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Utilizing digital images

Markets | December 1, 2007 | By:

Let high-quality photos make the sale for you.

High-quality, attractive photos of your past projects are essential for showing off what your company is capable of. Photos should play a central role in promotional materials and ads, and there should be photos of projects or products on your Web site. In addition, you might like to create a photo book for clients or send your photos to the media. Regardless of how you use your photos, they are a key component of how a potential customer is able to judge your work; a lack of good photos can send the wrong message to today’s choosy clients.

Going digital

Digital cameras are more versatile for work purposes than film cameras. You can easily delete shots that didn’t turn out well; you won’t run out of film; and you don’t have to scan photos or get film developed, although you can have prints made if you choose.

The capabilities of your digital camera make a huge difference to the quality of the photo you will be able to take. Quality is generally measured by resolution. Resolution refers to how many pixels or dots per inch (ppi or dpi) a digital photo contains—in other words, how much detail the image is able to show. Pixels and dots per inch are essentially the same measurement, with the term “dpi” more common in the print world and “ppi” used more for Web publishing.

A high-resolution photograph has 300 dots or more per inch and can be used for printed pieces. If the dpi is lower than 300, the image begins to look grainy and blurred when sized appropriately for print reproduction. It may look sharp on your screen, but print standards mean the image will need to have at least 300 dpi when it is approximately 4 by 5 inches.

In order to take good, high-resolution images, your digital camera should have at least 4.0 megapixels, but 6.0 and higher will produce even better photos. The images’ file sizes should be at least 2MB or higher; the quality generally corresponds to the larger file size. For example, a 2MB photo could be of borderline quality for print reproduction, but a 12MB photo will most certainly be large enough. Take photos of your work in the highest resolution, and thus the largest file size, that your digital camera allows.

Web savvy

Today, your company’s online image or presence is crucial for bringing in prospective customers. Photos used for a Web site need to be only 72 dpi. If you plan to use photos on your Web site, take them first at a high resolution, and then use photo-editing software to save a version with reduced size and resolution for your Web purposes. Photo-editing suites will also let you crop and color-correct the image. There are several software packages available for purchase at a wide range of price points, and some operating systems come bundled with a basic photo-editing application.

When building your Web site, use high-quality images that demonstrate the range of services and products you can provide. Create several photo galleries with brief captions that visitors can view as a slide show. You can use galleries to highlight specialty products in your inventory, or you can showcase recent projects you’ve worked on. These examples can help customers generate ideas and decide what to order, while promoting your company’s products and services.

Close the deal

At Skyway Events & Services, Minneapolis, Minn., photos are essential. They help show the client what the company is capable of and can head off any potential concerns, says account executive Dawn Westermann. “To show a prospective wedding client the excellent, clean condition of the tent they’d have, I sent photos of the tent set up at a wedding earlier this year,” Westermann says. “Then they didn’t have to wonder if it was like another tent they rented in the past—they’d see my photos and know.”

Jessica Sellers is a marketing specialist at IFAI.

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