My father always says “a job worth doing is worth doing right”. This is some pretty good advice to heed, and when you think about it, I wonder how many people truly believe that their work reflects this work ethic.
Although I tend to agree with him, I’m also from the generation of instant gratification and clever corner cutting. I tend to raise a few eyebrows when I boldly proclaim that I don’t believe in working harder, only working better. But, well, it’s true. What is the point in “busy work” or filling your days with mindless tasks that achieve very little results, if you can find ways of working better, and more efficiently? I’ve even read somewhere that workaholics are in fact, lazy.
Although I don’t think I could every say this to the face of any workaholic I know, I do know that sometimes they are reluctant to take a look at how they got stuff done, and figure out a way to get it done better, and quicker.
Photography: Make Time For It
I started thinking about the blog that I run, and how I can get posts up quicker without compromising quality. I started thinking about what elements hold me back, and time and time again, it’s the photography.
Unless you run a blog that completely relies on photos (like if you’re a photographer), you might tend to lag behind when it comes to the photography…it takes time, it requires a new skill set, and wah! (Ok, so maybe the whining is all me.)
However, this is one area that you can not cut corners!
Photography is very important to any successful blog. Not only are photos highly descriptive (worth a thousand words, as they say, and takes less time to post one photo than to write that same amount…plus, nobody cares to read a long description of your favorite model of car model), they make your blog look much better, and they add searchability juice when you name them with keywords, add keyword-rich descriptions and alt tags (you do all of that, right?). They make people connect with your blog before you’ve even said “hello”.
Never, ever, skimp on the photos.
Working Better, Definitely Not Harder
To make your photographic efforts work for you, it’s best to start with a plan. Take a few hours to dedicate yourself to taking many, many photos, as well as checking out video tutorials on photoshop to learn some basics, in order to supply your blog with months worth of pictures.
Think about the kinds of things you tend to write about, and snap away. Whether it’s your kids, food, certain products, your craft, your art, your customers, whatever it is.
You might not get everything you’ll ever need in one session, but better to stock up now and worry about filling in gaps later. This way you’ll have enough photos on hand to add 2 or more photos per post.
Remember: Always supply your customers with more than one view of your products, including close-ups, multiple angles and try some “merchandised shot”, such as a person using or wearing the product. If you are promoting a service, shots of before and afters or other relevant scenarios helps your customer understand and appreciate your work.
Don’t forget, for something specific you can always peruse stock photography sites such as iStockphoto, Dreamstime or Photo Dune and get exactly what you need. If it’s a squirrel and a nut, don’t waste hours trying to get the perfect shot of it.
Keep your files on your computer well organized by subject for easy photo selection.
With a simple digital camera (and they go for about $100 for a decent, very basic one) you can start filling your blog with images that will start to really speak for you, your message, your brand, your blog.
Start by choosing to take many photos of your main subject. If you sell any kind of product, this should be your first area to target. Take many photos of your product in natural light. If this is impossible, try to either get a camera with a very good flash setting, or use strong spot-lights.
You can always adjust color and light by retouching using popular photo editing software like Adobe or Corel, as well as little imperfections so don’t worry too much if it’s not looking 100% perfect on your camera’s viewfinder. You’ll want to experiment with the low-light settings on your camera, and also try many angles (try to get on the same plane as what you are shooting, it tends to look better).
Yeah, it’s a few hours of work, but photography is always worth it.