Using your current shoot to win the next one

We all talk endlessly about social media, but many commercial photographers don’t feel like they have the real knack of knowing how to make it work as a marketing tool that will win them new clients.

This blog sets out a ready-made strategy for photographers to bring together a few social media channels and turn it into a promotional campaign.

Let’s start with twitter.

Are you using images in your tweets?

Well you should be. As a photographer, you have a huge resource of the perfect type of content to make social media work hard.

More people open links and actually engage with the tweeter when there are images in the tweets, and engagement with your followers will be something that leads to conversation, relationships and commissions.

A great way for photographers and stylists to use twitter is to use it to create a reportage of your shoots while they are live. But don’t forget the words too – remember you can only see the image when you click on it, so tell your followers what you are doing and make use of hashtags to help people find you and follow you.

While you are on a commission (or a personal project), think of it as a mini campaign for yourself and your business. Use it to build up and target new followers.

Try and get some conversation going with your followers; some feedback and new ideas etc, and get a buzz and some interest going around the shoot.

When you have finished, turn the whole thing into a blog. You should have a great story with a good mixture of words and pictures to give an insight to the shoot, the location, the set up, the people and personalities who were there, and reference the people on twitter that made a contribution or followed it.

Better still, encourage your client to do the same or do it as a collaboration together. You can provide them with the content (as part of the package or for a separate fee) that they can use to publish the shoot within their own business and to their own customers. Make sure, as part of the deal that they credit you with the images, and that they provide links to your site or your blog.

When you have written your blog, send it out to your other clients and to some new ones. Don’t just wait for people to come to your blog. Send it to the people you engaged with on twitter too – a great opportunity to turn the twitter chat into more personal correspondence.

Share your blog on Facebook, linked in, tumblr and stumbleupon and tweet it of course! you will see a marked improvement to the traffic on your site.

Don’t forget to add some information about you at the end of the blog, your name, number and email. I am amazed when I read photography blogs, by how many times it’s impossible to find the contact details of the author! If your blogging to get business, always make it ridiculously easy for someone to get in contact with you – don’t expect a buyer to search out your details.

If you decide to try this for yourself, or you already do it, don’t forget to send it to the eposure team too – we’ll link it in to our own social media activity or even feature it on our blog, to help you get even more traffic and leads from it.

If you have any specific questions in relation to how you might make this work for you, then leave us a comment and we’ll reply with more detailed ideas and suggestions, or email me on tim@eposure.com

Related articles

Social media for photographers

How commercial photographers can market themselves

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Users T’s & C’s

Terms of website use for users of www.eposure.com

This document (together with the documents referred to on it) tells you the terms of use on which you may make use of our website www.eposure.com (our site), whether as a guest or a registered user. Please read these terms of use carefully before you start to use the site. By using our site, you indicate that you accept these terms of use and that you agree to abide by them. If you do not agree to these terms of use, please refrain from using our site.

1. Information about us

www.eposure.com is a site operated by Digital Creative Communities Limited (“We” or “Eposure”). We are registered in England and Wales under company number 07453516 and have our registered office at The Glades, Festival Way, Festival Park, Stoke on Trent ST1 5SQ. Our main trading address is Unit 4 The Sharp Project, Thorp Road, Manchester M40 5BJ. Our VAT number is GB 102 7662 38. We are a limited company.

2. Accessing our site

2.1. Access to our site is permitted on a temporary basis, and we reserve the right to withdraw or amend the service we provide on our site without notice (see below). We will not be liable if for any reason our site is unavailable at any time or for any period.

2.2. From time to time, we may restrict access to some parts of our site, or our entire site, to users who have registered with us.

2.3. If you choose, or you are provided with, a user identification code, password or any other piece of information as part of our security procedures, you must treat such information as confidential, and you must not disclose it to any third party. We have the right to disable any user identification code or password, whether chosen by you or allocated by us, at any time, if in our opinion you have failed to comply with any of the provisions of these terms of use.

2.4. When using our site, you must comply with the provisions of our acceptable use policy [Acceptable use].

2.5. You are responsible for making all arrangements necessary for you to have access to our site. You are also responsible for ensuring that all persons who access our site through your internet connection are aware of these terms, and that they comply with them.

3.Intellectual property rights

3.1. We are the owner or the licensee of all intellectual property rights in our site, and in the material published on it. Those works are protected by copyright laws and treaties around the world. All such rights are reserved.

3.2. You may print off one copy, and may download extracts, of any page(s) from our site for your personal reference and you may draw the attention of others within your organisation to material posted on our site.

3.3. You must not modify the paper or digital copies of any materials you have printed off or downloaded in any way, and you must not use any illustrations, photographs, video or audio sequences or any graphics separately from any accompanying text.

3.4. Our status (and that of any identified contributors) as the authors of material on our site must always be acknowledged.

3.5. You must not use any part of the materials on our site for commercial purposes without obtaining a licence to do so from us or our licensors.

3.6. If you print off, copy or download any part of our site in breach of these terms of use, your right to use our site will cease immediately and you must, at our option, return or destroy any copies of the materials you have made.

4. Reliance on information posted

Commentary and other materials posted on our site are not intended to amount to advice on which reliance should be placed. We therefore disclaim all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on such materials by any visitor to our site, or by anyone who may be informed of any of its contents.

5.Our site changes regularly

We aim to update our site regularly, and may change the content at any time. If the need arises, we may suspend access to our site, or close it indefinitely. Any of the material on our site may be out of date at any given time, and we are under no obligation to update such material.

