There is a new age upon us, an age when pictures triumph over carefully crafted text. Snazzy pictures catch your eye before you even look at the titles of articles or blog posts, am I wrong? The most viewed page of your website is your homepage, so you need eye-catching images to capture the attention of viewers; something striking, something that waves a metaphorical cookie in front of your audience to keep their short attention span on you, instead of switching back to Facebook.
Just like on Facebook, the next most viewed area of your site is going to be your "About us" page. Few of us will admit to it, but let’s be real, everyone "investigates" the profiles of people they've just met, investigating is totally code word for stalking, or that's just how I rationalize it to myself. In reality, Facebook stalking is just looking through pictures to gain more insight on someone, because you want to get to know them more.
Since Facebook stalking is what we do in our personal lives, it would be safe to assume that the people looking to do business with you are going to "investigate" you while they’re on your website. They want to get to know you: are you approachable and professional, or do you look uncomfortable, and have a forced smile? The goal is for your company and your team to appear natural and professional, maybe even throw in a few bio’s to make you and your staff seem more personable.
Go ahead and browse the internet for a few minutes, you'll find many sites with the same exact basic set of images: generic people in an office smiling, shaking hands, walking hand in hand on a beach, and many more pictures that will tell you absolutely nothing about their particular company or organization. For someone looking to do business with you, this is a turn off.
Let’s say you own a company with product inventory, your website should be designed to maximize the sale of your products. You've gone to great lengths to make sure you have a gorgeous site by choosing a good company to design it just the way you want it. This took lots of time and lots of money, let’s not even get started on all of the headache you went through trying to communicate your vision of your website.
Now, what about your pictures? Are you putting in a similar effort? I'm sure your Mom thinks the pictures you took during your family reunion are the cat's pajamas, and maybe you even have some Photoshopping skills, but the fact of the matter is this isn't the same as a family reunion, you’re not showing off your ability with a cheap digital camera, or more likely your smart phone, this is your business.
First things first, you hired a company to design your website because you trust that they know more about the intricacies of web design than you do; they know how to code, design, and optimize a site to fit your business. So by that logic, wouldn’t it be a wise decision to hire a professional photographer who knows all about the intricacies of successful photography? A professional photographer knows all about lighting, framing, and capturing an audience's attention, that goes far beyond having a niece with an expensive camera.
People love to look at pretty things; we constantly buy new TV's with better picture, pick high definition movies over standard definition movies, and watch the Victoria's Secret runway show, while eating a gallon of mint chip ice cream, or is that last one just a me thing? The point is, pretty things catch our attention. How many times have you heard someone say, "Wow that's so beautiful, I need to get a picture of that?" Probably more times than you could count. You end up taking the picture, and you immediately notice that it pales in comparison to the real thing. A good photographer can capture breathtaking photographs and knows how to edit them beyond Instagram filters, in order to capture a feeling and purpose that best suits what you’re looking for.
Don't get me wrong, you have many options regarding the photo content of your website. A relatively cheap option is to use stock images that have already been taken. Theses images can be purchased on sources like GettyImages, iStockPhoto, and the new Adobe Stock library. However, when using stock photography, you have to worry about the fact that these images have and will be used several hundred times, unless you choose to buy the rights to them (which is often more expensive than hiring a photographer). On the other hand, opting for the more expensive images will usually mean it’s been used less. At the end of the day, however, there is only one option for getting original and customizable photos: hiring a professional photographer (trust me, your marketing team will thank you).