Why do you need your own photography for your website? Aren’t there free image websites or stock photos available? Or you could do it yourself, right?

If you’re reading this, you know that you don’t have time or confidence to do it yourself. You’re busy. But why should you invest in a professional? 

I’ve been there, working with clients who needed their own photos for their websites and projects. What we discovered together is that taking the time to get your own photos transforms everything you’re trying to do.

As 2017 kicked off, Enable hired me to start developing a visual brand for them through photography. I had a blast exploring ways to combine artisanal coffee, rustic brick backgrounds and high-tech design in one shot. Enable wanted to go for that friendly, yet professional feel that’s a hallmark of the Enable brand.

Here’s one that they liked;

Put Time Into Finding Great Images

The level of authenticity and ‘you-ness’ is amazing. Not to mention, no potential copyright issues.

Nothing compares to getting your own photos for your website and promotional materials.

We’re going to break it down into 5 things to think about;

  1. ‘Visual Content Marketing’; a fancy term for how you visually communicate yourself and your brand.
  2. How photography actually can affect your SEO.
  3. It’s actually a stress free situation.
  4. You build real confidence in your business.
  5. And it’s your photos, about the real you.

1. What is Visual Content Marketing?

‘Visual Content Marketing’ means communicating with various forms of visuals, from graphics, illustrations, to photographs.

Crafting a solid visual presence is a crucial element in for your website and marketing strategy. (For Enable’s breakdown of what goes in to crafting such a solid visual presence, check out Dominic de Souza’s What Makes a Website Visually Appealing.)

For now, let’s put some of these other forms of visual marketing aside, and focus on why photography is a must for your website.

With the increasing popularity of DSLR cameras, and the stunning quality of smartphone cameras, professional photography has become an accessible and finally affordable element of building your brand.

It communicates quickly and effectively, helping potential clients understand who you are before reading a word.

Photography and Web Design

In fact, a study shows that photography will help you have more of a lasting impact on website visitors. Three days after simply hearing information, people will remember only about 10% of it.

But, pair that text with a good photo or image and it’s far stickier.

We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%. (brainrules.net)

As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” You can communicate in a second what would have taken a full page. (This is growing more and more essential in this increasingly content-soaked age – for more on this topic, see our article on the connections among homepages, highway signs, and neanderthals.)

With internet speeds increasing each year, you can put a prime focus on delivering gorgeous, distinctive photos of who you are and what you do.

Instagram boasts of 80 million photos uploaded daily. It’s an amazing testament to how one networks communicates completely through purely content.

Today, the average person is overwhelmed by information fatigue. We’re used to processing a constant intake of visual information. Brands know that an image stands a better chance of catching attention before text will.

People will create an impression of your business’ vision and professionalism by your first photo they see on their feed or your website.

It’s time to make photography your new best friend for building your website.

Related: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Photography

Photography and SEO

2. Photography and SEO

Photos catch the eye and get people clicking. Your website is often the first impression that people have of your business, and first impressions mean a lot.

Clean professional photography makes your online presence appealing and welcoming to visitors. Having a great user experience like that increases viewer incentives to stick around and continue engaging with you.

Time to break out the statistics.

Let’s say you’re a realtor and you’re launching your new website. Professional photos draw attention. Papilios Real Estate Photography found that listings with professional photography generated an average 139% increase in clicks.

If you want to stand up against competitors, stand out with your photos.

A high resolution photo with the proper subjects in focus and meaningful composition compared to a blurry iPhone snapshot can mean the difference between a scroll and a click.

It can also mean more sharing on social media networks. BuzzSumo analyzed over a million articles. They found that those with an image placed once every 75-100 words received double the social media shares as those with less images.

Professional photos means more web traffic.

It’s that simple.

3. Be Stress-Free

“Ok, so I know that I need my own photos, but I don’t have the time, skill, or equipment to take professional photos.”

Good news! You don’t have to.

If you want a steady flow of personalized, professional photos for your website, start building a relationship with a local professional photographer.

Photographers will take care of photo shoots, editing, file type, sizing, etc. They also should be familiar with things like composition, depth of field, and know to take photos that your designer will love.

Often in laying out a website, photos need plenty of breathing room around their subject so that overlaying text feels complementary, not forced.  A pro will understand and deliver that for you.

