I had a really hard time with losing Picnik, the photo editing application that comes with a Flickr membership. I had even paid for the premium service. I had a lot of fun with it. I made a little money, too.
Even more importantly, it allowed me to do a lot of Photoshop-like things without having to learn Photoshop. Which I am going to to do one of these days. Just not today. Okay, maybe not ever. Not when I have a a Photoshop genius as a business partner.
But, I am not going to ask David to Photoshop every image I feel like playing with.
That’s what was so great about Picnik. It was so easy a non-designer could use it. Until Google bought it. And killed it. They do that sometimes. Makes me crazy.
Flickr replaced Picnik with Aviary. Aviary doesn’t always load. That never happened with Picnik. So in my experience, 75% of the time I want to edit a photo in Flickr with Aviary, I can just forget it. And when it does load, it has no where as many cool features as Flickr once did. It’s just not worth it.
Google tries to appease us all about the murder of Picnik with a Google + application called — oh, I don’t care what it’s called. I tried it and it stinks. And I don’t want to upload client pictures I’m “polishing” to my Google + profile. Some photo edits I do are private!
So I was a sulky camper until I discovered — ta dah! — PicMonkey. PicMonkey is free to use. You don’t have to even register.
Let me say that again, because even I did not believe it first. You do not have to register to use this app. Unbelievable.
PicMonkey has a lot of the features Picnik had, including some I used to have to pay for. Like cosmetic features! I love adding highlights to hair, whitening teeth, adding a little lip tint or blush. And there some new features, like fun overlays, to explore. I loves it. I do!
Check out PicMonkey! It’s easy and fun to use, and is a great way to crop, embellish, and alter your favorite photographs.
- Picnik to shut down this week, replacements emerge (agbeat.com)
- Picnik’s over – photo-editing website closes, but plenty of others available (digitaltrends.com)
- Picnik is going away, but there’s always PicMonkey (examiner.com)
I am a big fan of Big Huge Labs, which offers a number of free ways to use your online photos and create photo products. These are creative and affordable tools for marketing your business or nonprofit organization.
In your downtime, you might try making a photo mosaic of your business. It’s free and easy to make, and you can use it in a variety of ways.
A mosaic is a quick way to capture and convey the essence of your business and what makes it unique, and it’s a great way to feel good about your accomplishments.
Collect Those Photos!
Here are some examples of images could you include in your mosaic (keep in mind: each image will be cropped square) —
- Company logo (use the square version you use for social media)
- Company logos of your client
- Images of staff (working, at events)
- Images of clients and customers
- Examples of your products, or service in action
You should regularly be snapping, collecting, and uploading these images online, by the way, so if you find you don’t have enough to make a mosaic, that is your photography project for the summer!
As you select images, they will be automatically placed into the mosaic, in the order you designate. It takes some tweaking, as you go, to make a visually pleasing image (see my example, below). You are basically creating a photographic quilt of your business. Or, alternatively, a photo strip.
Like all creative acts, making a photo mosaic is relaxing and revelatory. The very act of selecting and arranging these photos about your business is a good exercise in discovering and affirming what is important to you, what you value, and what you offer.
How To Market With Mosaics
Mosaics aren’t just for fun; they also have practical applications. Here are some ways you can use the mosaic —
- Use a long strip as a blog header or email newsletter header
- Insert a square mosaic into the cover sleeve of a customizable binder or appointment calendar
- Tack one up on your bulletin board (or employee bulletin board) to make you feel good every time you look at it
- Decorate your website or blog posts
- Use it as a background for an exhibit display or banner at a conference
- Frame it and display it on your reception desk, in your restaurant, etc.
- Print on letterhead, postcards, thank you cards, or notecards
- Jazz up your annual report cover
- Upload as a Twitter background
- Include it on your Facebook Page landing “welcome” page
- Make a bunch of strips and use them in brochures
All you need to get started is this Big Huge Labs link, a computer and color printer, paper, and some online photos. You can upload your photos from your computer, or directly from your Flickr account. If you don’t already have a Flickr account, now is a good time to start.
Ask us for help, and have fun with your photo mosaic! I would love to see your results 🙂
The least under-utilized marketing tool, but perhaps the most useful, are images. Do you know that when I survey the 15+ Facebook Pages I administer or help administer, images are what get the highest impressions?
Online images can help you achieve higher search engine results, and when placed on a social sharing site such as Flickr, can be linked with search engine-friendly text to help tell your company’s story.
And this year, Twitter enabled a feature that allows images to be viewed directly in the user’s Twitter dashboard, as long as you upload links from Flickr or another reputable photo sharing site. So any click-anxiety has been eradicated.
Yet, so many companies and organizations — and particularly communicators, agencies, and communications organizations! — simply do not upload sufficient numbers of photos to engage their followers and viewers.
At Fletcher Prince, we know how to get marketing results from online images. We obtained a number of media placements for three of our clients, simply by emailing targeted media with a few images. The photographs we took and uploaded to Facebook Pages in 2010 have been viewed by thousands of people.
My recommendations for 2011 are
- Audit your online image inventory. Google yourself, your company name, and your brand names, and check under “Images.” What do you see? What is missing?
- Ask Fletcher Prince to help you set up a branded Flickr page. We also offer affordable photography services.
- Carry a digital camera with you everywhere you go, but especially to each industry-related event.
- Get in the habit of regularly uploading images to your Facebook Page and Flickr account.
