How Canon helped save small businesses from their ugly photos

Rule of thirds, people. Come on!

Published On
May 14, 2018

Editor's Pick

Businesses have just a few seconds to make a good impression on finicky shoppers, especially when those customers are judging them from afar. You know the type--always checking reviews and photos on Yelp and Google Maps before risking a visit.

But thanks to crowdsourcing, most of the photos on business profiles are taken by amateurs. A lot of them are ugly--and that makes a bad impression. Big businesses can mitigate the effect by posting plenty of professional shots, but that's beyond the abilities (or budgets) of most smaller players, and they can suffer as a result.

A project for Canon from Copenhagen's Uncle Grey set out to change that. They enlisted Canon social media influencers to take more than 327,000 high-quality photos of small businesses across Scandinavia and posted them on Google's Local Guides platform.

Nearly half of the businesses saw a sales increase afterward. More significantly in the long term, Google then changed its algorithm to favor photos with good lighting and composition.

"Our brief was to capture the interest of young aspirational consumers, who rely on inferior mobile photography to tell visual stories every day and remind them of the power of great photography and how that can help them realize their full creative potential. They skew towards supporting local shops, buying locally sourced products and tend to avoid big brand chains that lack the authenticity they seek in brands," says Thomas Ilum, creative director at Uncle Grey.

"That's why we decided to help these small, local businesses brand themselves with great photography and show the audience how the power of great photography can truly realize not just their creative potential, but eventually help keep their favourite local pizza place or coffee place in, well, business."


May 14, 2018
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