Interesting photos on your store’s website can capture more attention than if you simply list specifics about your inventory, lessons and classes. When appealing to potential customers, you must show – not just tell – how much fun archery can be.
You can and should explain that your shop’s recreational archery classes are fun, safe and beneficial. Photos reinforce those messages and add an extra dimension to your website or advertisements by helping customers imagine themselves having a blast shooting archery at your shop.
Pictures are a must if you want to update your website and/or create promotional marketing material. The best way to get high-quality images is to take them yourself or hire a photographer. However, if you’re crunched for time or don’t have access to a quality camera, you can find and use images licensed through Creative Commons.
Note: This article outlines steps for finding images to use for free. It doesn’t consider stock photography websites, which require paid memberships.
What is Creative Commons?
Several public copyright licenses allow free use of images, songs and videos. A Creative Commons (CC) license is used when authors want to give people the right to share, use and build upon a work they created.
Licensors can apply conditions for using their work. The least restrictive condition is “attribution,” which says the work can be used for any reason (even commercial purposes) as long as the user gives proper credit to the creator. Other choices are “noncommercial,” “no derivative works,” and “share alike.”
To avoid misusing images, pay attention to the various Creative Commons licenses when choosing photos. Flickr and Google are two common and fairly easy options for finding Creative Commons images.
To use Flickr, you need a Yahoo! account.
1. Type search terms such as “archery” or “bow and arrow” in the search box.
2. Click “Advanced Search” in the page’s upper right-hand corner.
3. This opens a new page. Click the boxes next to “only photos,” “only search within Creative Commons-license content,” and “find content to use commercially.”
4. Browse the image results and click on a photo that fits your needs.
5. Click the “download” arrow in the lower right-hand corner and choose the image size you want.
Google Image Search
To find images that can be reused and remixed, use Google’s Advanced Image search options.
1. Type your search term in the search field while making sure you selected “images” atop the page.
2. Select “advanced image search” on the main Google Images page to use the usage rights filter option.
3. Once in the “advanced image search” page, review the usage rights options at the bottom of the page.
4. In the usage rights menu, you can select one of four options: “labeled for reuse,” “labeled for commercial reuse,” “labeled for reuse with modification,” or “labeled for commercial reuse with modification.”
Because you’ll be using Creative Commons images to promote your business and help sell class sessions, be sure to choose “labeled for commercial reuse.” If you plan to change the image in any way by adding words or converting it to black and white, choose “labeled for commercial reuse with modification.”
Mind Your Search Terms
Changing your search terms from “archery” to something more specific like “archery bow,” “archery target” or “archery kids” might reduce the number of images you find, but could generate pictures that are close to what you’re seeking. Don’t waste time searching through pages of pictures that won’t work for you.
Also note that close-up images of bows, arrows or generic targets might work best in this scenario. Why? Because posting an image taken at an archery shop or range other than your own doesn’t show customers what they can expect when visiting your shop.
Mind Your Image Size
Small images stretched to fit a large space become blurry and pixelated. They look terrible. Bad images won’t serve your purpose, which is to show potential customers your professional business. You want them to not only look at your pictures and your website, but also sign up for a class and visit your shop.
Find out how large (by inches, pixels and resolution) images must be on your website. Whoever built your website should be able to provide this information. Once you know these essential details, use the image search options above to find suitable photos. If you find a large image, you can always use a website like picmonkey.com to make free, simple edits to the images, such as resizing, cropping and adjusting contrast.
Mind Your License (again!)
This point is important enough to bear repeating: Before adding an image to your website or marketing material, double-check its license to verify it can be used for commercial purposes. Once you’re certain you can use the image, follow the license terms, including attribution requirements.
A typical image attribution looks like this:
Photo: Archery Trade Show 2015, Archery Trade Association
A typical Creative Commons image attribution looks like this:
Photo: Archery Trade Show 2015, Archery Trade Association – CC
For more information on promoting your retail shop to existing and new customers, check out the ATA’s Retail Growth Initiative.