Why should I consider professional photography for my business?

Photography is often overlooked in business while people tend to concentrate on words for their website or brochures contents.

We now live in a visual world. Photographs will likely feature several times on your website. And depending on your brand and your business message, you may want to project an image of yourself and your business, and your business photographs will be perfect for that. Also, if you have quality photos on your website, they will highlight your content better.

A recent study showed that 4 out of 5 website visitors are more likely to pay attention to and read that website’s content and 64% more likely to remember that content later if there are images to illustrate it.

Your business website needs to feature images amongst its content – Fact

Where can I get nice photographs?

Business owners often tend to quickly search for an idea online and look in their search engine images to find a corresponding imagery, the problem with that is that most of the time stock photography will figure highly in the results.

Stock photography can generally be found directly on big picture agencies websites like Alamy or Getty. Finding your desired image on those sites is very simple and easy: You type a keyword for your search and you are presented with a set of images technically matching what you are looking for, you can refine your results as you go.

However, when you pay for such a stock photography image, you only purchase the right to use that image, at the resolution needed (quite small for Web use, much bigger for print use) but not the image itself. And if it is a very popular image, there is a strong chance that many other people will have purchased the rights to use that image, increasing the chances that your customers would have seen it elsewhere before, possibly on your competition’s websites but also possibly on a scammer’s fake website.

Anyone can buy stock photography and that is one of its drawbacks. If that photograph has already been seen by your customer on a seemingly bad reputation website, and then seen on your website, they may associate this image with your brand, which may hurt your brand in the long run.

Also, put your hand up if you’ve ever visited a website where you have seen a picture of a smiling young and pretty woman talking on the phone while looking at her screen in a very generic office… It is likely that many versions of that very image exist. And that is how most companies wanting to portray an engaging employee chatting to a customer would actually do it. But these images represent the very clichés and sanitised images you want to avoid.

If you look at one of your suppliers’ website and recognise an employee you had to deal with in one of the site’s images, this will feel more authentic and you may also remember the chat you had with that person or the way you engaged together. Those images would have been created by a professional photographer commissioned to create lifestyle images of that particular office working environment. Real people in real working conditions. Those photographs work much better because they feel authentic.

So the trick here is to create original photographs. You can either take those yourself or you can hire a professional photographer.

Taking photos yourself on a consumer camera or your smartphone would definitely be much better than using stock photos, but they may not be as high in quality as what a professional photographer would create. Unless photography is your hobby, do not waste your time and hire a pro instead.

Try and find professional photographers working near you, using the search engines or word-of-mouth, ask other company owners that you know for recommendations. When you have selected a short list of photographers, look at their online people or corporate portfolio to make sure they will be working as close as possible to your brief.

Also compare the quotes you get from your shortlisted pros, even if some quotes are outside of your current budget, you can contact them personally and try and get them to charge you less maybe by offering them a continued relationship if you were happy with those photographs, say by offering them to capture your Christmas or summer party year in year out. But remember that to an extent, you are likely to get what you pay for.

Also remember to establish beforehand if the shooting fee would also get you a gallery of high-resolution digital images with exclusive rights to be able to use those images over and over again, whole or cropped. Already quite a big winning point over stock photography.

On the day of the shoot, you would be able to give some input and directions to the photographer regarding your expectations, while still leaving him some freedom to capture images to the brief. And as soon as you will receive your finished images, you will know these are the ones who will allow you to connect with your website visitors in a way that no stock image of a smiling young female would ever have. You will have a big collection of consistent visuals and images that will last you a long time.

I took the example of people photographs for this article, but this could apply for food or product photography, images of a restaurant, or even a brand.

You will also be able to use those images on your social media profiles: posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are all great when accompanied with strong imagery. And thus, making your social media message consistent with your website visuals is a win-win situation.

Jean-Luc Benazet

Jean-Luc Benazet

Social Media Consultant

Cambridge Photographer Jean-Luc Benazet has been voted one of the Top 3 Photographers in Cambridge. An award winning photographer who shoots portraits, weddings and events.

www.jeanlucbenazet.com