You wouldn't show up to your lawn care client's house without the materials you need and you wouldn't show up to transform a backyard with an amazing landscape design project without having a plan.
But unfortunately that's what happens a lot in the lawn care and landscaping industry. Companies engage with photographers and don't really have a great plan of action in place.
Today, we're going to share our top secret plan to get great photography for your lawn care or landscaping company. Stay tuned.
(Check out the video with description, resources, comments, etc. on YouTube)
Chad: Hey, what's up? It's Chad with Landscape Leadership. I'm here with my friend, Mike Millville, who does a lot of photo shoots for our clients. Today, we're going to talk about creating an amazing plan so that you get the best shots for marketing or recruiting images.
One of the things that we do is put together what we call a creative brief. That has a bunch of things in it. So what are some of the things that we outline for you so that you understand what you're supposed to do when you're there?
Landscaping & Lawn Care Marketing Goals
Mike: A lot of what we talk about in the creative brief is what your goals are for your marketing. So just off the bat, it doesn't even start off with what's going to be in the photograph. It's what is the purpose of the photos, what are they going to do on the back end. That kind of lends itself to discussion about what the photo is going to have in it. Is it going to have people in it or is it not? And then once we get past that point, it's talking about props and things that go into those photos, the timelines, and all that other stuff.
Chad: Yeah, I think a lot of times that I talk to lawn care and landscaping company owners, that's one of their big gripes. They just kind of gave a list of locations and a photographer just showed up and got images and then they said, "This isn't what I wanted, or what can we use these for now?" That happened because there wasn't a plan in place to begin with.
Marketing Photo Shot List & Other Details
When we do these photo shoots, there's a shot list. There's also a lot of really important details. We talk about the things that they're supposed to bring along with them like props. It can be anything from the items the technicians or the crews should have with them or even the things that clients are supposed to provide so that the shoot goes well.
So we get all those details together and we kind of have this back and forth process between you and me. And it takes a while.
Mike: It does.
Chad: And then we have a back and forth process between myself and our client so that they can understand what we're trying to accomplish. With all of the pieces that go into this, it's enlightening to our clients to explain the cost. Then they realize there's a lot of work that goes in to this because they want to make sure they end up with a great end product.
Mike: This illustrates the difference between somebody just going out with their phone and taking a picture of something that was just done and professional work. Your business looking professional. Hiring professionals is what it's going to take to make things look great.
Developing a Creative Brief for Landscaping & Lawn Care Marketing Photo Shoots
Chad: We get all these details together and I have like this four or five page document, all the shots and all the different things we're trying to do.
Mike: It's more like 8 to 10! (laugher)
Chad: Hey, I'm a details guy. We try to make this all concise and we eventually end up with the client giving us a list of properties. So they say, "Okay, here's a great place and these are the items that you could shoot on the property. Like this one's got a patio, it's got a lawn we treat. It has landscape we maintain, all that stuff."
We get these different properties and then you and I go through this process where we're trying to put together a schedule so everybody knows what's going on. So how do you determine which times a day that we're supposed to shoot certain things and how do we pull this off?
Scheduling Photo Shoots
Mike: If we're shooting lighting around the walkway or lights on the house or even on a patio, obviously has to be shot when it's darker but not pitch black out because pitch black doesn't allow for the entire scene to be shown. And if it's full light outside, you're not really gonna see those lights doing anything. So there's like a small window where you can actually get those shots. And you have it twice a day, which is good.
So that usually takes up that time of day but you can get other shots during other parts of the day. I tend to stay away from middle of the day for literally every other shot because of poor lighting.
Chad: Lunch break!
Mike: Yeah. Lunch breaks are good (laughter). A lot of the times when we schedule stuff, it's like four hours in the morning, usually before the sun comes up to and then four hours at the end of the day. That's kind of our baseline for scheduling an 8-hour day of shooting.
Chad: Yeah, when we try to get customers to be involved in the images, that's usually the bookends, the morning and evening shots because the best lighting. And then we try to get three to four different locations in the middle of the day and have team members there, maybe spraying lawns, laying pavers, performing some landscape maintenance, whatever they're doing. Those fit better in late morning or late afternoon.
Using Apps & Tools
Chad: It takes a lot of planning to get this stuff together. We have hours into this together. We pull up images of properties on Google Earth. We look at like where the trees are on the property and sometimes realize, "Oh, there's going to be a gigantic shadow across half of the patio. That's not ideal."
Mike: Yeah. Thank goodness for Google, Google and apps and stuff. Because honestly there's times when we couldn't do it without that. Like when we're flying to somewhere across the country and we don't know what it looks like at that time of day or whatever. It does help to be able to like keep those things in mind for these types of shots.
Chad: I think we've even gotten as detailed as having rough times of day. Like making sure this lawn care technician is here from 9:30 to 10:30 AM and that way everybody knows what they're doing. That way they can still stay productive throughout the day and get their work done but we can get as many great shots as possible.
Getting a Good ROI and Great Landscaping & Lawn Care Marketing Images
So, if you're spending money using a professional for photography or even hiring a marketing agency that's going to provide a photographer for you, you better make sure that someone has a plan and action because they shouldn't be leaning on you to figure it all out. That's what really matters, and that's what it takes to pull off really amazing photography for your lawn care, landscaping business. Thanks a lot of really great day.
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