We are visual creatures and live in an age of internet research. We want to know as much as we can about a product or service before we commit to making a purchase.
Photos give you a wonderful opportunity to let potential customers get to know you before they even set foot in your door or pick up the phone.
Use images to showcase the quality of work you perform, the look and feel of your business, the friendliness of your employees, and what your physical space looks like.
Professional photos are always the best way to go, especially for any static pages on your website, however taking a few of your own here and there to post in real-time is a great way to add more visual content to your social media channels and blog posts.
Here are some tips to take web-worthy images:
1- It’s not always about the camera
If you only have a smartphone, at least make sure it’s one that takes decent images. Newer iPhones can take some great photos. Many point and shoots work really well too. Make sure you are shooting at the highest quality your camera can allow.
2- Find natural light
No matter what you are taking a photo of, try to find the best natural light you can. If you’re photographing the interior of your space, choose a time of day that provides the best light. Maybe even try a few times of day to see what works best.
3- Holding your camera – keep ‘er steady!
While some point and shoot and phone cameras are getting faster, the best way to make sure you are getting a sharp image is to pull your elbows in and squeeze the sides of your ribs as you are taking the photo. If you have a tripod handy, even better, but this works in a pinch to steady your arms and take a sharper image. Or if you have a wall handy, a great trick is to lean on the wall when you take a photo. You turn yourself into the tripod!
4 – Post-processing
Your photos may need some post-processing work. Maybe the color was off, or you didn’t get the exposure right or, you most likely need to resize your image for the web. (see next step!) You don’t have to become a Photoshop pro to make some basic edits and there are several tools available for free online.
* Pixlr – Use the Express option for easy edits and even some fun filters to play with. If you want even more control, the full Pixlr Editor is also a great free option.
* Fotor – Fotor also allows for some filters and is easy to use. They also provide some pre-made design templates to choose from for various social media post sizes, like a Facebook or Twitter cover. Many of the features you do have to upgrade to a premium account, so be mindful when using.
* PicMonkey – PicMonkey also has many premium features, but basic edits are free. From filters to adjustments and even social ready sizing.
Really, the tool you use is the right one. Try out a few and see what works best for you.
5- Size your images for the web
When it comes to posting your images on-line, make sure you are uploading the best size. Many social sites will re-size for you, but your website most likely won’t unless you’ve installed an image re-sizing plug-in (if you are using WordPress). Don’t rely on WordPress to resize within the media gallery. Large file sizes can greatly reduce your website’s speed and overall usability. For more info, see a post that Adam wrote a few weeks ago, “The Importance of Optimizing Your Website’s Images“.
Need inspiration? Here is a shortlist of suggestions for images you could add to your business sites.
Now, get snappin’!