Website images can make or break a great website. Carefully selected stock photos are okay but the absolute best is having your own branded photographs taken. I strongly suggest using a brand photographer - one that specializes in these types of lifestyle photos. Branded photos are different than headshot and newborn photos and can be a fairly significant investment into your business. Done well, these photos can be repurposed in many ways from your website to your social media to banners and flyers and even book covers.
Warning! If you are building your website - make sure you discuss the photo needs with your website designer ahead of time. They will love you for it! It gives you a far better website to work your photos into the site than to work your website around existing photos.
Below is the must have photos for your website and why they are important. In addition, you will find a checklist you can hand to your photographer to show them exactly what photos you want to include.
Photo Info Before Starting:
Croppable: Take photos horizontally! Web designers can always crop a vertical photo from a horizontal one but rarely the opposite.
Make sure they can be “croppable” For hero images - 1200 pixels wide with the center of the image taken from a distance. The photo - depending on the design - will be cropped to about 500-600 pixels in height. Have background above and below the main character of the image so it can be easily cropped. Otherwise you may be choosing between head or feet.
Variety: Take a variety of the same shot. Just a second can make a difference in expression or tilt of the head.
Verify: CHECK the shots with the photographer on their camera early in the shoot and at each different set up. Waiting until you receive the edited photos is not the time to discover you don’t like the background.
Consistency: Make the photos match the content and design of the website not the other way around.
Branding and tone: Make the photos match your brand. In today’s world, you don’t need to wear a starched suit unless that is your business and your brand. If your ideal client needs to see a suit, then by all means wear one. But if you are a casual brand, wear what suits your brand. Casual can be jeans and a tee shirt or it can be nice pants and a nice shirt.
You want to make sure what you wear doesn’t clash with your branding colors and is consistent. You don’t want to just wear your “signature color” - in fact I recommend you don’t. DO bring a change of clothing to the photo shoot. Click here for more photo shoot tricks and tips.
For the brand tone take photos according to what your brand is. If you are a health coach, photos working out and having fun - smiling - are appealing to someone that hates to work out. (Wow, look how much fun they are having!) If working with someone going through a divorce, and they need reassurance, you will want your photos to show compassion and trust. Planning your photos out ahead of time with your photographer will make this a simple process.
Headshot - several versions - facing left, right, center. Make sure you can get a .png transparent background on each style.
Hero image photo - 1200 pixels wide at least - website design will determine the height.
Hero image is the larger image on the main page that goes all the way across. The main subject will want to be off to the side on this photo to allow for room for text. You will want photos that show the main subject more up close and then from far away with background on the top and bottom of the subject (to allow for cropping if necessary.)
Additional Hero Images - many website designers love to use different hero-type images on the sub pages of your website. The more you have to choose from the better. You can also use hero type images behind sections of your website so don’t just stop at one. Take several at each location with the hero image photos in mind.
Team or Company photos (if you have a team in one place) Headshots of each team member are important. The goal is to allow your potential customer to get to know you and your company.
“Brick and Mortar” locations - physical shots of the space.
- Exterior shots - Take a couple of exterior shots for your contact page (always great to let people know they are in the right place!)
- Interior shots - Take photos of each area of your interior offices. Gives potential clients a visual of working with you. Of course, take action photos - photos of you “doing what you do.”
Show your company “doing what they do.”
If you have customers, clients or patients that come to your location, ask a few to be present for the shoot and participate. They love to do this for you!
Go through a “day in the life” showing the customer process. Start to finish. Do this several times with several different people. Make sure they are happy and smiling (unless you are at a funeral home, then don’t.)
Solo Entrepreneur that works from home? You can do the same thing. You may not want to wear your pajamas for the shots (although that would be funny and eye catching) just dress in a casual fashion. Get creative here.
- On your laptop working. Make sure your desk is cleared of clutter and looks nice in the photos. (Also make sure your whiteboard is cleared of confidential information - just sayin’!)
- On the computer with a client if you use online to meet like Zoom or GoToMeeting.
- Sitting at a cafe or coffee shop or in your backyard working (if that’s natural to you.)
- Writing on a white board if that how you brainstorm
- Laying out information or working on your laptop. Sometimes you can see what is on a screen so make it “real life.”
- Close up shots of varying emotion - look at the camera as well as profile shots
- Frowning (sometimes can be helpful and may be useful in social media)
- Cell phone photo while pretending to talk
- Working with clients (invite clients as a way to highlight them! Make sure they dress to your brand - not your colors but to your style. Ask to see the photo outfit ahead of time to make sure it doesn’t CLASH with your brand or what you are wearing.)
Services or Products
A photo for each of your services or products.
Service photos - show those in action.
- Landscaper? Show your crew working on a project(s) Wedding Florist? Take photos of different steps in the process - start to finish
Health Coach? Before and after photos (ask your “afters” to come for the photo shoot.) Shopping for food in a grocery store. Food prep. Exercising or leading a group.
- Products - most brand photographers just photograph people. Physical product shots are very different and not covered here.. UNLESS you are showing the products in use on people - then fire away.
Opening the packaging.
Using the product - varying shots.
Outcome of using the product - sell mascara? Show before and after of the bare eyelashes, applying the mascara (make sure the name is on the camera facing side) then long and lustrous eyelashes after using the mascara. You get the idea.
About Page Photos
Team: All the team (This is a decision for you ahead of time. You may want to just use high level “executive” type or Managers if you have a heavy team turnover or use freelancers as needed. )
If you have employees, a team photo is a must. Also you need individual headshots of the team members. You will want to identify them on your website. Use a background that will not change. Team members may come and go and you want to make sure the backgrounds stay consistent.
Bonus Tip! For Remote Teams: If you have team members that work remotely - a consistent background may be able to be duplicated (red brick, white wall) or photoshopped into the photo. Above all else - do NOT let them send in a selfie. You can ALWAYS tell! This should be a photo someone else takes for them.
Outside of the Brick and Mortar if you have clients coming to your location. This is great in addition to Google Maps, then it confirms the client in the right place when they can see your building.
Make your own “B Roll.” In video, the “b roll” is background video. Location shots, audiences, etc. can be stock photos or your own BRoll. For your personal locations, jazz them up. Add art work, flowers, photos. Make the surrounding area attractive and pay attention to what’s around. And, the area should be clean. (Consulting with your website designer prior will help select what you will need here. These can be repurposed for social media graphics.)
- Desk top
- Cell phone
- Podcast or Video set up
- Office photos of team working, reception area, work area
- Logo on the wall
- Break area
The important thing to remember is that you want to accurately represent your brand and company. Photos can be repurposed to your social media so there are no “wasted” photos. If in doubt, add more photos to your plan. Most photographers will work with you for extra photos.