Thoughts, stories and tips from Team Perfocal.

Once upon a time, there was a world where we wandered into shops, tried on clothes in changing rooms, worked in offices, went to gyms, viewed property in person and sat down in cafes and restaurants.

Now we do everything online.

2020 has pushed an already online society into the digital age faster than ever before. With the ominous possibility of yet another lockdown and business closure looming over us, the need to have an online presence is more important than ever. This change to society may seem difficult to keep up with, but it is a great chance to expand your audience and reach more customers. With all the benefits of the internet, there is a downside, the competition is vast and endless. Online, your location, good service, and footfall won’t necessarily benefit you. In true 2020 style, businesses must adapt to the changing times and find new ways to reach their audience.

But let's take a step back for a moment, before social media, zoom quizzes and, even the internet itself there was storytelling. Rooted in our ancestry people have always communicated via stories and narratives. This remains the key way businesses can connect with their customers even digitally.

‘Your business story needs to be a crucial part of your operations​.’ - Forbes (1)

Instagram even has a feature dedicated to virtual ‘Stories’, proving that even as adults we still crave a good bedtime story.

We’ve really challenged all the possibilities of finding human connection via the internet this year and we all agree that nothing is quite as good as IRL. However, the next best thing for customer connection can be lifestyle and business photography, with 65% of the population being visual learners, it is clear that good imagery can have an impact.(2) Whether you're in fashion or food, property or people you can use lifestyle photography to boost your business. Over 300 million images are uploaded online daily, so the average photo just won't cut it, consumers are bombarded with choice, and they will judge the book by its cover.​(3)

Website Header Image by Perfocal (for finishandfeast.com)

The Genre - Selecting your Lifestyle Shoot

A good place to start is defining what kind of lifestyle photography is best for your business, and Perfocal can cater to them all.

If you're in retail then product shotsare likely your priority.

Product Lifestyle Image by Perfocal (for tastily.com)

If you do property you need a professional with a wide lens. ​

Property Lifestyle Image by Perfocal (at Cambridge Country Cottages)

If your focus is food​, maybe a mouthwatering menu shoot to update your Instagram.

Food Lifestyle Image by Perfocal (for Rudie's Jerk Shack)

Maybe your business is people, improving, advising, beautifying, bettering, consulting, or caring. Lifestyle photos can narrate how your business can benefit your target market, showing them how it relates to their life, as well as communicating what you do. No matter what that is, selecting the type of lifestyle shoot that best fits your business can be the yellow brick road that paves way toward your business' story.


Character Development - Headshots and Team Photos

Lifestyle photography isn’t just about what you sell or how you can help, it’s also about who you are and what you do. To encourage customers to engage and relate to your business you should share who is telling this story, who is offering this service, creating this product, teaching this class, or showing this property.  ​

‘Face-to-face interactions will remain the most important customer engagement channel.’- SAS (4)

​A simple but beneficial way to increase connection and loyalty is by showing face, literally​. T​he ​About​ page on websites can see the highest traffic.​(5) Consumers respond well to being able to visualise the main characters that star in your business. Having a headshot of you, the owner, or even photos of your whole team on your website or social channels is a modern way to be face to face with your customer again.

Team Lifestyle Image by Perfocal (for Glowday.co.uk)

The Plot - The Impact of Professional Lifestyle Photography

The main success of any good story is the plot. Arguably, even better is a picture book, with photos that depict plot highlights grasping the story even easier. In fact,​ our brains process images 600,000 times faster than text.(6) We, humans, are big on images and don’t just take my word for it. Statistically speaking, people remember 80% of the things that they consume visually and only retain 20% of the information they read.(7) Having images to support your content online can increase your average views by 94%. (8) And with 62% of Millennials and Generation Z consumers demanding visual search options the CEO of Pinterest has predicted that:

“the future of search will be about pictures rather than keywords.”​(9) ​

The power of the photograph online is incredible, but it is not just about having photos, it is about having professional photos. With everyone owning a smartphone the access to taking good photos is widespread today. But on the internet, the sheer volume of mobile uploads can quickly decrease the impressive look of a phone camera. In fact, having poor quality or badly shot photos can be worse than no photos, it can send out the wrong message and even hinder your brand's reputation.(10)​ Buying online can be difficult, 67% of consumers agree that the quality of a product photo influences their decision to purchase.(11)​ 22% of online product returns are due to customers complaining that the image online looked different from the product.​(12)

What’s worse than low-quality photos? Stock images; no one is fooled by the bright white smile or the generic laughing look, stock photos reduce relatability and deter sales. Customers are 35% more likely to convert when presented with an original photo.​(13)  Perfocal’s photographers are experts in their field, they can showcase your business at its best as well as showing your customers that you are professional and serious about what you do.

Fashion Lifestyle Image by Perfocal (for Anna Lou of London)

The Cover - To Conclude

And of course, the cover... You’ve plotted and planned, dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s but now you have to narrow everything down to just one image.

Lifestyle Image by Perfocal (for Chai Guys)

One visual to represent it all, one single picture to grasp people’s attention as well as communicating who you are and why you are the best to make sure you aren’t left on the shelf. Sounds daunting, but after a shoot with one of our Photographers you can be confident that any of the images you use will help your business find that happily ever after.


Footnotes:

  1. Forbes - 5 Essential Tips For Business Storytelling
  2. Pic-Up - The Importance of Good Product Photography
  3. Forbes -  How Much Data Do We Create Every Day?
  4. Lobster - Connect with your Customers and Increase your Customer Base
  5. Small & Mighty Co. - Why Small Business Owners Need Professional Headshots
  6. Smart Bird Social - 5 Proven Reasons to Use Visual Content in Social Media
  7. Inchoo -  The importance of product photography in eCommerce
  8. Pic-Up - The Importance of Good Product Photography
  9. Inchoo -  The importance of product photography in eCommerce
  10. Breakaway - Why lifestyle photography is so important for your brand
  11. Social Champ - How to Make Your Social Media Posts For Marketing Better with Images
  12. Weebly - How Important Is Product Photography?
  13. Kelly Nash Photography - Business Storytelling