Coffee on and brewing:
So you have poured passion and caffeine into building a service or product that will serve your audience.
There have been countless late nights, tears, triumphs, setbacks and more mugs of coffee drank than what is recommended.
But you did it! And that deserves an applause from Leo.
You are ready to go live, press publish, book clients, conquer the world. But wait - how will they see what you do? How will you show this on all the social media platforms which are visually driven! You need pictures, and lots of them! But you are not a photographer?
Well, don’t panic. Pour another mug of coffee and keep reading. I am going to be giving my top tricks to cheat your way to images that will reflect the quality of your business and passion you have poured into it. Speaking of pouring, where is my coffee.
Coffee brewed, let us dive in: Top trick for showing off your small business
So you have a small business. Amazing stuff! Comment on the blog and let me know what your business is. Leave a link and I will even check it out! To ensure you don’t fall at this hurdle of getting your product/service into the world by using photos that reflect badly on your product or service remember these tips.
Remember your composition
Show context your client can relate to
Think of appropriate props that compliment but don’t over shadow your product.
Show up in your own photos
Have a look at these images, then read my analysis of what is good and not so good about them. Be prepared to get hungry.
So these images I took for a wedding vendor who was providing the food for the wedding I was shooting. There are two images in here with mistakes, that were not used in the final portfolio, can you see which two?
1. Remember your composition
It is the top two. In the first food shot of the cheese table, all the bright items are at the front and nothing of interest at the back of the image, so you simple glance on the image and the eye moves on.
If you compare it to the other cheese table image, which is a lot more dynamic, with the bright spot aka the bread at the back, drawing the eye to the full depth of the image because remember one of the golden rules of composition - the eye will always seek the brightest part of an image. Also the red grapes provide a path via colour of how the eye will hop through the image.
Remember one of the golden rules of composition - the eye will always seek the brightest part of an image
These are subtle but powerful changes in the composition. With the meat shot, I missed the black spots on the meat. There is nothing wrong with them, but visually they ruin the impression of quality of the meat. So it would potentialy deter me from ordering meat from this vendor.
Simply by moving the rolls of meat around, the actual quality would be the same (very high) and photo would reflect this higher quality.
In the two images of sweets, well let us be honest any image of sweets will make you like the vendor if you have a sweet tooth like myself but in particular these images work well. In the first one with the jars, the symmetry of the glasses as well as the repetition of colour creates pleasing composition and a natural flow through the images. This all translates in to a more positive impression of your product.
2. Show context your client can relate to
In the second sweet shot, where you have the kid and the adult hand reaching in, you have added some personality, context and humour to the image. Which for most brands providing a pick and mix product will work truly very well. It also subtly and perfectly shows this is for adults and children a like. The hands provide a context.
3. Think of appropriate props that compliment but don’t over shadow your product.
With the cheese image, the laid out the cheeses to create three lines and added the grapes for a pop of colour and context. A simple image, but pleasing to eye, and easy to picture how it would taste - which for a food vendor is critical. This is an example, of using an appropriate prop that enhances but does not over shadow the product - the cheeses.
4. Show up in your own photos
But what if your business is serviced based or you want to inject some of yourself into the image but not in a posed clasically portrait kind of way? You don’t have to always show your face but you need to show you performing your service.
The top two were from the make up part of the wedding I was shooting. Both are good images but for me one is a much stronger image.
Which do you think is better?
For me, it is the first one. I think that for a couple of reasons. The lighting is better. I got the bride and make up artist to move slightly forward so the light fell on them more beautifully. Second you can see the make up pallette in the image which provides both colour and context. As do her flowers in her hair.
But what I do like about the second image is it is clear how careful the make up artist is being. But you get this in both images I think. She is conveying not just the service, but her level of care, and quality of the that service.
Hands are a great way to show up in your photos without showing your face, They can provide context and action to your shot.
The florist of the day was amazing. Her flowers were stunning. So of course, therefore, I have a bazillion amazing flower shots of the day but what I love about these four shots is you see some of her, the work she did. But there are two that are better than the other two.
Which do you think works best?
For me, it is the bottom two. In the first image, I don't have enough of her in the image to really show context, the composition is a bit meh, it neither shows off the floral arrangment of her working on it in a great light. It isn't bad, it just isn't great. The only redeeming quality would be if the coat or outfit was her brand uniform/colours but it was not.
In the other image, I love what I was attempting, a top down shot but unfortunately I could get the height I needed to get without distorting her arms. They got stretched a bit due to the lens angle and that for me ruins an otherwise amazing image.
The bottom two however I love. Both use the composition tools well, creating very pleasing images that leave a lasting impression as well as showing her skill and care for her service. The second one in particular where I caught her apron with the gloves really sets a context that creates an impression of an expert in her field. I got lucky that the gloves colours works with the flower colours to create an analogous colour harmony. (If you don't know or remember this go back to this blog where I discuss colour harmonies to boost your images impact.)
Over all these reflect the business well and would impress future clients. The first two images would not, or at least not as easily convert a future client. And that is why the quality of the images matter.
Why is any of this important?
It is important, because people will judge your business the quality of the iages you provide of that image.
I have no doubt your product or service is amazing, high quality and fit for purpose. But that is meaningless if the photos don’t reflect that. No matter how good your business is, if the photo is sub par, people will see that as your product or service is subpar and this will directly impact sales.
The potential client won't even know that is what they are doing, unless they happen to be a photograher also. Good photography makes it look easy and with a little know how and consideration it can be easy to take a bad image like the ones I have showed here and elevate them to incredible representations of your hard work, passion and care that you provide in your small business.
Final sips of coffee:
Remember images of the product or service you provide need to convey the values of your business and tell a story.
If you are ready to take your business’s photography to the next level, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be emailing you back with advance notice of my new course early summer. This course is all about the small business owner’s need to get high quality amazing images without having a degree in photography. I will be providing all the secrets, tips, tricks and advice you need to get the images truly reflecting the incredibleness of your business.