6. Our liability

6.1. The material displayed on our site is provided without any guarantees, conditions or warranties as to its accuracy. To the extent permitted by law, we and third parties connected to us hereby expressly exclude:

6.1.1. All conditions, warranties and other terms which might otherwise be implied by statute, common law or the law of equity.

6.1.2. Any liability for any direct, indirect or consequential loss or damage incurred by any user in connection with our site or in connection with the use, inability to use, or results of the use of our site, any websites linked to it and any materials posted on it, including:

6.1.2.1. loss of income or revenue;

6.1.2.2. loss of business;

6.1.2.3. loss of profits or contracts;

6.1.2.4. loss of anticipated savings;

6.1.2.5. loss of data;

6.1.2.6. loss of goodwill;

6.1.2.7. Wasted management or office time; and whether caused by tort (including negligence), breach of contract or otherwise, even if foreseeable, provided that this condition shall not prevent claims for loss of or damage to your tangible property or any other claims for direct financial loss that are not excluded by any of the categories set out above.

6.2. This does not affect our liability for death or personal injury arising from our negligence, nor our liability for fraudulent misrepresentation or misrepresentation as to a fundamental matter, nor any other liability which cannot be excluded or limited under applicable law.

7.Information about you and your visits to our site

7.1. We process information about you in accordance with our privacy policy [Privacy Policy]. By using our site, you consent to such processing and you warrant that all data provided by you is accurate.

8. Hiring Our Members

If you wish to hire any of our members, whose work is displayed on our site, you will need to enter into a contract with such member directly. Where you are a registered user you will have access to the contact details for each of our members, which are provided on their profile page on the site. You will not be able to access these details if you are not a registered user. We will not be a party to any contract, which you may enter into with any of our members. Our site has been established to showcase our members’ work however we are not in any way the agent or representative of any of our members.

9.Uploading material or contributing to our site

9.1. Whenever you make use of a feature that allows you to upload material or contribute to our site e.g. by leaving comments on one of our member’s profile pages or on a blog, or to make contact with other users of our site, you must comply with the content standards set out in our acceptable use policy [Acceptable use]. You warrant that any such contribution does comply with those standards, and you indemnify us for any breach of that warranty.

9.2. Any material you upload or contribute to our site will be considered non-confidential and non-proprietary, and we have the right to use, copy, distribute and disclose to third parties any such material or contribution for any purpose. We also have the right to disclose your identity to any third party who is claiming that any material posted or uploaded by you to our site constitutes a violation of their intellectual property rights, or of their right to privacy.

9.3. We will not be responsible, or liable to any third party, for the content or accuracy of any materials posted by you or any other user of our site.

9.4. We have the right to remove any material or posting you make on our site if, in our opinion, such material does not comply with the content standards set out in our acceptable use policy [Acceptable use].

10.Viruses, hacking and other offences

10.1. You must not misuse our site by knowingly introducing viruses, trojans, worms, logic bombs or other material which is malicious or technologically harmful. You must not attempt to gain unauthorised access to our site, the server on which our site is stored or any server, computer or database connected to our site. You must not attack our site via a denial-of-service attack or a distributed denial-of service attack.

10.2. By breaching this provision, you would commit a criminal offence under the Computer Misuse Act 1990. We will report any such breach to the relevant law enforcement authorities and we will co-operate with those authorities by disclosing your identity to them. In the event of such a breach, your right to use our site will cease immediately.

10.3. We will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a distributed denial-of-service attack, viruses or other technologically harmful material that may infect your computer equipment, computer programs, data or other proprietary material due to your use of our site or to your downloading of any material posted on it, or on any website linked to it.

11. Linking to our site

11.1. You may link to our home page, provided you do so in a way that is fair and legal and does not damage our reputation or take advantage of it, but you must not establish a link in such a way as to suggest any form of association, approval or endorsement on our part where none exists.

11.2. You must not establish a link from any website that is not owned by you.

11.3. Our site must not be framed on any other site, nor may you create a link to any part of our site other than the home page. We reserve the right to withdraw linking permission without notice. The website from which you are linking must comply in all respects with the content standards set out in our acceptable use policy [Acceptable use].

11.4. If you wish to make any use of material on our site other than that set out above, please address your request to support@eposure.com.

12. Links from our site

Where our site contains links to other sites and resources provided by third parties, these links are provided for your information only. We have no control over the contents of those sites or resources, and accept no responsibility for them or for any loss or damage that may arise from your use of them.

13.Trade marks

EPOSURE is a trade mark of Digital Creative Communities Limited.

14.Variations

We may revise these terms of use at any time by amending this page. You are expected to check this page from time to time to take notice of any changes we made, as they are binding on you. Some of the provisions contained in these terms of use may also be superseded by provisions or notices published elsewhere on our site.

15. Your concerns

If you have any concerns about material which appears on our site, please contact support@eposure.com

15. Jurisdiction and applicable law

16.1. The English courts will have exclusive jurisdiction over any claim arising from, or related to, a visit to our site although we retain the right to bring proceedings against you for breach of these conditions in your country of residence or any other relevant country.

16.2. These terms of use and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with them or their subject matter or formation (including non-contractual disputes or claims) shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales.

Digital Creative Communities Limited – Privacy Policy

Digital Creative Communities Limited (“We”) are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy.

This policy (together with our terms of use [Members Terms and Conditions / User Terms and Conditions] and any other documents referred to on it) sets out the basis on which any personal data we collect from you, or that you provide to us, will be processed by us. Please read the following carefully to understand our views and practices regarding your personal data and how we will treat it.

