If you’re reading this, you’ve probably struggled with or maybe even have gotten into an all-out inner-conflict over the cost of photos you should purchase for your website or upcoming marketing campaign.
Should you go cheap and pick some “canned” image from iStock that costs only $10—or go big with the $500 shot from Offeset. Or go even bigger and hire a professional outdoor lifestyle photographer for $7-$10K?
Photography, like good design and copywriting, should be viewed as an investment, not a budgetary line item. According to NewsCred:
- Articles that contain images get 94% more views than articles without.
- 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text.
- 93% of people say that visual imagery is the # 1-factor impacting purchasing decision.
In the fight to stand out in today’s crowded firearm, hunting, and outdoor marketplace, professional photography is just another way to differentiate and win more business by looking better and more credible than your competitors.
Good photography is essential to creating credibility, telling your brand’s story, creating a favorable impression, and engaging your customers.
Here is five ways quality photography influences buyer behavior in the outdoor industry.
1. Creates a favorable first impression that engages your visitors
Humans are visual creatures. We like shiny and beautiful objects. Most of us process information based on what we see. 65 percent of us are visual learners, according to the Social Science Research Network. (Source: Forbes)
When was the last time you were driving and stopped to take in a gorgeous sunset over snow-capped mountains? If you live in the mountain States, this may be an everyday occurrence. The same goes with engaging photography. Stunning photos can stop you in your tracks and make you take notice. It creates a connection—stirs your soul, ignites your senses and gives you a feeling of peace, excitement or maybe even awe and gratitude.
Marketers should not discount the fact that professional photography can be that extra element that creates that emotional connection between your brand and your buyer.
Good photography can also have positive effects on your website metrics by reducing bounce rates, keeping visitors on your website longer and increasing repeat visitors.
2. Makes your brand trustworthy
Trust is a diminishing factor for most brands today. Increasingly, consumers are making decisions well before the actual moment of in-store or online purchase. In fact, 88% of consumers research before they buy, consulting an average of 10.4 sources. (Source: Google, Zero Moment of Truth)
A CEB study of more than 1,400 B2B customers across all industries revealed that 57% of a typical purchase decision is made before a customer even talks to a supplier.
When every click and search counts, creating a viable and memorable impression through the use of good photography is crucial for influencing the customer purchase decision and building your brand and connecting with your customer’s outdoor or shooting lifestyle.
3. Creates style
Good photography sets a mood and creates a style of your brand. By utilizing people who resemble, look and act like your buyer personas, you can create a stronger connection with your customer.
So what makes a good photo? There are 5 rules of a composition according to Nikon that make a photo more interesting and engaging:
- Use the rule of thirds
- Watch horizontal and vertical lines
- Have subjects looking off frame
- Follow leading lines
- Look for patterns and textures
Look for these elements when making a photo choice.
4. Imagery helps you communicate a story in thousand words in seven seconds
You can communicate more with imagery in seven seconds than in 1000 words. So when you put cheap looking “canned stock” on your site that isn’t interesting—thinking no one will notice—think again. A photo can potentially communicate all you want to say about your brand and how it will help your customer—in seconds. By choosing bad photos, it can also communicate things you don’t want to communicate—like cheap, unproven, unprofessional, etc. This ends up doing more harm than good. Good photography helps you communicate your solution quickly and more effectively. (Source: Assoc. for Psychological Science)
5. Look better than your competitors
Perception is reality—if you want to be the best, you have to look like it. By investing in good photography for your marketing programs and by taking professional product photos, you enhance the customer experience and push your brand head-and-shoulders above your competitors. When your competitors are cutting corners and using cheap photos, invest in quality imagery to stand out—it will pay dividends later. You certainly do not want to have the same cheap photos that your competitors are using either. It would be a tremendous embarrassment to show up at SHOT Show or Outdoor Retailer with the same booth photos as your competition—this has happened before.
Looking for quality stock photo agencies or photographers? Here is a list of our favorites:
For websites who’ve been awarded the “best use of photography” checkout the Webby Awards.
In conclusion, when quality copy, dynamic design, and good photography work together, your brand image is more credible, engaging, creates a favorable first impression and aligns and appeals to your customer’s outdoor lifestyle. We highly recommend a sizeable photography budget when advising clients on their outdoor, hunting and shooting marketing endeavors.
Josh Claflin, President of Garrison Everest, is passionate about helping business and marketing leaders in the outdoor, hunting, adventure and shooting sports industries create clear messaging and digital marketing programs that grow business.