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Chad Germann, Founder & CEO talks with TG&H on the importance of a well thought-out plan around photography (and please, stop using stock photos!)
I love a good photograph. A good photo taken well, with purpose and craft, pushes my buttons. Gets me fired up! You see, my day job might be to help run Red Circle Agency, but the truth is — deep inside me — I’m a photography nerd. Full-blown nerd. If you were to set up a time-lapse of my living room, you’d see more photography instructional videos on my tv than anything else. And it’s not even close. (See that time-lapse reference — that’s a photography reference!)
In the conversation I had with TG&H, we talked about making photography a priority and not an afterthought. It diffuses your brand when you use stock photos or generic photos for your website and advertising. In this article, I want to take it down to another level, something that you can change TODAY.
A photograph is worth a thousand words. Who said that? They were so right. When we are building our marketing messaging, we use photos to help convey an idea what our casino’s experience FEELS LIKE. And — here’s another truth — photos that we put the least time and effort (and technique) are some of the photos that work the hardest for us. I’m talking about your jackpot winners photos — which consistently out-perform just about any other kind of post on your websites, in your social media feeds. They are what people want to look at. It inspires them, gets them excited.
(If you want to know why REAL and TRUE messaging works harder than the manufactured brochure stuff many casinos produce, just read pretty much any of my other blog articles.)
So in this blog post I’m going to walk through a couple of simple changes/suggestions for making the best jackpot winners photos (while keeping in mind that Hosts on the floor are busy and can’t be expected to learn to operate complicated professional camera equipment).
WHAT CAMERA IS THE BEST CAMERA FOR THE JOB?
Ok, this is actually really easy. The best camera is a new iPhone Pro Max. Not because it’s better than a digital camera made by Sony or Canon or Fuji — no, the reason is because iPhones (and Google Pixels and the like) are built to make bad photos better. They are a super computer with a super-sophisticated camera — that’s only a phone as a secondary thing. The camera is a hugely important feature. Think about your friends and family — seems like most people upgrade or stay with an older phone is the camera. And because the sales cycles of these companies rise and fall on whether people buy upgrades or not, they are always making the camera better.
My recommendation? Apple is the best, and so my recommendation starts and ends with the iPhone Pro Max. Best camera, software that automatically makes every photo significantly better. And if you want to improve it more, the camera’s software is easy to use and really helpful.
And it’s a phone. So it’s just in your pocket all the time.
FLASH OR NO FLASH?
Flash, always. Most of what’s wrong with jackpot winner photos is the harsh lighting and deep shadows on the face (you pretty much don’t ever want deep shadows on the face when taking a portrait). Using a flash eliminates that problem. So use it. The iPhone has a pretty good one.
Just don’t stand too far away from the winner. The flash is good, but it’s still pretty small little light. Stand maybe 5 feet away. (And if you don’t like how that looks, take a couple practice snaps at different distances until you find what works.)
There’s a setting where you can set the flash to always “on” — which is the setting you want. Without changing this setting so that the flash is “always on,” the flash and the iPhone will decide when to flash. And the iPhone might not agree with my advice. So just trust me, and turn the flash to “always on” and your casino jackpot winner photos will look better.
EDITING THE PHOTO
The iPhone software provides lots of options, and I’ve included some screen shots here. I would suggest you edit to your taste, with an emphasis on reducing shadows (1st priority), increasing contrast (+10% adjustment), increasing brilliance (+10% adjustment — but maybe less, depending on flash and how dark the casino floor is and how far from the subject you are), and increasing vibrancy (+10-15% adjustment).
Most of the magic is in the iPhone Pro Max. If this blog inspires only one change, make the iPhone your change. It’s just that good. And it’s a phone, and it’s in your pocket all the time, so buying the best camera iPhone just MAKES SENSE.
I hope these suggestions make a difference for you. Jackpot winner photos are always the best click-bait for your guests. Your players LOVE TO SEE THEMSELVES AND PEOPLE LIKE THEM in your marketing. Making these winner’s photos better better JUST MAKES SENSE. Especially when it’s as easy as buying a better iPhone for your hosts and following the simple suggestions in this article.
Happy shooting! And if you want your brand advertising work to be the smartest it can be, or if you want your mass market video/photography work to be the best it can be, give Red Circle a call. Check out our work online. Promise you, it matters what/how/why you say what you say about yourself. Better messaging is an opportunity. We can help you maximize that opportunity.