The Importance of Professional Photography

A little outside help can go a long way, and there are plenty of budding photographers who would be happy to build their portfolio by helping you with your brand.

After an hour’s consult, you could have a photographer working with you to illustrating your website and marketing strategy. in a way matching your style. And most importantly, can’t be found anywhere else on the web.

If you are needing a few photos and not looking to hire a photographer? Check out stock photo websites like Shutterstock, 123RF, or Stock.Adobe. We have our own breakdown of websites with free, no-copyright photos available. With a few keyword searches, you can be illustrating your website in minutes.

Professional photography doesn’t have to mean more weight on your shoulders.

By outsourcing, you can transform your website without the added work.

4. Professional Photography = Business Growth

So, we’ve already seen that professional photos boost SEO through a better customer experience. That means more traffic for your website.

Let’s take a look at how professional photos also lead to business growth.

users pay attention to information-carrying images that show content that’s relevant to the task at hand. And users ignore purely decorative images that don’t add real content to the page… Invest in good photo shoots: a great photographer can add a fortune to your website’s business value. (nngroup.com)

The National Retail Federation studied how people ranked the importance of image quality in relation to buying products. Notably, 94% said the quality of the image was “very to somewhat important” to selecting and ultimately buying products.

Professional photos give people the security they need so that they can choose your business.

If you’re a cafe, or a restaurant, let people see exactly what they can expect, down to the way the light falls on that dollop of homemade whipped cream.

Put Time Into Finding Great Images

A poorly-composed shot can leave visitors wondering if they’re looking at a bowl of southern grits or mushroom risotto.

Use photography to your advantage. Show off the smallest and greatest details of your business.

Help your clients ‘get their hands’ on what they want to buy simply by looking at your website.

Professional photography guarantees you a a greater chance of converting your readers.

Did you accidentally delete your photos? Read this guide here to help recover your photos.

5. Leverage Branded Photography

Show your viewer who you are, what your business is, and why they should choose you.

This is when working with a professional photographer becomes particularly beneficial. You get to create your own brand of photography.

Perhaps you want vibrant, crisp photos to flaunt your catering company’s flavorful creations. Maybe you need clean, neutral shots that let your team shine. Or perhaps solid, detail-centric and landscape shots to showcase your roofing company.

Explore your vision with a photographer. They’ll know that like low f/stops will highlight the details of your entrees, while a larger depth of field is the sweet spot for your roofing company.

Working with your photographer helps you to establish a personal and consistent theme for your website. You can be furthering your mission and vision with each photo.

And that’s what branded photography is. The best case scenario is when a viewer sees your photo before your name and immediately associates the style and subject with you.

The coherence of your website and marketing photos is what creates your personalized brand. It helps you take better control of how your viewer’s perceive your business.

Turn your visitors into customers by boosting your trust index. Use professional, branded photography to communicate the real you.

Let’s Sum up

Businesses have all different reasons for needing their own photographs;

  • exclusive content that stock photos can’t replicate
  • the need to steer free of possible copyright issues
  • to better express your authenticity and distinction.

Sitting down for and hour with a professional photographer can help you define your visual characteristics.

Leveraging branded photography expresses who you really are, which builds real confidence in viewers.

Developing a relationship with a photographer you trust takes a huge weight off your shoulders. You don’t have to get the equipment, deal with the learning curve, take the time, and so on.

You’re already busy focusing on your bottom line. A photographer can instinctively understand your needs, and deliver more than you anticipated.

Good photography can boost your SEO – how search engines rank your site. The better customer experience you can offer your visitor, the more they will return, the longer they stick around, and the more they will engage. Google loves that kind of reaction, and ‘reward’ a website for giving their users the content they’re hungry for.

All of this boils back to your visual content marketing strategy, finding ways to translate your business services and vision into photographs and graphics. Humans are largely visual creatures, and our activity online is making that a priority.

What are your biggest questions at this point? Have you worked with a photographer before?

Mary Katherine

Born and raised in Lake Wylie, South Carolina. Has had a passion for visuals from a young age over the past few years has been pursuing her passion for photography. When she doesn’t have a camera in her hands, it’s probably been replaced with a coffee mug. | LinkedIn