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Who would have guessed 25 years ago that anyone (even a 5-year-old!) could take — and instantly share — great photos using a device that’s about the size of a wallet?

The visual world changed dramatically in the 1990s with the invention of a chip making that possible. By 2003 more camera phones were sold worldwide than stand-alone digital cameras, and by 2006 half the world’s mobile phones had a built-in camera.

Today, many organizations are still struggling to react to the challenges this paradigm shift in photography have created.

Looking ahead to 2017 it is critical not only to acknowledge — but to embrace and thoughtfully plan for — photography as a necessary investment. How?

1. Understand Expectations. For marketers, what technology advances in photography have done is dramatically raise the stakes for creating compelling images that set us apart in the marketplace.

Think about Boomers and seniors in particular. Their exposure to creative, high-quality images used to be only from print — magazines, newspapers, collateral or direct mail. Now those same customers see creative, high-quality images everywhere they look, especially online. They know what quality looks like and, just like younger generations, that is what they expect.

Think for a second about the last time you were on Facebook. (…Was it 5 minutes ago?) There are amazing images everywhere, and some may even have been taken by your child or mother!

So the starting point for looking ahead at 2017 is recognizing that we need to set a new standard for the photos we use in all of the work we do: Quality is the new baseline.


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2. Get Real. Two words can guide us in creating and leveraging photography to help us build successful, stand-out campaigns to engage the 50+ market: emotion and authenticity.

We know that as people age they are increasingly receptive to potent messaging and images (emotion) and are more likely to connect with products and people they can relate to (authenticity). The question is: where do we find those images?

The stock image market can offer some solutions, particularly if you know where to look and how to maximize your investment, and of course custom photography can not only capture the “real story” of your product, service and people, but can also communicate a creative vision that is unique.

The key to setting yourself up for success in the new year is including photography as a necessary line item in your marketing plans: Budget for photography.


RELATED: For older adults, marketing photography has an even bigger impact on whether they will consider, absorb and act on your messaging. This is because as we age, our brain function changes and we shift decision-making to the right brain … the visual, the emotional side. The Creating Results’ ebook “Photo Finish” explains more and shares research into what type of imagery works best with Boomers and seniors. Click here to download.

 

Once you commit to investing in building your photography muscle in 2017, we can get down to the nitty-gritty of acquiring and using photography for greatest impact with Boomers and seniors.

Stay tuned for our next posts in this 3-part series offering practical tips and guidance for Planning for Photography in 2017:

Part II (January): Pros and Cons of Stock vs. Custom Photography

  • Images that resonate with the 50+ market
  • Advantages and disadvantages of stock photography
  • The power of custom photography
  • Budgetary implications

Part III (February): Tips and Techniques for Creating Effective Custom Photos

  • Amateur photography–can it work?
  • Planning for and making the most of a professional photoshoot
  • Budgeting and managing costs of a photoshoot

Until then, we can enjoy photos of kids unwrapping presents, families huddled around dinner tables and revelers ringing in the new year. It will be here before we know it!

About The Author

Mike Stakem

An award-winning designer with a BFA from George Mason University, Mike is Director of Creative Services, overseeing all creative talent, including internal and external designers, production artists, photographers, web designers and coders, and video producers.

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