I get a lot of compliments on my website’s photography – THANKS!! I also get a lot of questions about who my photographer is (the amazing Images by Bethany), how to get great looking photos for a website, and if smart phone photos are good enough.
I’ll answer the last question first: no. You are a professional, that’s why you have a website, and the content on your website needs to be as professional and engaging as your business is! Hire a professional to take your website photography. It will elevate your brand in ways that will amaze you. Seriously.
So now that I’ve crushed your heart, let’s talk about how to get great looking photos for your website. Like any other step in creating a website, photography also takes time, research, and intentional planning. I’ve broken down the steps that I took below:
Take a look at different websites that you like the photography on. Who was the photographer? Check out those photographer’s websites. Look through the galleries, blog posts, portfolio – everything that the photographer has on their website. Does her style match or complement your branding? A photographer may be extremely talented and you may really love his style, but if it doesn’t complement your brand then it’s not a good fit. What are core pillars of your brand? For example, my core pillars (brand values) are Depth, Passion, Transparency, Strength, and Enthusiasm. Because of these pillars, it was so important for JamieLeigh.com to have strong photography of me and my personality shining through the images without special effects or trendy filters.
Start a Pinterest board of other portrait photography that you like. Take a look at the poses, what the folks are wearing, the settings, etc. Do you want your photos inside or outside? At your place of business, with your products, or at a public market where you source your produce? At an industrial park, by the river, on a mountain path, or at your favourite park? Again, go back to your brand pillars and figure out what makes most sense for your business. You want a strong continuity between the location in your photos and what you sell.
Now that you have a good idea of the photogs you want to work with, the style of pictures that you want, and the location(s) that you want your photos to be shot in, reach out! If you are working with a web or print designer, find out their requirements for photo sizes. Contact the photographers that you feel would be the best match for you and let them know what you are looking for. Discuss the research that you did, your brand pillars, and locations. Do they offer outdoor shoots or in-studio only? What is their acceptable image use policy? Will you be able to purchase high-res and/or web-ready images? Once you have all this information, book your photo session!
I chose Images by Bethany for both my website photography and my engagement photos because her photography style aligned so perfectly with my brand (not just because she’s one of the best portrait photogs out there and also a super awesome human).
Hair and Makeup
Book yourself a professional hair and makeup artist (or as I lovingly refer to them, MUAs!!). This can take a lot of the “getting ready” stress and will make you look absolutely fab-YOU-lous! Research in the same way that you researched photographers or ask your photographer if he can recommend a good MUA. Even if teal extensions & bright red lipstick are totally not your thing and you want to look really natural in your shoot, book a makeup artist. A professional MUA understands photography and lighting – this will also elevate your image into that professional arena that you should be in!!
For my photos, I had the lovely Sara Rose do my hair, makeup, and day-of styling. She’s amazing.
Prepare for the shoot: day before
Self care is important all of the time, but also very important just before a photo shoot! Make sure you get plenty of rest the night before your shoot. Drink lots of water, double up on green juice and cut back on the fatty, bloating foods with lots of sodium, alcohol, etc. Before your shoot, do something that grounds you. It can be very nerve-wracking to be the subject in front of a camera for an extended period of time! Go for a walk on the beach, do a mediation, hang out with your favourite niece.
Whatever you do to calm yourself, remember to focus on the reason why you are taking these photos – to support your business, your dream! Also remember WHO you are taking the photos for – your target market.
Prepare for the shoot: day of
Make sure you have the directions to the studio or other shoot locations. Get your makeup artist’s and photographer’s cell phone numbers; this one may seem funny but if you’ve communicated by email until this point you may not have their cellphone numbers, right? Pack all your outfits and remember an extra pair of nylons, jewelry, shoes, and other accessories.
Relax and enjoy!
This is YOUR moment in front of the camera! Relax, smile, and be yourself. Look straight into that lens (or wherever your photog directs you to look) as if it was your favourite customer, your lover, or your child after they figured out something that’s really difficult. Trust your photographer, listen to them, and don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t understand their direction or if something isn’t working for you!
Have you ever had a professional photo shoot before? How did you prepare? Do you have any other tips for getting great looking photos for your website? Let me know in the comments – I love hearing from you!