With the rising quality and user-friendliness of digital cameras there is no reason you can’t take your own promotional photos. They’re free, you can use them as much as you want as often as you want and no one else will have photos that look like yours!
There are two ways to tackle creating a good ‘library’ of stock photos on your own: Mass Quantity and Trained Eye.
Where I work now we have 7 flip-cams and 3 high resolution digital cameras that we circulate through the vast number of programs we run. Especially during the summer camp months those cameras output 300+ photos A DAY! No one will claim they’re all good, in fact about 95% aren’t. But even so that’s 15 excellent quality promotional photos a day we’re accumulating! Sometimes giving amateurs free reign with cameras, much like the popular wedding trend, can get you some very unique shots. For instance, some of the campers decided it would be cool to make a shadow puppet of our logo. I very nearly missed this gem in my filtering!
The benefit of the Mass Quantity technique is anyone can do it and be successful. Simply practicing every day will get you better at picking and framing your shots. The con? You’ve got to filter through all the not-so-good shots to get what you can really use for your marketing materials.
There are tons of local and online resources that can teach you the basics of good digital photography. From setting up good product shots to how to catch fast moving action. Not only will training reduce the number of not-so-good shots you have to throw out, but it will also give you a growing confidence in your ability to tell a story through the camera.
I personally was not a trained photographer, but after years of working on TTI’s photo library I got so good at it I began to do Christmas family shots for each of the families that came to our Christmas party – a real treat they started looking forward to every year. I also took some wonderful shots for my friends’ wedding. Neither of which I would have felt qualified for if I hadn’t taken some time to learn and grow in photography.
The benefit of the Trained Eye method is your growing confidence in what you’re doing and the time saved in not having to go through as many not-so-good photos.
There’s no doubt in my mind a great photo library will be indispensible to you as you grow your business and marketing materials. Don’t forget to take shots of things like corkboards, concrete, grass and leaves for interesting background and texture images! Work in construction? Better take lots of photos of building materials, run down buildings, brand new buildings, different angles of construction equipment… the sky’s the limit!
A Few Photo Training Websites: