So, you’re ready to start designing your first website or want to refresh your current site. Your business is growing, and you need a website presence that reflects the best of your creativity and resonates with your ideal clients.
But perhaps as you were pulling images into your beautiful theme template, or when your website designer sent you your homepage draft with the images you provided, something felt “off.” What you saw was not as shiny and polished as the website visions that were dancing in your head.
What you need to make your site pop in all the right ways is a personal branding shoot!
Branding photographers are one of a website designers’ best friends. Why? It’s because they can capture photo stories in a way that’s cohesive and on-brand. When all your images are in harmony with your overall brand, the visual aesthetic of your website will flow. You’ll finally get that super-together look you desire to showcase your creative brand.
I will show you EXACTLY how to choose the right images for your website to remove any guesswork. But before I share that, I want to offer you a bit of advice on selecting a brand photographer.
What is a brand photographer?
Brand photography is a specialty that requires a photographer to have a good eye and savvy for marketing to take the types of photos your brand and website designer will need. So, when selecting a photographer to do your brand images, don’t go to just any photographer (or friend who likes slinging a camera). Instead, do right by yourself and invest in a branding photographer. Trust me- there’s no sense in paying for photos only to be told that the images aren’t the right images for your website.
Alright, now that we know WHO you need, let’s dive into WHAT you need.
The types of images you want your branding photo shoot to capture.
The purpose of branded images on your website is to paint a picture for the prospective client who lands on your website of what it would be like to work with you. You have seconds to build a connection with someone online, so what they see will either pull them in to learn more about you or send them on their way to search for someone else. You want them drawn into your website from the moment they land on it.
You’ll want to highlight your personality and aspects of your processes to build that instant connection and trust. Here’s the skinny on the types of images you’ll want to get from your personal branding session.
These are the images that build connections. You’ll want to show yourself dressed in your typical work attire. If you’re a life coach, while you might look great in a little black dress and heels, if that’s not how you show up on client calls and to in-person appointments, you wouldn’t want to show up like that online either. Dress in a way that is authentic to you and natural for your work or daily life.
You can use these images to show snippets of your typical days, like you with your dog or on the couch with a book or your favorite coffee mug. Think about all the ways you can visually depict yourself as someone with whom others can click.
You’ll want images that show how you work. Make a list of all the different parts of your work process and talk with your brand photographer about ways to clearly show your audience how you work. You can incorporate backdrops and props to reflect the pieces of your work process, such as onboarding, consultations, and any on-location work.
If you sell tangible products like spa goods or jewelry, imagery is everything to your marketing! A dark or out-of-focus picture will send your audience the wrong message about you and the quality of your work. On the other hand, professional product imagery will increase the perception of high quality and value. If you’re investing in a website to sell your products and want to command a certain price point, definitely don’t skimp here!
These images may show your product or services in use. For service-based businesses such as photographers, you may want beautiful mock-ups showing your wedding photography as wall art over someone’s fireplace mantle. Services are focused on a transformational outcome, so images that show your service increasing someone’s quality of life are gold! For products, however, you can show pictures of clients using them in their homes or on themselves. These experience images will help people understand the functional outcomes of using your services or products and see themselves in the picture stories you paint.
You’ll also need ongoing context images for your social media or as fill-in images on your website, so I’ll share a styled stock photography membership I love and use, Social Squares (use this affiliate link). I even have a little bonus I’ll share with you- This video will show you how you can use Social Squares for your brand!
OK! You had your brand session, and now you have beautiful, on-brand images that capture everything your audience wants to see and know. Congratulations!
Now, it’s time to curate.
How do you choose the right images for your website from your collection?
When working with a website designer (like yours truly), you’ll want to provide your designer with only the best images- the ones you absolutely love are the ones you want on your website! I ask my clients for 25+ signature images that mix portrait and landscape shots PLUS 3-5 headshots.
I then select what fits best into the site’s design, making that step easy on my clients.
If you are customizing your own template, however, then you’ll need to do a bit of additional work and ask yourself these questions:
What space do I need to fill?
You’ll look for landscape images for a hero or other banner images, but for columns alongside text, you’ll seek portrait images.
What goals do I need the imagery to accomplish?
For example, do you need to curate photos that show you as an expert or a lux service? Or, do you need to showcase your product line?
Does the space I need to fill require a contrasting or a complementary image?
Sometimes you want an image that boldly stands out on the page and lands on your viewer, while other times, you need an image that is complementary to the visual story you want to tell. These are the details that make a website either clunky or captivating to your website viewers.
Lastly (and this is so important!), be sure to frequently cull your images!
I recommend creating a folder for all your branded images to go into, so they are always ready for your website, print marketing, or social media needs. You’ll update or add to your branding photos from time to time, and you’ll also want to get into the habit of taking pictures of your work as you work. All of these images can be stashed in this photo folder.
The larger the variety of photos you have that have a similar aesthetic but are different, the better! People don’t want to see the same image or variation of an image repeated all over your site. For example, if you’re a photographer, your audience might assume you have a limited portfolio if they see repeated images. And, even if you are just starting out, that’s not the message you want to send. Also, people get visually underwhelmed fast, so you want to keep their eyes moving across fresh images.
There’s one last great benefit to keeping your best photos in one place— the amount of website photo swaps your website designer has to make will be fewer, saving you from going over your allotted edits (and over budget). Fewer edits also mean your website will get out to the world faster!
Remember, just like makeup and fashion styles change, so will your brand style. Review your images folder frequently to ensure your images represent the right images for your website right now!
Do you want a website you and your audiences will love (when they love it, they’ll convert!)?
If you’re saying “Yes!” and want to know more, book your Complimentary Call today, and let’s discuss your website and brand goals! If you’re not ready for a call yet but want to ask some questions head over to our contact page and reach out with any of your questions.