Over the past ten years or so, I have developed into a photography enthusiast, working my way up from a disposable film camera, to a point and shoot, and finally to a DSLR. My personal interest in photography coincides with the internet’s increasing reliance on it. With the advent of new channels for brands to expose themselves to potential clientele, photography has taken on an all-encompassing role that reaches far beyond its former purpose. More than simple use as a record keeping and art tool, photography now accompanies nearly every campaign by an individual or organization taking place online. These pictures evoke emotion or at least convey understanding in a way that makes them valuable to any end. With this in mind, my goal over the course of the next several weeks is to discuss the link between digital media and photography by focusing on methods used by people and/or brands within digital marketing.
The logical starting point then, in any discussion about photography and marketing in 2018 is the ubiquity of photography. Practically every phone has a camera, and these cameras are rapidly increasing in quality. As a result, anyone with a phone can take half-decent photos of anything they may want to document, whether it be themselves, their food, or a social-media-worthy artifact. This opens an enormous range of marketing prospects that organizations choose to take advantage of in unique ways. Some restaurants create more boutique-style, photogenic food that fits in a square Instagram post for potential viewers. Facebook itself is trying to build up media available for its own use by encouraging users to upload pictures and videos directly to Facebook. The company makes media uploaded directly to Facebook (rather than posted using a link to an outside source) more likely to be seen on users’ feeds (Telegraph). Those who aren’t capitalizing on social trends are, at the very least, spicing up their websites and direct marketing campaigns with enticing photos that will help them achieve whatever they set out to accomplish.
Cameras are growing in popularity in part because they are so much cheaper to buy than in the past. Even high quality digital cameras are growing cheaper by the day, so anyone with even a moderate interest in pretty pictures can let their technological marvel of a camera work its magic. While this does ignite a laundry list of digital marketing possibilities, it also presents a new challenge: how does anyone differentiate themselves with photography when so many high-quality photos exist? The answer seems to be not easily. As less photo-conscious brands have started adapting to changes within the digital media landscape, it is more difficult for truly amazing photography to stand out. Organizations, as a result, must mix things up either by orchestrating particularly eye-catching pictures or by creating uncommon interactions that draw a viewer’s attention to the value proposition being offered.
I have no final word on how to create visual content that will appeal to consumers. I do, however, understand basic photographic principles could potentially set a campaign apart from others. The remainder of my blog posts will therefore focus on either different techniques and methods for photography or on photography’s place in a few given marketing scenarios.