What are QR codes?
A Quick Response or QR Code is a two-dimensional bar code that can contain multiple types of information that can be read by a bar code reader or, more importantly, your smart phone.
Photographers can use this technology to share portfolios, blogs, or to direct prospects to specific information. Below is a list of website options where QR codes can be created for Web display or printed material.
1. QR stuff
Imagine you have one of your photographs hanging at the local coffee shop. Suppose a customer wants to purchase the image, but has no idea what to do? If you had a QR code on your image, the customer could use her smart phone to begin the process.
First, the smart phone application scans the code, which leads directly to your gallery. Next, the interested customer can learn more about you and ultimately have the opportunity to buy your image.
QR codes were invented by a subsidiary of Toyota in the 1990s and are very popular in Asia. They’re not new in the United States, either. But it wasn’t until the advent of smart phone applications that the general public took notice.
Now, they are gaining popularity in advertising. Look around; you’ll see them on billboards, magazine ads and packaging.
How can a photographer use QR codes to her benefit? Let us count the ways.
1. Create a podcast containing a QR code directed to more information about the photographer.
2. Create a code that connects to a LinkedIn profile.
3. Link a QR code to a studio map using services such as Google maps or Bing.
4. Attach a code to the bottom of your e-mails to create an expanded e-mail signature.
5. Attach an iTunes link to an audio message within a QR code.
6. Create a link to a photographer’s introduction video on YouTube.
7. Connect a QR code to a downloadable vCard.
8. Display a welcome message for all who scan the code.
9. Use the QR code to share a downloadable coupon.
10. Link the code to a custom Photoshelter, Smugmug or Pictage gallery.
11. Print QR codes on hats and T-shirts for promotion.
12. Place a code on the back of business cards for more information about the business.
13. Create a Guerilla marketing campaign based on QR codes.
14. Create website landing pages to track different uses of the codes.
15. Link a QR code to the company Facebook business page.
16. Link a code to a photo of the day.
17. Connect a code to a full calendar of upcoming events.
18. Link the QR code to a photographer’s interactive availability schedule.
19. Use codes for organizing. (A QR code could contain a list of everything inside a box or drawer).
20. A code displayed next to a photograph could share details about the image on display (location, model, technique etc.)
21. Use QR codes to link to an e-books and white papers.
22. Direct a code to link to an e-mail sign-up page.
23. Post a QR code on a storefront studio window containing updated information about hours of operation and special events.
24. Use a link shortener such as su.pr to track a promotions using multiple QR codes.
25. Create a QR code provided by the Google link shortener tool http://goo.gl for tracking.
26. Use a QR code provided by your Google places account for promotion.
27. Connect a code to instructions for payment through an online service such as Paypal.
28. Link a code to a special Twitter feed for updated information about the photography business.
29. Create a QR code that links to a sign-up form for your next photography workshop.
30. Creatively place a QR code within your logo.
31. Create a puzzle game with QR codes. The first person to find and scan all the codes will have the answer and win a prize.
32. Link a code to your smart phone application for easy download.
33. Place QR codes in newspaper and magazine display advertisements, which will link to a photographer’s full portfolio.
What would you add?
Your imagination is the only limit to how you use these QR codes. The best rule is to make sure whatever you offer is worthy of the time of the person scanning the code.