For the purpose of the Data Protection Act 1998 (the Act), the data controller is Digital Creative Communities Limited of Unit 4 The Sharp Project, Thorp Road, Manchester M40 5BJ.

1. Information we may collect from you

1.1. We may collect and process the following data about you:

1.1.1. Information that you provide by filling in forms on our site www.eposure.com (our site). This includes information provided at the time of registering to use our site, subscribing to our service, posting material or requesting further services. We may also ask you for information when you report a problem with our site.

1.1.2. If you contact us, we may keep a record of that correspondence.

1.1.3. Details of your visits to our site including, but not limited to, traffic data, location data, weblogs and other communication data and the resources that you access.

2.IP addresses

We may collect information about your computer, including where available your IP address, operating system and browser type, for system administration and to report aggregate information to our advertisers. This is statistical data about our users’ browsing actions and patterns, and does not identify any individual.

3.Cookies

Our website uses cookies to distinguish you from other users of our website. This helps us to provide you with a good experience when you browse our website and also allows us to improve our site. Cookies are widely used in order to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the owners of the site. The following cookies are used in our site:

Session Cookies

– Make your browsing experience more convenient i.e. If you register with us or complete our online forms and tick the ‘remember me’ box we will use cookies to remember your details during your current visit, and any future visits provided the cookie was not deleted in the interim.

– Recognise you when you return to our site.

Website Analytcis

– For analytical purposes to enable us to see how users use the site.

4. Where we store your personal data

4.1. The data that we collect from you may be transferred to, and stored at, a destination outside the European Economic Area (“EEA”). By submitting your personal data, you agree to this transfer or storing]. We will take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with this privacy policy.

4.2. We may export your information from the site to our email marketing house/ Mailchimp site in order that we can contact you as detailed in this policy. All information you provide to us is stored on our secure servers. Where we have given you (or where you have chosen) a password which enables you to access certain parts of our site, you are responsible for keeping this password confidential. We ask you not to share a password with anyone.

4.3. Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your personal data, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to our site; any transmission is at your own risk. Once we have received your information, we will use strict procedures and security features to try to prevent unauthorised access.

5.Uses made of the information

5.1. We use information held about you in the following ways:

5.1.1. To ensure that content from our site is presented in the most effective manner for you and for your computer.

5.1.2. To provide you with information or services which we feel may interest you, where you have consented to be contacted for such purposes.

5.1.3. To allow you to participate in interactive features of our service, when you choose to do so.

5.1.4. To notify you about changes to our service.

5.2. We may also use your data, to provide you with information about goods and services which may be of interest to you and we may contact you about these by post or telephone.

5.3. If you do not want us to use your data in this way for marketing purposes, please tick the relevant box situated on the form on which we collect your data (the registration form).

5.4. We may provide aggregate information about our users as a part of our promotion and marketing of the site (for example, we may state that 500 men in the UK have visited our site on any given day).

6.Disclosure of your information

6.1. We may disclose your personal information to any member of our group, which means our subsidiaries, our ultimate holding company and its subsidiaries, as defined in section 1159 of the UK Companies Act 2006.

6.2. We may disclose your personal information to third parties:

6.2.1. In the event that we sell or buy any business or assets, in which case we may disclose your personal data to the prospective seller or buyer of such business or assets.

6.2.2. If Digital Creative Communities Limited or substantially all of its assets are acquired by a third party, in which case personal data held by it about its users will be one of the transferred assets.

6.2.3. If we are under a duty to disclose or share your personal data in order to comply with any legal obligation, or in order to enforce or apply our terms of use [Members Terms and Conditions / User Terms and Conditions]; or to protect the rights, property, or safety of Digital Creative Communities Limited our clients, or others. This includes exchanging information with other companies and organisations for the purposes of fraud protection.

7.Your rights

7.1. You have the right to ask us not to process your personal data for our own marketing purposes. We will usually inform you (before collecting your data) if we intend to use your data for such purposes or if we intend to disclose your information to any third party for such purposes. You can exercise your right to prevent such processing by checking certain boxes on the forms we use to collect your data. You can also exercise the right at any time by contacting us at support@eposure.com

7.2. Our site may, from time to time, contain links to and from the websites of our contributors, partner networks, advertisers and affiliates. If you follow a link to any of these websites, please note that these websites have their own privacy policies and that we do not accept any responsibility or liability for these policies. Please check these policies before you submit any personal data to these websites.

8. Changes to our privacy policy

Any changes we may make to our privacy policy in the future will be posted on this page and, where appropriate, notified to you by e-mail.

9.Contact

Questions, comments and requests regarding this privacy policy are welcomed and should be addressed to support support@eposure.com

10. Subject access requests

You have the right to see what personal data we hold about you. To obtain a copy of the personal information we hold about you, please write to us at DIRECTOR OF DATA PROTECTION REPRESENTATIVE, DIGITAL CREATIVE COMMUNITES. THE SHARP PROJECT, THORPE ROAD, MANCHESTER, M40 5BJ [PLEASE NOTE THAT WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO CHARGE A FEE OF UP TO £10 FOR ANY SUCH REQUEST]

Acceptable Use Policy for www.eposure.com

This acceptable use policy sets out the terms between you and us under which you may access our website www.eposure.com (our site). This acceptable use policy applies to all users of, and visitors to, our site.

