OK, by a show of hands, who out there owns a business that sells actual physical products or offers a service where it would be helpful to show prospective customers before and after pictures? That question should encompass a large portion of business owners. Think back to your last online purchase, whether it was eBay, Amazon or another online retailer. If you were looking at two identical products-same price, same features, same everything-but only one of the products was accompanied by a photo to show you what the product looked like, which one would you buy?
The answer should be pretty obvious. Actually seeing the product we’re going to spend our hard-earned money on gives us a little more peace about making the purchase. If there is a way to photograph what you’re selling, you need to be doing so. As the world moves more and more online, your customers need to be able to see what you’re selling. If you’re too embarrassed to show them what you’re selling, you shouldn’t be selling it! I would even go so far as to say if you’re not showing what you’re selling, your prospective customers will think you’re hiding something. That’s what I immediately think when I see an item for sale on ebay or Craigslist that doesn’t have a photo. Needless to say, I don’t spend money on products I can’t see.
So, the next question is, do you have a camera? But not just any camera.
The disposable camera that you never got developed after your cousin’s wedding is not going to do it. The Polaroid in the closet with the film you have to wave about wildly in the air to get the picture to appear is certainly not going to do it. Even that top of the line $1,200 35mm film camera you bought a while back is not good enough. What you need is a digital point and shoot camera that will cost you less than $200.
I’ll confess that I’m not photography expert, but I know some of you will be. What I do know is that if you’re main purpose is to take photos and post them to a Web site, you simply do not need a digital camera with 10+ MP (mega pixels). Anything over 4 or 5 will do. You’ll only need the higher MP if you’re going to be blowing up photos to print out. Look for things like a good optical zoom and something you can easily connect to your computer to transfer the photos quickly and easily. I would recommend something with a dock that stays connected to your computer and all you have to do is slip the camera into the dock to transfer photos. You’ll probably have to pay extra for the dock, but it’s worth it!
Amazon.com has loads of cameras you can buy for less than $200 that have all the features you need for your business and more. Take the time to read the customer reviews-they can tell you a lot about what actual users think about the camera. Do a little Web research for different reviews-it will be time well spent.