February 28, 2011 | last updated March 25, 2012 8:15 am

Knowhow: Artful Images | Key ingredients to make sure your promotional photos shine

Scott Erb of Erb Photo in Worcester.

Your image matters and there are some strategic things you can do to make sure you succeed in conveying your brand through photographs. The key is knowing that using powerful images can easily convey what you are advertising, maximizing your profit. So when you are using photography to showcase your work, product, or service, here are some important considerations.

Great lighting. Light will enhance the subject and help showcase your message. If the image appears dark or poorly lit, your product or service will be easily overlooked and forgettable. Great lighting is achieved in many different ways, from natural light to professional studio lighting set ups.

Professional camera. Today's professional equipment has multifaceted functions that allow the user to manipulate the camera's aperture, depth of field and shutter speed to complement almost any subject. Learning how to use a camera's settings will help you in any picture-making situation.

Professional quality lenses. Lenses with technically crafted glass hold the key to sharpness. Quality lenses allow the subject to be captured clearly and accurately in your photographs. A crisp, well-focused image will make your product or service stand out.

Images should be visually structured. Layout or composition within the frame of the photo is extremely important. You do not want your images to come across as cluttered. Make sure that what you choose to photograph is laid out in such a way that it guides the viewer's eye to the important parts and feels organized and put together.

Create interest and awareness. What are you photographing and why? Does your choice of subject matter make sense for your customer? Be sure to pick something that leaves a lasting impression with the viewers in the demographic you want to reach. Photographing a subject that fits into your marketing and advertising strategy is essential.

Fresh, creative and intriguing. Stock photography is great for some things, but if it works for one company it will work for others. Set yourself apart from your competition and pick visuals that are uniquely yours. Create images using your own products or people and you will have something that no one else has. Choose to go beyond predictable by using unique perspectives that no one else has done before.

Make honest claims. Showing off your best work should be at the heart of your business. But be wary of too much photo editing.

Go ahead and remove a scratch on the surface of your product or a pimple on someone's forehead — these are very acceptable changes. But don't double the size of a portion of French fries for a photo and expect to have happy customers when they get less than what was shown in your images. Stay true to your brand, and let the photos speak for you.

The next time you are looking through your favorite magazine, take note of the images that appeal to you. Are they bright and colorful or dark and dramatic?

You'll immediately notice that there are no dark or fuzzy images, because they really don't add value and can hurt the professionalism of your brand.

Well-lit, sharp and organized images will always be at the foundation of a great commercial or advertising photograph.

Scott Erb is the owner of Erb Photo in Worcester.
He can be reached at


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