The value of commissioning your own photography
Good imagery could be the key to better business
- 28th June
There is nothing worse than visiting a company’s website for the very first time and being greeted by the same cheesy, artificial smiles and stock images of bland office spaces that you’ve seen a million times over. And in our experience, some of the biggest offenders of all come from the world of IT.
For many in the IT industry, there is still an overwhelming reliance on clichéd stock imagery that displays illuminated racks of storage, photos of endless cables, or, worst of all, people in suits shaking hands or high-fiving. Or even barely any photography at all. It’s staggering. There’s nothing particularly interesting or different about any of these stock images, and certainly not enough to incentivise a customer to continue looking through your site. It’s dull, and overdone, and doesn’t help you stand out from your competitors. With visual cues such an important part of why people’s attention is grabbed in the first place, image selection is critical for your website and indeed the rest of your marketing too. In fact, according to Venngage’s survey of 500 marketers, the visual format responsible for driving the most engagement in their marketing is original graphics, accounting for 40% in comparison to stock photography’s measly 12%. There’s no question about it – original visual content is the way forward.
As marketers for IT and Technology companies, we’ve seen a lot of evidence to back this up, which is why we always encourage our customers to take the leap into commissioning their own photography. It’s such an easy win that it’s well worth the investment.
Add to your credibility
You want to be able to give your customers the impression that you are a reliable, accessible source of expertise – a business that’s filled with real people who are ready to solve their problems. It’s almost impossible to do this when all of your imagery is of strangers in staged situations. People respond to people, so by having some natural shots of your team or management to hand, either for use on your website’s About pages or even via your social channels, you’re assuring your customers that you’re really there for them. And show your people in action too – get them out and about on projects or doing their thing at their own desk and your customers will feel like they’ve got a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what life is like in your business.
Show off your personality
Photographs are a fantastic way of capturing your business’ culture. From the small things, like branded bottles or pens dotted throughout the office, to the bigger things, like team members who have run 5K for charity or a group shot of your latest incentive trip. Whatever best shows off who you are as a company and as a team will inject a load of personality into your digital marketing. It makes you relatable, and helps bring customers onto your side, sometimes before they’ve even met or spoken to you. It’s also important to show that you have fun, and love what you do; such enthusiasm that can be infectious and might eventually translate into business, new recruits, or fresh partnerships.
Proud of your heritage
If your heritage has a large bearing on your business and how it’s run, whether you work with local businesses or deliver solutions on a global scale, then celebrate your roots through your photography. There’s nothing wrong with letting people know where you’re based or where you started from, especially if you’re able to include some shots of recognisable landmarks. And contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t make you look small, it just makes you look even more trustworthy.
Stock still has its place
While we don’t advocate the use of clichéd stock photography, that in no way means stock images should be eradicated completely. If used correctly, they can be complimentary to your own photography, but that means being very particular about the imagery you choose. Stock images should always stay relevant to the content they accompany, and be dynamic, colourful, and most importantly, add value as a visual representation of the message you’re trying to convey. The best advice we can give when it comes to stock photography, though, is to think outside the box. It’s all very well and good to choose an image of a lightbulb to represent bigger thinking for example, but something more abstract and less literal might get the point across even more successfully. The selection of your images will be helped with good content and headlines that break with the norm and give you a more creative angle to pick a clever image.
It doesn’t have to come with a new website
It can be tempting to put off investing in new photography until the time comes around for a website refresh, but there’s nothing stopping you from swapping out your existing imagery whenever it suits you, regardless of where your website’s at. You’d be surprised how much of a difference simply updating your photography can make to the way your website looks and feels. It can breathe new life into your site, not just for you but for your customers too, and might give them a taste for finding out what else is new in your business.
Even if one of your team members is a budding photographer, we would always recommend getting a professional in to do the shoot for you. They’ve got the benefit of a third-party perspective, and may pick up on small details that you overlook on a day-to-day basis. What’s more, they’ll have all the necessary equipment – tripods, lenses, and lighting – to truly capture you at your best.
We firmly believe that commissioning your own photography is the way forward. There’s no excuse for continuing to stick to the same boring stock imagery that’s used on websites the world over. Your business is unique, and your photography should play a large part in demonstrating this, but only if you’re prepared to give over a little bit of time and money to getting it right. Ditch the false perception of your company for the reality, and we guarantee you won’t regret doing so.