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There’s a famous saying that goes something like this: “You’ve got to spend money to make money.” We sometimes forget this simple maxim in the Information Age, where there is almost always a more affordable option. We can shop online for cheaper toys, cheaper jewelry, cheaper almost anything. Of course, cheaper does not always mean better. Business owners can save big bucks on the internet because it offers a wealth of free resources, if they are willing to put in the time. But what they may not realize is that some of these resources may actually undermine their efforts. What do we mean?
The goal for any company that advertises online is to increase traffic to their website. The most effective way to accomplish this is either to purchases banner ads directly from search engine or to utilize a series of strategies and techniques that are collectively known as search engine optimization (SEO). Because it is less expensive, SEO is the more popular option for most small business owners in America.
Is it really worth a thousand words?
At this point, most website owners are aware of the fact that search engines crave new textual content, which is why blogs have become an integral part of online advertising. Simply adding a blog and posting new, original entries every now and then should boost your search engine ranking. But what most website owners do not know is that the same holds true for original pictures.
The popularity of image-based search engines, such as Google Image, has been on the rise. More pictures and more videos means that the web will inevitable become a more visual place in the very near future. Using stock photos for familiar products is fine, but most online shoppers really do prefer original pictures. Why is this?
The eBay effect
Easily the most popular auction site on the internet, eBay has changed the way people buy and sell just about everything. When listing items, sellers are given the option of choosing a stock photo of the item they intend to put up for auction or adding an original photograph. According to just about every consumer survey the website has conducted, buyers prefer original pictures to stock ones. There is a very simple explanation for this—buyers want to see what something really looks like be for they purchase it. The same is true of visitors to any website.
So, how can you add unique photos without breaking the proverbial bank, i.e., having to hire a professional photographer? It isn’t as challenging as you may think. Of course, good quality photos don’t take themselves. You must follow at least a few simple guidelines.
1. Photography is all about lighting
Did you know that the literal translation of the word “photography” is “light writing?” In other words, any shutterbug worth her salt must be a master of lighting. Her “eye” must help her frame the perfect picture based almost entirely on lighting, angle, and color. Fortunately, this skill can be complemented by modern technology. There are countless digital cameras that make it easier for amateur photographers to center and snap the perfect shot. With that said, angle has more influence on lighting than anything else. Simply shifting it ever so slightly can give you and your eventual viewer an entirely new perspective.
2. Buy a good camera
This is where the whole “it takes money to make money” adage rears its ugly head. Yes, you will need a good camera in order to take good pictures. Like anything else, a professional must have professional equipment. The good news is that digital cameras are cheaper than ever and can be purchased at nearly any electronics store. Trust us, they are worth the investment!
3. Have a steady hand
This tip can’t be taught. No matter how advanced your camera may be, an image will inevitably be blurry if your hand shakes when you take a photo. As a result, professional photographers must have surgeon’s hands that do not vibrate. The skill can be practiced, but is most likely inborn, which may be why there are so few topflight photographers.
4. Use a tripod
If you find that you do not possess a steady hand, don’t be ashamed to use a tripod for stability. Even professional photographers use them on major photo shoots and nobody complains. They are now considered tools of the trade.
5. Snap a lot of shots
If you’re an amateur or a shutterbug, which must bloggers are, it’s always advisable to take a lot of pictures, far more than you need. So, for each image that you hope to add to your blog, take at least four or five. Don’t worry…because they’re digital, they aren’t very expensive, and they may help you improve traffic to your website…so they’re often a good investment.