Please, Please, PLEASE Take Pictures!
I KNOW how crazy the Holiday season is, and am sure taking photos is probably the last thing on your mind — but it is now, while your tasting room is decorated and full of happy people that you NEED to be taking photos for your online sites! (The ‘online sites’ I’m referring to are your winery website, blog, FaceBook, etc..)
By taking photos of your guests having fun and uploading them to your sites, you are showing new site visitors how much fun you are (making them want to go and experience it for themselves) and encouraging past guests to visit your site looking for photos of themselves (which also reminds them what a good time they had, making them want to visit again).
If you don’t have time to take the photos yourself, you can set out some disposable cameras and encourage guests to take photos, or you can ‘bribe’ a photographer (they don’t even have to be professional — just someone who can take good photos) with bottles of wine or free entry into an event (this has won me over quite a few times )
Picture Taking Tips
Taking photos of groups of people can be difficult, so here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Try not to take a lot of posed shots — look around for people who are laughing and having a good time and zoom in on them (people respond better to close-ups than full body shots).
- When you find a likely subject, don’t stop with the first shot! You want to take several photos in a row in case one of the subjects has their eyes closed at the moment you captured your first image or their mouth was in a strange position while they are eating, drinking or talking.
- When you do take posed shots, check to see if there is anything that would distract the viewer from the image’s focus. For example, if a wine bottle will be in the photo, make sure the label is facing front. Remove any wadded up napkins, empty plates and glasses or anything else that would detract from the photo.
Are There Legalities?
If you are worried about the legality of displaying photos of your guests online, there are several ways to handle this:
- Do nothing. As long as it was taken in a public place, you are not selling the image, it does not infringe on the subject’s reasonable expectation of privacy (meaning, you didn’t take it of them while they were in the rest room), and it does not defame or embarrassment them, then you are within your legal rights to take photos of people in your tasting room and at your events and display them on your online sites.
- If you are uncomfortable taking photos without some kind of notice, then a simple way to take care of this is to post signs at the entrance and around the event/tasting room saying something like “We are taking photos today for our website and FaceBook. By entering the premises you are giving us permission to use images of you for these purposes.”
- If even the above is not enough, then a more difficult, time consuming, invasive, but iron clad way of handling this is to have your guests fill out model release forms. If interested in this option, feel free to download and use this simple form.
As soon as you’ve taken your photos, you’ll want to upload them to their own gallery on your website, blog, FaceBook page and/or Flickr. (I’m mentioning the different options because I know many of you don’t have the resources to immediately add them to your website and so can take advantage of the usability of blogs, FaceBook and Flickr by uploading the images yourself.)
Once the images are uploaded, send out an email blast letting your guests know the photos are up and encourage them to check out the new photo gallery. You can even make a game of it! Maybe do something funky with one of the photos and the first person to notice it gets a free corkscrew.
People LOVE to view photos of themselves, and by keeping your online sites updated with photos and encouraging your guests to view them, you are not only keeping your brand fresh in their minds, but while checking out the photos they may decide to buy more wine from your store or see about an upcoming event they would like to attend (after all, they can look at the photos to see how much fun they had at the last one ).
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