When the Fiberworld March Madness Game began we were asked to send four photographs of product on our website. We knew that the photos would be used, but didn't really get direction on how, probably because the game was still being thought through. We're into the second bracket (down to 32 from 60ish) and I'll bet that some folks are wanting to change their photos about now...it's extremely competitive this round.
Last week a couple of absolutely great fiber folks did not move forward. I was saddened by the departures. The differences between moving forward and not was very small.
If you've read many of my BLOG posts and rambling crud on Facebook you know I analyze just about everything. It should therefore come as no surprise that I needed to develop thoughts about why some moved forward and some did not.
Normally this thinking would end up in the mental "round file"...go nowhere except in my dust bin of a cranial cavity. But with the reveal of the second round photos, there may actually be something here to think about.
Why did some win? Luck did play some role perhaps, but staging the photos was a key element. Perhaps the key element in "winning" verses not. Well duh. It's a blind pick your favorite based on two photos side by side contest. I could have/should have thought of the photo quality aspect a few weeks ago...some are probably thinking that same thing about now.
Some have obviously done a great job with their photos and some have (and had) a ways to go. The clarity of captures was suspect at times...the lighting was weak here and there and some product was shown too far away to have an impact...and little details like twisting the skeins neatly and tucking in loose bits...it could be the little things...and of course color choices...some colors really pop through a lens and some...well...don't.
What this revealed to me was the absolute importance of photos in our new paradigm. The product needs to speak to the viewer on it's own. The whole story...all of the qualities...all of the "squishy" needs to be felt through that photo. End of story.
My "gift of gab" is not going to help folks understand my work...they have a photo or two. Those photos need to be a conversation for me.
Now how that story is told could be in a number of ways as evidenced by the winning choices from Week One...but the winners all had good photos. Many of the not winners had photos which did not help their cause.
Some of this lack of attention to the details of the photos could go back to the days when the website backed up the face to face events...website were an addition to a brick and mortar...folks would squish fiber on the weekend and find it on line later in the week. But now, the customer might see and feel the product for the first time when they open the box in their home. Many times the photo needs to take the lead in the sale process.
You might be sitting and thinking, "Jim, it's just a silly fun contest." Yes, it is. But these are photos from the websites of the participants...their sales tools, their story, it's the whole conversation. Tool that did not work for some.
The post is not a lecture for me as much as a reminder for myself. I can see where I need to step up my game in the photo department.