What photography do I need for my website?

website photography on upper oaks website

The internet is a visual medium. Photography sets the whole tone for your website, while building visitor confidence in your brand.

Surfing the net, there’s nothing worse than landing on a website that reads like a book. Information is most easily consumed in bite-sized chunks. These morsels are more likely to be wolfed down if they are presented as attractively as possible.

Spending extra cash on photography might seem painful on top of website build costs. That said, the difference it can make to the quality of your finished website can be night and day. The advantages of good photography are huge.

I’ve found there are three main approaches to photography for websites. Each has their own costs and benefits. You can use one or all of the below on your site.

  1. Use stock photography
  2. Take your own photos
  3. Hire a professional photographer

1. Source stock photography

Stock photography is a quick and easy way to source images for your website.  There are numerous stock sites supplying dizzying numbers of images. The cost is usually inexpensive, sometimes even free. You can buy one image, pay for a block of images or subscribe to a monthly plan.

Although often taken by professionals, stock images have limitations. The main one is that they very often look like stock and can be spotted from a mile off. The cheesy guy answering the phone with a headset on doesn’t build confidence in your brand, whereas a photo of you or your teammate certainly will.

The same stock images get used repeatedly all over the internet. When I see a website featuring a lot of them, I hesitate. I don’t get any sense of the people behind the website. I sometimes even question if the site is genuine.

2. Take your own photos

If you’ve got some photography skills in-house, this can be a cost-effective option, especially if you need regular product photography. You’ll need some decent equipment, camera, lenses and lighting.

The lighting makes the biggest difference. You can even achieve decent images with a smart phone if the subject is well lit.

The caveat to doing it yourself is whether you have the skill to pull off a professional looking image. Lighting and composition, as well as being handy in Photoshop are important. DIY photography can end up looking like snaps and will detract from the quality of your website.

3. Hire a professional photographer

While the most expensive option on the face of it, the benefits to your business are worth every penny.

In the same way that stock photography can look very obviously stock, professional photography will lift your whole website. The photographer will compose images, employ different focal lengths and depths of field. Most photographers include post processing too to make the images look their very best.

A good photographer can tell your company’s story through the images. Customers gain a real feeling for you and your business. The photos will convey what your company is about with authenticity. Professional images will convert more site visitors into customers.

The extra business could quickly offset the expense and the benefits continue to pay out going forward.

Also, on the point of expense, a half day or full day with a photographer will result in a lot of images. If the photographer is well briefed, these will be useful not only for your website but also for social media or print marketing. This can make a photoshoot surprisingly good value for money.

What about mixing it up?

You can absolutely use a mix of the options.

Let’s say you are launching a website for your plumbing business. It would make perfect sense to use stock images of plumbing fittings on the site.

It wouldn’t however be a good idea to use stock photos of engineers working on pipework. Visitors want to see photos of you or your employees so they know you are a genuine local company. They’ll have a realistic sense of who will turn up if they engage you.

We’d suggest a professional photographer for staff shots, maybe get some pictures of your vehicles too.

Photography and working with us

We always advise on your photography when we create a website with you. We work closely with photographers whose work we know and trust. Regardless of whether you use one of ours or one of your own, we’ll create a brief for the photographer as part of the web design process. Where you need it, we also help you select the right stock photography.

Contact us for an informal chat about photography and web design.

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