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Some Advice For Your Photographer

Plus a couple of free gifts for you…

By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.

For those of you reading this in the United States, I hope you had a fabulous Fourth of July weekend. As happens only once every seven years or so, the fourth landed on a Saturday. That’s perfect for those of us in the pool business, and I’ll tell you why.

First of all, the Fourth of July is about as American as you can get. I see nothing wrong with a little patriotism to inspire the masses to go out, spend some money, and make this country great again.

Secondly, this is the first official holiday of summer. It’s going to be hot everywhere, so if you’ve got a swimming pool, this is definitely the weekend to use it.  And for those sad homeowners who don’t yet have a pool, this weekend more than any other will inspire them to want one of their own.

Thirdly, most of those homeowners who have a swimming pool have spent the last several months on spring cleaning, landscaping and other assorted efforts to pretty up the yard. With the heat and the sunshine, the dead leaves are gone, the flowers are in bloom, and the landscaping looks terrific.

Their pool will never look better.

That means it’s time for you to get out there and capture the stunning beauty of your creations on film, for all posterity, and also so that your marketing guy can do the best possible job next January when he’s trying to promote your business.  It’s no unfortunate coincidence that the people at APSP, Pool and Spa News, and Aqua Magazine will soon be looking for your latest photo entries for their upcoming annual contests.

It’s time to beef up your portfolio.

It’s also time to start taking better photos. As a consultant to this industry, I’ve had the privilege of seeing tens of thousands of different pool photos.  I’ve seen lots of beautiful creations, but gosh darn it, I’ve seen an awful lot of crappy photos. Can I please offer you some free advice about how to take better pool photos?  Thank you.

  1. Get a ladder.  A tall one.  Eye-level shots of swimming pools are lousy and amateurish.  Sky shots from 20 feet or higher are fabulous. Shoot from the ladder, or use the ladder to get up on the roof, or into a tree.  Safety is your problem.  I just want a good photo.
  2. Bring a tripod.  Trust me, you will never ever get a world-class photo of a swimming pool without a tripod. Nuff said.
  3. Use the right camera. You should be shooting digitally, with an absolute minimum of five megapixels, preferably ten.  A wide-angle lens is smart, but if you don’t have that, I suppose you could get a bigger ladder, and move farther away….
  4. Timing – Mid-day shots are almost always a waste of time and film, unless it’s a perfectly cloudy day.  You should be targeting for early morning and pre-dusk shots. Obviously, you’ll want to arrive early so that you can take full advantage of the changing light.
  5. Hose down all the stonework, brickwork and the deck.  It enriches the colors, and adds sparkle to everything.  Please remove the hose, the pool sweep, the floaties, and any other distractions before you shoot the photo.
  6. What shots? We’re looking for two things: wide angles, and close-ups.  If you get up on the ladder and catch 95% of the pool, you’re wasting your time.  Get a close up of the waterfall, and the grotto, and the beach entry and the water arches. But then, when you shoot the pool, get the whole darn thing, plus all of the deck and the area around it.  We can always crop it down later.
  7. How many shots? Fifty to a hundred shots is normal. Anything less than twenty shots is just not sensible.  We want lots of choices that we can go through and thin down to a select few back in the studio.

One of the photographers I’ve worked with for many years has put together a handy little three-page summary, SPECIFICALLY EXPLAINING HOW TO TAKE BETTER PHOTOGRAPHS OF SWIMMING POOLS.  I will be happy to share that with you, for FREE. Just send me an e-mail with your request.

Here’s another little tip for producing better photographs, and this is also free.  There is a fantastic little software program called “IrfanView.”  It’s quite powerful, easy to use, and will allow an amateur can do some pretty handy things with mediocre photos. I use it a lot, and I love it. Did I mention it’s free?  You can download it at www.irfanview.com.

May I remind you that for most people, a swimming pool is a visual and emotional dream.  Your photographs are the single most powerful tool you can come up with to convey your ability to create that dream. If you want your marketing guy to do a good job for you, get out there and get some good photographs for him.

And don’t forget the sunscreen.

Till next time,
Brett

PS – In addition to all this great “free stuff” we offer, we actually have some “paid services” you can buy from us. To find out more about our other services, and what we do, check out www.PoolBuilderMarketing.com/services.  If it has anything to do with selling more pools, we’re all over it.

BA

2009 Brett Lloyd Abbott / MYM Austin Inc.  May not be used without permission.

One Response to “Some Advice For Your Photographer – Plus a couple of free gifts for you…”

  1. I would like the free 3 page summary on how to take better pool photographs

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