A question that is asked me a lot by clients is:”But why would you spend so much time at making and finishing an image?” The answer is very simple for a photographer, but most people only understand it visually. That is why I wanted to write this post and show what a proper finished image can do.
Critics then of course come with a reply. “Of course, you see a difference when you put them next to each other. But when you only look at one image, no one will ever tell it is not finished properly.” And they are right in a way, but unfortunately it has nothing to do with the fact that people like the picture. Let me explain!
What makes a good image?
The client has to like it!
Of course, very logical. A good image is an image that the client can actually use. You can make a wonderful abstract artwork for a client his product, but when it does not serve them it has not point.
We believe that for visual marketing, you first need a solid foundation. Regularly produced, quality content that serves its purpose the full 100%. From that point, you can build further to more elaborate campaigns.
A good image has brilliance
This is difficult to describe in words. Brilliance has nothing to with shine. It is the balance of light, colors and brightness of your image. It does not mean your image needs to be bright or colorful, it means that they have to be balanced. This last word is something I will use more often is this post.
A lot of photographers just deliver their pictures with some small corrections. Often because the lack of technical skills or price pressure. The skill part is something that takes time. If you are not pleased with the work, move on to the next one. The second part, the budget, is something that is completely in the client’s hands. What is sometimes forgotten, is that because of not spending the ‘right’ budget a client only fools himself. They paid for a picture that will not reach its purpose, so this is money down the drain.
Good brilliance in a picture, can never be achieved straight out of camera. This needs work afterwards and such manipulations have been done since the birth of photography. This is something that is often forgotten in this digital age.
When you look at a picture, your eye is scanning the image. And believe me, they have seen it all! Even the smallest detail. When analyzing an image a lot happens on the subconscious level. Your brain sees a lot more then you are actually aware of. The trick of a good picture is maximizing that awareness.
We all know about retouching out unwanted objects. But an other distraction can be adjacent lines, or too bright or dark areas. Of course, when you know that these things grab your attention, you can also use it to guide the eye towards it’s goal. So again, you need to balance.
The eyes, the eyes!
As I said before, your eyes scan an image. Not like a conventional scanner, line by line. No, they jump around the whole image taking it all in. This does not happen randomly though. The order is determined by the importance of an object in the image.
Is it worth the extra cost?
A recent study about Airbnb properties showed that properties with pictures taken by an Airbnb verified photographer, had an average of almost 9% more occupancy that with pictures taken by the owner itself.
So, if you know that as rule of thumb the whole marketing budget of a company should be around 10% of their revenue (higher or lower depending on your market) and you can up that revenue with 9% with adding good pictures in the equation. Would you not agree that it is a good investment? Of course, good pictures alone will not cut it. I call marketing today an “and-and-and” story. It is a combination of different tools that make your marketing successful. It takes a good website AND good pictures AND good texts AND good social media channels AND …