A conversation with Michael Foley, photographer at San Clemente Website Design, on the importance of professional photography for your business website and marketing materials.
If you read the first edition of B2PT, you know that last month we interviewed San Clemente Website Design Founder Deb Foley and learned all about her addiction to creating websites in WordPress.
Today, we are talking to Michael Foley, Deb’s husband. He does something or other for SCWD and I am going to interview him to figure out exactly what that is.
CONRIC: Hi Michael, I appreciate you taking time away from not doing much of anything to speak with me about your role with SCWD. Now, can you please tell me, what does a typical day look like for you? I assume you wake up around 10 a.m. or so, have a leisurely breakfast, watch some Price is Right and then pop into the office when you feel like it. So, my question is this: What is your favorite website to waste time on when you’re supposed to be working?
FOLEY: Actually, with three small children, my day wouldn’t be leisurely even if I wasn’t working. However, we are building a lot of websites right now and they all need quality, professional photos. So, after getting the kids to school this morning, I immediately met with a client to take some great photos of their business in action that they can use for not just their website, but their brochures, print advertisements, client information sheets, reports and a whole host of other important marketing collateral. That took a couple of hours. After you and I are done speaking, I have another client photo session and then I’ll spend a few hours this evening editing photos for other clients.
CONRIC: Sheesh, that sounds like a lot of work. Couldn’t the client just take their own photos, and then email them to you so you can put them on their website?
FOLEY: Yes, and I’m sure most people could cut their own hair too but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
CONRIC: I actually do cut my own hair.
FOLEY: I believe you. Look, if you are just getting started in business and are on a very strict budget, some good quality amateur photos taken with a high-quality camera can get you by for a little while. But, like everything else, you get what you pay for and there is no substitute for a robust collection of high-quality, professional pictures, taken by an experienced photographer using high-end, professional equipment. If you want to build a successful business, you need to put forth an image of success. Your marketing materials, including photos, are the best way to do this.
It comes down to this: If you’re spending thousands of dollars on creating marketing materials to brand and promote your business but you are not taking that one extra step to make sure your photographs – the visual that engages your audience the most – are the best representation of your business, then you really are just wasting your investment.
CONRIC: I don’t know, Mike… can I call you Mike?
CONRIC: As I was starting to say, Mike, my iPhone takes pretty good photos. You should see all my selfies on Instagram. I have dozens of followers so I must be doing something right.
FOLEY: Selfies certainly do play a certain role in our society and I definitely appreciate the power of Instagram and other social media platforms as part of a comprehensive marketing package. However, if you’re trying to brand yourself as a trusted professional and want potential customers to believe that you are the leader in your field, then there is no replacement for… I’m sorry, are you taking a selfie right now?
CONRIC: Hold on, I just need to upload this to my Twitter account really quickly. My followers expect a picture from me every day.
FOLEY: Wow. You’re making duck lips.
CONRIC: Of course, how else would you post a selfie?
FOLEY: That doesn’t look very professional.
CONRIC: No, but it gets me a ton of followers on social media.
FOLEY: Yes, but does it help your business? Have you been able to market yourself as a serious, professional journalist with daily selfies of duck lips?
CONRIC: Well, no but…
FOLEY: That’s my point. Say you want to hire an attorney…
CONRIC: I want to hire an attorney.
FOLEY: No, I didn’t mean to literally say that. Let’s pretend you want to hire an attorney, or an accountant, or maybe, in your case, a therapist. Would you rather hire the woman whose website is filled with pictures of her standing in her bathroom taking iPhone selfies of her duck lips or the one whose website has a professional head shot taken in a well-appointed office?
CONRIC: I don’t know. I guess it would depend on which lady is cheaper.
FOLEY: Let’s try another example. Say I was in the business of selling dresses and you are in the market for a red dress. Which of these scenarios would make you more likely to buy a red dress from me and not my competitor?:
1). You go to my website and see a beautiful photo of a model wearing the dress, so you know exactly how it will look when it’s worn. The photo is well lit, with no distractions in the background and the dress looks well-pressed and ready to wear.
2). You go to the same website but, instead, the dress is laid out on someone’s bed, photographed at a bad angle, with poor lighting and the dress wrinkled?
A good professional photographer can make sure the subject of the photo looks good, is shot at the best angle and can edit the photos in post-production to make sure the viewer’s eye is drawn to exactly what you want it to be drawn to.
CONRIC: Wow, you seem to really know a lot about this stuff.
FOLEY: Well, I’ve been doing it for many years.
CONRIC: You should consider becoming a professional. I bet there are a lot of businesses in San Clemente that could really utilize your skills.
FOLEY: I’ll definitely look into that.
CONRIC: Before you go, would you do me a favor?
FOLEY: What is that?
CONRIC: Would you take a selfie with me?
FOLEY: I suppose.
If you are in need of a website for your San Clemente business, or have questions about how photography can help your marketing efforts, please contact San Clemente Website Design.