Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The importance of good photographs to market your balloon business.

Having great photos in our portfolios, websites, and our social media business pages can truly make a difference when it comes to promoting our company and more importantly the services that we offer!

Photo courtesy of Pioneer Europe Ltd.

Our portfolio makes up a big part of our company image, the type of balloon business that we are, and the type of balloon work we undertake. Let's be honest, when someone is searching the internet for a company to do a job for them, they only have the photographs on a website to grab their attention. Those photographs could ultimately lead to a fantastic ballooning opportunity!

Many years ago when I first started out, I made the huge mistake of filling my portfolio with as many photographs as I could, mostly showing the same decor but in different locations and in different colours! In those days (I am showing my age now), we did not have digital cameras or home computers and the quality of my photographs were very poor. 

Today, we have no excuse! With a little time and effort, and of course a camera, we can take good quality photographs!

Camera Types

The two most popular kinds of cameras are compact (also known as point-and-shoot) and digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras. Both can produce high quality results, but there are some basic differences that you'll want to note before choosing which one to buy.

Is the size and weight of the camera a big issue?
Due to their lens mounts and internal mirrors, DSLRs are simply bigger and heavier than most compact cameras. If you want a camera you can slip in a pocket or a small bag, then a compact is the best choice. 

Do you like composing photos using the colour screen?
Composing photos with a nice big colour screen is one of the joys of digital photography, but sadly it’s something which traditional DSLRs find tricky; until recently it wasn't even possible at all. 

How important is taking photos in low light?
DSLRs have physically much larger sensors than most compacts, which allow them to be more sensitive to light. This in turn means much better picture quality at higher sensitivities (the bigger ISO numbers) whether you’re shooting under low light conditions or with the fastest shutter speeds to freeze action. This is a key advantage of DSLRs.

One really great thing about compact cameras is that they come with the greatest range of pre-programmed modes for taking photos of portraits, nighttime, action, kids, etc. Another advantage of the compact camera is the price tag. For a fairly small investment, you can purchase a high-quality camera that will stack your portfolio with amazing photos... assuming you use it correctly.

A DSLR camera comes at a much greater price. But if you are looking for more setting options to fine tune your portfolio work, this could be your investment in future business.

Smartphones and Tablets
Having a camera included on your high-tech gadgets (such as Smartphones and tablets) is all the rage these days. They just make is so convenient to be able to snap photos without the hassle of carrying around an additional gadget. This is great for a day at the zoo with your family or a night out with your friends, but when your photo represents the work that you do and can make or break whether or not you get the job, sometimes it's worth a little extra hassle.

More tips for Superior Photos
In addition to having a quality camera, there are other things you can do to showcase your balloon work at its best:
  • Keep the background clear of clutter that distracts from your designs (if possible). When taking a photo of a design in your store or studio, use a solid-colour wall. Pieter van Engen, CBA recommends using an IKEA Roller Blind. It works perfectly as photo backdrop! They come in a range of colours including white and black. They can be mounted to the wall and pulled down when required! And best of all, they are inexpensive and work really well!
  • Enhance your photos with software that allows you to make basic edits such as cropping, adjusting white balance, or colour correcting. Check out my blog Making your photographs look professional with a little help from image editing. This blog will teach you how to work with some great tools that will help you to make your photographs look very professional.
  • Use a tripod to take clearer, sharper photos - especially those of close-up details or taken in low-light conditions. Tripods for digital cameras can be small lightweight, and inexpensive.
  • Lighting is such an important factor. Make sure the room is well-lit. Use bright lights and soft boxes. Soft boxes are a common piece of equipment used by photographers to create even, diffused lighting that reduces shadows and minimises overexposure of white items. 
Technical information and extracts for this blog have been sourced from the below mentioned Balloon Images magazines & from Camera Labs.

For more detailed photographic articles check out; 

APR/MAY/JUN 2007 Balloon Images - Tips for Taking Winning Photos by Cam Woody, CBA.
OCT/NOV/DEC 2012 Balloon Images - Put Your Best Flash Forward.
APR/MAY/JUN 2015 Balloon Images - Focus on photos that sell. 

Happy Ballooning!



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