Photography for your website

As published on Hybrid Mom

I recently wrote about “What to look for in a web designer” but there’s more to a great looking website than the layout, functionality and design. Most (maybe all?) web designers have access to a lot of great stock photos on the internet, but ideally most people want their front page to show their own product or an example of their own work rather than a stock photo that may be flooded all over the world wide web. If stock photos aren’t the choice for you, the photos need to be more than just “snapshots” taken as you leave the job site or a product on your counter. Great photography can make or break the aesthetics of a site. It can make it look elegant or sloppy depending on the photography used.

When you want a website to really pop, investing in a good photographer is a must. They have the artistic eye as well as the expertise and the proper equipment to really showcase what you’re trying to promote. Your web designer can make “decent” pictures look “good” but not “great” like a professional photographer can do. Skimping on the images on your site is not a good way to go especially on the first page that people come to.

If you can’t afford a photographer and must take the photos yourself, here are a couple of tips.

With people or places especially, use the outdoors. The sun’s natural light will provide a much better image than trying to control the lighting inside.

For clean product pictures, make a light box and invest in some sort of lighting. This can do wonders towards really making your products display well. Here is a site I found (and used) to make my own light box. This worked for me as a start but I knew I needed better lighting than I was able to make do with so I ended up purchasing one of these from Amazon:

If you can’t work with a light box (maybe your product is too large) be sure to place your product on a contrasting color surface… maybe a sheet or poster board can work in a bind. Use lots of light, steering clear of flourescent lighting (once again natural light is best). Take your photo at the largest resolution that your camera will allow. These suggestions provide the best chance of your web designer being able to showcase your photos in a nice professional looking way.

One of my clients sets her products on a mirror and uses a white background and takes wonderful photos of her products. I don’t have to doctor them at all and they look lovely and very professional.

Most web designers have developed working relationships with photographers. Ask your web designer who they can recommend that won’t break the bank! There are many, many talented photographers out there that can help make your website the fabulous showcase that you’re looking for. Remember the old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, the same is true for a website.

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