Using a photo to demonstrate the tech’s head was placed along these imaginary lines, he clarified, “If you drew a grid over your picture, with two vertical lines and two horizontal lines, the eye goes where those lines meet.”
Portman cautioned against using a phone’s flash feature or overhead lights, recommending “easy” lighting, such as the light through an open shade.
“Never use flash, never ever,” he stressed. “Flash is very hard to control and rarely looks appealing. You can use the glow from another cell phone or a work light, but the very best light is natural, though you should avoid direct sunlight. If you can position your image near an open bay door, your lighting will usually be perfect.”
Changing perspective is a fairly simple concept. Get closer or farther away. Climb on a ladder, or kneel on the floor. Don’t be afraid to crop a photo. Portman also recommended horizontal shots as the photos with the most versatility.
The types of photos most appealing to consumers, Portman said, are interiors, exteriors, portraits, products/services and shop culture photographs.
Interior photos should depict well-cleaned, welcoming areas, including the shop and waiting area. Bathroom photos should be skipped unless the bathroom is special in some way. Portman suggested including interior photos of “anything that separates you from the competition.”
The purpose of exterior photos is to ensure customers are able to identify the shop from the road, and these photos should be as welcoming as possible.
Portraits of employees in action and happy customers are great for social media content.
“Customer photos are akin to asking for a review, and when you post them, tag your customer so they share them too,” Portman advised.
Close-up images of products and tools demonstrate the technicians’ expertise.
“We’re used to what we do, but it’s a mystery to the average customer. Many people don’t even know what a bolt is, let alone how to turn one,” Portman said. “It’s a cool job, a great industry. Customers see shops doing mysterious things to their vehicles, and these types of images allow you to pull back the curtain and reveal the magic of what you do.”
The final type of photo Portman discussed depicts the shop culture.
“These are photos of any sort of action or fun times,” according to Portman. “This shows your shop’s personality and what doing business with you actually feels like.”
These types of images perform well on social media, but they can also be used for other platforms. On any of these platforms, unique photos receive better engagement than stock photos.
In addition to Facebook and Instagram, shops can use photos on their Google My Business page, on their website and in their email newsletter. A course on managing Google My Business is available here.
Portman added a list of bonus tips: Default to horizontal orientation. Avoid using zoom on the phone camera; shoot big because it can be edited down. Candid photos are often better than posed. Shoot in the highest resolution available. Try camera apps. When shooting for a website, plan for text to be visible across the photo.