One of the most important parts of your entire website is your images. From your headshot to pictures of your place of business to product images to shots of tools you use for your work, the pictures you have on your site are part of your overall branding. And like every part of your business, putting your best foot forward is important.
But when I talk to clients about hiring a professional photographer, they hesitate. How much will it cost? How much time will it take? Will the photographer provide editing services as well? Can I get someone who specializes in my industry?
These are all great questions and if you’ve asked these yourself, you’re starting on the right path. You should ask about all of those things and more. Because hiring a photographer is truly one of the most important investments your business will make.
Every image on your site has to either tell a story about you and your business. When the pictures on your site are beautiful, memorable and informative – they tell something unique about who you are and what you do – then visitors will move faster toward making a buying decision.
If you’re thinking of using your iPhone to take pictures for your website, please read my article, “Can I shoot pictures with my iPhone for my website? No! And here’s why.” I don’t say you can’t and shouldn’t, but I offer reasons why hiring a pro is a more efficient, time-saving and even money-saving option.
Why does a photographer cost so much?
The first and foremost reason people hesitate to hire a professional photographer is cost. Most pros are not cheap, nor should they be. I’ve worked with quite a few photographers, each with his or her own unique style and specialty, and after spending time with them, my respect for their talent grew immensely. They are all caring, curious and hard-working artists who take their responsibility for making you look great very seriously.
Professional photographers are just that: professionals. They are specialists. They are there to document who you are and what you do in ways that we amateurs cannot. While their services can be pricey, the work they produce can help you grow your business.
Fees vary from one photographer to another. I’ve worked with pros who charge a minimum of USD $2,000 per day, some who charge USD $750 for an afternoon of portrait shots, and others who charge as little as USD $300 for two hours.
So when you’re searching for a photographer, I suggest taking your time, asking friends and peers for recommendations, and interviewing a few pros before making a decision. Great photography is an important investment for your business that will pay off in spades, so treat it as such!
What do you get when you hire a pro
Like any other professional you hire for your business, you want the best person available. A really good photographer will provide the following:
- A consultation during which you get to know each other and understand how you’ll work together. A good photographer will take the time to find out what you want, what will likely work best for you and suggestions on how to photograph you, your business and products. Although the photographer will do most of the work, in the end, it is a collaboration, and you have to treat the work like teamwork.
- High-end equipment such as a great camera body, numerous lenses, tripod, lighting accessories and props such as backgrounds for portraits and products.
A trained eye. They’re professionals for a reason! They have experience, and will see things in ways we mere mortals can’t. The pros I’ve worked with have come up with ideas that I never thought of, and for that, I’m grateful.
- Editing services using software like Photoshop, Lightroom, Lightworks, etc. This way you can get beautiful, high-quality, high-resolution photo files in a variety of formats, too, like JPEG, GIF, and more. You’ll be able to use the pictures for a long time, and you’ll be able to use them for print purposes, too.
- A specialty. If you need someone who specializes in a particular type of photography, get one. Outdoor photographers are different from sports photographers who are different from baby photographers and wedding photographers. While most pros can do almost anything, you’ll get the most bang for your buck when hiring a specialist.
One of my clients was on a very tight budget when we set out to redesign his firm’s website. He hadn’t even factored photography into the original budget. But after looking at stock photos and pictures he took with his phone, he finally agreed to use a professional. He and his colleagues combed through Craigslist for a few days and found a nice professional who charged $350 for two hours. In addition to two sets of headshots, they also had enough time to get a few pictures of the team meeting in the boardroom. So look around, do your research, and take your time finding the pro who fits you the best.
Hiring a good photographer is like any other investment you make in your business. You will have to put some money in before you see any returns. But it does pay off, and often, pays off very nicely.
One thing I’ve noticed with all of my clients who have hired professional photographers is this: they love the way their websites look. When they meet new customers, they point to their sites with confidence and pride. And more importantly, they spend a lot less time explaining what they do because so much of the photography does the talking and explaining for them.
I know a good photographer can cost a lot. But perhaps it will be helpful to view things differently. A wonderful wedding photographer I know always asks new clients the following: A new pair of scissors costs about $10.00 at your local drugstore. But would you cut your own hair?
Keep your iPhone for personal shots. But for your business, invest in a pro. You won’t regret it!
About the author
I'm a writer and a web designer. I create one-of-a-kind websites for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. I help my clients expand their audiences, get more customers and make mo' money. Get my FREE PDF checklist, "Build a Website that Attracts & Converts: The 10 Elements Your Website Needs to be Highly Effective" when you subscribe to my monthly newsletter for industry news, writing and design tips and special offers.