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Taking Photos that Attract New Customers

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Taking Photos that Attract New Customers

When it comes to attracting new customers, having appealing, high-quality photos is crucial. How your Booksy page looks can be a huge factor in whether a potential client chooses to book your services or keeps scrolling to the next option.  In the beauty and wellness industry, photos are especially important, as they give customers a sense of how their hair or nails might look, what to expect from a particular treatment, or whether the spa they’ll be visiting seems appealing and relaxing.

A high-quality photo that showcases your work can be great for attracting new customers. Photo courtesy of Rolando Aqui in Los Angeles

Every photo on your page communicates something important about your business, so it’s worthwhile to pause and evaluate what image you’re projecting right now. If it feels like your photos could use an upgrade, read on for some tips on how to take beautiful pictures that are worthy of your work.

Get the Right Equipment

Notice this doesn’t say get expensive equipment. The idea is that you need the equipment necessary to complement your work. So many smartphones these days have exceptional cameras on them. If you don’t have a phone that takes great photos, ask around and see if any of your friends have cameras that can provide a high-quality shot.

The photo on the left is clearer and more vivid, unlike the blurry background and hazy look of the one on the right. The photo on the left was taken on a better camera.

You can also take your pictures to a new level simply by adding a cheap (or free) camera app to your phone. Great features to look for are a “macro-lens” zoom, manual adjustment of focus, composition, lighting and exposure options, and features that either allow for easy photo editing or easily integrate with other programs. Another piece of equipment to consider is a tripod. This one-time investment will greatly improve the sharpness of your shots and save you a lot of time and energy in the long run.

Look how clear the hands in the photo look. You can see the designs on each of the nails and appreciate the intricate artwork. The was clearly taken with a high-quality camera. Photo courtesy of Spifster Nails in Chicago

Lighting

Proper lighting is essential. The subject of your photo should be well lit from either natural or professional lighting. It’s a good idea to avoid flash photography unless you have experience taking photos, as it tends to wash out your subjects. Make sure the light is directed toward your subject and never coming from behind them. When the subject is backlit, the main focus of your picture will be in shadow.

Look how bright the photo on the left is. Even though it was taken in a bright room, the colors don\'t look washed out, and the gold is vivid and eye-catching. The lighting in this photo is better than in the photo on the right.

If you don’t have good source of natural light where you work, try changing up the lighting in your work space. This will have the added benefit of improving how a client’s results look in the mirror. To improve a room’s lighting, try to incorporate lamps to provide lower-level light, which is softer on features. Also look for bulbs with warmer undertones, which are universally flattering.

It\'s important to make sure that the light is directed on the subject of your photo and never coming from behind them. Look how the lighting in this photo highlights the woman\'s features and places the focus of the picture squarely on her, rather than anyone in the background. Photo courtesy of Kimble Hair Studio in Hollywood

Composition

When taking a photo, you need to consider how the whole shot looks, not just the subject. A common problem for many less-experienced photographers is taking photos with too much going on in the background of the frame. Not only does this make for a less-appealing photo, but it also takes the focus away from the brilliant work you’ve done. Worst case scenario, it draws attention to a negative part of your business, like a messy work station.

The photo on the bottom is taken from too far away. It\'s hard to see the object clearly, and it takes emphasis away from the subject of the photo. The picture on the top is balanced, with minimal distractions in the background, making for better composition.

Here are a few techniques for improving composition:

  • Designate a space as a backdrop for all of your results photos. This place should be well-lit with a simple but attractive wall. This has the added benefit of making all your results shots look uniform, which adds to your sense of professionalism. Just make sure there aren’t any mirrors in your backdrop.
  •  Zoom in close. No one needs to see your floor, your neighbor’s chair, or the ceiling. Have the results take up the majority of the frame without cropping out any of the subject itself. A good macro lens feature will prevent this from looking out of focus.
  • Use aperture! This is a feature that lets you focus on one subject and leave everything else in your frame out of focus. Most cameras or photography apps have this, so make sure to play with your camera and figure out how it works, or have a friend show you.
  • Move your stuff out of the way. This is the simplest, low-tech solution to an over-crowded frame. Sweep the floor and push chairs and products out of the way before you start snapping photos.

There\'s so much working in this photo from a composition standpoint. The simple background curtain matches the vertical stripes on the man\'s shirt. The two men in the photo have matching dye jobs, which balance out the frame. The lack of junk or distractions in the background keeps the focus on their hair. Even the solid, simple clothes of the man on the right balance out the striped shirt on the left. Photo courtesy ByrdMena in Plainville, CT

Angle

Quick tip! If you’re taking a picture of a person, get lower. Have the subject stand up straight, then bend to take the picture from chest height. This is a common trick used by wedding photographers to make the photo more attractive. If the person is sitting, another dynamic shot is from above. People have used these techniques for ages to make selfies more attractive, and they can work for your photos as well. This technique is also great for hairdressers and barbers who want to make sure the subject’s haircut is clearly visible. Canon has a great how-to guide on finding flattering angles.

The top photo angles the camera to capture as much of the subject as possible, making a more compelling photo. How you angle the camera depends on what you\'re photographing.

See how the photographer angled the camera slightly above the subject\'s head? The angle highlights the subject\'s haircut and flatters her features. Photo courtesy of ChristyClips in San Antonio

Temperature

This is where a lighting feature for your camera comes in handy. Your lighting settings should match the type of light you’re using (sunlight, incandescent, or fluorescent, for example), and you should manually set the temperature for each photo on a camera app. For more information on understanding white balance and color temperature in photos, you can read a helpful guide here.

The photo on the left has a natural look, and because the light is fairly balanced, the gold around the rim of the glass pops. The temperature of the photo on the right is too warm and needs color correction.

Don’t Skip the Editing Stage

This isn’t to create a fake picture of your results. With a bit of cropping, filtering and layering, you can make a solid photo really stand out and fix problems you overlooked during the shoot. Again, there are great apps and programs that make photo-editing intuitive for even the most tech-averse people. Find one that suits your needs and play around on it. Some apps can help you adjust the lighting after the fact, or crop out parts of your shot that affect the composition.

The photo on the right was edited to look brighter. It looks like the temperature was turned up, so the photo looks warmer and the gold pops.

Take Lots of Pictures

Think you have a great shot? Take a few more. There’s nothing worse than discovering the picture you liked is unusable because it’s slightly blurry. Plus, experimenting with different angles can help you develop great photos of your work and shop. The best professional photographers take hundreds of shots to get that perfect picture. You can take a couple to get an Instagram-worthy one. The most important message is this: don’t settle for bad pictures, and don’t post bad pictures online. It’s better to have a few great shots than hundreds of mediocre ones. If you don’t have any photos you love yet, grab a patient and adventurous friend. Offer them a free service in exchange for starter photos. Then they can’t complain if it takes you a little while to get the perfect shot. Once you’ve got your photos, you can post them on social media, your website, and your Booksy page to attract clients. Good luck!

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