A photo alone can’t rescue bad web design, but a good photo can make your web design even more appealing. Here’s how to help your photographer help you.
Here at Infomedia, we launched our website a year ago, and we wanted a refresh for our anniversary. Our photographer Kelly Cummings shot some great photos that we used to give our site a mini makeover. We love working with Kelly, and we had a lot of fun on the day of the shoot (to see the results, just click through the main pages of our website — her images are at the top of each page). We almost always recommend photography to our clients, so this seemed like the perfect time to answer some frequently asked questions about what it’s like to hire a photographer to take pictures for your website.
How long does it take?
This will vary depending on your business, but we usually offer either half-day or one-day packages. Our photographers usually deliver enough great images during even a short session that our designers have a lot to work with. If you just want a few shots of the atmosphere of your business, half a day will usually work just fine. But if you need product shots, profile pictures (head shots) or a group picture, it’s best to schedule a full day — more if you have a large staff or a large number of products to photograph.
What do I have to do to prepare?
Before you set up your shoot, it’s best to have a conversation with either your project manager or your photographer to talk through your ideas and needs. This allows you to communicate your needs, decide on the tone of the shoot (do you want your pictures to be formal or informal, etc.) and discuss logistics. Be sure to be very clear about what you want.
In the week or two before your shoot, be sure that the people you need in your photographs will be at work and ready to be in a photo. Every time we assume everyone at Infomedia will be ready for photos, it turns out that some of our key players are on vacation, in a meeting they can’t step out of, or just unwilling to be on camera — don’t get caught paying for a photographer who has nothing to shoot.
What’s the difference between professional photos and ones we take ourselves?
Photos taken on your smartphone are usually not high quality enough to use on a website, especially not as the main image on a page or as a slider. Choosing a staff member who likes photography can also be tricky — editing and color-correcting images can be very time-consuming, and it’s important to think through whether or not you want that employee pulled away from their own job for so much time. A professional photographer will almost always be better at composition, taking a variety of photos so you have lots of choices, editing and sizing images correctly so they can be used by your web designer, and even wrangling people who are reluctant to have their photos taken. We don’t recommend using a staff member to take your photos (unless they also happen to be a professional photographer), but if you do, be sure to see examples of their work first (and share them with your project manager to see if they’re web-quality images) and to set clear parameters about what you need and the timetable you expect.
Do we have to dress up?
This depends on your business; most lawyers we schedule photos with prefer to wear suits, but for our clients who run factories or warehouses, dressing up like that would be silly. Dress for the tone of your website and the message you want to convey. For most companies, your photos will look better if you employees dress normally — they’re often more comfortable, and that comfort level results in better images.
How do I find a photographer?
Call Infomedia! We’ll schedule one of our photographers for you and handle all the logistics. Otherwise, Google will help you find a photographer, but be sure to see samples of their work and be sure their style and experience fits in with what you need for your website.
How long before I get my pictures back?
Now that most photos are digital instead of film, many of us expect that we’ll see our photos within a day or two, but professional photography almost always takes longer than that. Photographers spend a lot of time culling through thousands of images to find a few dozen that work together best for you. They also color-correct images, edit out issues and imperfections, and spend a lot of time turning your raw images into high-quality photos that perfectly represent your company. At Infomedia, you can generally expect your photos to be in the hands of your web designer about two weeks after they’re taken.
Can I use the pictures for fliers and ads as well as my website?
This depends on your photographer contract; if you set up a photo shoot through Infomedia, we’ll talk through your needs and set you up with the contract that works best for you. If you hire a freelance photographer or through another agency, be sure to read your contract very carefully — just because you own the rights to use your photos on the web doesn’t mean you own the rights to use them in print. Read the fine print, and have a chat with your photographer before they begin work if you hope to use your photos for more than one specific purpose.
How do I know the photos will work on my website?
That’s another benefit of hiring a professional photographer — they’ll know how to get the right shapes and sizes of photos to work on your website. Most sites need a lot of landscape (strong horizontal) photos to fit in their design. Each site is different, but be sure your photographer connects with your web developer so they know what your site needs and what size to shoot for. At Infomedia, of course we’ll take care of this for you.
There you have it — our best tips for hiring a photographer for your website. Want to get started? We’d love to set you up with one of our photographers and get you started creating beautiful new imagery for your website. Get in touch and we’ll share quotes and pricing information.