Your use of our site means that you accept, and agree to abide by, all the policies in this acceptable use policy, which supplement our terms of website use [Members Terms and Conditions / User Terms and Conditions]

1. Information About Us

www.eposure.com is a site operated by Digital Creative Communities Limited (“we” or “Eposure”). We are registered in England and Wales under company number 07453516 and have our registered office at The Glades, Festival Way, Festival Park, Stoke on Trent ST1 5SQ. Our trading address is Unit 4 The Sharp Project, Thorp Road, Manchester M40 5BJ. We are limited company. Our VAT number is GB 102 7662 38.

2.Prohibited uses

2.1. You may use our site only for lawful purposes. You may not use our site:

2.1.1. In any way that breaches any applicable local, national or international law or regulation.

2.1.2. In any way that is unlawful or fraudulent, or has any unlawful or fraudulent purpose or effect.

2.1.3. For the purpose of harming or attempting to harm minors in any way.

2.1.4. To send, knowingly receive, upload, download, use or re-use any material which does not comply with our content standards [Please refer to clause 4 Content standards below].

2.1.5. To transmit, or procure the sending of, any unsolicited or unauthorised advertising or promotional material or any other form of similar solicitation (spam).

2.1.6. In any way which breaches clause 10.1 of our terms of website use[Members Terms and Conditions / User Terms and Conditions].

2.2. You also agree:

2.2.1. Not to reproduce, duplicate, copy or re-sell any part of our site in contravention of the provisions of our terms of website use [Members Terms and Conditions / User Terms and Conditions].

2.2.2. Not to access without authority, interfere with, damage or disrupt:

2.2.2.1. any part of our site;

2.2.2.2. any equipment or network on which our site is stored;

2.2.2.3. any software used in the provision of our site; or

2.2.2.4. any equipment or network or software owned or used by any third party

3. Interactive services

3.1. We may from time to time provide interactive services on our site, including, without limitation:

3.1.1. Chat rooms.

3.1.2. Bulletin boards.

3.1.3. Blog posts.

(“interactive services”).

3.2. Where we do provide any interactive service, we will provide clear information to you about the kind of service offered, if it is moderated and what form of moderation is used (including whether it is human or technical).

3.3. We will do our best to assess any possible risks for users from third parties when they use any interactive service provided on our site, and we will decide in each case whether it is appropriate to use moderation of the relevant service (including what kind of moderation to use) in the light of those risks. However, we are under no obligation to oversee, monitor or moderate any interactive service we provide on our site, and we expressly exclude our liability for any loss or damage arising from the use of any interactive service by a user in contravention of our content standards, whether the service is moderated or not.

3.4. The use of any of our interactive services by a minor is subject to the consent of their parent or guardian. We advise parents who permit their children to use an interactive service that it is important that they communicate with their children about their safety online, as moderation is not foolproof. Minors who are using any interactive service should be made aware of the potential risks to them.

3.5. Where we do moderate an interactive service, we will normally provide you with a means of contacting the moderator, should a concern or difficulty arise.

4.Content standards

4.1. These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

4.2. You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

4.3. Contributions must:

4.3.1. Be accurate (where they state facts).

4.3.2. Be genuinely held (where they state opinions).

4.3.3. Comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

4.4. Contributions must not:

4.4.1. Contain any material which is defamatory of any person.

4.4.2. Contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory.

4.4.3. Promote sexually explicit material.

4.4.4. Promote violence.

4.4.5. Promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age.

4.4.6. Infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person.

4.4.7. Be likely to deceive any person.

4.4.8. Be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence.

4.4.9. Promote any illegal activity.

4.4.10. Be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety.

4.4.11. Be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person.

4.4.12. Be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person.

4.4.13. Give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case.

4.4.14. Advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

5. Suspension and termination

5.1. We will determine, in our discretion, whether there has been a breach of this acceptable use policy through your use of our site. When a breach of this policy has occurred, we may take such action as we deem appropriate.

5.2. Failure to comply with this acceptable use policy constitutes a material breach of the terms of use [Acceptable use] upon which you are permitted to use our site, and may result in our taking all or any of the following actions:

5.2.1. Immediate, temporary or permanent withdrawal of your right to use our site.

5.2.2. Immediate, temporary or permanent removal of any posting or material uploaded by you to our site.

5.2.3. Issue of a warning to you.

5.2.4. Legal proceedings against you for reimbursement of all costs on an indemnity basis (including, but not limited to, reasonable administrative and legal costs) resulting from the breach.

5.2.5. Further legal action against you.

5.2.6. Disclosure of such information to law enforcement authorities as we reasonably feel is necessary.

5.3. We exclude liability for actions taken in response to breaches of this acceptable use policy. The responses described in this policy are not limited, and we may take any other action we reasonably deem appropriate.

6.Changes to the acceptable use policy

We may revise this acceptable use policy at any time by amending this policy. You are expected to check this policy from time to time to take notice of any changes we make, as they are legally binding on you. Some of the provisions contained in this acceptable use policy may also be superseded by provisions or notices published elsewhere on our site.

Top tips to develop your brand’s photographic guidelines

1. Write a list of what your key brand messages are

Forget about any ideas you have about photography at this stage, just focus on what you really want to say about your business, and the things you want your customers/target audience to understand.

2. Put your list in order of the most important messages

Don’t miss this out, there must be a hierarchy and this is a key element for your photographer to understand when they start working out their approach.

3. Think about what your business is actually selling

Is it a product or a service? Are you selling a single thing or a range? How well does your customer/target audience already understand the product? Again, this will be key to understand how the product is treated visually. For example, if a product is complex and needs some explanation, the photographer will need to make other visual references to explain the product in detail.

