Photos on your website should capture the essence of your business and make a great first impression to your potential customers. We’ve said it before; your website is an investment in your business. As part of that investment, hire a professional who can take beautiful high-resolution photos your web designer can crop and photoshop as needed.
Cell phone cameras can take impressive photos, and those are great for your Instagram and Facebook pages. But they don’t convey a sense of quality and consistency, integral to your website design.
Here are some best practices we highly recommend:
Hire the right kind of photographer for the project.
Do your homework and check out their website. Take a look at several of their previous jobs and make sure their style is in-line with your business personality. You shouldn’t hire someone who specializes in portraits to take architectural shots.
Read reviews of previous clients. Does the photographer take direction and is willing to make adjustments? Or are they difficult and non-responsive? Even if they’re your boss’s niece who just graduated from art school – if they don’t have the right eye and technique for the job, they aren’t the right photographer.
Ask your web designer what they want.
Have them make a list of images they need: specific products, employees or team shots, action shots, area images, etc… They know what type of image they want to go where. Or even better, have them direct the photo shoot. A full-service firm should have a designer or creative director that can oversee the shoot to get the best photos possible.
Also, ask them about their preferred specs. These will change depending on who you’re working with. For example, if you’re working with us, we need photo files that are a minimum 1600 pixels on the longest side and in JPG, TIF or PNG file formats.
95% of the shots your photographer takes should be horizontals (landscape orientation).
A vast majority of web design these days does not easily lend itself to vertical images. A few are fine; maybe you need some head shots for bio pages or product photos which make sense for that specific element.
Horizontals are much better for responsive design sites. They can easily be resized for mobile while still maintaining the overall look and feel of the page. Having your images in horizontal format also makes them more easily compatible with most social channel image formats. Think Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest. Most of these square up images, so verticals are likely to get cut off in weird ways and the beautiful picture of your product gets cut in half.
The images need to be wide shots.
With lots of room for your web designer to crop as needed. Very rarely is a photo ready to be put immediately on the site. The image needs to be cropped to focus in on exactly what you’re trying to show your potential customers.
The photographer doesn’t need to zoom in on the product as much as possible. That can be done on high-resolution images later as needed to get exactly the right look. In some cases, this means you don’t need to worry about some of the background because that’ll just get cropped out later. But in other cases noticing what auxiliary items will be captured in the shot is extremely important.
Clean up your office space.
The photos you’re having taken should be the idealized version of your team, office or product, not the true grit version. When you’re having shots of your employees taken at their desks, they need to tidy them up. You don’t want the shot to include the stacks of paper, empty drink bottles, and a tangle of computer cords.
Maybe add some fresh flowers, so it doesn’t look empty. But you’re trying to show how your company operates through these images. If your office space looks messy and hectic, it may be perceived as a reflection of how your business runs.
Don’t expect your photographer to think of everything. Most will assume that you know what you want and are just going to try and give that to you. Some will mention that you should have your employees dress in solid colors. Others will just let you do you and capture that. Do your research, talk to your web designer, and put your best foot forward.