A picture says 1,000 words—that saying definitely rings true for business websites! According to research, it takes only 0.05 seconds (that’s 50 milliseconds!) for a customer to form an opinion about a website simply based on how visually appealing a website looks. That means you’re going to have to really consider the images and content used on your company’s website going forward.

But what makes a professional photograph? How is it that some non-professional photos get so much attention (albeit in the wrong way)? Let’s go over this subject together.

Why Knowing the Difference Really Does Matter

Ever notice how some photos on LinkedIn are rather pixelated or blurry compared to other photographs? Some business owners prefer that they do the photos themselves or they ask their staff to take pictures of their products for sale to save money. Let us be the first to tell that it really shows…and not in a good way. In fact, getting pictures done yourself (whether it’s using stock photos or using your own phone for the job) will only demonstrate to customers that you actually are cheap and cutting corners when it comes to your business…and that same lack of care may extend to what they’re buying. They don’t want that, so they go to the nicer website your competitor is running because—surprise!—they’re using professional photography.

To sum up:

  • Being professional means you have what others need and you’re the right choice to make. You’re not around for a brief period; you’re here for the long term. Professional photos can reflect that side of your business.
  • It makes you look unprofessional if you go ahead with non-professional photos while your competitors are going with professional ones.
  • People won’t get a good idea of your brand’s identity either; are you casual or formal? Traditional or fun? If your photos can’t decide, how can everyone else?
  • Again, no one will take your company seriously or buy from you if you take photos yourself and you’re not a professional photographer. To them, the lack of integrity and care in your photos means you could care less about your own business and how it’s being run.

For all of these reasons and more, investing in professional photography is the best decision you can make.

What Makes a Professional Photograph?

Contrary to popular belief, there’s a lot more to photography than simply picking up your phone or a camera and pressing a button to take the picture. Several elements are taken into consideration when it’s time for a photographer to do their job:

  • Too much light and your face will be as bright as the sun, or the sun will overwhelm you in the background; too little and you’ll look like a nightmare coming out of the darkness. Professional photographs are usually taken in a studio or at certain times of the day (depending on if you want a lifestyle headshot—i.e. a casual or natural shot in your element at work—or a studio headshot where you must pose for the camera). Capturing you in the best light is literally part of the photographer’s job.
  • No aberrations. Aberrations are best described as something that’s in the picture that doesn’t belong in the picture. A few examples are pieces of trash in the corner on the sidewalk, or a car driving past in the distance.
  • Editing and touch-ups. A big part of a photographer’s job (other than figuring out the best lighting) is to edit and touch up any certain flaws that arise in a photograph. If you remember the older cameras where, if taken at the right angle, a person’s eyes would look red (and evil) in the final result thanks to the glare, lighting, and angle at the time the photo was taken, that’s something a photographer can now edit and fix (or ‘touch up’) on a computer now—isn’t technology great?
  • Crisper and sharper images. Blurry photos are the biggest no-no when it comes to featuring any photograph. Again, this is something a photographer can clean up on a computer now as opposed to back then. While phones are getting better cameras by the day, certain cameras being made for the profession are still much more advanced compared to our own phones…they even capture the moon (i.e. one of the hardest things to take a decent picture of) at its best and brightest!

This is only a handful of the many elements that go into creating professional photos. As you can see, there’s a lot more to getting good photos taken of you and your staff than simply grabbing your phone and clicking away. That’s why most businesses who take their company seriously hire a photographer!

Should My Business Use Colour or Black-and-white Photos?

This choice is more of a personal one but again, the choice needing to be made really depends on your brand and customer base more than anything else. If your brand is lighthearted and casual (for example, you sell ice cream at a mom and pop shop) then naturally you’re going to want your photos and brand to reflect that family-oriented but fun side; your ideal client may be pretty much the average family. Colourful professional photos may capture that family charm.

To go further with that example, if your ice cream shop is run at a gourmet level (you serve ice cream but it’s handcrafted, and you offer more than ice cream—more like a full-on dessert shop with artisan pastries, gelato, etc.), then you’re going to want your brand and photos to be a lot more slick, high-class, and elegant—your clientele may be business owners and weddings, for example. In this case, both black-and-white photos and colour are acceptable because you want that ice cream to really look good enough to eat no matter what.

The Bottom Line: Always Go Professional

Professional photos reflect the best side of your business and what it has to offer. They are also your best marketing tools and branding tools combined. When added to your website, they can be the best first impression you make to your customers.

If your website needs improvement on this first impression, the best way to do that is to get a new one built rather than adding new photos to an old and out of date website hosting and software. Give us a call if you’d like to get this new, improved, and professional look at your company live and online via your website.