4. Do you have to show your product in context?

Is it important to show your product or service in context? I.e. in a realistic situation or, can you be more creative and show it in out of context, but in a potentially more interesting way? It’s easy to think, ‘I’m selling bathroom suites, so I’ll create an amazing bathroom setting to make my products look great.’ But in doing that, you are giving consumers lots to look at and take in, and may be missing an opportunity to really focus on the detail of your product and make it the hero element of an image.

5. What is your price and value proposition?

In today’s climate, price and value are key. This needs to be reflected accurately in your images; to make sure the production values of your photography doesn’t contradict your price and value messages.

6. Do you need to show a person (model) in your shot?

If you want to use models, you need to think about why they are there, and what they are doing in the shot? The choice of model is a big deal and speaks volumes about your product. For example, some businesses like to use people in images, to tell their consumers that they are a ‘people business’ or are ‘customer centric.’ But how do you represent all of your customers with one person with confidence? And, if you choose too perfect a model, in a static pose, are you risking looking too fake and contrived and therefore not genuine enough?

7. Get to grips with lighting

Let your photographer show you how different lighting techniques can work for you to create different effects. Lighting can flatten or add depth to an image, make the difference between emulating reality versus creating a contrived or more graphic setting. Many businesses use imagery of their staff, lighting can soften a real person, losing the wrinkles and some of the personality, or can really focus on expressing the individual that the face represents.

8. Get the brief right

Spending time working on a detailed brief will pay dividends in terms of the quality of the images, how they work for your business, and the time and process of the shoot. It is hard for non-creatives to understand what information creative people need, so speak to your photographer about the brief before you finalise it, so you can both make sure that everything is clear and understood.

As always, we invite you to add your comments and will republish in the future to reflect other input.

The year of visual marketing (and valued photography)

Commercial photographers, listen up. Apparently 2013 is the year of Visual Marketing.

Leading agencies and marketing think tanks are predicting that this year, consumers will be looking for much enhanced visual experiences from brands. In normal speak, this means that consumers are getting more savvy at recognising high quality imagery and design, and as such are demanding that brands who want their attention – and of course, their money and loyalty – give them better looking websites, higher quality advertising and better photography.

Businesses are increasingly recognising that consumers naturally gravitate to better design, and better images, so upping their visual game is one modern tactic which will help them stay ahead of their competitors

Visual marketing, of course extends to social media, which will grow like crazy in 2013. At a commercial level, social media is all about brands engaging with their customers. And the thing that makes social media engaging – we’re mainly talking about twitter, facebook and instagram here, is brilliant photography! So Eposure predict that at some point in the not too distant future, that businesses and brands will start to realise that the only way that they can start to cut through the sea of average-standard images cluttering up the social networks, is to start to use professional photographers in some capacity to help them.

And they need to, because as their customers get better at taking pictures themselves, with their smartphones and tools like instagram, businesses will have to raise their game or risk the fact that their images won’t give them the status amongst their peers and the people who buy their products, that marks them out as desirable organisations and brands.

So what does this mean for photographers?

Photographers will be able to capitalise on this, by making sure that they are up to speed with this development in the market. This means creating content on your websites, in your marketing materials and on your social media networks that mark you out as someone who is well placed to support businesses and advertising agencies in their move to up-grade their images.

Music to our ears

This is exactly what Tim and I spend so much of our time talking about, both to each other, and to the many businesses that we work with.

One of the key aims of Eposure is to make sure the people who commission images improve their understanding of photography and improve their appreciation of the value of photography. Not only the value in terms of cost, but also the value that fantastic photography brings to a business in terms of the influence on customers’ perception of a brands’ products, ethos and brand values.

So we look forward to a year where businesses are more switched on to the skills of photographers and invest proper time and resources into really looking into their own photographic strategies.

The social media journey of a photography brief

Newly launched photographic studio, Northern Comfort Visual has had a flying start to their business. Set up by three photographers based in Manchester, Nathan, Michela and Miki, they have joined forces to create a collective and are aiming their sights providing their own brand of commercial photography for the advertising industry. With different individual skills, they combine traditional, modern and experimental approaches to their collaborative image creation which has grown into a strong photographic and video offering.

In the first three months since opening for business they’ve shot a fragrance campaign featuring Calum Best who came up to be shot in their central Manchester studio, which also, for a separate project, accommodated forty five Manchester based cyclists (with their bikes in tow) as part of their IcycleMCR project, and have secured regular contracts for online fashion catalogues.

So what’s next for NCV?

InterRail one of Nathan’s established clients; have recently commissioned the team to carry out a 3 week Europe wide photographic assignment.

The brief was simple “to capture the beauty and practicalities of travelling Europe by train, using modern photographic methods to showcase their product”. “This type of commission is perfect for NCV’s and plays on its strengths” adds Co-Founder Nathan, “On the road we will be using traditional photographic processes mixed with stop motion photography; video and graphic design to fulfilling our brief to the highest standard and looking to exceed the client’s expectations”.

Interail’s Customer Engagement Manager – Chantal Sukel explainsEurail.Com is working on a winter assignment with NCV because our concepts match. The three photographers each bring a different European perspective to the table and we’re very interested in seeing how they translate our wishes to engaging images that fit our inspirational and commercial needs”

But what else are NCV bringing to this commission? NCV’s co-founder Michela, comments “As well as the brief, we’ve recognised the social media opportunity for our client and came up with a multi-platform / multi content strategy which fits in with InterRail approach. And by using blogging and Social media channels like twitter, Instagram and Facebook we will be attempting to build a real social media storm around our rail journey”

“When we pitched our ideas and concept to the client, they loved it” continues Michela, “as well as building our own following during our 3 week trip, we’re pushing out unique content of our daily adventures and posting out little snippets very regularly. This is very effective as it keeps followers engaged. And because we’re using the Social Media channels that are commonly used by many of InterRail’s target audience, it relates straight back into any rail journey they are making across Europe and is perfectly complimentary to InterRail’s own social media audience.”

