Choosing Photography That Sells

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” – Proverb
“Don’t shoot what it looks like – shoot what it feels like.” – David Allen Harvey
“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams

This is a photograph of a man woodworking.

There are dozens of quotes about the power of photography, and how it can convey a message without a single word.  We take photos of all of our most precious moments so we can keep them for a lifetime – save them in memory books, in frames on the shelves of our room – and our mind.  Nothing can replace the feeling a photograph evokes – love, pride, loss, celebration.

The fact is, the same holds true for the photography you choose for your marketing.  As the focus of advertising has shifted to digital, there has also been a parallel shift to visual selling.  The images you associate with your brand need to be selected very carefully because they set the tone for your business.  Not only do the items you sell need to be portrayed in the best possible way – but the images that relate to your brand need to evoke the exact tone you want customers to feel when they see them. You don’t have to only show images of your product to sell it – you can sell using images that relate to your products, and you can set a tone using those images that will make your target customer want your products when they have the feeling that image evokes.

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This is an advertisement for The North Face.

Let’s use The North Face as an example (virtual nod to The North Face Marketing team here) . Not only do they show really high end imagery of the products they sell, they also use images of snow covered mountains or skiers silhouetted on a beautiful sky to evoke the feeling of adventure that you would get, presumably, while wearing their outdoor apparel.  Their imagery consistently is striking and beautiful – and their advertising doesn’t always feature one of their products. Yet people know when they need a jacket to brave the elements, the North Face is their go-to brand.

And people who aren’t necessarily going to ski the alps, or climb Annapurna – want the image that North Face apparel portrays.  They want to be seen as wild and ready for adventure – and they feel they can portray that image simply by wearing their North Face apparel.  In truth – most people don’t need a North Face jacket to shovel snow and drive to work – but the company has made a fortune selling the image.  And they’ve achieved it by carefully associating their brand with the right photography.

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It is important that you carefully select the images you use in all of your product marketing campaigns.  They should always look perfect – not stretched, distorted, pixelated, blurry or out of focus.  The angle should always be just right, and they should always set the tone you want associated with your brand. A professional photographer is worth every cent you’ll spend – because they are skilled in knowing how to make your photographs achieve your goals.

This is a photograph of three employees of Grothouse Inc.

Of course the copy that accompanies your images is important as well – but the first impression your brand leaves with a customer is the image you select. Whether featured in print advertising, on your website, or on your product packaging, your brand images are an important part of your marketing strategy and require focused attention to really drive home your marketing message.

For some great insight into Advertising, Branding and Design, read the Ad Freak column on AdWeek.com.

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