Creating Custom Images

Slow is fast.

This is the new motto that I’m adopting when it comes to building affiliate and content sites.

We all want to publish, publish, publish but if you don’t have a big team then this simply results in subpar content.

That being said, today I want to talk about getting custom images for your site as this is something that is slow in the beginning but will help you grow fast.

Let’s assume two different scenarios here.

  1. You already have a website making a couple of grand per month with decent traffic.
  2. You are starting from scratch.

If you’re in the first scenario, getting custom images is a heck of a lot easier.

First, figure out what pages and products bring in the most revenue.

These are the ones that you’re going to prioritize.

Reach out to your affiliate managers or the PR company that represents them.

Send a simple email that shows how much revenue you’ve generated for them and that you’re looking to “up” your content game.

One way for you to do this is by getting custom photos of the products and tell them you are hiring a professional photographer in your area to help with this.

If they say no, tell them you only need to “borrow” the products.

You don’t actually need to keep them.

If they still say no, sweeten the deal one more time and state that they are free to use the professional images for their own content needs.

If I’ve generated a decent amount of revenue for a company, I’ve never had them say no but just in case they do, use the negotiation strategy above.

Now, if you’re just starting out - tell them all of the below from the get-go.

  1. You plan on creating X amount of articles on their product category within the next 6 months and would love to feature them

     2. You are hiring a professional photographer

      3. They are free to use the photos for their own content

If you can get custom photos with the product it increases trust with your audience and thus click thru rate to their product and thus more sales.

Send this email to 10 companies and I bet 50% or more will give you the product, depending on the price point.

Side note - Give them a call. You’ll be one of the few people who do and it will build trust and a relationship. It’s amazing how few of us affiliates ever pick up the phone these days.

Side, side note - if you really want to get their attention, say it’s unfortunate they won’t be sending products because their competitor XYZ just sent over a bunch of products.

Be warned - this could come across as hostile so be careful how you phrase it.

If you try out all of the above and nothing works, just buy the product.

If it’s too expensive, go to Facebook marketplace to find someone selling it.

Google hasn’t indexed these images.

Then do the classic “right-click & save”

I doubt you’ll find a professional image but they will be better than nothing.

Now, if you have products in hand, getting decent photos is actually really easy.

  1. Spend one hour on YouTube looking up “Product photography with iPhone” and you will be better than 95% of people.

  2. Hire a professional photographer.

#2 always seems to scare people but it’s hardly ever that big of an investment.

You can find a decent photographer relatively easy.

  1. Post on Facebook that you’re looking for someone in your area
  2. Just Google it
  3. Check out Air BnB experiences in your area. There are always photography tours. Just reach out to the host and ask if they can help
  4. Turn to college kids - find someone still in University who is studying photography. This will be your cheapest option outside of you taking them yourself.

I’m in Kansas City, MO and I just got quoted $100 per hour.

We have 25 products to shoot and 4 different shots for each product.

They estimated three to four hours to get this done.

So $300 - $400 and I have photos that look better than every single competitor?

Yeah, I’ll do it.

On top of that, I’ll throw these images up on Unsplash to hopefully get some natural backlinks to my site:

If I can get 2-3 links out of these images, then it pays for itself.

One crucial element to keep in mind when taking photos is that custom images themselves don’t help much.

If you just take a picture of the product, how does that help the user?

Take images that show buying concerns and considerations that people would be interested in.

For instance, if I were doing this for pre-workout I would do the following:

General photo just showing the product. Similar to this.

Ingredient label. Similar to this.

Serving Size. Similar to this.

Photo showing its consistency after it's been mixed up. Similar to this.

Now, none of those examples are that great from a photography standpoint but they do accomplish two things:

  1. Visitors know you have had the product and they trust you
  2. You show visitors what they're concerned about when buying this product

Pro tip - go and take a look at several e-commerce sites in your niche. They spend a lot of time and money on product photos and reverse engineering their photos can help point you in the right direction.

Remember, your images don’t have to be perfect but I’ve learned the hard way that custom images do help.