A Few vs The Many
The longer I'm in this photography career, the more I push to reach higher quality with my work. I guess I've always strived for a higher quality, not perfection mind you because there is no such thing, but just a higher quality look and feel to my photography above what I had been doing or seeing around me. However, the more that social media trends tend to drive businesses and the need for more frequent assets is put upon businesses, the more it seems like people are looking for bulk amounts of photos and video, no matter the quality. So, it got me thinking, are trends that are moving more towards bulk work that suffers from a lack of quality to cut costs on the time it takes to create great work worth it, or are there some places out there still concerned with creating a smaller quantity of higher quality work?
With the influx of cell phone cameras and their quality constantly getting better, are the photos they create really good enough? Keeping in mind, the majority of people using them to create content are not professionals in photography or videography. These tiny cameras may produce something that is pretty good, but you have to wonder if pretty good is good enough? A cell phone camera can do some fun tricks to create decent photos, but those photos still can't even come close to my professional equipment. But is it bad? By all means, no, it's decent. But are the photos and video being created by cell phones professional and in line for businesses? I guess that depends on the business.
Think of the content you consume, for actual entertainment purposes. Do you consume more social media, YouTube videos or professional TV and Movies? Yes, social media and YouTube creators are constantly posting new content, lots of it, so there is more to consume, more frequently. About 700,000 hours of more frequent content are uploaded to YouTube every day. Most creators are posting several times a week. But how good is their quality? Is it truly entertaining for the most part? More entertaining than something on Netflix or Hulu? When you sit down to watch TV, do you turn on YouTube or YouTubeTV first? This is the same thing with a lot of marketing content these days. tons of people posting content that might be ok, but the really professional work is what drives larger companies and brands. Companies like Apple, Ford, Pepsi, Peloton, Nike, Sephora and so many other brands wouldn't dare think of posting content that isn't on brand, styled and curated. And why should any smaller business, no matter the size, consider posting anything less either? And not just lesser quality due to equipment. All businesses start out with a budget that isn't great. So, don't get me wrong, I understand only so much can be put into marketing for a small business. But, as a small business, wouldn't you want to put your best foot forward. Posting content that makes you appear even worse than what your quality might be does NOT help your cause.
Additionally, hiring someone who may have professional equipment and rushing them through a photoshoot because you think you need a lot of assets to post is just as detrimental as using lesser quality equipment or people who aren't photo or vide professionals. Could I take images and video with my cell phone that might be useable by some of my clients? Yes. But that's because I'm a professional photographer/videographer with 22 years of experience. I know how to make something professional no matter the camera. It's why I don't play the camera name game when people ask me what camera they should buy. I shoot canon because that's what I've been working with since I was in high school. But plenty of other manufacturers make great cameras as well.
Sometimes spending a little bit more on a professional will give you better quality in the long run and you won't need as many assets because you'll be busy with the new clients you have based on how great your business now looks. Businesses grow based on perception. We all put a perception on a business based on their visual online presence. So, if your marketing assets don't match with your actual business due to a lack of professionalism, people will see that and make a perception of your business that might not be accurate.
So, how can you flip the switch in your own mind and change the look and feel of your business to gain a new set of patrons? Is it by posting constantly no matter the quality of the visuals? Or, is it by upgrading your visuals and the perception people have when they see your website and social media posts?