.

    There are mini tripods that have bending legs, which means you can set them up around a tree trunk or on an uneven ground

    2. Think of framing

    Photographers usually work on bases of the rule of thirds. Most cameras and phone cameras will even let you put the grid on the screen, so you can see how your picture will be framed and divided by 3 horizontal and 3 vertical slices.

    Place your subject(s) on these lines to create visually more attractive and balanced scene.

    In the example, I have one person standing on the left line, you can similarly pose your family on one line.

    Ruth

    3. Posing

    Compared to an official photo session, it is easier to get people to relax when you are taking your own family photos, but couple of tips here how to make it easier and look better.

    If you want more traditional type of photo you will need to direct the shoot and make sure everyone is looking at the camera at the same time. 

    Having gone through that with my own family with camera set up on remote, I can testify it is not an easy task being in the photo and making sure everyone else behaves as well.  Here’s a picture of my family taken last year in Estonia.

    DSC 0167 Edit

    Find a spot

    The sun in Australia can be really harsh, so your best bet to get a good shot is having your family stand in the shade. Too much sunlight on your faces will create really strong light and shadow play, and our own faces will be less visible.

    If that is not possible try to find an angle so the sun is not directly behind, nor in front of you. If it’s behind you will lose the background of the image into a big white blur.

    If it bends, bend it – ie strike a pose

    Don’t be afraid to strike a pose. Tilt your hips, bend the front legs knee, bend your elbows to keep space in between your body and arms.

    Scatter the heads

    Avoid having everyone’s heads in one line or row.

     Below you can see 2 different shots of the same family in the same location. On the left photo they are nicely bending their knees and turning their bodies, but the overall look is better on the right side image. We have broken up the straight line.

    DSC 0768 Edit

     

    Or

    Alternatievely, you can row up all the heads, but it would have to be for a posing reason. For example in the photo below everyone was laying on the grass looking towards the camera. 

    DSC 8345

    4. Have fun and let kids be kids

    You will enjoy photos of the kids much more when they’re in their natural element. Don’t force them to sit down and pose, try to make them play around the group.  

    5. Warderobe

    If you have more time to prepare for the shoot, think about the clothes you will be wearing. Try to colour coordinate. In the colourful spring the single colours will work best. Wear all jeans and light tops for example.

    For example – this photo below taken of my friend Birgit’s family last year looks really good as they have colour coordinated perfectly. They also followed my instructions to pose – bended limbs, heads on different levels and everyone is looking at the camera. The perfect shot that reflects the closeness and fun of this family.

    DSC 0792 Edit

     

    And let me know how you go with your family!

     

    1. Emotions Rule

    Use Images to Increase Conversion Rates7

    Many people buy things for emotional reasons. Think of what is the emotional benefit your clients will get when they use your product. Have images that convey that feeling.

    People wish to be reassured and feel comfortable. Images on your website should show the visitors that they are doing the right thing being here. Lead them gently with emotions to click them the button you want.

    Here you can also use the fear tactics – the opposite, what might happen if they don’t use your product. That technique is often used by security companies – you see images that are associated with fear and threats.

    Photos of people however are said to increase empathy. Get personal with your audience.

    From the type of human images that work the top one is a baby, followed by women. Pictures of men are not considered to create too much emotion for selling things. But here you have to be careful in not choosing an image of an attractive woman to sell your product, when she’s got nothing to do with it! Customers will catch up on the plan and it will backfire.

     

    Use Images to Increase Conversion Rates6

    2. Think Outside The Box

     

    Make your website scream “I’m different” with your images. Here is where your point of difference comes into play. Why should the customers by from you and not from your competitors? Make sure your images show off the difference! Don't be afraid to be you on the photos and do things your way.

    Are you wearing a suit because of compensation or competense?

    Ming Chong, Wekyso

    3. Use high quality large images

    In the past most landing pages have had low quality images, mostly also stock images. But lately lot of internet companies have started to understand the benefits of having high quality tailored images. High quality images create perception in the clients mind that they are being offered a high quality service.

