Written By: Andy Ogg, Editor and Marketing Director – Travel Professional NEWS®
2019 may very well be the Year of the Travel Agent and in this exciting time, an opportunity presents itself to you. The Travel Professional is on the rise and I personally have no doubt those of you who are devoted to your profession, will see continued success from this upcoming year.
With that said, how can you maximize your efforts and success in reaching new clients in this growing climate? Well, in this three-part series, I am going to dive into the power, ability and capabilities of creating your very own marketing content from your travels.
Part 1 – The Basics of Creating Content
Part 2 – Tips and Tricks to Creating the BEST Content Possible
Part 3 – Tools, Apps and Hardware to Maximize your Efforts
In the past 5 years, the technology of the smartphone has exploded. What once was just a phone is now so much more. With this explosion of power, the smartphone may be your best friend on a day to day basis, but should be your “go to” when out exploring our world to produce fast, quick and effective marketing content for your Travel Business.
Now many of you use your smartphones for the camera and video function already and some of you are probably pretty good at it, but how can you make the content even better? In these next 3 articles, I’m going to dive into how to do that and share some tools to help you capture beautiful, effective and useable content that can be used in your customer communication, marketing and branding of your Travel Agency.
Before we begin, it’s important that we clarify the requirements to produce content that can be used in successful marketing. While having the “latest” device is not a necessity, it is important to note that virtually any smartphone purchased or released in the past year will hit the mark of requirements.
Your smartphone should contain the below features:
– At Least a 12 Megapixel Camera
– A Built-In Flash
– Video Capabilities of 1080P at 30 Frames per Second
If you have an older smartphone that doesn’t hold these above features or capabilities, it may be a great time to upgrade or trade up for a newer model as the above features not only have the power to create fantastic images, but also the ability to make an image large enough in pixels to successfully edit and trim it if needed. This is important so that the image is not too small for clarity.
Now that we have discussed the requirements for your smartphone, let’s discuss some features that you may or may not know exist:
Smartphones have a generic “photo” mode that snaps pictures with ease. Typically, they have an auto focus feature and even a light adjusting feature that automatically make the image as clear and pristine as possible. However, there are a lot of ways to enhance that picture manually as well. For example, by touching the screen of your phone in certain areas, you can adjust the main focus of the content.
In addition to the ability to focus and adjust the lighting of the content, you can also zoom using a digital zoom feature built into the smartphone. Now, when you zoom in at great lengths, quality is compromised as the image begins to get a bit distorted with pixelation. One tool to combat that issue, especially if you plan on doing a lot of photos utilizing zoom is to purchase a “zoom lens” for your smartphone. I will cover that in Part 3 of this series.
In the past years, most smartphone manufactures enabled a Portrait mode to the camera’s abilities. Portrait mode is ideally set for up close shots which create refined focus on an object or person and blurs out the background creating depth of field and a very enticing image. Portrait mode is not ideal for every shot and unless you are taking close up shots, is not recommended.
However, if you are taking photos of an object and the object is close in proximity, Portrait mode can lead to some absolutely beautiful images that not only look great, but professional. Learning about Portrait mode is easy and once you engage with the feature, you’ll find the scenes and opportunities that it will fit well in.
Tip: While learning these different settings and options on your smartphone are relatively easy, doing it in a calm and relaxed setting is best. Learn about these features with experimentation around your home so that way when you are out in the busy world, you have the process, options and skills down solid!
Video has been included on smartphones for quite a long time but in the past few years, the technology has really taken a huge leap forward in terms of quality and function. The video that a smartphone can capture on today’s latest devices is unbelievable and if done correctly, is high enough quality to create fantastic quality marketing videos to use for your Travel Business.
One of the tricky aspects of creating high quality videos from your smartphone is stability. Again, in Part 3 of this series, I’m going to discuss some very cool and inexpensive tools that you can utilize to enable stability, however it’s very possible to keep a steady hand and capture amazing video. One tip for doing that is to “brace” your hand on an object such as a wall, your knee, really anything that can remain solid. This alleviates the “shake” that we have all seen in smartphone videos and enables you to capture the video without needing to adjust and edit the content at a later time.
While video is similar to photo’s, it’s not. Capturing a high quality video requires a somewhat of a plan. What are you shooting? How are you going to shoot it? What is in the beginning of the shot and what is at the end? An example could be a beautiful beach in Mexico where you slowly pan the horizon to show the clear water but without planning a bit ahead, your shot ends on a huge billboard advertising local water sports. Not really the effect you had in mind and just a bit of forward thinking can alleviate those situations.
Tip: When shooting video, especially if you’re going to be using it to market your Travel Business, short is sweet. Keep your clips shorter than 5 seconds. I recommend this for a few reasons. One is that editing short shots is a lot more effective than editing long shots. Another reason is that quick shots keep the viewers attention focused and attentive. A long 2 minute video of a slow pan of a beach or cruise ship won’t hold the viewers attention but 10 five-seconds most likely will, especially if the content keeps showing them new things. Lastly, utilizing short video clips allows for you to capture different angles and features whereas a long clip cannot, unless you want to show the viewer all of your steps and actions to take the next shot.
Pano or Panoramic Mode
With social media applications offering a “360 view,” Panoramic photos can be a great source of engaging viewers with a shot you took while out on your travels. Whether it’s a city center, beach or restaurant, Panoramic photos take you one step further past a regular photo and shows you a lot more of the location you are shooting. Panoramic photos are similar to regular photos but do require a bit of technique, similar to video capturing.
Planning ahead is crucial in Panoramic photos and again, looking at the beginning, middle and end of the shot will turn a basic photo into an eye catching experience for your clients. Plan your shot and give a test run before you hit the capture button. Another great tool will be discussed in Part 3 of this series but again, a slow, steady hand will capture the best content.
Time Lapse shots create a short “sped up” video of a longer time frame. Capturing a sunset with a Time Lapse is a great example. Most sunsets seem to take some time to actually dip below the horizon but with the Time Lapse effect, that 30 minute process can be sped up into just a few seconds and can be a great addition to any video marketing you create. There are tons of uses for the Time Lapse effect such as the sun setting on a beautiful scene, a quick lapse of a busy city center or even the calming view from the rear portion of a cruise ship as it sets sail into the big blue ocean. There are a million ways to use Time Lapse but just like with Video and Panoramic shots, a steady hand or placement is key.
Tools for maximizing Time Lapse shots will be discussed in Part 3 of this series as well but a great tip to maximize the content of Time Lapse is to prop or set your phone on something stable so that the capturing of the content isn’t disturbed.
Tip: Find a table or flat surface and create a “tripod” of objects to hold your smartphone steady while the lapse records. The end results are much cleaner and enjoyable compared to your handheld ability, even if you have a steady hand. The tiniest movements during a Time Lapse are magnified due to the speed of the final video product. Now that we have discussed the powerful functions of most smartphones, next month we will dive into Tips and Tricks using them correctly to create the BEST content for your Travel Business. While knowing about the features contained in your smart device is great, knowing how to use them properly will further your success in creating fantastic content from your travels. Remember that no matter what, any time you travel, whether for personal or work, you have the opportunity to create content to share with your clients, prospects and the world. Don’t miss the opportunity to grow your business with your experiences because that is what makes you a Travel PROFESSIONAL.
Until next month, safe travels and thank you for joining me in this issue of Travel Professional NEWS®