As a commercial photographer, I can't express enough the importance of getting professional photos done for your branding and website. Why? Because we live in a digital age where people are more likely to see your product first, before reading about it. That's why phone photos or cheap photos will not do. If you want more traffic to your website and more clicks on your advertisements, then provide high-quality photos that will capture someone's attention while scrolling through their feed. Let's look at an example real quick. Here is a generic photo that I found on google for a men's clothing brand versus an image I took not too long ago in a studio. Which image captures your attention? Which image are you most likely to stop scrolling and take a second glance at?
My Google Business
Another benefit of having professional photos is the ability to upload them on your Google My Business account. When a client is looking up a business nearby, you want your business to show up, and you want your photos to engage that audience. For instance, whenever I'm looking up restaurants near me, I get deterred by phone photos or photos of food that do not look good. I'm a lot more interested in the restaurants that provide quality images because it's showcasing their food in a way that is appetizing and looks delicious! The same goes for any other business. Another example could be a privately owned gym. If you are a gym owner and are trying to attract potential clients, wouldn't you want to showcase your gym, the trainers, and staff in a way that is engaging and attention-grabbing? The power of a few professional photos is immense! I'll tell you from personal experience, after uploading my professional photos to my google business account, I've gotten 69 views and 61 searches in the last 28 days. My most popular photo has received 50 views already. All I had to do is upload a few photos that look good, capture attention, and engage my potential audience, and I started to get seen. On Google.
Stock Image Don't Work
DO NOT USE stock images. I repeat, do not use stock images. Why? Stock images not only cost you a bit of money to purchase, but also provide inconsistency in your branding. If you are using stock images for your website and Instagram posts, then you're going to have a bunch of photos that do not match or align with each other. The lighting, coloring, and style range quite a bit in the stock image world. In addition, your clients can tell you are using stock images because it's often people or places that don't look anything like the business you're trying to showcase. I see this quite often in the gym world. (Can you tell I'm really passionate about gym photos? I think it's because that is one of my favorite things to shoot. Check out my full portfolio here). I see a lot of gyms use stock images on Instagram and Facebook, and those images hardly get any engagement. I'll give a concrete example of how one company I've seen on Instagram has over 1,000 followers and used a stock image in conjunction with advertising for a course or specific workout. That image was posted on August 30, 2020, and received 22 total likes. I uploaded a photo of a male model inside a gym on September 9, 2020, and received 20 total likes when I had LESS THAN 75 FOLLOWERS on my Instagram account. Read that again. I got about the same amount of likes, with the same type of photo (meaning both photos had males who were working out), yet I had less than 75 followers on my account at the time, and this other account had over 1,000. That is the power of custom, branded photos. Now, I do realize that hashtagging, geotagging, and even timing of when you're uploading to social media may have an effect on the results, but I think my point comes across. Stock images are not going to attract potential clients, and it gives a false sense of what your business actually looks like. I guarantee that if you have high-quality, professional photos tailored to your business and brand, then you will win every time. Here's a few examples of stock images versus the images I took inside a Vasa gym. Which Instagram account or Facebook page would you be more willing to engage in based on the images below?
How you present yourself online is important. That's why it is so vital to make sure your message comes across clear, through words, actions, and even photographs. Let your audience see upfront what they are getting themselves into. Don't make them guess. For more tips on how to stay on top of your game as a business, see my other post about the 4 Ways to Be Authentic on the Internet and Why it Matters.