I've been building professional websites for almost a decade. I enjoy the process of making a project come to life, because it is so fulfilling. I've found the projects that look the best and yield the best results are those that have professional photography. I have had many clients that assumed I provided all the photography when I build the website. Let me confirm that no I don't do this and you wouldn't want me to provide the photography either. The photography on a website usually comes in three flavors:
- Stock Photography: This is the one I see the most and it isn't the worst option, but for the most part your users are going to be able to tell that the photography that you have used is "generic". These days most of us can spot canned stock photos. From a professional perspective the images are usually high quality and look good, but the user is aware that you are using "generic" imagery. Another overlooked point is that it is difficult to find the exact stock photo to represent a specific page. So even though the general theme of the images is correct it doesn't quite nail the subject. Options for stock photography include Getty Images, Shutterstock and Pexels.
- Taking Your Own Pics: This is usally the worst option unless you have some photography experience. Most of the websites I've built or seen that utilize their own pics just scream "I'm not professional" . The sure fire signs of using your own pics include selfies for profile pics and low quality image resolution. The plus side is you can usually get the exact image to fit the page that you are looking for, but the problem is most of the time people get impatient and just go with what they can get done the quickest and easiest. Whenever you hear a business owner say "My iPhone has HDR the photos are going to be great", please help them out and explain the equipment is only part of the equation.
- Professional Photography: In my opinion this is without question the best option available. You get high quality image resolution and you can get the exact shots that fit each page. The key is thinking through the process and having a good idea what you want prior to booking the appointment. Well I should mention it is wise to make sure you are hiring a high quality photographer. Taking a little time to do some due diligence on who you hire is important. I look for professionals that have advanced education, over a decade of experience and have an extensive portfolio of work. Remember if you are going to pay the money and take the time to get professional photography you want to do it right. Also, professional photography is for more than just your website as these images should be used in other marketing collateral and branding for the business.
Even for businesses that aren't dependant upon images to sell there services (i.e. HVAC, Dentists) the use of professional photography in the company headshots sets your business apart from the competition. Image dependant businesses (i.e. Custom Cabinetry, Plastic Surgeons) it is virtually imperative that you get the highest quality professional photography. I study analytics and I have a custom cabinetry business that we changed out a few marketing images and within a month our ads conversion rate tripled which lead to an increase in over 150K in gross sales. Nothing changed in the ad except the picture .... So yeah it matters.
If you are looking for the highest quality photographer I trust one name in Colorado and that is Sergio Furer at HD Event Photography in Longmont, Colorado. He checks all the education and experience boxes of a great photographer, but his work will make anyone a believer.