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Kodak Moments: Photography in Marketing, Part Two

In my last installment, we discussed the role that good photography plays in conveying the story of your brand across all of your marketing efforts. And we hinted at some tell-tale signs that it’s time to re-do the photography on your website or print pieces.

You can always hire Cassel Bear to help capture some amazing imagery, but let’s say you’re on a budget and need to do the work yourselves: how do you go about getting the potent photos you need?

Here are some tips from the professionals:

Know what your marketing piece is trying to accomplish. If your billboard is trying to introduce the new realtor on your team to the community, you don’t want a photo of a house she’s listing; you want a headshot, so that her face becomes familiar. If your website is intended to stimulate e-commerce, you want some great product shots. In short: make sure you have clear goals set for each marketing piece, and then plan your shots accordingly to help you hit those goals.

Know where the photos are being used. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come home with some brilliant shots in a vertical, portrait format – only to find out that they’re being used as a horizontal header image on a website. It’s important to have a good sense of the final design of your marketing piece to know if you need to be shooting for height or length, close-ups or panoramic, clean and simple or wild and complex. The shot may be great, but if it doesn’t work in its surrounding context, you’re sunk.

Prep for the shot. Are you just walking around with a camera, capturing what you can or does the shot require a plan? Do you need additional lighting? Are props required? Will you need to remove some of the items in the shot or add anything to it? Is there an inclement weather back-up plan? Unless the assignment is to capture candids, don’t leave anything to chance. Good photos rarely just happen. Anticipate everything that might go wrong, and take a solution with you when you go.

Make a scheduled shot list. The most successful photo shoots have a plan. Think through how long each shot will take to accomplish. Leave time for set-up and tear down of lighting. Working with actors or models? Build in some time to coach them and get them feeling natural and at ease in front of the lens. Try and group similar shots together to conserve time. And if you have the manpower, send a team ahead to be prepping your next location or shot while one is being taken. Streamlining the day will allow you more time to actually shoot, yielding more options from which to choose.