‘First impressions are so important for capturing your customer’s imagination – why wouldn’t you get someone who knows exactly what they’re doing to take your photos?’
Sarah Peck is a woman on a mission.
She not only runs a series of small businesses from her family farm near Dollar but with four young daughters to chase after she does it at a speed that would make most people’s heads spin.
She launched Dam View Lodges as a way to diversify her mum and step-dad’s farm and help future proof their income.
Nestled in their 100 acre farmland inside the Gartmorn Dam Nature reserve, their three glamping safari tents enjoy stunning and uninterrupted views of the surrounding countryside.
With sumptuous interiors, hammock strewn balconies and wood-fired hot tubs they are the last word in luxury rural retreats and have already proven to be a huge hit.
Not bad for a business that only began in 2019, only got its third lodge set up late last year and has had to weather multiple lockdowns and travel restrictions in its short company history.
Sarah was quick to understand that she needed strong images to convey the beauty of her accommodation to potential customers and she booked Eilidh for a commercial shoot after each of the first two tents were ready for their first visitors.
‘It’s such beautiful scenery here, everyone who drives up is always in awe of the views that we have and I really wanted to share that with other people’ she said.
‘As a customer you’re basing your whole holiday choice on what you imagine it’s going to be like – on what you can see in advance. If your whole business is based on people liking the look of what you do, then why on earth wouldn’t you get somebody in who knows the job and can take the best photos.
‘I think that first impressions are what makes a holiday for me. It’s the same with anything I’m going to buy if I’m honest – if I look on someone’s website and they’ve got amazing photos it shows how much care and attention they’ve put into it. It was something I was very conscious of when we set up.
‘I’m very onboard with the way Eilidh works, she’s quite picky about what she sees in the photos or how it’s going to look and that’s perfect because that’s exactly what I would do when I’m choosing a holiday.’
In a world where everyone with an iPhone could be a superb photographer, Sarah’s high standards and relentless schedule quickly convinced her that outsourcing this part of her business marketing was an investment that would pay dividends.
‘Initially I booked Eilidh because I wanted to her to take photos for our website and the booking sites we use but actually when I was setting that up I realised you really only need a handful of photos for that.
‘They’re there and they’re beautiful but now I also have hundreds more photos that I can use to keep updating our social media which I think is just amazing. Because they’re all taken by her they have the same style and flow which really helps when you’re trying to look professional online. It’s been so helpful to have that stash of photos to use for whatever I want.
‘It all makes so much sense to me, we’re not using Instagram and Facebook for fun, it’s to promote our business so why use random iPhone photos with not great light when you can use actual professional photos.
‘Social media is such a driving force now – especially when it comes to holidays, it has to be Instagramable.’
Entering their third summer in business Dam View Lodges are benefiting from a boom in staycations and that combined with world of mouth recommendations, mean they are already almost fully booked for the summer months.
But it hasn’t always been like that and having a cache of high quality images to use online has proved a vital marketing strategy to winning new customers.
‘Last year was wonderful. We had people who were staying here booking their holiday for next year while they were still in the tent. There will be people who come to us because they’ve been recommended by friends and that’s brilliant but you have to get those first customers to choose you in the first place.
‘If you’re trying to sell your house, no estate agent would encourage you to take your own photos because you’re trying to sell something. If you have rubbish photos people just aren’t going to click on it and it’s the same with businesses I think. It’s all visual.’
‘We’ve had Eilidh out twice already and as soon as we’re allowed to we’ll have her out again to do an update. It means all our photos just fit together and have the style and flow that she does so well.
‘When I want to use them on social media I don’t have to filter anything or work too hard at it, it’s just all there, ready to go.
‘We’re convinced 100 per cent sure that her photos make absolutely the world of difference.’
Over the last year Eilidh Robertson Photography has helped bolster the advertising and marketing plans of more than a dozen small businesses all across Scotland. If you have a relaunch coming up this spring that would benefit from some bespoke, high quality imagery we would love to help you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
And if you would like to see more of Dam View Lodges their website is https://www.damview.com/ or catch up with the latest on Sarah’s instragram @dam_view_glamping_gartmorn