Commercial Photography – the art of generating business sales

There are many times when the arts and the corporate world work together and with the continual growth of digital commerce, photography and business collaborate greater than any other art form.

Despite this, it is a fact that the business world often forgets that commercial photography is an art and, just like any other art form, photographers have a natural creative talent, backed up by their experience, instinct and technical knowledge of the many minute details of taking pictures, which include lighting, composition and product placement just to name a few, so that they can consistently deliver quality images for their clients.

Today’s climate is one where clients are harder to find and budgets are ever tighter, and the art behind commercial photography is often overlooked as photographers find themselves more and more frequently explaining what they do, how they do it and why it costs what is does (And probably much more than a designer or copywriter would have to).

It is true, to the non-photographer, that there is a real difficulty in understanding what a professional photographer is doing when they are creating their image, which is different to the everyday photography that most people are familiar with. And clients are no exception to this. Except of course that they have huge budgets and responsibilities for commissioning vast amounts of photography for their sales and marketing collateral.

In our work at eposure, we spend an increasing amount of time consulting businesses on their photographic strategies. Our clients commission all types of other arts for their marketing in areas like design, such as graphic, copy, trends or fashions. Most businesses now have internal analysis systems and processes which measure the results of various elements in the marketing mix, but we’re not aware of many clients who have a real handle on how photography works within their own business, such as these for example:

  • Understanding how to measure photography’s effect on sales results
  • Budget setting which recognises when extra investment is needed to use high-end, specialist talent
  • Lack of business wide practices to train buyers of photographic services in photography, or to recruit employees with some relevant experience
  • Use of customer research to gather consumer feedback on photography and the impact is has on their opinion of a business or the impact it has on their decisions to buy from that business

When there are no measures in place like these that we mention here, little wonder that there is no clear understanding of how photographic expertise can help in different areas of marketing campaigns. When you compare this to the massive amount of data that businesses collect and analyse on all other variables within their marketing activity, then businesses will always treat photography as a commodity, where the lowest price wins out and gets the contract, and any concept of quality gets eroded over time.

As we all know, the real growth in customer spending is in online and digital channels, and the only exposure a customer has to the product range is through imagery. Ensuring an image quality is strong enough to give the consumer the confidence to press ‘buy’ is paramount. Having poor or inappropriate product image is surely sales suicide?

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