How Custom Photography Can Optimize Your Website

Consider investing in high-quality website photography to help drive conversions

Gathering content for a new or re-designed website is an arduous process. If you have a specific, cohesive aesthetic in mind (**hint: you should!) it can take time to curate the right images to make your website feel like home. Stock photos can be an appealing option that allows you to weed through thousands of images and choose the ones that fit. But website photography that is customized to your brand, your team, and your product or service goes a long way in helping you stand out among competitors.

We all know that strong images are what make a website appealing. Most people browsing the internet aren’t going to be blown away by a long paragraph of text or a boring, flat graphic.

But why custom photography? At Design in DC, we always offer our clients the opportunity to take advantage of our photography services. And that’s because we strongly believe ownership over your own brand and image can make all the difference in an over-saturated digital market. Here are some of the reasons why:

Strong Team Headshots Help Set a Tone

We see a lot of websites that have opted to go the amateur route with their team headshots. And in some cases, it can work! But it takes diligence to ensure that all your photos look consistent and professional.

We always recommend getting a professional to do your team’s headshots. It’s a simple, fast process that ensures your ‘Team’ page looks sleek and visually engaging. There’s nothing more jarring for a website user than reaching a ‘Team’ or ‘About’ page to find a bunch of grainy selfies. It looks unprofessional, which can detract from the legitimacy of your business.

Headshot photography

Professional headshots bring a clean and consistent look. But more than that, they can help establish a tone and allow your users to get a deeper look into who you are as a brand.

The lighting, background, choice of clothing, and even angle of a team photo can be a signal to the user of who you are as a company. A downtown law firm will probably opt for a simple background, formal work attire, and a consistent pose across employees. If you’re a young, trendy, tech start up, you might opt for an exposed brick background, casual attire, and maybe even a fun, goofy photo option that varies across employees.

A professional photographer can talk these ideas through with you, and then execute them with precision. Well-thought-out team photos help ensure that any visitor to your website knows exactly who you are. When they eventually reach out to you, users will already have a sense of who they’re dealing with.

Putting a Face to a Name Helps Build Trust

And this doesn’t just mean having strong team photos. Some businesses don’t even have the capacity to have a ‘Team’ page due to their size or the organization of their company. Regardless– the principle stands. When users see real people in action, it helps them get a sense of your service and builds trust.

Photography that demonstrates services

With more and more business being built online, users need a way to establish legitimacy. After all– anyone can build a website! There’s a number of ways to do this (think testimonials). But if you offer a hands-on service, we find it particularly helpful to have photography or video that depicts your actual team, doing actual work.

Event photography

Think of this photography as less of a visual decoration and more like a preview into what users can expect from your product or services. This kind of photography is particularly potent if your business operates in-person– whether that be an at-home or event-based service.

What a User Sees… Should be What They Get

Product photos have never been more important for online businesses. With operations moving online due to the ongoing pandemic, many businesses that would usually rely on in-person customers need to re-think their strategy.

Ever go to a restaurant and check out your neighbour’s table to see what looks good? Ever order delivery online, enticed by beautiful photography, but end up being delivered something totally different? Certain businesses– like restaurants– rely heavily on sensory experience to sell a product.

Product photography

For that reason, users should be able to get a real sense of what you’re offering by just browsing online. Using stock imagery in place of proper product photos can be incredibly misleading, and deprives your user of that ‘restaurant’ experience that is so essential to their decision-making process.

And this goes for all products– not just food. Retail in general benefits massively from accurate and visually engaging photography. After all, a photo is likely going to be a key driving factor in a user’s purchasing decision. In short– product photography is worth the investment.

Professional Photography Means Professional Editing

Not only can professional photography services help show off your products and services, it can also make them look better than ever. Design in DC offers full photography packages that include editing and touch-up services, so that your pictures look as visually appealing as possible.

Professional photo touch-ups

This is one of the big advantages of hiring a professional versus using your own photos or using stock– where you can’t always account for quality. Editing services give you flexibility as well, allowing you to refine your vision long after your shoot is over.

You Don’t Need to Blow Your Budget

One thing that we always emphasize at Design in DC is working within our customer’s budget. When it comes to photography, we believe that a few powerful photos can have a huge impact on your website. And if that’s all you can afford? That’s no problem.

Our research shows that choosing custom, original photography over stock, you can drive up conversions by roughly 10%! But we also found that even a few custom photographs can have nearly the same impact. Here’s a couple of creative ways to use a limited amount of photography, when the budget is tight but the ambitions are high:

Mix it up with stock photography

If you’ve read this far, you might assume we aren’t the biggest fans of stock photography. But it’s not true! A good stock photo, particularly one that serves a more secondary purpose (i.e. a background photo vs. a product photo) can be an easy and inexpensive way to enhance the visuals on your website.

Mixing stock images and custom images

We recommend mixing stock and original images in a way that looks coherent. In the example above, we want to display Design in DC’s awesome photography skills. The important thing is that we choose one of our own original photographs (the photo on the left). But because we don’t have any behind-the-scenes imagery, we choose a stock photo that depicts a process akin to our own, with a colour scheme and mood that blends well with our original.

Make a splash with graphic design and illustration

One of the biggest design trends for 2021 is the blending of photographic and illustrative imagery to create bold, unexpected images. If your short on original photography, this is a great way to maximize the use of your original images in a way that’s fun, bold, and creative.

Mixing photography with graphic images

The example above is from StudioJQ– but we think it’s a great example of how impactful just a small snippet of original photography can be.

Visuals are the easiest way to make a big splash online. Use the right ones, and your users won’t be able to stop scrolling.

For all this and more, Design In DC’s digital creative agency is here to help:

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