Lots of marketers push the value of video as marketing collateral – this is great idea in theory but there are issues: Producing a decent video requires a whole range of skills to develop:
- The overall concept/idea
- A storyboard
This means that producing a quality video requires a fair budget. You can’t do much for less than £2-£3000. Once you publish your video, it starts to go stale. A video demands more attention than a photo. Consequently, its repeat watchability is less than a good still image.
Quality Images – A better solutions
Modern websites are VERY visual – particularly the home page where images (coupled with a few explanatory words) can be a great way to give people the overview of your business proposition. It is VERY difficult, if not impossible, to develop a modern, appealing website without good images. You can use photos, or graphics, or a mixture, but you need something visual In my experience, a lack of decent images is the biggest issue when it comes to developing a new website. I always recommend that when building a new website, you should include a photography/image plan in your ideas. Unless you have a big budget, don’t feel you must include video too.
A good investment
While a professional video can cost upwards of £2-£3000 – for which you get one video (or maybe 2), commissioning a professional photographer can produce 10’s if not 100+ photographs in a single day’s work at substantially lower cost (OK, if you ask them to do a lot of editing/retouching this does cost more.) As with any investment, make a plan. If you can give your photographer some idea of what you want, you will get better results. This can be particularly important with websites where you may want images that work as a ‘letterbox’ shape for banners/sliders or a series of images that all need to be the same size and work as a group. eg illustrating services or product categories. It is better to plan your website structure and define what images you need rather than working the other way around. You don’t want to finish your photography session only to find you need a critical shot you don’t have! Professional images on the homepage and at key points in your site creates a platform where you can easily add more ‘functional’ photos that you can take yourself. When taking photos, have some fun. Here are some tips:
- Make sure you have plenty of light
- Clean/plain backgrounds make your subject stand out and make it easier to delete the background if you wish
- Make sure your subject is in focus – obvious but important!
- Think about composition (e.g. do you need space in your photo to overlay words?)
- Use a camera you are comfortable with. You plus your Smartphone can produce better results than You plus a high-end DSLR you don’t fully understand. Modern digital cameras, even on phones can produce remarkably usable results
- Take lots of variations on a subject. Try different positions/angles. When you review your results, one or two will probably stand out
- If you are using a smartphone hold it horizontally
- Play around with the settings on your camera if you wish but you can always rely on ‘Auto’!
Go on, have a go. You can always delete the rubbish and who knows – you may surprise yourself!