You’re finally getting your website overhauled (way to go!). You have a checklist of things you need to get to your designer: Logos,color palette, font selection, web copy, opt-in strategy, and images …
That last one keeps holding you up. You have some favorite sites you can tap into, but you know you need some pictures of yourself.
I’m guessing you have a great excuse you’ve been telling yourself: I hate pictures of myself. I don’t have time to get professional pictures done. I can’t afford professional pictures. I love this one picture of me from three years ago … if I just crop out the old boyfriend and the mess in the background.
None of that is going to cut it. Especially that last one. I’m going to say this straight:
Even if you dress up and pick a pretty background, selfies won’t cut it for your website photos.
But don’t take my word for it; here’s some legit advice from the first professional photographer I ever hired — my wedding photographer Rachel, who blew my mind with the amazing images she was able to capture.
Photos are the first thing people are going to notice when they see your site and before they even start trying to read anything they are going to make some quick judgements about you based on the visuals. It’s just how the human brain works. So having beautiful professional photography is one of the most important things you can do have a successful website.
You Need Pro Website Photos
If you’re going to the trouble to create or update your website, you should invest in quality pictures of you. (Yes, even if you hate having your picture taken. Yes, even if you are insanely busy.) If you want to be taken seriously by prospective clients and customers, you need to take yourself seriously first, and pro websites are part of that.
And as you can see from my website, I practice what I preach; I had my headshots (and family photos!) taken by the fabulous Ashley Wilbur, who suggests this:
We live in a digital world where calling a phone number is pretty much obsolete. Your website and social media profiles are the first things that a potential client looks at. Having high quality images of yourself can make that first impression a great one. It shows that you are professional, you take your career seriously and that you value quality.
When you get photos taken, you want a variety of shots:
- horizontal shots and vertical ones
- classic close up head shots
- images of you looking directly at the camera
- images of you at work
- wide angle shots with room for text (These are really useful for headers — especially if you’re off-center, and there’s a quieter background behind you. You’ll notice my header has a black background, which makes it super easy to add text!)
Give your photographer a list of shots you want—and be open to ideas and suggestions. Just like a web designer knows tips and tricks for getting your site to do what you want it to do, your photographer has ideas for what works and what doesn’t from past experience.
Another reason to hire a pro: a good photographer is skilled at getting people to relax and look natural. They’ll help you drop the fake smile, deer in the headlights and stick up your ass look that so many people have when the pose for pictures. It’s possible to have a candid looking and polished photos.
How do you know you’ve found a good photographer? Well, it can be sort of like going on a date. You need to find someone who’s work reflects your style, but also somebody that you like and trust … because if you don’t feel like she knows what she’s doing, it’ll show up in your pictures.
(I recently hired Lori & Erin to do our family photos — Erin has a son the same age as my eldest so we immediately bonded over their love for superheroes and trains, and Lori is a diehard Packers fan so my husband felt totally comfortable chatting between snaps.)
Things to Think About When Hiring a Photographer
What else gets in the way of booking a photographer for your website photos?
What should I wear? For starters, pick something you feel comfortable in. If you don’t, it’s probably going to show in the pictures. Be on brand—that doesn’t mean you need to look like a color palette for your website, but choose things that fit your brand and won’t clash with your colors. Try to get your colors in, even if it is in an accent piece like a necklace, tie, or scarf.
Where should I get my pictures taken? If you have a bright, uncluttered work space, it makes a lot of sense to get pictures there. If your office is dark and you can’t imagine clearing a space big enough for pictures, talk to your photographer about options. They may know places you wouldn’t have thought of or have a space where they can set you up. Again keep in mind your brand. Do you want an edgy feel or a homey one? Does a cafe setting work or an office or outdoors . . . ?
Am I getting what I need? Check out the list of different types of shots above. You can also ask your web designer and photographer if there is anything particular they think you need. And while you’re getting photos done, think about whether you want any personal stock photography. Think:
- pictures of your workspace (wide shots and details), like your office or studio or your desk or a corner of it.
- images of your signature product, even pictures of an online product pulled up on a phone or laptop.
- the antique tea pot your serve clients tea out of
- the altar in your meditation space<
- the journal and pen you send to new clients to track their big ideas
- your dog who greets everyone who comes to the door
None of these are necessary—and don’t let it hold you up—but if you’re hiring a photographer, you can often get a few extra shots that make some of your other images more personal at the same time.
Here’s more advice from Rachel:
Schedule a session with an activity; something that is part of your workflow or just something you love to do that fits with your brand. Letting the photographer photograph while you are actually doing something will put you more at ease and the images will feel more natural and authentic. These activities can be really simple; like – writing thank you notes, walking your dog, working on your craft, cooking a meal, etc. Just make sure the whole area you are in is beautiful and clean, and fits your branding.Rachel Garcia
Don’t get hung up on details. Make the photoshoot happen. Your website will look all the more pro when you do.
So get your photos done professionally, and if you want a website that’s more than just a pretty picture, let’s talk about website design to meet your business’s needs.
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