    Also research has shown that larger images work better on landing pages. A larger central, high quality “hero shot” will be easier to understand and also evoke a stronger emotional response.

    Dell recently tested a landing page using a large hero shot as the page background. The number of leads generated increased 36% over the control page.

    4. Feature the customer

    Images are also more effective when they show the target customer. One of the more effective image-based conversion tactics is to show the customer using the product or service. This allows a prospective buyer to visualize using the product. It’s an extremely powerful psychological cue. It also creates a form of social validation where the prospective buyer is more inclined to buy because they believe that other people are already happily using the product.

    Use Images to Increase Conversion Rates3

    5. Humanize web pages with faces

    For a few years now, good designers have understood that displaying faces next to key calls to action improves conversion rates.

    Add a friendly face to Contact Us page and it can increase conversion up to 20%

    Some research has also shown that having Facebook facepiles of people who like your page, will increase conversion. Probably to do with creating trust in your business.

    Use Images to Increase Conversion Rates2

    6. Show detailed images

    You should show your customer about your product as much as you can. The customer needs to understand what it is you offer. It is easier with touchable products, but if you offer a service, have photos of that service in action next to the description. If you offer workshops for example, make sure you have photos of yourself delivering a workshop to go with the sales pitch!

    7. Use images that guide your client

    Most often this is accomplished by having the person on the photo pointing towards where you wish your customers to look or click. But more subtle way is to look at that direction or have your body slightly turned at that direction.

    Use Images to Increase Conversion Rates5

    8. Image layout and placement is critical

    The best example of this is the “before” and “after” images. For example, people are used to seeing the before on the left. Also some market research has shown that the closer the images are to each other (ie the cap between them is small) the larger the perceived change!

    9. Avoid confusing images

    This should be quite obvious. It will create an illusion that your product or service is hard to use.

    10. Use image priming

    Priming involves using subtle cues, often in the form of images, to influence a person’s future behaviour. Although it’s the subject of some controversy in academic circles, there have been studies on how image priming can impact conversion rates. For example one study showed that mildly erotic photos of men and women caused heterosexual men to take greater financial risks than subjects who were shown images of office supplies or spiders.

    Researchers have also found that even with irrelevant images – such as an image of a book on Amazon, when they are actually selling a file – will increase the sale, because it makes it seem more legitimate.

    There was an interesting study done on that topic.

    They told the test group random facts and asked them to confirm if the facts were true. Each decision was to be made quickly to simulate “snap judgement”.

    The results?

    …we are more likely to wager that a fact was true when it is accompanied by an uninformative photo…

    PS. Don’t forget about colour psychologyColoursinBusiness

    The main colour of your image can have a great impact on your webpage conversion rates. Colours also create emotions and reactions in the viewer. For example the most effective buttons are red, followed by green.

    Other colour meanings could be well used in your photos:

    YELLOW: optimism, warmth, clarity.

    Yellow BUY sign is also often used to grab attention of window shoppers. Just remember all the discount sale signs.

    ORANGE: friendly, cheerful, confidence

    RED: Excitement, bold, youthful

    Red increases heart rate, creates urgency and thanks to that we can often see it in clearance sales.

    PINK: Romantic 

    Pink is considered to be romantic and feminine, and  mostly used to market to women and girls

    PUPRLE: Creative, imaginative, wise

    Purple colour can be used to soothe and calm the viewer. It is often seen in beauty or anti-aging products. 

    BLUE: trust, dependable, strength

    Blue creates the feeling of trust and security. We can often see blue used by banks.

    GREEN: Peaceful, growth, health

    Green is associated with wealth and is also the easiest colour for the eyes to process. It is used to create a relaxing feeling in shops. 

    GREY: Balance, neutral, calm

    BLACK: Powerful and sleek.

    Is used to market luxury products. 

    Thalie Seneque Banner 800pxWhy do we use photos of ourselves on social media and on our website? To flatter our egos?

    I believe online usage of photography for business aims to create connection with our clients.

    To create a feeling that they already know you. And - that they already like you! It's almost a magic word - likability. 

