10 Tips to Creating the Perfect Story Behind the Project Photo

Get the perfect story with these ten tips, plus professional photography - to win more work and increase chances of media coverage.

Media Coverage of landscaping or design work is a top need for many marketing executives or business owners in this industry. Of course there are other key marketing essentials (like inbound marketing - which includes blogging and social media). There is however something special about building your reputation in quality work using previously completed projects.

Sure, professional photography is non-negotiable. Whether it costs several hundred dollars or a thousands, it's a must. But what happens after the photos and what can you do with them to make sure you're promoting your best work and increasing your chances of media coverage? It starts with getting the right story. A story behind the photos. Something that connects readers and viewers to the work. Words that bring it all to life. 

When you're all set, you can share it on your site & submit to publications (and on social media of course). 

Putting the words together doesn't have to be a daunting never-ending task. Start gathering details from your first interaction (that first call) to post-completion follow up. Related: 7 Must Ask Items in Your In-Person Meeting. It's a good idea to get into the habit of asking for this info sooner anyway since it will only help you make a better pitch and increase chances of winning the bid. So without any further delays, here are the top 10 details to include to make the perfect story behind the photo!

  1. Current residents. How many of them, their ages, their involvement with the project design and inspiration (never leave the children out!).

  2. Family changes. Family sizes and needs change over time. Go back a hundred years if this a home that's been occupied and passed down for generations or just ten years. Regardless, get details on the previous family size(s) and what their needs were compared to now.

  3. Prior space and how it was used. How was this current space used in the past? Perhaps now its a family room addition that was previously a path from the front to the back of the house - which is being relocated to the other side. Or maybe it was a pool - or a pond. Whatever it is, keep history (even if its from a couple of months ago) remembered. If you can get details on what the space was before its most recent condition (say 50 years ago), even better.

  4. Childhood connections to future design goals. "When I was a child, I always envisioned a white picket fence and dark blue shutters." Many people have these kind of statements to share - just ask!

  5. First thoughts upon first sight of completed project. What were the homeowners' first emotions? Maybe they hated it because they missed the old space so much! Be honest, add humor, and bring in emotions.

  6. Favorite detail. The entire project could've cost hundreds of thousands, but the homeowners realized their favorite spot they enjoy the most is the large window that looks out to a couple of apple trees. And maybe get they "why:" "..because it reminds the homeowners of all the apple picking they did with their kids when they were younger."

  7. Unplanned use(s). There is always a surprise useful element. Perhaps the new patio allowed for an impromptu space for a smoker that the family enjoys often. Go back and find these new sparks.

  8. Biggest overcome fear of homeowners. Maybe its letting go of the now-grown-up kids old swing set - or perhaps they've had so much trouble with contractors in the past. Ask and detail what fears the homeowners have overcome.

  9. Connection to the remaining spaces in/out of the home. As for design, don't leave out the holistic points. Design is still king. Bring up points on how this new spaces works with the others - whether it be plantings, pavers, siding, or overall architecture.

  10. Time for you. How do you feel and what do you think? What were some of your concerns or favorites. Don't leave yourself out of the story. Bring up your thoughts and be honest.