Website Photography Tips From Lindsey
Hi, I’m Lindsey, account manager and new member of The Medium team. For the past eight years I’ve primarily served as a stay-at-home-mom/manager of my three adorable
animals gentlemen. I say ‘primarily’ because I also dabbled in real estate (my pre-mother career) and started a successful wedding photography side-business with my husband. These experiences were instrumental in preparing me for my role here at The Medium. I’m thrilled to be part of this talented and fun group of individuals, and also to get to know our amazing clients.
If you’re one of our clients, odds are you either have or will soon have a website. One topic we come across regularly is helping obtain and select photography for client websites.
The first question one must ask when choosing photography for a website is “what am I trying to convey? How do I want visitors to perceive me or my business? Professional? Modern? Down-to-earth? Honest? Witty? Elite? Compassionate?” Great images can highlight professionalism, develop trust and credibility, humanize, and set the overall tone for your website. On the flip side, average or poor photos convey that the owner hasn’t put much effort into the site, undermine your credibility, and cheapen your brand.
With backgrounds in both photography and real estate, I have, ahem, an appreciation for good imagery on websites. During my time in real estate, I scrolled through thousands of listings. If you’ve ever looked at homes for sale online, you understand the distinction I’m about to make. You’re browsing houses, and are comparing two listings. One has a few dark, grainy, narrow images taken on an old camera. The house isn’t staged, maybe the beds aren’t made, the lawn isn’t mowed. You’ll probably only look at a couple photos before saying “meh” and moving on.
The agent of the other listing, however, took the time to invest in obtaining flattering images of the home. The lights are on, the shades are up, home is staged, photos are wide angle, and have been edited. Each picture invites you to click that right arrow to see more. You’ll probably click through the whole thing and may even want to see the house.
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about house shoppers or visitors to your website, people are overloaded with information and have short attention spans when it comes to collecting information. We live in a culture increasingly dominated by images. Visitors may or may not read all (or much of) the text on your site, but they will notice your pictures. They may even be drawn to them in some way. Images convey emotion and provide you with an opportunity to connect with visitors to your site. They may even prompt people to stay longer and explore more.
Okay, you get the picture. Great images are important – critical even. So how do you go about acquiring and choosing them? You have three options: hire a professional photographer, take your own photos, or use stock photography.
Hiring a Professional
Hiring a professional is the surest way to go to ensure you have amazing photos, particularly if some of the images on your site will be of your business or team. Professionals have the expertise, the experience, and the equipment, and can truly add value to your site. For an example of this, you can view our post on the website we built for Cascadia Capital. We have several photographers we like to work with, please contact us for a recommendation.
Taking Your Own
That said, professional photography does not come without a cost, and for many small or new businesses, a professional identity and website are already large investments. Plus, cameras and amateur photographers have come along way since digital photography and camera phones made their debut. It’s possible for you or a friend to take photos that will work on your website. If you choose to do this, just do your research beforehand and be sure to ask for objective opinions of your work from people you trust, or who are in the business.
Finally, stock photography is often a great choice. There is limitless variety, images as generic or detailed as you desire, and many of the stock photo sites are very inexpensive or free. In fact, even if you’re taking your own photos, you can get endless ideas from stock sites. See below for a list of our favorite stock photo sites.
$$ – Veer
Whichever route you go, keep the following points in mind and you should be set!
- Relevance. If the image doesn’t add value, or in some way complement the other material on your site, then it doesn’t belong there. But make sure you have photos of the things people will be interested in.
- Prepare. If you’re taking your own photos or hiring a photographer, have a list ready of what you want pictures of. Make those places or people or things photo-ready.
- Less is more. Fewer really great shots will do the job best. People on computers or mobile devices are easily distracted. Think of your photos as advertisements to draw people in and connect.
- Good lighting, sharpness, and consistency. These three things make for professional-looking photos.
So there you have it. Use great images on your website that communicate your message and connect with visitors to your site. Don’t underestimate what an effective tool they can be. Make them work for you!
A skilled multi-tasker, Lindsey brings order and calm to the center of our projects. Lindsey holds a BA in Communication from Western Washington University and has operated small businesses in real estate and photography for more than 10 years. She brings clear communication and outstanding client service to The Medium. Managing three small boys, she notes, has prepared her to solve any complex account management challenge. When she’s not trying to tire out her boys on hiking or jogging outings, she can be found seeking solitude in the hot yoga studio.