Commercial photography can be used for billboards, websites, annual reports, trade show banners, brochures, magazine and online advertisements. You take pride in your business and will invest hundreds if not several thousands of dollars to use the aforementioned vehicles to advertise your business. Doesn’t it make sense to use personalized, compelling professional photography that impresses your audience?
A couple of my images from a recent commercial shoot used in a Greenville, SC billboard may underscore this point…
Assuming that the advertisement on the above billboard is yours, which of the following two product images would you rather broadcast to the thousands of cars that drive past every day (mouseover the image to reveal the differences)? Wouldnt one of these product images resonate better with your advertisement’s target audience than the other?
Well first of all, what the heck is that thing?
It doesn’t really matter (FYI, its a banksia pod turned on a lathe into a sphere… this particular one is not mine, however I used to do some woodworking with different exotic woods. The finished product is beautiful, but its a messy and laborious process to create it… hence my appreciation and affinity for the final product). The point is to compare to identical objects and determine if lighting makes any difference? I chose this product as the lighting is fairly straightforward (only one light source and a more or less monochromatic subject). After reading the section below, imagine the complexities and complications of a commercial shoot when lighting, say, a motorcycle or a piece of multifaceted industrial machinery with their varying angles, grooves, surface textures, shapes, colors, reflectiveness, etc.
OK, here are some of the differences:
In the product’s second photo the detail of the grain is lost. Additionally one’s eye keeps dancing between the distracting specular highlights (white spots), creating unwanted focal points that detract from the overall impact of the advertisement. Using “auto” mode for both the image and the flash, the image is underexposed, the white balance (color temperature) is off and there are hard, abrupt shadow transitions due to the relatively small, light source… very utilitarian, similar to a coal miner’s light or a cop shining a mag-lite at a DUI checkpoint. So why not just increase the exposure (make the entire photo brighter)? While this may bring out a bit of detail in the shadows, we’d still have the issue of blown out and annoying highlights, paltry shadow transition, intrusive quality of light, lack of definition and texture in the wood grain, a narrow tonal range and incorrect white balance. In short – a bland, flat image is a bland, flat image and significantly diminishes your advertisement’s effectiveness.
So Why Hire a Professional?
In short, you will save time, money and eliminate stress. As a business owner, I am quite accustomed to thinking “well I can take care of that myself”. Sure, given the right equipment, enough knowledge and time I too could fix my own transmission, stop a leak in my roof or represent myself in court (well, maybe not that last one). But its probably wise to let the experts do what they been doing day in and day out for years. Your business goal should be to grow your customer base and increase sales. Advertising (correction, the right advertising) will do just that. Hire the experts do their job so that you can make more money focusing on yours.
Put simply, a professional commercial photographer will produce professional grade images that succinctly and accurately communicates your business’s product, service, equipment, location, message, etc. in a compelling manner to your target market. Considering that it takes just moments for people to form an impression after they see your commercial / advertisement, you have very little time to for your message to make an impact. Photography is like a megaphone. Average photography looks generic. It will blend in with other banal images and broadcast to the public that you are an average (at best) business or it will turn people off completely. Great photography will amplify your brand. It will also engage your client with the advertisement on a deeper level and motivate the consumer to seek more information and / or purchase your product.
As one of my photographer friends says, “Images speak louder than words”. Snapshots and photography on the cheap don’t embolden your brand and people wont take your business seriously. Catapult your company ahead of the competition. Use a professional commercial photographer to make your advertisements connect with your prospective clients.