A picture speaks a thousand words (maybe I should just post a picture and that could be my entire blog….guess that wouldn’t work very well, huh?). Well, anyway, getting high-quality professional photographs should be high on your priority list for all of your projects. But not all of us are personally capable of taking professional quality photos, even with a high-end DSLR camera. And don’t even think of using your phone camera; that’s great for quick snapshots, but not for high-grade, high-resolution marketing.
We’re trying to sell our clients on the best of the best with high resolution video and audio, so do not make your jobs look bad with low-resolution pictures.
We’ve found a few great resources and ideas for getting those pictures.
1. Do It Yourself
Most obviously, if you are an amateur photographer, get yourself a good-quality DSLR and bring it with you to job sites or to the final training for the client, or even months after the job is complete, when the house or room is well decorated and looks great.
2. Patronize Your Marketing Partners
Use the same tools on which you advertise. If you use Yelp! to generate business, then look for a photographer on Yelp! And don’t forget to review them after the shoot.
3. Get References
Ask real estate agents whom you know. They are always photographing properties for sale, so they should have good photographers they can recommend.
4. Partner with Colleagues
Ask the interior designer or architect on the project if they are having pictures done, and if so, see if you can piggyback on their shoot and share part of the cost.
5. Leverage Your Vendors
Check out Houzz. If you have a business account with them, they have a section for services for pros, and there are a lot of photographers listed. Again, if you use one, give them a review. And if you advertise on Houzz, ask your sales rep for a credit to hire a photographer for the first time to test it out. I know people who have gotten this and have been very happy with the pictures
Remember that you want to take the most flattering pictures possible. That usually means that the home will not be ready for you to take pictures when you wrap up the project. There’s going to be furniture on order, artwork to go up, lighting fixtures to finalize, and a host of other things that the designer and homeowner have not yet finished. You will need to work with your client to come back for a photo shoot. I have found it beneficial to have something in your back pocket as a thank you (or an incentive) for the client.
Here are some ideas that could provide an incentive to your clients to help with a photo shoot:
1. Throw in a pair of low-end speakers in the room you wired, but didn’t add speakers for budgetary reasons (if you have open zones on the multi-room amp)
2. Offer a free Roku, if they insisted on Apple TV (or vice-versa)
3. Provide an Echo Dot with just a few voice scenes programmed for the control system.
4. Buy them an Amazon or iTunes gift card
5. Replacing a dimmer with a keypad to give them more functionality in a room
I’m sure you can all come up with other ideas, and probably already have thank you gifts in your arsenal. We have found that clients really appreciate it. Most are happy to have their homes showcased, but a little added incentive and thank you goes a long way to enhancing the relationship.
There is no excuse for not having great pictures on your website and in all of your marketing. It costs a little extra, but the rewards are huge when your company looks more polished, professional, and exacting than the next guy.
Photos by Micheal Van Tassel