Photography has more than ever to offer to businesses, and the NCV team have built this into their brief. We’re keeping our eye on their journey, not just this one, but their next ones!

Watch how their campaign works and follow NCV’s Journey:-

Read their Blog – “Northern comfort visual goes south” Here,

Follow them on twitter and Instagram snapshots – @NCVisual

Get regular updates on their – Facebook Page

Watch video Diaries – Video

For more information about Northern Comfort Visual, and their work please visit their website – Here

The secret of cost efficient, high-volume photography

No business can afford to be inefficient with any part of their operation, and high volume photography production is no exception, but it can be a tricky area to really get ticking over well, because it crosses over so many different departments and processes.

So, any business that has a regular need for photography should look very carefully at their production processes.

Often the cost of the photographer is the focus of the business when they are looking at high volume production efficiencies because that cost is very easy to see, but the real cost differences are actually made elsewhere.

The key metric to look out for is a daily shot rate. What this should be, of course, depends on the type of images that are being created, but there should be an optimum shot rate that you want to achieve with your photography shoots, which allows a long term benchmarking of production costs.

The single biggest impact on the rate of photography is the supply and availability of merchandise. The rate of flow of merchandise into the studio is the most fundamental part of the process to get right, and this is where many issues can be traced back to.

Merchandise supply is complex with many things affecting the rate that merchandise can be supplied to photographers or studios; genuine availability issues, differing supply lead-times, and the potential to have a number of different departments, teams and suppliers that can be responsible for their own particular category of merchandise. Indeed the cost of suppling the merchandise can be one of the biggest overheads for the business when calculating the cost of product photography, so if a business is serious about maximimising photographic production efficiency, then it can’t afford not to have a photographic production process which is designed to work with the merchandise supply framework.

So, the small detail of the planning and the timing of the actually photography shoot should be dependent on the known supply and availability of the merchandise.

In complex and high volume photography shoots, another area that can spiral out of control easily if it is not carefully managed and policed is the image approval process. The biggest impact of this is on time; set standing time, and reshooting. There are genuine reasons why a team of people across one organization need to be a part of the approval process, but the problems creep in when too many people get involved in giving subjective feedback, which creates many problems. For example, a merchandise manager may be involved in an image approval process because they need to check that a product is correct and shown in an appropriate context. But, when their feedback strays into to giving creative opinion that is not part of their remit, this can create an endless loop of amends and feedback, with costs increasing all the time, and risks the eventual compromising of the quality of the images.

Getting clear production process set up is only worth doing if it is also managed over the long-term, so setting up reporting processes to keep a handle on ongoing efficiencies is prudent. High volume image production is an intensive process, so the concentrated effort on the day to day needs to be balanced with an ongoing view of the bigger picture.

More about Tim

Tim has managed the production of high volume photography shoots for some of the UK’s biggest volume photography commissioners, including B&Q, Homebase, Tesco & Aldi.

If you would like more information about how you can improve high volume photography production, you can contact him directly at tim@eposure.com

Don’t forget, Eposure is now free to join so if you are a professional commercial photographer then why not sign up? For more information please visit the membership page on the site.

The new photography buyers

The changing face of photography buyers

Staying in touch with your clients – commercial photography buyers old and new – is important to any photographer who want to keep their business growing and relevant to the demands of the market that they are in.

There is already great awareness of the value of commercial photography in many of the traditional sectors, such as advertising and PR agencies and the editorial and publishing sectors for example, but there is a huge growth in the number of new start-ups. The high street and retail markets are shifting steadily online, and digital agencies are growing in numbers and represent a very buoyant sector. Other corporate sectors such as solicitors and accountants are changing shape as they become self-marketers, so we suddenly find ourselves in a commercial landscape of growing businesses – all needing photography – that don’t fit the traditional notion of photography buyers. And then, you have to remember, that the traditional role of photography is also changing, because there is still a huge potential to incorporate much more photography within business’s social media marketing – and very few big agencies and businesses are currently truly able to say they are using these channels effectively.
The beauty of a commercial image
There is much celebration of the aesthetics of photography, but the new-model buyers want to understand how that beauty translates into commercial success. And this is what Eposure loves about commercial photography; the way a photographer can capture something in any object – however photogenic – and has so much power in a commercial context to be able to influence the amount of a product’s sale, or where it can price itself; or how it can convey a complex set of corporate brand values to an ordinary consumer.

Making the right impression

Many of these new businesses that find themselves needing photography for their brands or websites may well have little or no experience of either buying photography or awareness of the ins and outs of how it is produced. This means that photographers have to work that bit harder to explain how they work and what the process is and how costing and licencing works in a way which bridges this knowledge gap and use it as an opportunity to forge strong and positive relationships with potential new clients.

The new rules of promoting a commercial photography business

The changing face of photography buyers and the unstoppable growth of social media has created a new set of rules for photographer’s to follow, which affect how they position their business and their own brand of photography. It affects how they need to market it and even how they quote and manage image licensing agreements with their clients.