    According to some studies it takes about 4-5 hours of communications to build trust with your clients. Imagine what right photos can do for you on your website. Right photos will tell a story, create likeability and connection, they will communicate your person, your business and your values. That trust, that connection with your clients will in turn increase your conversion rates from your site. 

    In this article you will find some tips on how to best leverage photography on your website.

    (On the left banner photo from Thalie Seneque Total Balance website)

    Jo Saunders Measure UpKeep it in sync with your branding

    Does it measure up to your branding?
    On the image on the right we have Jo Saunders from Wildfire Social Marketing. On the branding shoot this image was created to be used with the title: Does your social media stragey measure up?
    The image is perfectly aligned with the brand, her colours and it tells a story and can be used in any marketing materials. 

    Keeping to your brand is the most important rule. If you break your brand with images you are creating instant distrust with your clients. You, the website and the images need to be in sync. The outcome of it is that when you meet the client, they feel like they already know you.

    Be the real you, be authentic

    Don’t use stock images. The aim of the website is to create connection with you (and your staff). You wish to show of the atmosphere of your business, your events and business. Show your clients what you care about. Have a branding photographer work with you – they will inquire about your brand, your style, the business values and create a vision of images that will work just for you.

     Your client might not consciously word it or understand it, but if your image on website is not the true you, it will create a feeling of a lie.

    Use the images to tell your story

    Use the power of the images. The photo of Jo , besides being interesting and to her brand is also telling a story on it's own. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and here are some fun facts about it:

    - The human brain processes images 60 000 times faster than text.
    - We perceive as much as 90% of information with our eyes.
    - Your brain can process entire image in 13 milliseconds
               With the social media I suppose, we could rewrite the saying: “a picture is worth a thousand likes”. 
    - Articles with images get 94% more views
    - Photos on Facebook generate 53% more likes and 104% more comments than text posts.

    So use it. Tell a story of your business, of you, what you like, dislike. Your products and services. And here's a bonus - besides your website you can use these images in your marketing materials, social media posts, printouts, leafelets, funny blog posts etc. 

    Wayne Chandra ScubaGear

    If you have staff, don’t leave them out

    If you don’t have time or funds for a large photo session to include all your staff, at least include headshots of them. The step up would be to showcase your staff at work, talking to clients or doing work at their workstation. The best impact however, is to have a professional branding photographer work with you and your team. The photographer will know how to bring out the little personal quirkiness of each staff member and still align it with your company’s values and branding. Why not showcase everyone’s hobbies?

    Of course, the rule of authenticity also applies to your staff.

    (The photo on the left is from brand photoshoot with Wekyso, featuring Wayne who loves scuba diving)

    Showcase your work and your environment

    Use photos of you with your clients, promotions, at any events or exhibitions. If you have an office, take some photos of the office and upload them to your website. It makes your client feel like they know you better.

    If you’ve written a book, published newspaper articles, been on TV or other media – take photos of them to showcase it. Images give more impact than words. 

    Use images to show your personality, your values and even something funny. It should be given, that on your website or your social media out of focus party shots are not suitable.

     

    DSC 9813According to some researchers as many as  67% of online shoppers rated high quality images as being “very important” to their purchase decision, which was slightly more than “product specific information”, “long descriptions”, and “reviews & ratings”.

    According to a study by Institute for Behavioural Economics Research imagery has the ability to affect a person’s mood, even when they’re unaware it is happening.

    Based on that the images we use on our website are extremely important and you wish to select them so they positively impact the visitors.

    We might think that stock images are a way to go as they are easy to get and usually of high quality however you will find that most branding and marketing experts will recommend against using stock images. Below are some reasons why:

    1. Your brand + your images = brand trust

    We use images on our website to convey a message of professionalism and trust. We wish to create impression that the business is easy and friendly to work with.

    Even though the stock libraries are growing and lot of them offer vast choices, it is quite unlikely that you will find the exact photo for your item / service in a way YOU want it to appear.

    And if you are really unfortunate – your competitor has already found that image and is using it too.

    Lot of the time we don’t know how to use the stock images to create a unified style. For variance you might use different people on different photos, they have different looks and different feel to it creating subconscious distrust in the viewer.

