When people are looking to buy a product, hire someone for a service, or donate to a cause, typically one of the first things they will do is look online. Your web site is your first opportunity to woo them into spending their money with your business instead of the competition. I do as much as I can to make my web sites eye catching and easy to use so that the site’s vistors will have their interest piqued and want to stay to learn more. However, one thing I can’t do for my clients is take photos for them, and the quality of a web site’s photos can make a huge difference.
I am always so excited when my clients come to me with professional photos – it elevates the whole project to a different level! Below are some examples of sites with photos that are working for the business, not against them:
Howlinfish School of Guitar
You might not think that someone who teaches guitar would need to worry about photography, but Mark Fisher‘s photos really make all the difference on his site. Taken by Robin Rowell, the photos give you the strong and immediate impression that Mark is not only professional and talented, but also friendly and approachable. After a quick look at his site, you already feel like you or your child would have a great experience under his tutelage.
When you have an online store, great photos are really imperative. Your customers can’t touch or hold the merchandise in their hands, so you really need to sell them with the visual. Keith Kreeger’s photos of his elegant, hand-thrown pottery not only draw you in with their simplicity, but also let you see how his pieces would make your daily life more beautiful.
If you have looked for a new home recently, then you have probably spent a fair amount of time online looking at listings, pouring over photos of house after house. You probably also noticed that the majority of the photos are . . . . awful. Not so at Blairfield Realty. Blairfield’s Jeff Embry is luckily not only a top-notch realtor, but also a great photographer, and his photos make their listings really stand out from the crowd.
Jam Sanitchat, owner of Thai Fresh and the recently opened Thrice, is a chef, cooking instructor, and entrepreneur extraordinaire! She is also a pretty great photographer, and her love for Thai cooking just shines in the photos on her web site and blog. From her photos of fresh produce at market to those of her delicious dishes, you get a real sense that her food is someting special. (And it is, trust me.)
Should you hire a photographer?
In some cases, where there is not a physical product to sell, or another compelling reason for photos of yourself or your business, you may be able to get by with stock photos or no photos at all. But in most cases, even a few really great photos can make all the difference. Whether or not to hire a professional depends on how capable you are of capturing those high-quality shots yourself. Maybe you have a great, top-of-the-line camera – but do you know how to manipulate lighting, adjust time exposures, use filters, and take advantage of all of the features that camera offers you? Have you spent a lot of time practicing with different settings? Do you have an artistic eye for scale and composition? You can take bad photos with an expensive camera just as easily as with a cheap one, and in my experience, some people are just great at capturing a mood or moment (see my friend Jote Khalsa’s blog, Bless Her Heart, for example), and some aren’t. If you are not one of those people who have the gift for it, invest in the skills of a professional. You will not regret it.