Proper Use of Photos to Market Your Balloon Business
“We SELL what we SHARE” is a motto I often say to my Balloon Boss Mastermind and coaching clients. The question I then get is, “What photos can I use to market with, until I have photos of my own work?” Great question. So, today I want to share some tips and hints to help you through this process. #1 The faster you build your own portfolio of photos of your work, the more your client will be able to see YOUR style and get what they expect when you deliver.
If your website and social media is full of stock images and photos taken from other balloon professionals websites or Google searches, your client might be asking for a refund when the work you do for them looks nothing like the photo. (If you have not practiced or trained in how to do the correct framing. proportions etc.) Not everyone has the natural talent to be able to look at a photo and recreate the correct framing, proportions, harmony and balance that someone else created in a design. As you build your portfolio of your own balloon work, your style will start to show! Plus, you will have photos that people can connect with that are from the local venues that you service. People love seeing photos of balloons in the space they are holding their event at in order to see what balloons look like in that space. When you are taking photos of your balloon designs have a mix of photos of the balloons on their own and photos of people with the balloons. People in the photos with your balloon designs brings emotion to the photo and helps people have a personal connection and more of a desire to have the balloons for their event. Ways to build your balloon photo portfolio
- Attend hands on training that allows you to build decor and have photos of what you created. Capturing both photos of the balloons on their own and of YOU and other people with the photos brings emotion to the photos and people really connect with that.
- Purchase professional quality balloons and practice / create designs you want to sell, take photos in a nice setting like a lovely home, a local venue a place where people hold events. Then use the practice piece to market your business giving it to a target referral partner or target client.
- Participate in or organize a Style Photo shoot with other event vendors in your area that you would like to work with on a regular basis.
- When you use stock images or images you purchase online, over time when you create your own designs from those inspiration pieces then replace the post with your designs.
- Use clip art images for items you do not have actual photos of yet, sell the job, take photo of the decor piece and now – you have grown YOUR personal library of decor.
- Share inspiration photos with your potential customers in an email stating, “This was created by my friend Joette in Florida and I would love to re-create this design for you. (never post photos of other companies work on your website or social media without the proper credit or permission – more info on this below)
These are photos created from the Style photo shoot at Promotions & Profits Retreat Orlando 2018 Part of attending the retreat is that Alumni are given access to the professional photography to watermark and use in their marketing. So many times when we are on event locations it is tough to get good photos of our balloons because there are so many people in the room setting up the event, and the room might not be fully set when it’s time for you to leave. That is one of the reasons we do the professional photography of the balloon decor created at Promotions & Profits events. Creating your own style shoot in venues you wish to work at is another way to capture these type of photos to market your business with. One way to make sure people know the photos are of your work is by watermarking your balloon photos.
I was the owner of Party People from 2003 to 2015 and now serve as the marketing director (so I can devote my full main attention to BalloonCoach.com while staying active in a growing balloon business) For years I wrote a blog and had my website and was happy to just have the photos up and showing my clients what I created and did not take the time to watermark my photos. The photo below was posted on my Party People Blog without a watermark and has been shared around the world and blogged about by event planners and more. In some of the blogs someone else had put their watermark on the photo, claiming it at their work! LESSON LEARNED! If I want to have credit for my photos, and make the most out of the power of social media sharing photos putting a watermark on the photos is wise. (since starting BalloonCoach.com I have given permission to my Balloon Boss Mastermind and One to One coaching clients to use this photo in their marketing)
Some will place their watermark all the way across the image of the photo making it harder for people with tech skills to remove your watermark and put theirs on. I personally do not like that look so I keep my watermark typically a bit smaller and in the photo and not across the entire piece. More like a signature. Part of my role as marketing manager now for Party People Events is I watermark the photos from the events before I post them on social media. I like to use PicMonkey.com as it can be used easily on my computer or phone app to add in the watermark or other wording. Other programs you can use are Canva and iwatermark.
In our industry from time to time you will find a company that has taken your photos without permission and used them on their website, blog or social media without credit etc. If you wish to have them remove your photos here are some steps you can take, given by one of our Promotions & Profits Instructors. PROFESSIONAL ETHICS in using balloon photos of others work!
Just because you see someones balloon photos on their Facebook or website does not mean it is OK for you to download that photo and use it on your website or Facebook page! I repeat…just because it’s on the internet does not mean it’s up for you to use it without permission! A few tips to keep from getting a letter from a Balloon Professionals Legal team:
- Do not use balloon photos from another balloon company on your website.
