Onsite photography shoots are common for many of our website and digital marketing clients. Why? Because photography is powerful. Authentic, professional photography is key to making an impact and connecting with your customers. No one understands this better than Doctor Flue.
Meet Doctor Flue, inc.
Doctor Flue, inc. is a regional service business that offers chimney cleaning, fireplace installs, and inspections.
Doctor Flue has a large service area, including much of SE Michigan and NW Ohio and even parts of IN and TN. He employs several certified chimney sweeps and owns multiple commercial work vans.
The mission of this mid-sized service company is to provide the highest level of service to its clients. The owner takes his work very seriously, and invests time and money into his brand.
Doctor Flue, inc. values quality, and this includes everything from the work vans to the website and marketing campaigns. Because of the emphasis on quality, customer service, and a strong brand, Doctor Flue, inc. is a perfect fit for Artonic.
We also value quality, customer service, and strong branding. Our values are completely in-sync with Doctor Flue, inc.; we provide the absolute highest quality support to our clients, and design, develop, maintain, and market gorgeous, branded custom websites.
Photography for a Service Business
We regularly update Doctor Flue, inc.’s website with fresh content and new images. This allows the service company to provide to its customers up-to-date information as well as a wonderful online experience.
Additionally, photos are needed for Doctor Flue, inc.’s active social media accounts, monthly blog posts, and other marketing campaigns.
Photo Shoot Prep
When we have a photo shoot for Doctor Flue, inc., our first step is to plan for it.
- Why are we taking photos?
- How will the photos be used?
- Where will the photos end up?
- What photos do we need?
We need to determine the “why” behind the shoot – why are we taking photos for this company? How will these photos be used; where will they end up?
For this assignment, we needed photography for the website. Doctor Flue, inc.’s website contains a lot of high-quality content, and we wanted to update the website images and add more.
Next, we define where on the website the photos will be placed. This helps us determine the types of shots we need.
This is very important for the users of the website.
Eye-tracking studies by Nielsen Norman Group show that the right types of images increase engagement and conversions. (For more information on the value of photography, please visit Artonic’s website photography page.) One example, the best images to place on Doctor Flue’s website are photos of service tech doing their jobs.
Once we have these items defined, we determine the locations for the shoot, the timeframe, and the budget.
We create a very specific photo list and note where each photo will be taken.
One aspect to consider when it comes to photo shoots is the clothing you’ll wear, especially shoes. If you’re a photographer, or photo assistant, you’ll want to wear flat shoes you can run around in. It’s also a good idea to wear athletic clothing that moves with your body.
Another element of our photo shoots is the equipment we use. Usually our photographer carries several lenses, lights, tripods, reflectors, and other gadgets like a gimbel or drone.
The amount of equipment and the need to “set up” and “break down” certain items (lights, tripods) requires an assistant or two to accompany the photographer.
For this photo shoot, we scheduled several sessions at client jobs and one session at Doctor Flue, inc.’s headquarters. This gave us the environments needed to capture the shots on our list.
We followed the brightly wrapped Flue van to several jobsites in Ann Arbor. This allowed us to photograph the technicians onsite, doing specific work, in an authentic setting.
Before the first photo shoot, we discussed the order of events with the owner and techs at Doctor Flue, inc. We determined several opportunities to capture images that we needed for the website. For example, we drove ahead of the Flue van, parked at the next scheduled stop, and set up our equipment before they arrived at their destination.
This allowed us to capture images of the eye-catching van as it drove through a residential Ann Arbor neighborhood.
(I took the photos of Ashlee, our photographer – who is pregnant, btw.) The day was sunny with a pale blue sky, which was an excellent backdrop to Doctor Flue, inc.’s stunning blue vans.
Next, we followed the techs as they removed equipment from the van, entered the house, and set up.
Ashlee uses multiple cameras and lenses; it’s my job to carry them for her and swap them out when she wants a different one.
I also help set up and break down lighting, if needed. The photography session in this client’s home didn’t need much additional lighting, because sun was pouring through the huge windows.
Ashlee caught on camera the techs’ routine, interaction with one another and the home owner, and the service performed by the techs while in the home.
This allowed Artonic the opportunity to shoot authentic photos of the techs doing the normal things they do. The reason this is vital to a website is for the users. Potential clients of Doctor Flue, inc.’s want to see the company’s technicians in action.
The benefit to Doctor Flue, inc. is the visual created in the minds of his website visitors. Not only do the images show real technicians with real clients, they are also visually appealing – they’re beautiful. Beautiful images get people’s attention and help make the brand story real.
While in Ann Arbor, we followed the techs to two additional jobs. This way we were able to shoot multiple services provided by the company, such as a gas stove service call, a chimney cleaning, and an installation.
At Doctor Flue, inc. Headquarters
We scheduled a photo shoot at the headquarters in Tecumseh, Michigan, so that we could photograph all the technicians and the owner.
Behind the Camera: Two Views
To capture the techs, owner, and a van, we staged a shot of the team in front of the wrapped work truck.
I took the following images of Artonic’s photographer as she directed people, got in (crazy) positions to capture the shots, and generally worked her butt off. Beneath the image I took is the image that Ashlee took. Compare the two; it’s not hard to tell which images were taken by a professional!
The need for team photos is something all businesses share, especially if you have an About Us page on your website. Taking the picture in front of a branded vehicle is a great way to promote your business and your team.
It’s also a good idea to take pictures of individual employees. You can use these images in so many ways: on your website, in your marketing campaigns, and in print media.
Some people dislike having their photo taken, but nothing is better than a real employee who is happy at his job.
It’s wise to take a lot of different images so that you have a nice variety to use. This is also why we put together a detailed photo list before we arrive onsite. That way, we remember to take the images we need.
Using the Photos
Once we’ve finished taking photos, our photographer edits them so our marketing team or client can use them.
Get the Right Photos
Want to get the right photos for your website or marketing campaigns? Here are a few of our tips:
- The best photos are of real people doing the things they do every day.
- Get your team on-board by involving them in the planning stage.
- Determine ahead of time the photos you need and how you’ll use them.
- Be creative; get a variety of shots in different settings or from unique angles.
Find out how the owner of Doctor Flue, inc. uses photography to invest in his business.
More Resources for Web Design Photography
Thinking about designing a website for your business? Consider adding an element of legitimacy to your design with custom photography.
This free ebook, 10 Stats About the Value of Photography & Videography in Web Design, is a must-read for any business exploring website design and thinking about photos. Inside, you’ll find solid stats that make the case for custom photos and videos on your website.
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