10 QR Code Uses for Photographers
Several popular photography sites including Flickr, SmugMug, and Showit have some sort of mobile website initiative. Pair a mobile-friendly site with a QR code and a photographer can increase the value for their clients and differentiate themselves. Position yourself as being on top of your game.
Think of a Quick Response (QR) code as an alternative way for your customers to get data into their phone. A QR code is a barcode that can be read by a smartphone with a QR code scanning app (Blackberry and Android phones are preloaded with different scanning solutions these days).
For Android, I recommend the Barcode Scanner app. For iPhone, check out i-Nigma. Blackberry users, either use QR Code Scanner Pro, or in Blackberry Messenger go to options and "Scan Group Barcode." After you have one of these apps, go ahead and scan the QR code on the left.
Read this QR code FAQ to get up to speed on any more questions you might have. Alright, hold on tight, now for the uses...
1. Photography Portfolio
If you're on SmugMug, you can easily connect someone to your mobile photography portfolio. For example, I know Brian over at Pixel That Photography! is on SmugMug. His SmugMug domain is: http://gallery.pixelthatphotos.com. The SmugMug mobile URL is http://gallery.pixelthatphotos.com/m/. Simply add /m/ to the end and you'll get the mobile version. Flickr also has a mobile version you can link to. Store a QR code on your phone which links to your mobile photography portfolio.
You might be thinking, "I already have my photos in my gallery on my smartphone." Aha, yes, but what if someone else wants to take your photos with them? What if they want to view them on their phone? A QR code in your photo gallery allows them to scan your phone and get taken to your mobile portfolio. The exchange process and experience is simply cool.
Or how about creating a Flickr album with engagement photos from that new couple you just met? Create a QR code that links to it and have them send it out in their invitations! (Upsell?)
Or how about hanging a photo up that is a QR code that links to, well, more photos! Maybe have a giveaway for a free photography session or print if someone scans and enters their name into a raffle. The photo in this blog post was the destination of a QR code, framed, and on the wall at a local coffee shop!
2. Facebook Fan Page
Touting your photography expertise on Facebook? You should be! There are two Facebook mobile versions that are widely used. One of them is http://touch.facebook.com (meant for newer end phones like Android and iPhone) and the other is http://m.facebook.com (works well on less capable phones). First, make sure your fan page mobile version works by going to http://m.facebook.com/YourPageName . While both http://touch.facebook.com/YourPageName and http://m.facebook.com/YourPageName should work, I'd recommend the latter since it shows someone your page without requiring them to log-in. This will allow them to get a glimpse of your fan page before they actually sign into Facebook (which can save some time).
3. Photo Studio Location
QR codes are able to store 9 different types of data. If you have a photo studio and want to easily link people to the location, QReate it up! Slap a QR code on that next flyer so someone can easily scan it and pull up Google Maps directions to your studio. Easy enough? This prevents someone from manually typing in that long address of yours.
4. Intro Video on YouTube
You've heard it. People do business with people they like. It's all about creating that personal connection. As a photographer, you understand the importance of the relationship. So, help to foster and create this relationship not only through your photos but through video. Upload a warm welcome message on YouTube with that fancy DSLR you have, or even with a simple webcam. Tell your audience about yourself. Why you do what you do. What you do for fun. Show them you're human and not just "another business." The humanization of your brand is more important now than ever.
After you've created this YouTube video, create a QR code that links to it. Possibly put it on a flyer or a direct mail piece you're sending out. Think about someone grabbing one of these paper pieces, finding the code, and then scanning it with their phone. Imagine them holding their phone in their hand and watching a video of you telling your story.
Take it a step further and create a custom personalized video and a custom QR code for individual people (just be sure they own a smartphone to maximize effectiveness). Send them something in the mail. Forget about writing a personalized note. Just show a QR code, tell them to download the appropriate app or visit http://QRme.in on their phone, and then tell them to scan your QR code. They don't need a personalized note because you gave them a personalized video. I don't think I need to explain how much this can differentiate you.
5. Business Cards
Oh, and while you're at it, stick that YouTube video you made on your business card. Meet someone at a bridal show? Guess what, they probably met a dozen other photographers. Differentiate yourself not only in person, but empower someone to walk away with easy access to your video story.
If you don't want to create a video, you could embed your contact info in a QR code. Think of it like a virtual contact card. Someone is able to scan it with their phone, view your contact details (name, number, e-mail, website, address) and add you to their phone. This is the alternative to having them manually type everything in. Make it easy for people to add you to their phone! It's also not a bad idea to store this QR code with contact info on your actual phone. Out of business cards? No problem - have them scan your phone (did I mention the educational aspect of this and how cutting edge it makes you look?).
6. Use QR codes for Organization
While QR codes could be great for differentiating yourself and building buzz, it's also not a bad idea to use for yourself. Put it on equipment to remember what's in certain bags or certain things you want to remember. QR codes could also just contain text. Matter-of-fact, they're different from traditional barcodes in that they are two dimensional. They can store a lot more data (4,296 alphanumeric characters to be exact). You could have a whole paragraph of text in a QR code if you wanted to remember a list of gear or something about a particular item. Or maybe use it next to a photo to log location, model used, technique, etc. The possibilities are endless. You are limited by nothing but your own creativity.
7. Connect to PayPal
Yes, you read that right. PayPal has an optimized mobile experience. Create a QR code that links to a photography package and give someone the option to pay you via the phone in their pocket. Yes, PayPal charges a tiny fee for the transaction... but sometimes paying for coolness is worth it.
8. Twitter with Photography Tips
Twitter is a relationship building tool. You should be on it. Share photography tips and provide value to your audience. Create awesome tweets because people spread awesome (and being awesome is, well, an awesome trait to have... and you can have it). Oh, and while you're at it, and after you've clearly defined the incentive for someone to follow you, slap a QR code on it. Twitter has a mobile optimized version of their site as well. My mobile Twitter account is linked here: http://m.twitter.com/mgallizzi. Yours would be very similar. Replace your name at the end and voila! Use this when you know you're reaching a tech savvy audience or with other photographers to maximize effectiveness.
9. Links to Sign-Up Form for Next Photography Workshop
If you're promoting a photography workshop at a conference or with a meetup group, a QR code on a flyer with a sign up form might help do the trick. Link to a page that has a video talking more about the workshop and include a sign-up form. Or, connect them to an e-mail address and just have them e-mail you if interested. That's an easier way if you don't want to build a custom landing page (or contact us and we'll set you up with something).
10. Put in Newspaper or Magazine Ads
So now you have all these ideas of destinations for QR codes and some tips on where to put them. Now think about how you can implement them into your print materials. Think newspaper ads, magazine ads, cheap business cards, brochures, and more. Hand them out or distribute them the local coffee shop, conference, or meetup group. Let your mind run wild with the possibilities in print.
So now you are aware of the possibilities. How much does it cost to make a QR code? Use our QR Code Generator at http://qrcode.notixtech.com. It's free. You can create 9 different types of QR codes quickly and easily. If you're linking someone to a URL, I suggest using bit.ly to create a QR code so you can track the people that scan it. Also, check out our 7 best practices if you're going to go QRazy (ha ha, get it? :D).
What use are you excited about the most? Did I leave something out? Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you!