A website is made up of text and images, and therefore it makes sense that the higher the quality of those words and images, the better your website is going to be.
Images help to tell a story. They are part of the customer journey, supporting the words and helping inform the customer, hopefully leading them to make a purchase or a decision. With people’s attention spans getting shorter, some website visitors don’t even read the text, purely reading headings and viewing images. This makes the selection of images a key part of the creation and success of your website.
Images can come from a variety of sources, professional photography, stock photography or even taking photos DIY style. Many people feel stuck when their web designer requests photos but there is no need to be overwhelmed figuring out what photo’s you need. Speak to your website designer and ask what they are looking for. Send them some samples and they will provide you with feedback.
Remember you can hire a photographer, but if you decide to source and take your own images, here are some tips to keep in mind when taking and selecting photos:
Your Brand Vision
What is your brand vision? A brand has been referred to as “what other people say about your company when you aren’t in the room.” Do you want to be known as down-to-earth, maybe approachable, possibly glamorous, or fashionable and funky? Your brand identity defines not only your website and overall digital presence, but it also is the umbrella that your images should fall under. The images need to sell your story, so they need to fit into your brand vision. Think about your vision before beginning and planning or preparation.
Once you have clarity with your brand, visit Pinterest next. Pinterest is a great source of both inspiration and organization. Pinterest allows you to save images that you might be able to recreate for your own website. You can view my photoshoot inspiration board here.
After reviewing Pinterest, you will start to get an idea of the types of photos that might be good for your website. You can start narrowing down a “shot list” or the type of images you want.
The location for your images can be anything from your office to an outdoor location to a cafe. It really depends on what your business is. I’ve had yoga teachers do shoots in a forest, at the beach, and in a veggie patch. You could also have some at your own house or even a colourfully painted wall. Many shopping centres or towns have murals on walls, these can make an awesome background.
What are your brand colours? Mine is purple and green and I have woven those colours through all of my photoshoots. You could do the same.
A few simple changes of outfits can mean multiple extra shots. Jacket on for more formal photos like a headshot, and jacket off for more casual down to earth shots. Types of shoes, or even barefoot are an option. T-shirts with slogans can really be beneficial – a yoga teacher with “Breathe” or a women’s empowerment coach with “Hell Yeah” can be a fabulous image.
Any photos you have taken can be brought to life with accessories. Accessories include clothing options like jewellery, scarves and hair accessories, but they can also include a bottle of champagne, confetti, a coffee mug, a laptop, colourful notepads and pencils, a calculator, books and any props related to your individual business.
Ensure you take a mixture of landscape and portrait shots. Landscapes can be great for hero images on your website.
Don’t forget fun shots
You can have lot’s of fun with your shoot – think confetti, glamour, pets, mess or fun clothes. Express your personality.
What else will you use the images for?
Think about where else you might be able to use these images. Do you have social media accounts, such as Instagram or Pinterest? Do you want to curate some images for these platforms?
Photography for specific pages
There are different pages on a website, not just the home, about or contact pages. Getting creative for these pages can add that little bit extra to your website. For example instead of a generic thank you page (which appears after purchase or subscribing to your mailing list) you could have a fun image of you popping a bottle of champagne, or the 404 page (an error message page when someone gets a broken link on your website) could be a photo of you pulling your hair our or throwing your hands up in the air.
Photos of products and customers
Don’t forget action shots. Photos of you conducting your business, if possible you can get photos of you with clients, even if they are friends or family used to simulate those situations. Include your retail premises, staff or products. Any of these will help to tell the story of your business and enhance your website.
If your budget allows investing in a professional photographer will take your images to the next level. A good photographer will have a brainstorming session with you prior to your shoot. They will discuss what you need images for, as different platforms require different sizes and the photographer can crop
Now you can do all of these photos on your own. If you don’t feel comfortable you can resort to stock photography, these are websites that sell images in all different categories that you can use in some cases for free, or for a small fee. Check out Envato Elements, Unsplash or Pexels for more information.
Professional Website Photography
If you decide to engage a professional photographer, remember that it is an investment. A photographer will make the most use of your time and provide you with a great selection of photos for use across all your digital accounts. Keep in mind that you won’t get as many photos as you could take yourself – normally the photographer will supply a package that includes the photoshoot then say 30 edited photos. Other services a photographer may offer include
- Professional Make Up & Hair
- Accessories & Clothing Advice
- Shot list strategy and direction.
If you are doing a location shoot, you might wish to tag on some family photos too.
Better Images = Better Website
The quality of your images will directly relate to the quality of your website. With a little extra planning and if the budget allows, a professional photography session, your website images will match your brand, tell your story and convert more visitors into customers.