A great picture is a powerful way to tell a story and portray an emotion.

Having a portfolio of strong images can be the most important tool in your marketing toolbox and yet the majority of amusement parks and attractions are astoundingly bereft of quality images.

To resolve this issue, it only takes a bit of knowledge, planning and creativity.  Note that I did not say that you need a big, expensive photography budget.

Here are 5 Keys to Getting Great Photography.

  • Have A Plan
  • Don’t Try and “Grab Some Nice Snapshots”
  • Use Models
  • Empty Rooms Don’t Sell Fun
  • Clean Up Your Images

Have A Plan

When you’re going to take photos, know what you want to take photos of and who you want in those photos.  Be specific.  Don’t say “take pictures inside our gameroom.”  Instead identify what kinds of pictures that you want from your gameroom.  Here are just a few examples:

  • Children playing games (wide angle – showing size of gameroom)
  • Children celebrating win on game (close up / smiling / laughing)
  • Family redeeming tickets for prize at Prize Counter
  • Male and female teenager sharing our specialty sundae

Additionally, don’t just list what you want in your photos.  Identify WHO you want in your photos as well.  What is your target demographic?  Make sure that specific demographic is well-represented in your images.  Make a conscious decision of who you want in your photos and find those people.

Don’t Try and “Grab Some Nice Snapshots”

This is the error that I had made over and over again.  Despite my best intentions, my personal photography efforts were almost always less than successful, because I would walk through the park and try to “catch” people laughing, smiling, having fun or in the midst of some moment of bliss that was inspired by our attractions.  For those of you who have tried this, it will come as no surprise that this approach seldom produces the results you were hoping for.

If you truly want to have great photos, stage everything.  Tell people where to stand, what to look at, what their expression should be – even what to wear on the day of the photo shoot.  The better your vision for what you want, the better the results will be.

Use Models

The term “models” is used loosely here.  In addition to models being individuals that you pay to be attractive and pose as instructed, models can also be your family, your kids, your employees – pretty much anyone you want – as long as they are willing to give you a few hours and allow you to use their likeness wherever you’d like.

Empty Rooms Don’t Sell Fun

I’ve seen hundreds of amusement parks and attractions take beautiful, well-lit, immaculate photographs of a place that is supposed to be alive with energy and fun only to present it as a large empty space without a soul to be seen.

While there certainly is value in showing the scope and quality of your attractions, when people decide to visit you, they are doing so because they hope to have fun with their family and friends – not to find a big, empty place that has enough room for them to hang-out.  They want to have fun.  Show people having fun on your attractions, having fun eating your food, having fun winning your prizes and having fun celebrating birthdays. THAT is what sells.

Have Someone Clean Up Your Images

Today, even your mobile device can take quality pictures so don’t think you have to have a very expensive set-up to get usable images.  Of course, a good camera will produce better results, but if all you have is the camera on your phone you can still get good results.  With that being said, you may need to clean up your images a little before using them in your marketing materials.  Currently, there are many free and paid resources available for you to clean up your images to assist with adjusting color and cropping where needed.  Don’t overdo the photo treatments though.  You don’t want everything to look like it’s been over-filtered on Instagram.  If you’re intimidated, by editing your photos, I would almost guarantee that there is a teenager on your staff that can do a great job with this for you.

Great photography is far too important to your brand to leave to chance – or worse yet – be completely ignored.  Instead of being a weakness, make your photography a strength and let great images tell your story, show the value and portray all the fun that awaits your guests with a visit to your park or attraction. If this all sounds good, but you just don’t have the time, there is certainly nothing wrong with hiring a photographer, as long as you share the tips above with them.  I’ve seen many well-meaning, professional photographers come into facilities and make many of the mistakes I’ve mentioned above.