by David Simm Published 01/08/2002
As professional photographers we are all in the visual communications industry and those of us who make and sell photo-leaflets should be well aware of that. But how many of us actually apply the same concepts of visual communications to our own marketing?
Twenty years ago I wrote a piece about the value of photo business cards. In those far off days the best we could do, and still keep the cost reasonable, was white lettering on a low key background, but that was alright because no one else was doing any better.
However, now that we are well and truly in the age of digital imaging, I am dumbfounded and often amused by professional photographer's business cards. I am constantly amazed at the sights I see for studio business cards. Whatever else they communicate, they say nothing of their skills, or even the business they are in. There are some photographers who must spend a fortune on corporate logos and one-of-a-kind designs, yet others who could only have nipped round to their local "One Minute" print shop and probably had the design made on an old daisy wheel typewriter.
Every one of us has a computer these days and most of us have some sort of image manipulation program, even if is only an LE version of Photoshop or PhotoDeluxe. Scanners cost so little these days that even those who are not yet fully fledged digital imagers have no excuse for not showing off their best work to prospects in the most cost effective way imaginable.
How can we possibly expect others to use our images and services to promote and sell their products, when we don't have the confidence to use them ourselves. We are showing ourselves off in the worst possible light, using cheap low-grade business cards. Just think, if a picture is worth a thousand words, just how much talking it can do for your business if you use it to create your first impression.
I first started lettering on photographs way back in the midsixties, using the most primitive methods you could imagine. After Letrasetting the sales message onto paper I would photograph the art work with lithographic film, I would then tape the lith positive onto my masking frame and feed the printing paper, sheet by sheet, under it to make the exposures. For black lettering I use a lith negative and had to feed the paper through twice, once for the words and the second time for the picture. That was a positive pain in the posterior, but I struggled on and was probably responsible for the earliest photo leaflets ever. My main markets in those days were entertainers like Radio Caroline's Caroline Show Band, Kenny Ball and others.
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