There are many ingredients that make up a great website. The best websites tell a compelling story through imagery and words, taking the user on an emotional journey that will make them ready to take action. Without professionally taken photos, your website is only half complete. Stock images or low-quality photos lead to users feeling underwhelmed and untrusting of the services that are being offered. If you want your website to work for you, bring your clients, it’s necessary to consider professional photography as an essential investment.
As a strategic designer myself, this checklist covers the necessary photos you will need for your website to go from “eh” to “just take my money!”
It’s important to have high quality images of you – you are the face of your business afterall. Headshots shouldn’t be the typical ones you see of people wearing blazers and standing in front of a blue backdrop – unless your target audience is the corporate world. Headshots should be clear photos of your face, but allow them to show a bit more of your personality. Switch out the suit for something you would actually wear at a work event. My go-to is a blouse with skinny jeans and heels. Sophisticated, yet authentic.
This should be obvious, but stick to wearing clothes that are in your color palette or neutral! If you don’t know your color palette yet, you can always work with a designer to nail down your branding before you get your website designed. I always allow my clients a break between the brand design and website design, so they can use their branding to properly plan their photoshoot!
You should work with your photographer to get a variety of shots. This means close up (waist above) and full body shots. This will allow your designer to utilize your photos in different ways throughout your website.
The last thing to note is the backgrounds for your headshots. Your background should be non-distracting but it shouldn’t be bare. Instead of standing in front of a white wall, a brick wall with artwork adds more personality without taking away from the subject – you!
In-action photos are a way to show (not tell) what your services are. You want to list out all the different activities you do as a part of your service and business. These photos will show users what it’s like to work with you, instead of just telling them.
Make a list of props. If you have an online business, you can bring use your phone and laptop as props – but also think out of the box! My designs are 100% done on my laptop, but I get inspiration from magazines and prints – so I brought those as props!
Filler images kills the need for stock photos. Using stock photos on your website is an absolute last resort. Because stock photos are available for anyone to use on their website, Instagram, Facebook, etc. They are overused and boring. Your website and business should stand out from others. By having your own filler images, you create a unique and interesting story that keeps users attached to your business.
Filler images are photos of your props, work and other fun brand attributes (like wine!). You can create beautiful flat-lays with your props, have them sitting on a table and even have your hands interacting with the props in some way. This will add so much personality and depth to your overall website.