    I have also noticed that there are not many Australian audience stock photos out there. The American look is sometimes painfully obvious when stock images are used for advertising a workshop or an event with an audience. Why not get a photographer in to your event and use a genuine approach that will create more connection with your customer keeping to your brand vision.  

    2. Your vision vs someone else’s vision

    When using stock images do we really get the impression of a strong brand and business with a vision? We are using someone else’s vision, their thoughts and emotions. With custom photography you have control over it – from marketing perspective it is a huge advantage.

    Your photos will reflect your message, your brand your style creating consistency and trust in your brand.

    Here is another way to think about it. Remember back to your last vacation. Think about the amazing experiences you had and the memories and emotions brought back by looking at the pictures you took. Are you there? Great, now do you think you would be reliving so those same experiences and emotions if you were looking at someone else’s pictures? No way, not happening. And that is why custom photography beats stock photography when it comes to evoking the right thoughts and emotions. Stock photography, for lack of a better term, is “someone else’s vacation photos.”

    http://www.intechnic.com/

    Compare the contact image on the left which is quite generic, not to mention standing in closed pose. Yes, she's got a nice smile and headset. But imagine now, when you go out to meet a client. Who will they expect to see? On the right we have image of Gale, from a brand shoot little while back. She's wearing the chosen colours of her brand, it's her welcoming smile and laptop (referring to her website business) that creates a connection for us.

    DepositvsGaye

     

    3. Original vs widely used

    EveryWhereGirl

    Years back there was a story of Everywhere girl, which was popularly going around the web. It was about a photo of Jennifer Anderson who posed for stock image. That image got so widely used that it created a fame of its own – people started posting about sightings of the use of her photo.

    Now we must question ourselves, if this kind of image is something our brand and our business wishes to connect with? Seeing completely random people high-fiving, shaking hands and appearing to do actual work or sharing the genuine experience that happens in your workplace, so when your client actually visits you – they will feel like they already know you!   

    4. Cost – short term vs long term effectiveness

    You might find a low cost image or even a free one to use, but consider all the other points – is it really cost effective? Or is it something that will be working against you in the long run?

    Stock photo costs can go beyond licencing fee

    NB-  be sure you choose the right licence -  it can be quite high cost for business use!

    -  make sure how long the licence is valid, so that in 3 or 4 years time the image you used in your blog won’t become a copyright breach!

    But also you have to take into account of your time – you will go through hundreds, potentially thousands, of photos to find the “perfect” ones.

    It might be worth considering if using general stock images is not actually hindering your business. Here you might say that you don’t do online marketing so your website is not that important. But here I say even if you meet your potential clients in person or at networking events they will still go home and check out your website!

    Then you will wish your website to work for you and cooperate in conveying your message and finalise the sale your service or product for you.

    While the cost of custom photography will be higher in the short-term, the benefits of a more impactful website that produces better results will far outweigh those costs in the long-term. In fact, a less impactful website will cost you more and more as time progresses thanks to lost opportunities and sales.

    5. Perfect fit vs good enough

    Lot of the time as mentioned above the stock photos are not perfect fit. They are simply “good enough”. Will good enough create the mood of your client to purchase your product? May be it will, but do you think it can be better? Is the "good enough" image targeted to your ideal client, or will the message be lost due to a too wide audience?

    Hopefully before creating your brand and website you have done some research and have a vision for it. You have the mood, the message and emotions you wish the visitor to feel so they would buy your product. With custom photography you can be sure that you create immediate connection with your customers vs unipersonal impression

    PS

    Do not forget to optimise the images you use for better ranking on search engines

     

    Jay's Cake WorldImagine that you walk in a bakery and they offer you a taste of a cake. “Mmmm, so yummy,” you think. “I will take a piece when the baker is not looking and share this cake around with people on the street for free, because I love the cake and I’m sure now all the people will come to the bakery to buy it.”

    Now I will ask - will they? And how does this compare to online images. More specifically sharing them around without proper rights? Oh wait – it does not actually compare – here with the cake, the benefit goes to the people on the street whereas if you share intellectual property you get the biggest piece, the biggest attention.