- Start using more images in your blog posts, Twitter updates, press releases, email communications, videos, and direct mail.
A Picture is Worth 1000 Words…
And an online image may be worth 100 more visitors to your web site! There are several other reasons why you may want to keep a camera handy.
Photos have tremendous communications power. People respond to photos. They increase the appeal and understanding of your written text. They allow you to show off your products and accomplishments. They also build trust in you as a professional and in your organization, by humanizing your company. You can use photos in so many ways — in brochures, newsletters, PowerPoint presentations, and as cutaways in videos.
Sharing photos you take is a great way to foster good will for you and your company. Clients, reporters, bloggers, and membership associations are often quite grateful to have photos they can use in their own articles and newsletters.
Online photos can be very good for your SEO. When you take time to title, describe, and tag photos, all those text terms are searchable by Google. They will show up in Google under “Images” in searches for your company (or for your name, for example). And when you link photos you place online to a landing page, these online images can drive traffic to your web site or blog.
You don’t have to be an expert photographer to benefit from using photos to market your company. The important thing is to take lots of photos and to have fun with it. Here are some tips for how you can make your photos work for you — and your company or nonprofit organization.
What You Need to Get Started
You’ll need three things to get started with using online photos to market your company or organization.
- A digital camera. I have a Canon Power Shot SD780. It is palm-size, easy to use, and takes great photographs and HD video.
- A computer with an Internet connection. Any updated computer will do; I love my Apple iMac.
- A photo sharing site, such as Flickr. Photo sharing sites such as Flickr and Picasa make it possible to edit photos, and share them on social networking sites and elsewhere online.
Some Ideas for Taking Photos for Your Business or Nonprofit Organization
I believe in taking lots of photos of your staff, clients, and products. Keep a camera with you, every day, at all times, so you never miss a photo opportunity. But plan in advance to take photographs, such as these
- Photos of yourself and staff: head shots, group shots, candid shots of them at work. Let everyone know that you may be taking photos at one staff meeting, for example.
- Don’t forget to take photos of interns, volunteers, students, and vendors.
- Take photos of your clients! And photos of your employees working with clients.
- Do you sponsor organizations? Does your company volunteer in the community? Take photos.
- Pose people outside the company, or enjoying the company’s products or services.
- Of course, you’ll want to take photos of your products or services, or in the case of a nonprofit, photos of people benefiting from the services.
- Exterior of your office or headquarters; company sign.
- Take photos of your marketing collateral, or upload jpgs, such as your brochures, promotional items, postcards, and other items. Take pictures of your exhibit displays or sponsor tables.
- Your logos, in a variety of sizes and iterations
- Special events, conventions, galas, luncheons, networking events, and award ceremonies. Is someone from your company making a presentation? Take photos.
Making the Photos Interesting to View
You will want to take some standard shots, such as head shots and group shots. But you can also branch out and take some interesting shots that are in line with your brand and corporate culture. Is your brand fun and informal? One of my favorite shots of my interns was with all five of them sitting together on a sofa. Maybe your company is proud of its environmental record. So, an outdoors shot would be appropriate.
Using Landmarks in Your Photos
If your company is like most small businesses or nonprofit organizations, you probably market within a fixed geographic area, and you may have a lot of pride about where you do business, as do your clients. Use that element in your marketing! Do you live in an area with some important landmarks? For example, if you live in the Washington, DC area, posing some of y
our executives or grouping your employees with the U.S. Capitol in the background and other DC landmarks would make a great photo. If you were in New York, you could pick other iconic settings. Try posing in front of historical landmarks or other places that your clients would recognize.
Some of the most interesting shots are those where the person is not looking at the camera. I took a photo of a group of young interns and staggered them apart, then had some of them look to the left and some of them to the right. The effect was fun and edgy, and they really liked it.
Different camera angles, such as profile and three quarter views, can be flattering and can lend all kinds of mystery to an image (what is the person looking at?). Try shooting down on your subject (you can even stand on a chair). It adds a different kind of energy.
Where to Post Your Photos Online
Using Flickr, you can download smaller versions of your photos to upload to various sites (be sure to rename the file name from a number to a literal term with keywords). Small and medium size photos work great for online purposes. Save the high-resolution versions for print work, such as brochures and post cards.
Here are some places where you can post your photos online. In many cases, you can adjust the settings so if the viewer clicks on the photo, it will go to your web site, blog, or other landing page you designate (e.g., http://www….)
- Flickr site. Be sure to tag and describe each photo.
- Blog. Each blog entry you write should have at least one image.
- Web site. Each page should have a photo, don’t you agree? From your online newsroom or About Us web page, be sure that you mention that you have high-resolution photos of staff and link to your Flickr set online.
- On your Facebook Page.
- On your Google Profile.
- On your Yelp Business Profile.
- On your Google Maps account.
- And so many more…
Here’s a tip for online photos you put on your web site: if the person in the photo is looking in one direction (e.g., not directly at the camera), position the photo (flip it, if you have to) so that person appears to be looking at the text or headline (or call to action) you want the viewer to read. People naturally follow the gaze of other people, even in photos, so you can use this human tendency to increase communication of your message. And always try to caption your photos, when you can.
Fletcher Prince Can Help You with Your “Photo Marketing”
Need some help creating your Flickr account? I can help you create a profile, and upload, categorize, describe and tag photos for optimal search engine results. Please contact me if I can assist you.
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If you found this article helpful, I would LOVE it if you would leave a comment for me! Thanks, and happy photographing!