How to Nail Your Website Photography: This One Thing will Set Your Organization Apart from the Rest
You’ve put a ton of time and resources into building your brand, website, and social media presence. The one thing you may be forgetting is branded photography.
Nearly all modern websites use photography to engage visitors visually. Images showcase your portfolio, they tell a story, and evoke emotions in a matter of seconds. Photography is a universal language and requires no translation or explanation. The impact of your written message will be vastly improved when paired with compelling and relatable imagery. This means your photography needs to be intentional and original.
The planning that goes into your website’s photography should match the amount of thought and care that you put into your personal image (gym, tan, laundry anyone?). The human brain is innately visual, and we make judgments and decisions every day solely based on what we see—sometimes without even knowing it.
How to Nail Your Website Photography
Avoid stock photos like the plague. Stock photos are cheesy and overused. Even if you find one or two decent-looking stock photos, that won't be enough to create a cohesive brand look. I'll also guess that your audience has already seen your chosen stock photos used somewhere else before—how confusing! If you're hell-bent on using stock photography, plan to spend more time (looking for the images) and money (to purchase licenses) than you're estimating right now.
Hire a professional photographer. If your reading this you know how important brand photography, so don’t just wing it. A professional photographer will help guide and direct your entire photoshoot. They will assist with things like choosing your wardrobe and coaching you to how to pose, so you don't end up looking like an awkward goon (been there). If you're worried about the cost, talk to multiple photographers and ask for quotes. This investment is invaluable. Whether you create content, sell products, or offer services, your photos will end up paying for themselves.
Focus on people. Recruit your happy employees, or, if you're a solopreneur, get ready to smile! People love seeing smiling faces; it helps them connect with you and your message. If you have the budget to hire professional models, go for it! If your resources are scarce, but your dream images call for action shots with extras, ask your loyal customers, family, or friends to volunteer for your photoshoot. Don't forget to have models and volunteers sign a model release form! Bonus tip: To make the shoot run smoothly, be sure to have a detailed shot list. An organized and relaxed atmosphere will set the stage for great, natural photos. Thank volunteers with a special gift or gift certificate.
Showcase your team. Your audience visits your website to learn more about you, so it's essential to put a friendly face to the name. Your headshot is likely the first impression customers will get of you, so don’t take this lightly. Think about it for a minute—do you follow anyone on the internet who you've never met in real life? Of those people, who would you trust enough to buy their services or products? Chances are you've seen their face more than once. Your website should be no exception. A picture is worth a thousand words—and quite possibly a thousand dollars—if it helps sell your products or services.
Make it memorable. When it comes to headshots and team shots, there aren't any laws forcing you to have a white background. With that being the 'norm,' you'd sure think so, though! Standard cookie cutter headshots are usually cold and stiff, often devoid of any personality—which I know you have! Work with your marketing team or photographer to come up with a unique way to present your company. Like all touchpoints, these photos are a chance to make an impression on potential customers. Get creative, keep it professional, and make it quintessentially you.
Now don't get me wrong, stock photography does have its place, but it should only be used to fill in the gaps. Gaps that couldn't easily be filled otherwise, such as aerial photography, tropical vacations, or a staged surgical operation (that's not a fun photoshoot). On occasion, even we use stock photography to mock up our websites in a real-life setting—and I'm a photographer! In those instances, I am using my photoshop skills to make it look as real as possible for our audience. If someone can tell it's stock photography, you're probably doing it wrong.
There is no good alternative to original photography. Branded, original photography is a powerful tool. If you do it right, you will be able to use your photos for a very long time—or at least until that blouse goes out of style!