Why Having Professional Business Photographs is Important
Carolyn Spranger on Why You Should Invest in Photography
Editor’s Note: This article was written by Carolyn Spranger, a professional photographer in Cheyanne, Wyoming, and Fort Collins, Colorado. Learn more and connect with Carolyn on LinkedIn.
As a photographer and designer, I gravitate towards websites that are well branded or contain professional photographs. I will click away from websites that are poorly designed, have bad photos, or are hard to navigate. Not everyone feels as strongly as I do, but you have to admit that browsing a clean user-friendly website with lots of beautiful photography offers a more enjoyable experience. It may even make the difference between someone hiring you vs finding someone else. Having a nice-looking website with professional photographs will set you above those who don’t. It’s the difference between professional and amateur. It shows that you care about your business enough to give your branding that extra professional touch it deserves.
What kinds of photos should I have on my website?
That depends on your business. If you sell products, you will want great photos that show the quality and beauty of your product. It’s incredibly important to have a variety of angles and views so people can get a sense of the size, color, and shape of your product. A benefit of having a professional photographer take the photos is that they can get accurate color and focus of your product so potential buyers know exactly what they’re getting before they order. You don’t want people to choose NOT to buy your product because of lack of detailed photographs, and you also don’t want to have disappointed customers when they receive an item that’s not what they envisioned (because of poor photographs).
If you offer a service it’s equally important to have good photographs. Potential clients appreciate details. Photographs of your workspace, you in action, and just a headshot of YOU are great! It’s an added personal connection with your clients or potential clients. It’s a nice idea to feature at least one photograph on every page of your website, and even better if that photograph is personal to YOU and your business (as opposed to a stock photograph purchased online). The more details about your business, you, and the services you offer that you can show using photography, the more connected your audience will be to you.
How To Get Professional Business Photos:
Okay, so not everyone is a photographer or has access to great photographs, so what do you do? Here are a few ideas to get you started…
I’m a photographer/designer so I can manage that part of my business. I’m NOT an accountant, so I outsource!
Yes, it costs money, but in order to run a successful business, you need to price accordingly. You can try to do it all yourself, but it’s always a better business decision to outsource for the things you aren’t good at or don’t have time for.
If you can’t take professional-looking photographs for your website, find someone who can! That’s part of the price of running a business. It will be worth every penny to save yourself the time and headache trying to do something you’re not trained to do, and doing an ‘average’ job at it.
So what if you just can’t afford to hire someone?
Not every photographer can afford to barter, but it never hurts to ask.
Bartering is a great way to trade services IF both parties can agree on an equal value trade. It may not always be retail value for retail value, but as long as both parties are satisfied with the arrangement, it’s a successful barter. However, it’s still important to find a photographer who can give you the kinds of photographs (and quality!) that you’re looking for. It won’t do you any good to have amateur photographs when you’re wanting to stand out as a high-quality professional.
It’s also OKAY to request a barter and decide it’s not a good fit after talking through details. You may have a vision for website photography and the intended photographer may not have the skills or style you’re wanting. It’s okay to say “No thank you, this doesn’t sound like it will work”. It’s better to have one party say no than to agree to barter and regret it later! Communication is always key; go into it with an open mind and be okay with one party saying “No.” Most photographers will ask that their website is on the photograph used (like these photographs!) or listed under each photo, that way it benefits both parties.
This is really a last resort unless you’re filled with extra time on your hands!
Depending on your business and photography needs, you could learn to take better, more professional photographs yourself. If you have an ever-changing product to sell, it may not be easy to arrange for a photographer each time you have a new product to list, so taking the photos yourself may be your only logical option. In that case, it would be a smart idea to learn a few useful skills to taking better product photos.
If you’re a great self-learner, you could search through youtube videos, Etsy blog posts, or websites like lynda.com to find tutorials. If you like a more hands-on approach, you could pay or barter with a local photographer willing to help you learn. You don’t have to go on to be a professional portrait photographer to be able to take better product photos for your website!
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What if I would rather just use random photos on my website?
There’s always an option to use stock photographs, but what many people don’t realize is that most photos you find online are not free. You can’t do a google image search and right click/save the image to use.
Every photo that you see online was taken by SOMEONE, and that someone owns the copyright. It may be a regular person, a photographer, or even a stock agency. You have to find the source of the image to find out if you can legally use it. This can get tricky if it’s not your area of expertise, so your safest bet is to browse through a stock website and pay for web use. Common well-known websites are istockphoto.com, shutterstock.com, and gettyimages.com.