There has never been a better time to use digital photography to sell your services. One look at a “before and after” photo of a renovated floor, the removal of grime from behind a toilet bowl, or the first pass with a carpet extractor can quickly sell a prospect on the advantages of doing business with your company.
However, don’t think you need to hire a professional photographer to obtain results that will put your best work forward. Using today’s smart phone technology correctly can turn any job site into a photo marketing opportunity.
If you are like most people today, you probably have your cell phone with you at all times. How often do you think to use it as a camera when you are going through your daily activities? Just the other day, I observed a build-up of debris around the faucet in a health club. Grabbing my phone, I quickly obtained a new image to use in my next e-newsletter about proper restroom cleaning.
Every time you walk into a facility, you should be thinking about using your cell phone to capture real-life maintenance situations to add to your photo library. This includes meaningful “before and after” pictures, as well as examples of what can go wrong with inferior cleaning crews.
Following these tips will maximize the effectiveness of using your smart phone to capture meaningful marketing images:
Set your phone camera for high resolution: Most cell phones have a low-resolution default setting, which will need to be reset to a higher resolution. Find your phone camera’s setting menu and look for either “size” or “resolution” options. Some cameras might also have a setting for “image quality.” Adjust the setting to the highest pixel option and the best image quality that is available. The higher resolution photos will take up more space in your memory, but will provide you with outstanding photo definition. This is particularly important if you want to use images for printed marketing materials, such as postcards or flyers. You can always reduce the size of large photos for posting on the internet, but you can never make a smaller photo large enough for a high-quality printed piece.
Turn on the lights: If your phone has a flash option, use it. If it does not have a flash function, turn on as many lights as possible. Cell phone cameras lack the fast shutter speed that cameras have, so it is important to shed as much light on what you are shooting to capture the best image.
Avoid blurs: Cell phones do not have built-in stabilization, a function that decreases the likelihood of a blurry photo from a shaky hand. One way to avoid a blurry cell phone photo is to shed as much light on the subject as possible. The more light you have, the less time is needed to expose the image sensor. Secondly, keep your shooting hand as steady as possible. Try using your opposite arm to stabilize the shooting hand, or steady yourself against a pillar or wall. If that is not possible, try using some type of stationary device such as a cleaning cart or trash receptacle to increase your balance.
As an added precaution, hold the camera as still as possible for a few seconds after you press the “shoot” button to make sure it doesn’t activate as you’re lowering it.
Shoot in landscape mode: You’ll find using photos in social media, e-marketing, and videos can be easier if the images are in landscape mode. Additionally, many people find they hold the phone more securely when shooting in landscape mode. However, keep in mind the overall composition of your image. If you are shooting a “before and after” photo of a long hallway, you would probably want to shoot vertically, or in a portrait mode.
Avoid digital zoom: It might be tempting to zoom-in on your focal point, but cell phone cameras do not operate the way you’d expect when using a zoom function. Using a digital zoom will decrease the pixels and the overall quality of the photo. If you want a closer shot of the subject matter or focal point, take a few steps towards it. You can always crop the image to emphasize the focal point, and if you have your resolution setting as high as possible, you should not sacrifice image crispness.
Take several shots, and then take some more: Do not settle for one or two shots of the same image. Take many pictures with slightly different angles. What you see on your preview and playback (or gallery) can look different when uploaded on your computer. So, take multiple photos and don’t discard any until you load them onto your computer.
Before and after—don’t move: When taking “before and after” photos, try to shoot from the same location with the lighting as identical as possible. This creates the best image for convincing people in regards to the authenticity of the comparison. You might want to mark the location where you took the “before” photo with painter’s tape or other temporary marking so you return to the same spot, or make a notation to remind yourself where you were standing or sitting. You might also want to record the various angles of the camera to imitate as closely as possible the same shot. Again, take multiple photos.
Watch for awkward natural light: Be aware of awkward lighting shadows, particularly if you are shooting an area with natural light. For example, sunlight can cast uneven “hot-spots” on flooring if filtered through windows with blinds.
Try something different: Experiment with some creative angles, such as shooting from down low or from your extended arm above your head.
Think Marketing: Keep your eyes open for interesting shots that you can incorporate into your e-Marketing or your website, such as the “Mess of the Month” image portraying mistakes made by competitors such as peeling floor finish or dirty ceiling vents.
After taking the photos, you can either send them to your email address by using the gallery “share” function or upload to your computer using a USB connection. Once archived on your hard drive, you can delete them from your phone to make room for more pictures. Some savvy salespeople will keep a few images on their phone or tablet for a fast “show and tell” with a prospect.
Practice makes perfect, and that holds true for using a cell phone to capture viable marketing pictures. The good news is that it has never been easier or cheaper to click your way to great photos.