When preparing to open a new business, you try to think of all the things that you will need to be successful – the perfect location, chic decor, innovative menus, great employees, proper equipment and a million other things.

You thought of EVERYTHING. Or did you?

Professional photography is often overlooked in this initial planning stage. It’s is an added expense in an already bursting budget. It might be a much more attractive and affordable option to take photos yourself with your phone.

However, this might be one of the most important decisions you make for your business.

Today’s world is extremely visual thanks to the explosion of photo-centric apps such as Instagram. (In 2016, there were an estimated 400 million active users on Instagram.) The competition for “followers” and “likes” is fierce and gorgeous images win out every time.

While phone cameras have improved immensely, professional photographers add something you cannot put into a phone. They offer their expertise. Lighting, positioning, framing, background details – we are not often consciously aware of these elements, but the sum total work together to create a professional shot.

And this will often be what will encourage a customer to visit your restaurant, share your photo with friends and family and, maybe without even consciously knowing why, decide you are the best at what you do.

Professional photographers can also see your space, food and even employees in a way that maybe you haven’t seen. Through their knowledge and creativity, they can put your passion and skill into these photos. This will help you to create a strong brand, a successful business and a continually growing customer base.

Investing in professional photography will pay for itself many times over in the success of your business.

Cheryl Waller is a photographer with EngageTaste and owner of Cheryl Waller Photography.

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