Get ahead of the curve

If knowing how to find and work with these new buyers or successfully work within the social media landscape sounds a bit daunting, don’t worry – if you start working on this now you’ll actually be ahead of the curve, because so many commercial photography businesses are still working within the traditional model. So now – 2013 – is a great time to start changing the way you think about selling your photography and how you can grow your client base by finding new audiences and turning social media into a revenue generating stream for your business.

More support from Eposure

If this is an area that you would like more support with, we are available to work with photographers on a one to one basis. For more information about our one to one mentoring programmes, please visit our membership page here, or contact tim@eposure.com or gabrielle@eposure.com

The missing link between images & buying online

There is a drive for online shopping to replicate the experiences that customers have when they shop in a store environment. Real-life shopping is a highly visual and sensory process, which is a challenge to replicate within digital channels. But clues on how this can be achieved sit with the understanding of how a customer actually shops.

Images play a crucial role in this digital shopping experience, not least because they are the best way to cost effectively represent the actual products that are for sale. But images can also play a much broader role in linking the web experience with a consumer’s natural preferences for different types of information earlier on in the shopping process. Used in the right way, they also help a brand to communicate other aspects such as quality, innovation and value, so in this sense images can reassure a potential consumer that this purchase is the right one for them.

So, when a consumer embarks on a purchase, they generally fall into two broad categories:

1. A distress purchase – when something has broken or worn out, etc.. and needs an urgent replacement
2. A planned purchase. A less urgent, and more pleasurable/indulgent purchase, or a considered purchase for a high-value item

We want to look at the second category, the planned purchase, because this is where there is the biggest difference in the mindset that a consumer moves between, from the start to the finish of the shopping process. At this point, though we should point out the starting point for this planned process, could be something that is present in the customer’s sub-conscious mind. The many messages that we are faced with on a daily basis influence us and plant seeds in our mind that send us on a journey of increasing awareness of a product, until it starts growing into the more conscious idea that we want or ‘need’ something.

As consumers move through this process they respond to different messages in different ways, and create many points of reference along this process to help them make their final decision. Importantly consumers are looking for different types of information at different points of this process.

It is these different mindsets and different types of information that digital retailers need to be aware of and evaluate their online shopping experience against how well their site, and the images within the site, cater for these stages.

Mindset changes

There is a huge change in the mindset of a consumer during the earlier stages of the purchase process, and the most notable aspect is that it is all based around emotional requirements. At this point, its not about price or the cheapest option, its about their aspirations, and crucially they have time at this point. They’re not in a rush, they want to linger over the detail.

Product imagery vs inspirational imagery

Many online retail experiences don’t cater for the inspirational and information stage of the process, either with the content, the format or the images that are used.

This may be less important to a business that also has a range of retail outlets or catalogues which can cater for these earlier stages in the purchase process, but what about a business that follows a predominantly online model?

The absence of any inspirational or richly informative image has the potential to lead to a business being only able to compete on price – not a model that every business aspires to, for obvious reasons!

Creating an image centric approach to a user experience, or a site design gives the opportunity to present a range of different types of content to support the eventual purchase of a given product on a site.

For example, many websites use 360 images on their sites to allow the user to look in detail at a particular product. 360 image views, of course have a role, but by the nature of them they offer the viewer a complete lack of inspiration. Not only this, they require the viewer to put some effort in to find all of the detail that they need.

This may be effective at the end of the purchase process, but is completely wrong for the inspirational part of the process. A more suitable set of images for the inspirational part of the purchase process would be a selection of incidental images shot in a more artistic and creative style. The brief for these would be to show the most interesting parts of a given product. Viewing this selection of images would be an easier task for the viewer, and they would get a much more impactful visual experience than the unimaginative composition required for a 360 view.

Not an expensive option

Crucially, this doesn’t necessarily mean a huge investment is required. Many 360 degree images consist of upto 32 separate images being taken and then stitched together to produce the 360 visual. Instead, all that is required is a mindset change, and taking a different approach from the norm. A different brief, with similar budget parameters could produce a much more exciting suite of images that engage the customer in a different way and encourage a more aspirational attitude to a product compared to similar competitive products.

If you think that your business could benefit from providing your customers with a more creative and distinctive photographic experience, that works on a different level to your competitors, then please get in touch with us for more detail. Please contact gabrielle@eposure.com

Keep up to date with more blogs on this subject by signing up for our newsletter – see panel at the top right hand of this blog page

the key to social media success

It is now acknowledged by many marketers that images are at the heart of convergence of mobile (websites) and social media. Yet another fact that should be considered by businesses when thinking about the value of commercial photography for their brand and the ways it can be incorporated into their marketing strategies.

Over 250 million images are shared every day on Facebook alone. This is a consumer driven phenomenon, but businesses are increasingly sitting up and seeing how they can weave their way into this cultural behaviour shift, to better engage with their customers and sell their product. This is one of the key drivers of the forecast growth in the commercial photographic industry.

Telling instant stories

Social media is a fast moving place – people use their mobiles to manage their social media while they are on the go. Consumers are constantly dipping in and out of their preferred social media channels in many short bursts across the day. Images are a perfect match for this behaviour, because they have the power to tell an instant story, which is vital in our fast moving culture.

Within social media channels, images are proven to make marketing more effective in a number of ways, to the extent that they are now part of the best practice guidelines for many of them:

  • Twitter is more effective in terms of link open rates when tweets have images attached
  • Websites score better in their SEO when sites contain images
  • Blog posts are more engaging with images – your readers are more likely to stay on your site for longer when they are engaged
  • Social media sites that drive volume traffic to businesses, such as Facebook and Pinterest are based on uploading and sharing images
  • Google Business Photos – a relatively new initiative that encourages local businesses to commission professionally taken images to allow consumers a virtual look around their premises and facilities – aimed at improving customer experience and driving traffic and footfall (ie real people going into shops!).

