Get better ranking on and improve your SEO.

Anyone who has worked with me in the last 2 years knows I’m a big fan. Why? Houzz helps home building, remodeling and design professionals build their brand and connect with 40+ million users every month.  It’s where your clients are! If I could get your interior design, landscape or home remodeling photos in front of your customers, it simply makes them more valuable to you. Bingo, Jim stays in business another year. When we first joined the houzz community, our goal was simple:

Make our photos appear in the search results for as many of your potential client’s searches as possible.

That’s it. Two years later we have accomplished our goal.  We appear #1 in the United States and #2 in the world. Jim Schmid Photography is the top ranked photographer on houzz and our clients project photos are currently the most popular.  Our photos have been saved by prospective customers over 100,000 times. 

Hiring a professional photographer is a great first step to any marketing campaign. I believe the commercial photographers product has little business value unless it can positively influence your prospects. To influence they must first be seen and that is where our Houzz ranking matters. As the #1 design and residential photographer, our photos of your projects will appear higher in searches. Target homeowners in your community and increase visibility for your business. From my perspective I see two choices to increase your exposure.

  1. Pay the money. Advertising is great for newcomers to Houzz if they don't mind the extra monthly investment. I estimate this will cost you about $500 a month or $6000 a year. Your SEO will improve but what if you don’t have that kind of budget?
  2. Rise organically. This option can be more effective in my opinion and well, organically just sounds healthier. I define “organic” as “true and real popularity; appearing prominently in a search engine based on a standard algorithm vs a fee.” By following a few simple steps as outlined on several blogs including houzz itself you can improve your position too.

Why do I think organic is better? You can try a test I think indicates this is the case.

1. Input the search terms and parameters into Houzz that you anticipate your customers will use to search for your service. In this example I searched “Interior Designers & Decorators” within 50 miles of greater Charlotte NC.  875 businesses appear on houzz using this search criteria.

2. Notice that Lucy and Company appear at the top of the list followed by Lauren Nicole Designs.  Loftus Design is #3. Anywhere on page one is a great position and #3 is a fantastic place to be.

3. This is where the actual test come in. Refresh the current page of your internet browser. Chrome and Explorer users can just type “command/ctrl + R”. 

Lucy and Company retained the top position and Loftus Design is #3 but the second and fourth position changed. Why? I believe that Lucy and Company rose organically and am certain Loftus Design did. Bridget Loftus is one of our clients, we tag all her projects and her images get saved thousands of times. But, Bridget is not a paid subscriber. She does incredible work and we shoot all her jobs so she rises organically. Sorry Houzz bank account, this one’s on us. Keep refreshing this page and you will see this pattern repeat itself.

4. Now for the not so secret, secret. Houzz sells these spots to multiple vendors. If you promise multiple people a top ten spot you must rotate that position. 

Now I will let you in on the real secret. Hire Jim Schmid Photography to be shoot your next project and we will do most of the hard work for you. Free of charge. Not only will we tag your images properly we will even upload them for you under your profile. You just sit back and let us promote you. By simple association with the #1 ranked photographer on houzz, your images will rise organically. Will it happen overnight? No, but you have to start sometime. That sometime is now.

So if you want to guarantee a top ten spot and increase your odds of your profile resulting in a potential sale, pay the nice folks at houzz for this privilege. Just start by hiring a professional commercial photographer.

Commercial photography and non-models.

Professional corporate photography in Charlotte is a balance of big budgets and making the best of the resources around you.

Unfortunately one of the biggest expenses on a commercial shoot and usually the first things cut is  the talent. A professional model will laugh, cry and pose on their own and look great doing it.  When this happens, co-workers, friends or the occasional impromptu stranger can be be photographed very successfully. Whether it is a corporate portrait or an advertising photography shoot, so the subjects appear relaxed and natural, I try a few of these techniques.

    •  Keep distractions of onlookers and outside conversation noise to a minimum. It is important to “make a connection” with the subject and keep them focused on you. 

    •  That being said, enlist a cheerleader to praise them. Pick the most enthusiastic person on the set you can find.

    •  The more positive reinforcement the better. Tell them they look “incredible, amazing, wow, etc.” and make it believable! After all, your job IS to make them look great.

    •  It’s ok to share a peek at the camera screen with your cheerleader but never the subject. Inevitably they will not like their appearance no matter how great it is. 

    •  I learned a neat secret from, a classic Time Life/ People Magazine shooter I was fortunate to assist. Telling the subject they were done with their portrait, they would walk away and then he would call them back for just “one more shot.” They would be so relieved the shoot was over they would be totally at ease and he would nail a great image! It was cool to see it work.

Overground ad agency booked us to shoot a day with New Dominion Bank for the launch of the banks website and print campaign. All the talent was either a friend of the client or one of their customers. Some of the best shots were when the subjects were enjoying themselves or un-staged. Here are some screenshots of the new site at