Online Photo and Video Advice

Nikon and Canon Cameras

Heartfelt THANK YOU to Michelle Salater and her expert team at Written by Sumer for interviewing me on their blog Copy Doodle. This is a particular pleasure and privilege, given that thay have been listed #17 on Technorati’s 100 Best Small Business Blogs . . . no mean feat! The basis of the interview is about “how to maximize the benefit photos and video bring to your business” and it may be useful to you too, so here is a copy of the content:

“Sumer: How can images in promotional materials help improve a brand’s (or company’s) image?

Naomi: Images tell an immediate story, and can effectively capture a brand’s personality and authentic essence more succinctly than copy. For example, a client of ours specializes in intensive care transportation, and struggles to explain in words what this encompasses. Images posted to his site convey a clear understanding of what the company does, and how they go about it.

These show teams of people packaging fragile goods and unusual consignments in their warehouse and loading them into branded trucks, along with images of on-site display material that they have transported and installed. Professional profile pics of the staff also add faces to names, providing for instant engagement and inter-personal connection with their customers.

Sumer: That makes sense. So can the opposite happen—can images hurt a company’s image or the image of a specific brand?

Naomi: Absolutely. Poor quality images convey the impression of poor quality products and services, or result in failure to shine in the competitive space within which many businesses operate. In addition, stock images can detract from the authenticity and individuality of a company’s image. The most striking example I have seen is of a generic image used on a leading corporation’s website, which also happens to be the default front page image for a particular skin of a WordPress theme.

Sumer: Yikes.

Naomi: Exactly.

Sumer: So what’s the difference between having images and videos and not having them—how do they change the user experience online?

Naomi: Videos can engage users’ attention comprehensively, through the inclusion of audio and visual, thus providing an opportunity for more powerful message retention. They also offer a means to connect with customers on a more personal level, ideally promoting trust and building relationships, while simultaneously allowing for a much broader range of creative input than still images and text alone.

Sumer: So what would you say makes a great image or video?

Naomi: In my opinion, the primary essential for great promotional images and video is their actual capture quality, even more so if they will be printed and / or used on any big screens. Although much can be done to enhance digital imagery, poor source content will simply never be brilliant.

Video carries the added requirement of excellent sound, be it voice-over and / or music, and a compelling script, along with thoughtfully selected creative elements such as the choice of content, venue, background, titles and transitions. In the case of still images and video, relevance, uniqueness and authenticity of the message combine to make exceptional promotional material.

Sumer: We’ve written on this blog about the growing importance of video in online marketing. How can small-business owners get the best results from the videos they create?

When it comes to digital photography and videography, there is a huge range of equipment available, and truth in the saying that “you get what you pay for.” This applies equally to the skills involved in capturing the image or footage. Top end, professional equipment in unskilled hands can produce worse results than “point-and-shoot” cameras on automatic settings.

Apart from ensuring superior results in professional hands, higher end equipment allows for greater creative freedom, for both stills and video. For example, professional cameras can accommodate a wider range of lighting conditions and angles, while professional post-production equipment provides a multitude of editing options. My suggestion would be to secure the best possible professional quality within your budget constraints.

Sumer: What one piece of advice do you have for small-business owners who are looking to spice up their promotional materials with images or videos?

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and consider what will appeal the most to them, based on which of their needs you aim to fulfil. Better yet, engage with your customers and find out for sure.”

If you found this helpful and are interested in gaining greater insight and extensive tips about content marketing, then hop over to the Sumer Blog and sign up for their frequent, invaluable updates!