You are the Mastermind!
Genius behind the operation? Person in charge? Perhaps the…pupeteer? Pretty much in a nutshell!
Look, you have a solid product/service, and its awesomeness sells itself. All we need are some great photos and a great story behind an already great product. And if your target market isn’t you (even at one point) and your brand isn’t a representation of you, then maybe being in the spotlight for your biz wouldn’t make much sense in the first place!
Maybe getting your photo taken is like an expensive trip to the dentist.
Either way, have no fear!
You do NOT have to be in front of the camera for your business to be rockin’, and there are plenty of opportunities to give your brand and product personality without telling your life story to strangers.
Let’s check out some of the types of photos you’ll want to feature the most and some of the challenges you’ll face being the master behind the scenes!
Now, if you build anything at all with your hands, I’m going to recommend at least some hands in the photos. Adding in that human element, even something as small as a hand brings us back to life and reminds us that these are not just pretty photos of things but actual products we can buy and use.
On the plus side, since you’ll be rarely in your own photos, you don’t always have to find someone or learn how to take photos of yourself in order to put out content.
On the down side, people visually seeing you will have a much easier time connecting with you and trusting you than just seeing your product. That being said, I *highly* recommend adding some personality in the captions. I was actually following this one random burrito company that is kind of a mix of Chipotle and Torchy’s Taco. Their instagram page is hilarious and you don’t see any of the owners appear on their page. But we do get the gist that they are funny, quirky, spicy…and I ain’t talkin’ about the queso.
Here are some ideas for the types of photos you’ll want to use as a mastermind of your business! A special thanks to Barretville Bulbs and Flower Co for being my awesome example!
1. Finished Product. Desired result/ transformation. Emotional goal.
Ok, this is a big one and super important to perfect. If you create a physical product, you have a pretty solid idea of what you need to be photographing. For physical products, you will want “glamour” shots, meaning photos of just the product on a clean/styled background. It’s a “nice-to-have” if these types of photos denote the size and features, but not necessary. (Product on a clean background allows for type to be placed anywhere on the image, so it’s really convenient if it’s just a product in the photo.) I also like to incorporate products “in action” for their intended use or their “quirky” use for something fun and different. And then you’ll want to take photos of it existing in its environment. Where do you use it? So, let’s take something easy like a coffee cup. 1. Glamour: A coffee cup on a background. (things to denote size would be a spoon or teapot or coffee pot behind/next to it, for example.) 2. In action: A hand holding the coffee cup. Pouring coffee into the cup. Sipping coffee. Maybe the coffee cup could actually double as a pot for a plant for a quirky alternative use factor. All of that jazz. 3. It’s environment: Sitting on a coffee table with steam coming from it and a couch in the background. Sitting next to some really cute dishes. In a nice corner of your eclectic kitchen. That wraps up the physical product, but it should get your wheels turning.
For the desired results/transformation. This is a little harder to show, but you will want to photograph the transformation you are trying to sell. Before and afters work magic here. Imagine a weight loss program or hair stylist. For these photos, you can do them side by side, or a gallery flip on instagram, which is cleaner.
For an emotional result. I consider this to be coaches, online businesses, and some service providers. For businesses who do not have a physical product, you are selling something that’s a little harder to describe in just one photo, and it will need a caption to accompany it. So you sell confidence? What does that look like? What does your customer look like after they have finished working with you? For me that is something like looking people in the eye, an easy smile, and a power pose. You could incorporate a before and after (like the transformation we just talked about) of a sad looking person and then boom! Dressed up, standing straight, and oozing confidence. Say you have an online course teaching yoga. I would show a “student” with your program pulled up on their computer or tv mastering your move. This way, people would understand that it’s an online program and see its effectiveness with the “student” crushing the moves.
The whole idea of taking product photos is to effectively communicate what you are selling and what your customers can expect by working with you. Product shots are great for product pages, sales pages, social media, and promotional blog posts.
Stock photos are great filler content. Sometimes, you just need some visually interesting photos that can diversify your social feed. I like to suggest stock photos that you take yourself, just so it’s personal to you. You can always buy stock photos, but I challenge you to create your own. Have a favorite notebook to write in? A favorite pen? Coffee cup? Obviously people can be in these photos, but I usually like to keep it to objects. Here are a few tips. Make it inspirational. Look for fun/motivational quotes that you can incorporate into the photo. Make it personal. Use objects you already own and love! If this were an Instagram worthy photo, what would it entail? For scenes, try to keep it to odd numbers of objects in the photo. Shooting it straight down is usually a great angle for these shots. Also, consider shooting certain objects off-centered. This will allow for type over the image without getting in the way. Additionally, you can use the objects to create a frame of sorts and put type in the middle. You definitely have options with stock photos. Have fun with it!
3. Location. Whether that’s your office, creative space, location you service your clients, OR a city you live in.
These types of photos have a couple of different purposes. First off, they’re informational. If you have a brick and mortar store, it gives people an idea of what to expect when they come visit you. You can tell a lot about a business by these kinds of photos, and so if you have a storefront where people will be coming to you, I really wouldn’t get too fancy here. Just make it straightforward. (This being said, if you’re working from home, you don’t need to take a photo of your home office unless it’s particularly cute/stylish.) If your city influences your work, post random photos of the city and talk about it. That’s also a great workaround for anyone with an online business who spends most days working from their couch. Photos of the city can also ground you a little so you become a real person from Tennessee instead of a digital person from the vast “Internet Land” that people can’t really envision.
After informational, we get into the fun and creative detail shots, which often times will double as stock photos as well. Do you have a particularly cute corner in your office that you really love? Take photos of that! They’re interesting and have the potential to be Pinterest-worthy. Do you have a special place that gets your creative juices flowing? Take a photo! These types of photos can be artistic, straightforward, fun, emotional…whatever you want. With location photos, you can make them as personal or passive as you want. Just change the captions! Location photos are great for about pages, contact pages, blog posts, random posts on Instagram/social medias, and yelp pages (directory listings).
4. Behind the Scenes / Action shots. Doing your thang.
Behind the scenes and action shots are a great way to get an action shot of how the product is made, and you can be as “in” or “out” of it as you want. If you’re in it, it can be shot from behind so we just see your back. It can be shot from the side and close up so we only see your hands. There’s nothing that says you have to see a full body for you to have a solid behind the scenes shot. For me as a photographer, it would be photos of me holding a camera, directing clients, a light setup, and/or taking photos. These shots are the down and dirty of how you make something that you sell. If you have an online business, this would look a lot more like a close up of hands typing on a computer (cough, header photo of this page, cough), writing notes, or sketching ideas. The idea here is to show your process and how you’ve made what you’ve made. You’ll also want to add in great captions to describe your process. I love these photos for about pages and social media, especially Instagram.
5. VIP access.
VIP access is giving your followers special access to what you’re up to…right now! They are the sneak peeks and hints/clues of your business. What are you doing right now? What new thing is about to hit the market? What new project are you working on? What is something a follower gets special access to just for following you? Usually these are phone photos. They are fun, low maintenance, and little happies to spread with your people. VIP access photos go great in Instagram stories or promo posts!
PHEW! I know that was a TON of information about what kinds of photos to take. But don’t worry. Taking photos will get easier, and you’ll be a master in no time! If you want more information about how to take better photos for your business (not to mention family pics and vacation photos), click HERE to learn more about my Photography for Business Owners course!
295 E Speer Blvd
Denver, CO 80203