Your Website Photoshoot: 13 Tips to take great brand photos for your website
“A picture is worth 1000 words”, as the old saying goes. And in today’s visual world, that is more true than ever.
Especially for your website!
When someone lands on your website, the very first thing they see is whatever image is at the top of your website (often called the “hero section”). And that website visitor will usually make a split second decision on whether your business is professional, or not!
Your website’s first impression is most often determined by how it “looks” and the images you have on the front page and as people scroll.
What does that image look like on your website? Is it an old selfie of you? Or an image that shows you are professional, approachable, and easy to work with? Does it represent your brand?
If you are an author, you will have images of YOU on your site, and you want those images to be professional and give visitors the right impression about you and your business (yes, being an author is a business).
People will look at YOU and decide what kind of person you are based on those photos… so make sure they are professional, reflect your personality, and reflect your author brand.
You also want to make sure they are taken correctly so they look good on your site. You can have an amazing photo, but if you try to use it in a place it doesn’t fit, it won’t look good.
Your website will need images of you in various formats, layouts and sizes.
Here are a few tips to help you take brand photos for your website that will enhance your site and help you look your best!
Be sure to talk these over with your photographer before the photo shoot so he or she is aware of your needs. There are some very specific guidelines for website photos and branding photos that many photographers are not aware of, so make sure you discuss this with your photographer.
13 Tips to Take Better Brand Photos For Your Website:
- BE YOU!!! First and foremost, just be YOU in the photos. People want to see the “real you”… not a glamor shot!
It’s okay to show your personality, in fact, highly recommended. You want people to see who you really are and get a glimpse into your world just from looking at your photos.
- Wear colors that compliment your brand. (Doesn’t have to match exactly–but nothing that will detract).
For example, if your website colors are blue and green, you can wear colors like tan, pink, purple, grey, cream, or yellow. Honestly, whatever looks good on you and you are comfortable in.
You actually want to wear colors that are NOT exactly the same as your website branding colors so you stand out and don’t just blend into everything else. The images of you should “pop” a little so people notice them.
Simple is better. You want your images to complement your branding, not detract from it. Unless you are using a solid color background, I would recommend avoiding clothes with a lot of patterns or multiple colors.
- We want to see your eyes and friendly smile. The best photos are usually the ones where you’re smiling, laughing, or showing off your personality.
No one likes to see the back of your head; we want to see YOU. Photos that don’t show your face leave your visitors wondering what you’re hiding instead of thinking about whether or not they want to work with you.
- Dress how you would if you were meeting a publisher, agent, or reader in person.
If you don’t normally wear a dress to public appearances, don’t wear one in your photos. Pretend you are meeting your audience for lunch, what would you be wearing?
- Avoid really busy backgrounds. Usually, you will be putting words over the top of your photos or to the side, you don’t want backgrounds that will be distracting.
Most importantly, we want the focus to be on YOU and not whatever is in the background.
If your background happens to be busy or distracting, ask your photographer if they can blur out the background and just have you in focus. This will also look great on your website, especially if you use the image in your hero section across the top.
- Avoid bare arms and really low-cut shirts. Sleeves look better because the focus is more on your face and less on your arms or shoulders.
This is also important if you will be cropping your photos, we don’t want you to look like you have nothing on, which can sometimes happen when we need to crop a photo.
- Location: take your photos wherever you would be working or in a place that fits your brand.
For example, as a writer, you likely have a writing space, perhaps an office with your computer, or your favorite writing chair. Taking a picture in that space makes sense. Or taking a picture by a bookcase, represents that books are important to you. You can also use backgrounds that fit the topics you write about.
Your website visitors want to see the “behind the scenes” of your life, so show them!
- Make sure you take photos both up and down and wide. You may not know exactly where on your website you will use an image, so take them in a variety of different layouts.
For header images, you will want wide photos, but for images later on your page, you will want tall images. Having a variety of layouts gives you options when designing your website.
- For wide photos, leave white space on one side. Use “The 1/3 Rule,” don’t be in the middle of the photo. Have the photographer take the photo with you off to the side–you on one-third of the photo and open space for the other two-thirds.
It’s hard to add words to a photo if you are in the middle as the words often end up right over the top of your face. Have the photographer put you on one side or the other.
- When leaving extra space on the side, be sure you are facing the space instead of having your back to the space. The body language of having your back to something subconsciously gives off the wrong message.
Usually, you have information in the blank space of your images, so you want to be facing that space to direct website visitors where to look.
- Take photos facing both directions–some looking right and others looking left. You don’t always know which way you will need the photo to be facing.
- Take at least one “profile” or “headshot” photo.
There will be times when another business asks you for a profile image (example you are a guest on a podcast or summit), so be sure to have a few “professional profile” images taken for you to have on hand when needed.
You can also use this image for your LinkedIn profile or other social media profile images and you want it to look professional.
- Have your photographer send you both high-resolution photos AND “website” photos.
The website photos will be a smaller file size with nothing over 1MB. Ideally, you want your website photos to be less than 500KB (and smaller for smaller images) so they load quickly. Have your photographer send you images in .jpg format for use on your website.
(Note: for even smaller file sizes, you can convert your images to .webp)
Large image files are often the reason websites load slowly which hurts your SEO and drives people away.
The best way to get great photos for your website is to talk to your photographer ahead of time and have a plan. The images you put on your website tell a lot about you to others. You want them to look good and truly reflect who you are and what working with you is like.
You want your website photos to show the caliber of your business, a little of your personality and how you can help people. There will be people who want to work with you based on the “vibe” they get from your photos.
Look friendly and approachable, and most of all, look like YOU!
April Hiatt is the owner of IMPACTFUL ONLINE SOLUTIONS, and is a WordPress Website Designer, Creator, and Trainer Extraordinaire.
April works with aspiring online entrepreneurs (coaches, consultants, authors, and other service-based businesses) to set up high-converting websites so they can build a thriving business, do what they are most passionate about… and let automation do the rest.
And unlike other website designers and business coaches, she doesn’t just tell you what you need to do, she actually walks you through the process and sets if all up with you! She takes the overwhelm out of the tech and makes it “do-able” and easy to understand!
For more information, please visit her website at https://www.aprilhiatt.com.