- When you want to share a photo on social media of a design you would love to do – SHARE that photo with a comment “I love this design created by Party People Events, I would LOVE to recreate a neon event for a lucky client here in __________. Make it Clear in the post who’s work it is.
- If you have photos on your website of other companies work without permission to do so, make those edits NOW! Remove the photos from your website that you do not have permission to use. There are stock photos available from some manufactures, or ones you can purchase online or by attending trainings like Promotions & Profits Retreat etc.
- If your social media post on facebook or instagram is full of other peoples work – go back into the post and edit them and give credit to the creator of the photo.
Our industry is small and overall very friendly and helpful. Respect our industry and your fellow balloon professionals by running your company in an ethical manner. Having support of fellow balloon professionals can help you grow your business with referrals and sharing ideas in professional groups and training. Tips from Brandon Turpin Steps to take if someone is using your photos without permission.
Brandon is the owner of Utah Balloon Creations
Steps to take if someone is using your photo. 1. Contact the owner of the company and let them know they are using your photo and ask them to take it down. If you are not able to find contact information for the company. You can do a search for who owns the domain name. There are many websites you can search this information. A popular one is https://www.godaddy.com/whois. You can go here and enter the domain name of the website to find the contact information of the person that owns the domain name. There are 2 types of domain registrations. a. Public Domain Registration – Contact information for the domain is public b. Private Domain Registration – Owner of the domain name pays for private registration through the company they host with. Instead of the owners contact information it shows the contact information of the company that registered the domain name. 2. If they do not remove the image per your request, you can send them a cease-and-desist letter. There are many templates online, but this is a good one http://www.copyrightsafeguard.com/copyright-basics/downloads/sample-cease-and-desist-letter.docx
3. If you contact them and they do not listen, you can’t find valid contact information, or the domain is privately registered. You can contact the company that is hosting the website and ask them to remove the image. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) lets you submit a request to any us based hosting company to remove the domain name. Hosting companies take these requests very serious. If you were to submit an official request to them and they did not take it down, they could then be held liable for damages. While you might not have damages for an image, many people will. When I worked for Bluehost.com for 5 years, any time we had a copyright complaint, we would shut down the whole account for the website until the person proved they removed it. Some companies will just remove the image and notify the customer, but hosting companies are generally good at helping get it removed. a. To figure out who is hosting it, on the same who is search result. There will be a section for domain nameservers. These are the servers of the company that hosts the website. It is how a browser knows where the files are located. Generally, the nameservers are something like. ns1.hostingcompany.com ns2.hostingcompany.com There are generally 2-4 nameservers, but they are generally all for the same company. Just backup names in case the first does not work. Remove the first part before the . and try visiting that website to get the hosting providers contact information. So in this instance we would drop the ns1 and just go do www.hostingcompany.com. Remember if the hosting company is not in the US, you can still contact them and ask since other countries have similar laws, but the DMCA would not apply to them. Form to submit to the hosting company http://www.copyrightsafeguard.com/copyright-basics/downloads/sample-DMCA-take-down-letter.docx
b. What is a hosting company? There are 2 companies needed to have a website. A company to register the ownership of the domain name. And a company to host or store your website files to be accessed when someone visits your website. Often the same company does both, but you need a domain name, and hosting where the files are stored. c. Remember that hosting companies will probably make you prove the image is yours. The easiest way to do this is watermark your images in an area that can not be easily remove or cropped. i. Do not place images on the edges. The image is easily cropped, and your watermark is gone. ii. Do not place it on solid or simple backgrounds. Anyone with a little photoshop experience can easily remove a watermark if the background is solid or simple. Having the watermark over a part of the image that has a lot going in the background will make it harder to remove it. iii. A good idea is to place the watermark over the actual object in the image. If it is a balloon arch, have it over the balloon arch. It will be hard to remove and easy to see if they did. Remember if the image is in an area that is important to give it transparency, so it is semi transparent. That will allow the object to still show through the watermark, so you are not covering up too much. I hope that you find this information helpful as you grow your thriving balloon business! If you have other topics you would like more information on to grow your balloon business connect with me on Facebook in Balloon Coach Community
Your Partner in Success,
Joette Giardina, CBA Mentor. Motivator. Speaker. Create a Thriving Balloon Business! Balloon Boss Mastermind