Devouring content

Social marketing channels require vast amounts of content. We hear many stories of businesses that are maintaining their overall photography budgets, but are moving away from a few large commissions a year and instead commissioning a higher number of smaller projects, to enable them to keep adding fresh new content into their campaigns, because the wear-out in this area of marketing is much quicker.

The relative newness of this marketing genre means businesses need creative support to develop photographic strategies which work effectively in these channels. For example using images of an event to create some longevity beyond the actual event itself, or using techniques such as time-release to create content with the power to go viral.

Maintaining success

We mentioned the need for instant stories. Only a professional really has the creative talent and the depth of knowledge to achieve this in a single image. If any business decides to put images at the heart of their social media campaign, they need to be good quality images – or consumers won’t be convinced and the campaign won’t work to it’s best effect.

Many businesses consider photography as an easy area where they can make savings, and many have used cheap stock images or the services of amateur photographers to produce their images. In the short term this may well work for businesses, but to keep social media channels working well over the long term, new ideas and creative approaches are vital, and this is where the lower cost photography options start to fail. Experienced, commercial professionals have the talent and the ability to keep the creative standards consistently high, for long-term marketing success.

Related articles
How you can make the most of photography for your brand guidelines

Commercial photography – the art of generating business sales

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The instagram act – new copyright info for photographers

Our office neighbours are Ward Hadaway, run by who very fortunately for us are creative lawyers. Here they have given us kind permission to publish a recent artlcle that they have produced, giving a very intersting update to new copyright legislation which will be of interest and value to all photographers, in relation to orphan works and the ramifications of sharing photographs via social media.

The “Instagram” Act

A number of reforms which could have profound ramifications for both publishers and owners of copyright material have come into effect following the passing of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA).

What are the changes to copyright law?

The change which has brought about the most discussion surrounds “orphan works” – so called because the copyright owner cannot be traced. The objective behind the changes is to enable the commercial exploitation of such works e.g. a song, a film or a photograph, without fear of being held liable should the owner ever come to light and make a claim at some point in the future.

The ERRA lays the foundations of a system whereby a publisher, or other end user, can obtain a non–exclusive licence in respect of a work if after a “diligent search” they can demonstrate to an independent body that the owner cannot be traced. A fee would then be payable which would be used to reimburse the owner if they later made a claim.

Why is this important?

This is a fundamental change to UK copyright legislation. Whilst the relevant provisions of ERRA amend the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA), the inclusion of copyright provisions in ERRA has sparked some consternation amongst copyright owners who consider that the changes have been bolted onto a piece of legislation which does not relate more specifically to copyright.

Furthermore, the real structure of the new framework has yet to be defined and will be put into place by secondary legislation made by ministers, which must be implemented by 29 October 2014. In effect, nobody really knows how exactly this will work in practice.

Surely “orphan works” are not a major issue?

Orphan works are in fact a growing problem. In the past, orphan works were typically older media where little or no contact information for the author was available. However the internet, and in particular social media, has fostered a situation whereby many newer works are becoming orphaned in a much reduced timescale.

For example, take a photograph that is posted on Instagram then on Facebook where it is repeatedly shared and is then uploaded onto Twitter. By the time a publisher comes across it, it may well be impossible to ascertain the original author, hence the nickname for the Act. This problem is compounded because uploading media such as pictures can often strip away important metadata which could be used to locate the author.

The Intellectual Property Office however has clarified that merely stripping a photograph of its metadata will not make it an orphan work. The steps set out above must be followed.

What is going to happen now?

We will have to wait until the actual system of licensing is devised and put into effect before we see any great changes but some critics have already declared it to be “premature, ill thought-out and constitutionally improper”. Some have gone so far as to say that the UK government could even be breaching its obligations under the Berne Convention to recognise and protect copyright.

On the other hand it has been argued that the proposed system will have little positive effect on the utilisation of orphaned works since licence fees will have to be set at market value so as to ensure that non-orphaned works are not undercut. This being so, it may well be that many publishers would rather use non-orphaned material.

Other changes

The other main changes to the copyright regime as set out in ERRA relate to:

(i) Extended collective licensing, the aim of which, according to government, is to make copyright licensing more efficient. ERRA allows for secondary legislation to be introduced in order to set up a licensing body which will be able to grant licences of copyright works for certain uses. Copyright owners will be able to limit or exclude the grant of licences by such body in respect of their works;

(ii) The limited term of protection of 25 years which applied to designs made by an industrial process has been extended so that like many other copyright works the owners of such works will have copyright protection for the life of the author plus 70 years;

(iii) Changes to the provisions on exceptions to copyright, as well as rights in performances, through new regulations; and

(iv) Changes to reduce the duration of copyright in transitional cases.

What does this mean for me?

Whether you are a creator of copyright work or a business or individual that exploits copyright work you will need to take great care in this area as the law is bound to take some interesting turns in the wake of this new legislation.

Whilst some copyright owners consider that the changes will mean that their protection under the CDPA is lessened, it seems likely that disputes will arise as the new system comes into effect and the courts decide exactly what it means.

How can I find out more?

If you would like to know more about the effects of the new legislation or on other copyright and licensing issues, please get in touch. Contact Laura Harper who runs the Manchester office of Ward Hadaway; Laura.harper@wardhadaway.com

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