Producing Photo Content for the Firearms Industry
In today’s digital world, content is king. Companies use content like pictures, videos, and text on social media to vie for people’s time and attention, hoping to land another sale.
Businesses in the firearms industry have their work cut out for them if they’re going to produce content that stands out from the competition. In the following sections, you’ll learn some of the best practices for producing picture-related content for your firearms business. By following these tips, you can produce valuable visual content to use on your website and social media to gain new followers, increase your online presence, and boost your brand awareness.
Phones vs. Cameras — Which Is Better for Capturing Content?
There’s been an ongoing debate about whether or not it’s “acceptable” to use phones to take pictures for your brand. Ultimately, the decision is going to be up to you while considering the kind of content you’ll be shooting and the outcomes you want to achieve.
One undeniable fact to keep in mind is that phones have come a long way in terms of the quality of images they can produce — a really long way. In fact, with today’s top phone models, you can capture amazing, professional-quality photos that totally eliminate the need for a dedicated camera.
Now, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t use a camera. That choice is entirely yours to make. With a dedicated camera, you can get into the world of lenses and find the exact camera you need to capture the content you’re looking to produce. So whichever side you take in the phones vs. cameras debate, know that it’s entirely possible to achieve amazing, high-quality content with both phones and cameras.
But keep this in mind — a phone fits right in your pocket, ready to capture content in a matter of seconds. Just throwing that out there.
Quality vs. Quantity
When producing photo content for your firearms business, you’ll need to strike the right balance between quality and quantity. Quality is important because it describes the most ideal outcomes in regards to your content production. Think clear pictures that are perfectly staged and generate the best reactions on social media. But quantity is also important. You won’t get very far on social media if you only have a dozen pictures of your products to use in daily posts — even if those dozen pictures are of the utmost quality.
For many companies, it’s best to start your content production journey aiming for quantity. Of course, you still want the pictures to look good. But don’t let the quest for quality stop you from generating any content at all. When it comes to gaining traction on social media with content, something is indeed better than nothing.
Over time, you’ll grow in your content-producing skills. You’ll develop your “eye” for seeing a great picture opportunity. You’ll understand what angles make your products look amazing. You’ll know how to use natural light to your advantage, and you’ll even learn about stage lighting and get faster in your set-up and tear-down process.
Shoot for quantity while keeping quality in the back of your mind. Before you know it, you’ll strike the perfect balance, knowing when you should lean more heavily into quality or quantity in a given situation.
Planning Ahead for Your Content Shoot
Before any content shoot, spend some time thinking and planning. What kinds of firearms will you be taking pictures of? Where will the content shoot take place? Will you be taking action or still shots? Answering these questions in your mind will help you make the right preparations. Writing a checklist at this stage can be extremely helpful and ensure you remember everything you need for the shoot.
Once you’ve thought about the upcoming shoot and made your checklist, you’re ready to start preparations. This includes packing up all the equipment you’ll need, including your camera or smartphone, tripod, lighting equipment, and more. You may also need props or backdrops. And if you’re the one supplying the guns for the content shoot, make sure you remember those, too!
It’s also a good idea to bring plenty of water and healthy snacks to the photo shoot, whether you’ll be doing it alone or with a group. Depending on the nature of the shoot, you might be surprised how exhausting it can be! You’ll need sustenance to maintain your endurance, especially for those long photoshoots that have you on your feet for hours at a time.
Best Practices for Capturing Excellent Content
Now, it’s time to understand four of the best techniques every firearms content producer should know about. Let’s dig right in.
The Purpose of Your Photo
Every photo you take should have a purpose, and you should be actively thinking about that purpose before you press the shutter button. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What message am I trying to convey with this picture?
- Is the presence of props or clutter distracting from that message?
- Are shadows being cast by the sun/lighting equipment?
- Could another angle be better, based on the angle of the lighting?
- Is the image in focus (not blurry)?
- Does the picture clearly showcase the subject?
Once you know the answers to those questions, you’re ready to take the picture. Understanding the answers to these questions will help you increase efficiency in all your content shoots while increasing each picture’s overall quality, as well.
The Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds, technically speaking, is a composition guideline that divides every picture into three equal vertical and horizontal sections. This leaves you with 9 equally sized imaginary boxes, or a 3×3 grid.
Put simply, the rule of thirds is a technique for knowing where your subject should be within an image. The idea is to use this grid to guide your decision making process as you take photos and edit your content.
The most compelling content uses the rule of thirds in such a way that the subject is taking up one third of the frame, leaving the rest of the image more open. This draws the viewer’s eyes to the subject so they more quickly understand what the purpose of the photo is and what they should be looking at.
Take, for instance, the photo below of me at the range. I’m positioned in the right third of the frame, with the center and left thirds left more open. This should draw your eyes to me first, accomplishing the goal of showing you that I’m at the range practicing my target shooting.
Now, this isn’t a perfect picture by any means. There are some other elements vying for your attention within the thirds, like the target toward the left third’s middle. Your eyes might wander a bit from there to the targets in the background, then the green trees, and eventually, the snow on the ground. So, this picture accomplishes the initial task of showing that I was at the range, but it could be better because there is a lot going on in the other thirds.
So what can you do if there are unnecessary elements in your image, distracting from the main subject of the content? This is where cropping comes into play.
Cropping is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal when creating content for the firearms industry. With it, you can remove unwanted elements from a piece of content, including unintended clutter and anything else that distracts from the purpose of the image. Is the rule of thirds revealing that certain objects in your picture are distracting from the subject? Crop them out!
You can also keep cropping in mind during the photography stage. If your camera is able to produce high-resolution content (like 4k images), then you can take pictures of your subject at greater distances. Then when you’re at the editing stage, you can crop in closer on your image to remove unnecessary elements or change the orientation to landscape or portrait, depending on your needs.
And remember — you can always crop an image later to fit a variety of circumstances. If you take only closeup images of the firearms or accessories you’re showcasing, it can be difficult to get them to fit in a variety of orientations and post types later, making the content less usable. For this reason, it’s a good idea to take some photos of your subject a little further away than you think you need to be, just to cover all your bases.
Storing Your Content and Sharing It With Others
On your journey of creating excellent content for your firearms industry business, you’ll quickly find that you need ample storage space to keep it all, especially when taking photos and videos at high capture qualities. And besides that, you’ll also find yourself collaborating with other people, including photographers, designers, and team members. So not only do you need adequate storage space for all your content, but you’ll need an easy way for everyone involved to share that content.
We recommend Dropbox and Google Drive as two convenient solutions to both sides of this dilemma. With these softwares, you can easily upload all the pictures you take to the cloud, freeing up physical storage space on your phone or camera. From there, you can download them whenever and wherever you need them.
Dropbox and Google Drive also have easy-to-use sharing options. Besides being able to share single images with people by sending them a link or granting them access via email, you can also share entire folders with relevant individuals to streamline collaboration. When one person adds an image to the folder, everyone else who is a part of the folder immediately has access to it (as long as you’re connected to the internet).
You can also pay for more storage space with both services. This gives you the peace of mind that you’ll always have room for your content, plus access to it anywhere with an internet connection.
And here’s a pro tip — keep your content organized from the very beginning! Set up folders within Dropbox or Google Drive in a way that makes sense to you. Organize your files by product showcased, date taken, location of the shoot — whatever works for you. This will allow you and your collaborators to easily access pictures and upload new files in an orderly way that benefits everyone.
Partnering With a Marketing Agency That Can Produce Content In-House
The last tip you should consider is partnering with a marketing agency that knows how to produce amazing content for the firearms industry. We understand that creating good content is a long road that includes time and money spent on trial and error. If you want high-quality, cost-effective results fast, then your best bet could be to let professionals handle the process.
At The Coutts Agency, we specialize in online marketing for businesses in the firearms industry, and that includes producing excellent, eye-catching, professional content for your website, social media accounts, and beyond. We have the equipment, skills, and experience to generate unique content that will set your business apart from the competition. Fill out the form below to take the next step toward getting professional content for your firearms industry business!