    When we do this with other people’s photos, creation, images – you are more than likely to receive the biggest benefits of using the image. Whether you do so in your blog or social media, it’s connected to what YOU want to say or display, it is either you on the photo or you connect the artwork to your blog, thoughts and use it to grab attention to YOU.

    (On the image: Jays Cake World)

    DSC 9308 Edit 2We process images 60 000 times faster than text. What does this mean? – it means that images and visuals are much easier and quicker to process. Images are the easiest way to impact your potential clients.

    Images are telling stories in their own way and when it’s done right they will send a powerful message.

    There are so many ways you can connect to your customers. One important word the title is missing, is “ideal”. You wish to connect to your “ideal customer” with images. But for ideal customer, you need ideal images and that is the topic of branding photography and you can read about it here.

    This article assumes you have consulted with a branding agency / branding photographer and created the images that speak for you to your ideal customer and now thinking of how you are going to use it.

    Together with your branding agency or marketing person you might have already created a strategy of blogs, posts, shares, advertising, but here I would like to share some tips and ideas for creating images.

    Some ideas for images

    As mentioned above the images are the most effective way to get your message across. In your photo bank you should have images that you can use for your quotes, inspirational sayings that portray you and emphasise your message.

    1. Point to it

    The easiest way is to have an image of you pointing left, right or up where the quote is. This creates a connection with you and the quote. Of course – the image has to be styled to correspond to your brand and be authentic to you.

    2. Have images that describe your product ready to go

    These images do not have to be directly about you. Share images that portray the lifestyle you are selling. For example if you are an insurance broker, you are selling a care free, happy life and your images need also to convey that message.

    3. Differentiate

    Make a difference of what you share on different social media channels, LinkedIn images and Facebook images should be different.

    4. Photo sliders 

    Use the images from your photo bank to create sliders of your products to share around and remind your customers of what you offer.

    5. Have suitable images that you can use for offers ready to go

    Make sure they align with your brand – are you selling things in a “Crazy sale, check this out!” way, or is your brand connected more to high end products?
    First option can have an image of your surprised face, whereas the other should create a mood of exclusivity.

    6. You and your staff

    The most fun and easiest way to connect to your clients and display your brand is to have images of you and your staff. Schedule posts about this is who we are, this is what we do. Have images that relate to the business, but don’t also forget that you and your staff have their own personality that they bring to the table – so why not display their hobbies and things they love.

    7. Have seasonal images

    When organising a photo session, think ahead – do you wish to have an image of you personally wishing Happy New Year?
    The seasonal images do not need to be connected only to the public holidays. Create your own! Maybe you are an accountant and want to wish happy new financial year to your clients? 

    8. Have images ready to go for your blog

    Most bloggers have some sort of a plan what they will write about. When organising a photo session, think ahead. Even if you are like me and you don’t have a specific blog posts plan, you most likely will have a rough idea what topics you will be touching in the next year, how often you will publish and where you will publish. This will help you narrow down images you will use.

    9. Email and newsletter footers

    Do you send out newsletters to your clients? Does that newsletter (it should!) have a footer about you and your business? Adding an image to your email and newsletter footer adds personal touch and connection.

    10. Pressboard

    Now, this idea is little bit out of line from the other ideas and not directly what a photographer can do for you but it is still connected to you, your business and how you promote yourself. It applies to you if you go to events, expos or run events or setup a shop to showcase your products. Besides a banner, have a pressboard. A funky wall in front of which people want to take photos. Make your clients want to identify themselves with your product and your brand and they will do the sharing for you!

    There are many more ways you can use photos to connect to your clients. To get a personalised strategy and start creating your photo bank, talk to a branding specialist or a branding photographer. 

     

    BlurrySMHave you ever uploaded a very sharp image to Facebook or LinkedIn only to see that it becomes blurry or has fuzzy edges, or other noise on it that just wasn’t there when you were looking at the image in your computer? That applies especially if you are working with images that have text on.

    Business owners probably come across it more than other social media users, as we want to promote and advertise our business the best we can. 

    Here are couple things you can do to control the process:

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