The importance of using high-quality images for a business cannot be understated. We’ll look at several ways that great images help a business, how to avoid the pitfalls of using low-quality photographs, and steps we can take to ensure our visual “assets” are engaging. This is a somewhat over-complicated process, and to understand it better, we’ll discuss three areas: 

  • The process of communicating with viewers
  • The technical issues in creating good photography
  • The importance of quality images in enhancing our Google search results. 

Firstly, we need to define the meaning of “high-quality image”. There are several ways to define this, and a photographer might give a technical definition, using camera metrics like ISO, depth-of-field, and aperture settings. A digital marketing professor would define quality as the ability to increase site visits with more “clicks”, while a marketing executive would define a picture as high quality if it creates an emotional connection with a viewer.

Our cameras these days are all capable of producing technically sound images, and a Galaxy or Apple phone is much more powerful than the cameras used by professional photographers just 25 years ago. Understanding basic camera features will allow you to shoot pictures with clarity, sharpness, and the proper amount of light (what pros refer to as “exposure”), and post-production tools in platforms like Photoshop and Instagram can help us improve technical issues when they occur. When you are about to take a photograph, ask yourself what it is that will make the image interesting. In other words, if the essence of this image in front of me is a beautiful smile on a child’s face, or the golden light over a beautiful lake on a summer night, how can I capture that without a lot of other distracting images that don’t contribute to the main subject of the shot.

Understanding social media metrics is somewhat more challenging to entrepreneurs, and it’s important to understand the role of your pictures in attracting more web traffic. 

Firstly, Google metrics favor original photos over stock images by a wide margin, so use as many original photographs as you can. 

Secondly, when you load a picture onto a website or media platform, save it first and give it a relevant name before you post it somewhere. Google metrics won’t do anything with an image titled “IMG_20120203_162110”, but if it is named “Sunset from Manitoulin Hotel Window”, it will assist in improving search rankings dramatically (captions beneath pictures are also highly recommended by Google). 

A third important point is to combine images with relevant written content. Research shows that images have a much higher rate of sharing if they are relevant to an article, story or theme. In other words, don’t just post pictures on a site because they look pretty.

I believe the highest quality images are the ones that connect with viewers on an emotional level. Our world is saturated with beautiful sunsets, views, people, and images, and another gorgeous summer sunset beside crystal blue water isn’t necessarily going to inspire us to want to travel. How about a picture in the same location, of a loving couple, renewing their vows on a summer’s night, 50 years after they were married. How about a picture of a woman, who spent her whole life in her community of Hiawatha, laughing with her granddaughter inside an ice-fishing hut on a beautiful January day. If your business is a bed and breakfast, how about a picture of mom and dad and their two toddlers, asleep on the couch after a wonderful day of swimming and fishing on Manitoulin island, toys scattered on the floor and chip bowls empty. These pictures tell a profound story and are an immeasurably important way to sell your business.

For entrepreneurs, the highest quality photographs are the ones that help us tell our stories and appeal to potential customers. Take some time to learn about image composition, the way light affects photography, and the importance of using color to enhance mood and ambiance. Take a course on social media content management, and learn the technical skills needed to create content and increase presence online. Most importantly, think about the photographs you take, consider the essence of the scene unfolding in front of you, and capture the things that are most valuable; love, laughter, and life.

Best Practice Spotlight: ITO Members Chiefswood Park and Thrive Tours

Chiefswood Park – Located on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory

Chiefswood Park is a world-class cultural heritage destination that offers a variety of product experiences aiming to teach guests about authentic Haudenosaunee culture while instilling respect for the natural world.

Thrive Tours is an Indigenous-owned and operated Eco-Cultural touring experience in the Sault Ste. Marie and Northern Ontario region.

Thrive Tours are designed to connect people with each other and Mother Earth’s offerings with respect for the land, water, and all living things.

Written by: Scott Mercs

Learn more about Scott, https://indigenoustourismontario.ca/marketing/indigenous-business-advisor-program/ 

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