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We’ve written a lot about the importance of photos on your website. With the constant evolution of technology and an ever-changing web-sphere, there are more and more opportunities to have a stunning website and fewer excuses for tour operators. Our founder, Matthew Newton, wrote about photos that sell more tours(opens in a new tab) back in 2015 and a lot has changed since then. He talked about not being able to rely on mobile phones to take photos but the new reality is that mobiles today have incredible camera capabilities(opens in a new tab). Users’ eyes are immediately drawn to any photo on a webpage and not only are you able to share a wealth of information in an image (some say a thousand words) but it is also the first impression that most visitors will have of your business. So what is the elusive perfect photo, and how can tour and activity operators have their own? I promise it isn’t as hard as it sounds.

What makes a good photo?

Regardless of new technology, what makes a good photo is still the same as it always has been. It’s about great quality, depicting a great time, in a great place. Remember the aim of the photos is to get users to want to book. It’s all about harnessing that fear-of-missing-out (FOMO as the kids call it) energy that is so prevalent today. Let’s break these three points down a bit further:

  • Quality is about things like lighting, clarity, composure, and framing. If you’re taking a photo of people outdoors, you might be surprised to learn that overcast days provide the best lighting, but if you want a snap of the sky, a clear day always sells better. No one dreams of visiting Bondi Beach on a cloudy day but everyone knows the weather is beyond your control. There’s no fraud in showing your offerings in their best light possible!
  • Time is about showing smiles, laughter, enlightenment, surprise, and all the emotions that you want your guests to be feeling when they are taking your experience. Create an image that a potential customer wants to be a part of.
  • Place is all about location, location, location. Wherever you’re running your tours there must be a reason you picked the place. Whether it is intricate architecture, wide-open green spaces, or turquoise shores, let your guests see what they are buying. It also gives them a chance to imagine what photos they might take themselves.

Get inspired, get creative

Now that you have an idea of what needs to be included in a photo, break the rules! The endless expanse of the internet means that you have limitless inspiration at the touch of a button (or two). We recently spoke to our lead designer about Pinterest(opens in a new tab) and its potential as an inspiration platform, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a ton of ways to get inspired, try searching a location or hashtag on Instagram of something that relates to your tour. You’ll be sure to discover some fascinating ways to capture a place using a variety of approaches or perspectives. If you’re not the scrolling type, then get outside and let your subject inspire you. Inspect the curling lines of branches and bark along your hike or the intricate facade on the cathedral that you pass on your walking tour. Be prepared to be surprised and open your mind to the details that lie around you. After all, it’s the combination of smaller intimate details and stunning big-picture elements together that make your tour great.

Who are the photos for?

It never hurts to remember who your target audience is. If you’re selling tours to millennials, providing them with inspiration for their own posts is crucial. Sharing experiences is more and more important as social media continues to consume our lives. For the older generation, you should be sharing images of the activities, featuring age groups or demographics that relate to your customer base. If you’re providing an adventure or thrill experience, that action shot is essential! Snap the water splashing around the raft, the climber about to reach the top of the cliff, or the bungee jumper about to take that adrenaline-filled step over the edge. Know what you’re selling, what you want your guests to feel, and capture the moment that provides that emotion.

How do I do it?

As I mentioned before, if you’re stuck with nothing then let your phone do the work. Apple’s “Shot on iPhone(opens in a new tab)” campaign showcases the high standards you can aim to achieve by taking pictures with your own phone. Gone are the days when not having a camera was an excuse. In saying that, if you’re planning on taking a lot of photos in the long run, then buy yourself a DSLR or other quality camera. It does make a difference because as much as phone technology has improved, so has camera technology. If you’re a high-end brand, your photos need to be crisp. If you don’t have the money to invest right now, there are heaps of alternatives. Consider providing a free tour or activity to a social media influencer or maybe even a photographer. Not only will they post about it, but you can negotiate to use their photos for your own site and this doesn’t just apply to influencers or professionals. If you have a guest with a great camera, don’t be afraid to ask to use their shots or maybe start a competition, with the best photo of the month getting a free tour! This not only encourages interaction with your site or your social media but also great photos for you to use (if you can get permission) or draw inspiration from.

Another, last straw option is the feared stock photo. There is a reason why stock photos became taunted so much in the past, it’s because they looked cheap and fake. Today’s royalty-free photo services are providing a whole lot more. We’re big fans of Unsplash(opens in a new tab) at Tourism Tiger but there is an abundance of providers out there offering the same thing. A quick Google for free online images pops up a whole bunch of providers and articles on which ones you should use and why(opens in a new tab). And of course, don’t forget the paid photographers. If you have the money, investing in a professional photographer is worthwhile. Not only do they have the equipment but they have the experience and expertise to get just the shot that you need.

Sell those tours!

As travel is re-emerging in the minds of consumers, ensuring that your site is in tip-top shape is more important than ever. Taking the time now to update your photos will mean that you’re ready to return to business as usual as soon as possible. If you’re looking to update your site(opens in a new tab) or even refresh your branding(opens in a new tab), get in contact with us(opens in a new tab) and we’ll be happy to help you out!

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