When was the last time you looked at the photographs of your work as prospective clients might see them? When was the last time they were updated? Do they effectively portray the type of work for which you want to be identified? Those photographs can be a key part of your marketing plan and can be used in so many ways. Of course they should be the magnet that draws ideal clients into your website but what about creating a brochure, notecards with images of your work, postcards to send to prospective ideal clients, social media, blog, and other platforms?
Once you understand the importance of top-quality photographs of your work, consider the following tips to make sure your photographs capture the attention of your ideal clients – and possible referral partners.
Identify Your Brand
First, identify your brand. What do you want to be known for? What colors do you want to be associated with? What sorts of interior design styles do you want to focus on? What sets you apart and makes you unique? The more consistent and targeted your branding, the more effective you will be at building brand awareness. And it should be clearly evident in the photographs of your work.
Find the Right Photographer
You need to find a professional photographer who is the right fit for your brand. They should share or be able to achieve your aesthetic vision and can translate it clearly. This is a relationship you want to build that will grow along with your firm. When searching for photographers consider the following skills that they should possess:
- Can they photograph interiors? Portraits and landscapes, for example, require different compositional and lighting skills as compared to interior photographs. So make sure your photographer knows their way around an interior photoshoot.
- Are they detail-oriented? Good interior design photography doesn’t stop at a wide living room shot. It includes details, close-ups, and focal points that require an observational eye.
- Can they be consistent? Your photographer should be able to adjust colors during the photo editing process to make an entire set of photos feel like they belong together. When you look at your portfolio, you should see consistency throughout.
- Do they have the technical know-how? Good interior photos don’t look that good right out of the camera! They require a post-production process. This includes color adjustments, but also the ability to remove unwanted objects from a photo if needed.
- Can they help with staging? A good photographer comes into the home you’ve designed and takes excellent photos. A great photographer that you can have a long relationship with has the skills to help you stage the house for photo shoots and more effectively capture the heart of your designs.
If your brand includes commercial as well as residential clients, you may want to develop a relationship with a few key photographers who can translate your vision. It might be that one photographer is better at translating your vision in the commercial arena and another for your residential work.
Optimize Your Website
Interior design is a very visual business and your website is one of the best marketing tools you have. Especially when you apply search engine optimization practices to it. Showcasing your style up-front can filter out clients who aren’t a good fit. That way you can make sure you’re only getting inquiries from clients who resonate with your style.
The Nielson Norman Group, whose research focuses on user experience states: “Users often leave web pages in 10–20 seconds, but pages with a clear value proposition can hold people’s attention for much longer. To gain several minutes of user attention, you must clearly communicate your value proposition within 10 seconds.” One of the most effective ways to capture their attention is with top-quality images. Images that accurately represent your brand and showcase your design philosophy will communicate your value proposition without ever saying a word.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Visual media like photography tells a story. Make your message about your ideal clients, not about you. A great photographer can help you use photographs to tell stories. A set of project photos can weave a relatable story about a family who finally has their dream home! Make it feel personal for those ideal clients you are directing your message to. Use them to help your potential clients escape, dream, and imagine. Tell the story in images showing the lifestyle and benefits your firm can offer.
There is something to the old adage “You get what you pay for”. Great photography is an investment that can have an excellent return on investment. Do your research and find a photographer or photographers who are a good fit for your design and with whom you can easily work. Remember that investing in great photographs that effectively capture your brand will help you reach your ideal clients. Connecting with and closing those ideal clients create added value for you as it will increase the success of your firm and your bottom line – definitely a positive return on your investment in great photography!