How often should you… update your photography?

Posted by Sara Hawthorn

In our new ‘how often should you’ blog series we’ll be looking at different elements of b2b marketing communications and explaining how, why and when you should revisit, update, post, publish and throw out. The big question we’re answering this week is how often should you update your photography?


We’ve worked with small teams of 3 and 4 to teams of 100+ so trust us when we say that photography is consistently and unfailingly one of our biggest hurdles when it comes to marcomms collateral. From dealing with image libraries that are decades old, to receiving blurry, dark or eye-wateringly fluorescent (hi-vis PPE + most flashes = bad) pictures of projects we have seen it all. But beyond knowing that you probably should invest in photography, no-one really talks about how often a business should update its image library and when to recognise that it might be time to call in the professionals.

 

People come and go but it’s on the internet forever

One of our longest standing clients has an extensive image library thanks to taking our advice on amassing both individual, team and project photos but since they were taken there has been a number of staff changes, making a considerable percentage of the current images unusable. It also means that the new team members are left out or suffice with quick smartphone snaps – this can have an impact on the overall presentation of your brand.

The question over having team photos on your website is a constant in most businesses, on the one hand, it’s good to see the people in the company, putting faces and names to an otherwise faceless entity, on the other, depending on your staff turnover rates, it may require a lot of updating. A good compromise is to feature the senior team – often less likely to move around, showing your directors or senior managers can instill reassurance, authority and fill that odd space between cold and corporate and an over-friendly matey business.

 

The cost of photography / use of all images x digital media posting = ?

Choosing to update your image libraries cannot be a solely financial decision. Asking ‘is it worth it’ is a redundant question. It is. Journalists will tell you this, your PR agencies will tell you this, your customers, if you ask them, will probably tell you this.

But you shouldn’t need to ask anyone to realise how central imagery has become to our daily lives. Most businesses will have at least one social channel, posting, let’s say, once a day. Excluding the week of Christmas that’s 360 days of posts, assuming each post has an image we need an image library to cover this.

We’ll split that again as maybe not all of those posts will be directly related to the business in question, now we’re at 180. We can perhaps get away with reusing images in that year, like headshots, people tend to use the same one, so let’s take another 10 off that for images of key spokespeople.

That leaves us with 170 images to support one, just one, post per day on one social channel. We could be even more generous and say we’ll make 50 of those graphics created on software like Canva or by a designer.

We’re down to 120. Now what? Maybe some free stock images – but can’t you just hear the collective groan about the sameness of seeing the same images used by lots of people? We’ll allow 20 of those.

It’s now at a clean 100. For one channel, posting once a day we need 100 usable images. The only way to do that is by investing in an image library produced by a professional photographer.

Value of photography in marketing Vector Phtotography

The answer to how often should you update your photography library is…?

Ok, the math above is a little shonky but it’s based on a year’s worth of posts which means, at a minimum, you should be updating your image bank at least once a year with new projects, refreshed headshots, product photography and generalist shots that could have multiple uses.

If I’m being really honest, my wish is that businesses revisited their image libraries once every 6 months, but that rarely happens and once a year is more than achievable. Include it as a defined part of your marketing budget and set aside anywhere between £350-£1000 for it. The costs for photography depends on several factors; geographical location, number of edited photos supplied, travel to different locations, set up, hire of any specialist equipment or studio hire or need for an assistant.

 

Before you make that photography booking check this list

It’s important to be clear on what you want, what you need any why before any photography shoot. Here are our top 5 tips to use as a checklist to get the most from every shoot.

1.Write a brief for you and the photographer

Think about the images you need – key spokespeople, products from different angles, projects that showcase your range of services and abilities.

2.Communicate the why and what to your team

Few people like having their photo taken, we know. Prior the photographer turning up make sure everyone knows why it’s happening and what they need to do – uniforms, clean branded shirts or clothing, how long it’ll take. Make your team part of the process.

3.Think about where the images will be used

Will they predominantly be used on social media? If so, ask whether you can have them pre-cropped (we know of photographers who offer this) to save editing time and make sure they fit without awkward cropping or losing image quality. If they’re for print make sure you have hi-res files (min 300 dpi) as you can’t use online quality for most print needs.

4.Have a shot list with you during the actual day/s

Check the shots off as you go, if you’re trying to do a lot, a list is a must to ensure nothing gets forgotten and everyone stays on track.

5.Designate someone as the main contact and manager

Make sure there’s one point of contact and someone managing the process, it may be your appointed account manager at a partner PR agency or someone in your in-house marketing team, but make sure the day is project managed; from making sure staff turn up where they’re supposed to at the time they’re supposed to be there, to getting products sorted and travel and access to locations cleared.

 

We’ve also made this list into a handy download so you can keep it with you when you’re planning your next photography shoot. And if you’re looking for more help than what’s in this blog post, here’s the obligatory ‘end with a pitch’ statement: call us or use the form. And if you want to check out Vector Photography you can find them here.