How manufacturers can make content marketing picture perfect

Rob Felber’s article in the Crain’s Cleveland Business Akron Edition

Photos are a critical element in content marketing for manufacturers. Whether your story is strictly online, being used for a media article or your own collateral, a picture does tell a thousand words.

But what if the words are wrong? The following are key factors to consider when staging, using or choosing just the right photo.

The first and often most important factor in photo use is resolution. Most print publications require at least a minimum of 300 dpi. Not sure how to get the highest resolution on your digital camera? Simply set your camera to capture the highest resolution, or put it on a “raw” setting. This will ensure you have the depth, pixels and, ultimately, the resolution publications require. Just because it looks good on a website or on Facebook does not mean the photo file is large enough to be used in print or even with your trade show booth display

buckeye man drilling

Client Buckeye Fasteners’ photo showcases process of making their parts.

When taking a photo, it is important to feature what you want to show, but also what you do not want to show. Often, we might see great photos of workers getting the job done. What is often overlooked is safety.

Are the workers on a roof tied off properly and wearing Occupational Safety and Health Administration and industry-standard safety equipment? Your photo runs the risk of being rejected if your facility and workers are not up to industry standards. Even worse, if the photo gets published and others notice your workers, with logo-emblazoned helmets, prominently displaying an obvious safety violation, you could greatly tarnish your brand and reputation.

During the photo-selection process, ask yourself, “Are we giving too much away?” Look carefully at not only the subject of your photo, but the background. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Is there proprietary equipment in the background?
  • Are secret processes able to be seen in photo?
  • Is the environment messy?
  • Are there people in the scene who are distracting?
  • Are customers featured, and do you have their permission? Be cautious about tipping off your competition.


    Buckeye Fasteners photo showcases American-made values and unique boot hanging ceremony for retiring employee-owners.

When pre-planning your photo shoot (please tell us you just didn’t charge your iPhone and wing it), make sure to review your company’s branding and messaging guidelines. Try to capture photos that support your brand.

Are you proud to be union and American-made? Look for opportunities to take photos that support that image. Do you profess to have associates who roll up their sleeves and get the job done? Choose a scene and personnel that show just that.

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to capture and use the perfect photo.

Read the full article here.

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2 replies
  1. Tom Szabo
    Tom Szabo says:

    Your comments are spot on as they regard to marketing. However, most business owners/marketing managers make the mistake os assigning the photography to someone on their staff who typically knows very little about photography. Some suggestions:

    1 – Stay away from “automatic” settings. Shoot in manual mode where you have more control over the exposure.

    2 – Focus on the subject. Best way to have your subject in focus is to make sure the eyes are in focus. What good is a blurry face. If the subject is a part of a machine or a finished product, make sure the entire item is in focus. That means setting the exposure to get m maximum depth of field.

    3 – If you are using a flash, make sure the flash setting is correct to yield the best exposure and to compliment the existing/ambient light

    4 – Use a tripod. This will help minimize camera shake. It also allows the photographer to make slight adjustment in the scene/subject without loosing camera position.

    5 – Talk to the photographer about the images you want and how they plan to approach the shoot considering lighting, production schedules and the items you mentioned above.

    Most importantly, don’t expect that because your secretary has a big camera with a big lens that they are qualified to perform the job. Commercial photography is an art in itself. Don’t waste your marketing dollars and staff time, hire a professional photographer.

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